How to EQ Live Drums

How To EQ

A Guide To Drum EQ

EQ is arguably the single most effective type of FX processing you can do to improve the sound of the drums, both for individual drums and for the kit as a whole. And today, you’ll see an EQ demonstration from a recent Drumeo session with Jonathan Moffett, the long-time drummer for Michael Jackson. In this video, you’re going to get some really easy and effective ways to EQ your drum recordings.

How to Tune Drums with Used Heads

Video Text:

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[Music] hey victor guidera here from recordium and in this lesson i’m going to show you some really easy and effective ways to eq your drum recordings and you know this is for when you’re just starting out or if you you know have been working on recording drums for a while now these are some of the core concepts that you may have missed or that you need to pick up right from the start eq is arguably the single most effective type of effects processing that we can do to

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improve the sound of your drums whether that’s the individual microphones kick snare so on or the drum kit as a whole or different combinations together eq’ing those combinations of microphones this will have the largest impact on improving that sound and so to demonstrate some of the concepts here today i pulled the recording session that i just captured uh very recently with john moffett up at drumeo and uh john moffett is the uh was the veteran long-time 30-year veteran drummer for michael jackson until he passed away um and he’s also toured with you know all of the other jackson family and elton john and madonna and george michael the list goes on it’s it’s a very very uh reputable artist in this industry john was an amazing person as well and so the first thing that i want to talk about is cut versus boost now if you look at a standard eq here uh you’ll see that there’s you know i have some some dips going on in in this

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eq that would be a cut you know pulling a portion of the sound of that microphone down that would be cut and pulling and boosting it up would be a boost and so what i generally do with eq is i cut a lot more than i’m boosting portions of the sound so i essentially want to find uh a portion or multiple portions of the sound that i do not like and then i want to minimize that a little bit and cut that out and so you know i that when i do that process with individual mics and the drum kit as a whole that brings me to the sound that i’m looking for a lot faster than if i were to try to boost a lot of areas of the sound that i do like so i definitely recommend starting out with that mentality first cut more than boost but of course it’s okay to boost certain portions of the sound that you do like and the next core concept i want to talk about is the high pass filter so what this is is i have that again on the

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snare microphone here um as you can see what’s happening with the slope here uh it is going to cut off all of the sound of that source of that signal source microphone we’ll call it uh from a certain point and everything below that so as you can see you know if i set it at 140 hertz here’s that point where there’s 140 hertz and it’s going to slope downward and cut everything off at a certain rate which is the slope uh and and does nothing will exist in the sound uh you know below that point and so why do we do that we do that to clean up you know every single microphone that’s recorded uh you know we we don’t want to have that really low sub range sound uh of that microphone capture in that sound source even on a bass drum microphone i will still use a high pass filter but

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i’ll show you here i’ll just do something like a really steep curve and i won’t cut off a lot of the sub range of that microphone maybe i’ll roll it off at about 40 hertz or so or 50 hertz depending on how much sub range of that uh that bass drum microphone that i need in the source so i have essentially a high pass filter on every single microphone track yes even the bass drums that might sound crazy but um you know maybe don’t start out with a high pass on your bass mic if you’re just starting the you know to use eqs uh because you could end up you know easily very easily cutting off too much of that bsn or if you feel comfortable with what i just mentioned give it a shot so first on the snare i’m going to play back and start cutting off some of that sub range with a high pass and listening for portions of the sound that i don’t like and we have we actually in this recording had two top snare microphones in earthworks sr20 ls and a sure sm57 right now let’s just not worry about multiple mics i’m just muting the 57 and

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we’ll work on the earthworks mic [Music] cool so as you saw i swept the high pass up until it cut off too much of the snare sound and uh you know then i brought it back down and i kind of wavered a little bit back up and forth and uh you know found that mid point where i’m not cutting off the fatness of the snare drum because that’s something you don’t want to do as well of course depending on the genre and the you know the overall mix of the song

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maybe you do want more fantas or not and so what i didn’t like about the snare drum was just one pitch tone overtone that was ringing pretty strong and so you know to cut that like i mentioned cutting we’re going to take one eq point boost it up quite a bit you know 10 anywhere from 10 to up to 20 db depending uh and then we will see sweep that frequency point across the spectrum and you know we’ll really hear what i’m listening for is what i really went you know basically when it sounds the worst when do when do i really not like it but for this snare drum i’m going to be really trying to pinpoint that actual pitch that i was talking about and and then we will cut that down and that’s essentially it for the boost sweep and cut and then the sound will be that much better so let’s check it out [Music]

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[Music] [Music] [Music] [Music]

