How to Approach Mixing Drums with Joe Barresi (QOTSA, Tool, Soundgarden)

Live Sound Mixing

How to Approach Mixing Drums with Joe Barresi (QOTSA, Tool, Soundgarden)

Hard rock producer and mixing engineer Joe Barresi explains the importance of phase relation, panning, level and parallel compression, and how to approach mixing drums as a complete instrument.

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Video Text:

0:00:02.1 –>
[Music] [Applause] [Music] three of the most important parts of mixing to me are the level the phase and the panning half the battle is getting stuff in phase a lot of times you find you trying to add a ton of EQ to something to get it to work and really you were just like a face which away and in that point I’m talking about absolute phase zero to 180 relative phase is also very important and that’s the distance between two sources for instance a base direct and a bass amp a DI is gonna be a lot quicker than the amp because the bass goes into the DI and then out of the DI it’s gonna have to go through a

0:01:01.7 –>
d’etat ramp or a bass amp whatever and then by the time it comes out of a speaker it’s gonna be delayed so back in our early days you know in the days of tape machines and limited know kind of da W mixing what we used to do is if we had a DI and it was ahead of the amp we used to insert a delay across the DI and kind of push it back in time so very important to get the phase together first I’ve already kind of gone through this track and figured out what’s what panning is the other very important thing this particular song is drummer perspective so if I’m the drummer and I’m a righty my high hats over here my rides over here so I’m panning the hi-hat track where the I had needs to live in the overheads and also where the ride needs to live in the overheads in perspective there’s three toms a rack tom and two floors so the rack tom is gonna be sort of here in the big picture and the two floor toms onto this side to the right and it’s very important before you queueing just to kind of pan these things in their positions where you

0:02:01.7 –>
think they sound right in relation to the overheads that way the drums themselves is one instrument it’s more in phase and then you’ll find you’re doing a lot less see cueing that way over on this side of the console this is sort of like my drum parallel issue area same thing you’re gonna do as you’re bussing into your stereo drum parallel compressor I mean if you think about it if you’re playing a floor tom on the right and you’re pushing it into a parallel drum compressor and you have the panning back or and it’s in the left immediately have some weird phase issues so basically the kick and snare and the Tom’s are really driving a lot of parallel compression and that’s giving me a little more punch to the drums that way and a little less cymbals in there because it’s cymbals so splashy I don’t really want to parallel them the theory behind the parallel compression is that I can still retain the punch and the attack of these drums and then add some beef behind it especially in a song like this where the

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guitars are so big and there’s a lot of bass distorted bass a lot of backing vocals really by doing a fast rough mix I’ve decided that the drums are gonna need some extra punch to compete with everything and I can retain the attack of the drums and also parallel compress a little bit I’m gonna just turn the parallel compression on here and then just once I unmute them over there you’ll hear the difference [Music] [Applause] [Music] okay so you’re obviously heard of volume jump as well which is what I’m looking for a little more punch on the drum kit and that’s kind of how I’m approaching

0:04:03.7 –>
the drum kit in general I haven’t eq’d anything yet either so at this point then I might start diving in in cueing some stuff individually but I would find that I would start hearing a lot less individually since I’ve have a global EQ on my mix happening [Music] [Applause] [Music] thing

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