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the difference is subtle when taking that eq out and putting it back in but you know when you do more of these sort of cuts and surgical moves on your microphones together you know listening to them in the whole mix as well of course we also want to eq not just solo on an instrument but with playing all of the tracks together it will just be that much more glued together all the way across every single microphone and of course this drum recording uh you know it requires that kind of work in detail on each of the microphones because there was a lot it was a very large kit a lot of microphones to capture all of those sounds with high fidelity and stuff so now let’s talk about what i did on the bass drum microphone and again there are multiple microphones on the bass drum there’s a 602 at the porthole and a akg d112 inside of the bass drum sort of my favorite combo and a sub kick solomon mike’s low freak out on the

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bat on the reso head on the bass drum so digging into the eq here we’ll just talk about the 602 which is what i call the all range bass drum mic at the porthole pointed towards the bearing edge meaning the bass drum head on the batter side and it looks like we’ve done a sharp little cut right here at 87 hertz which is an odd one let’s check that out i don’t quite remember and then a a dip a a wide dip in the frequency spectrum over at 215 hertz and low mid and um looks like i knocked down a tiny bit of the point to the at 5300 hertz or 5.3 kilohertz where the beater that’s kind of where the beat is smacking across the head so maybe it’s a little bit bright sounding and then we roll off the very top end of the frequency spectrum and if you choose to do that then be very light or careful with that or maybe not use a what that is is called a low-pass filter uh maybe just try something like it just a

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shelf that will bring down a little bit of that top end and what i’m trying to do with that is bring down a little bit of the cymbals uh bleeding through into that bass drum mic so um let’s just have a listen here and i’ll play with some of the eq points i’m really curious about that 87 hertz let’s see what’s going on there [Music] great so what’s happening there is uh just with the tuning and the muffling that he had going on in the drum there is a build up at that right at that frequency point at 87 hertz uh where it was it was you know a little unpleasant and it was rumbling through i remember uh you know it just sort of affected the overall drum mix as a whole and um you know that’s why it’s a sharp little narrow uh range of the frequency spectrum that

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it’s affecting just a little cone that i’m dipping out just to try to pinpoint just that that frequency point at 87 hertz and as you could hear when i pulled that down it was much more pleasant so then the low mid here at 215 hertz that’s just a little bit of mud in the in the signal um and you know let’s just have a listen to that you know boosting that back up and see what’s happening there [Music] [Music] again so the changes are very subtle but when you make these subtle changes across all the microphones really they add up uh to a much higher fidelity drum makes as a whole and so let’s just listen to the whole thing bypass and unbypassed [Music]

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and the high pass filter now i hope you have a subwoofer or really high quality headphones where they can go down to a really sub range which isn’t too common necessarily but if i did not roll off at 43 hertz uh what i’m hearing is is like the lowest of low sub being captured by that uh sennheiser 602 mic and you know keeping that in the mix it’ll just be crazy to have that really low sub range left over in the mix uh it may you know if somebody ever listens to your mix on you know a system where they have a subwoofer it may make it go a little crazy in that very low end so essentially i’m going to cut that off but not too high up in the spectrum because we want the bass drum to still have a lot of low sub range power to it and for the toms let’s just talk about one of them the 12 inch tom and you’re

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going to hear a really dramatic change with the massive amount of cutting that i’m doing here and a little bit of boost as well and so there’s just a little bit more overtones than i would you know normally want in a 12-inch tom and so what i did is i i found one point whether it was it was really abundant with the uh the ring overtones in the tom and i cut that down and there is still more to come uh so i started at the low end uh you know the low mids first and then i swept around with the highs or the actual mids and then found another point and then once i really scooped those then it really sounded good and then of course i wanted a bit more more fidelity right on the root note of the drum and i found where that was and boosted that up so let’s listen with before and after [Music]

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and that is how powerful the boost sweep find what you don’t like and cut can really be for you especially with a little bit wonkier tuning or overtones that are happening in your drums now with the overheads really depending on the genre and the room and the placement of them and how many more microphones you had on the kit you may want them to capture more warmth and more drum shells or you may want that to have less and so for this mix i wanted just a sort of a medium balance i want the the tom close tom microphones and the snare and the bass to cover a lot of that low warmth uh you know from the those close mics and the overheads to really get a lot more of the ambience and symbols um but

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still have a decent amount of you know sort of shell sound uh drum shell sound in them as well so uh we’re really not doing too much the overheads and again there are multiple mics let’s just focus on one eq and and of course i will simply duplicate that eq to each of the overheads or work on them at the same time depending on what your recording and mixing setup is and so let’s check out the left overhead only and i’ve collapsed it to mono just so that we can you know get a nice full fidelity right in front of our face as we’re eq’ing something i do that actually when i eq all of the instruments even if i’m only working on one i monolize it or i pan it up the center so i can hear very nice and equally just right in my face from both of the speakers [Music]

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[Music] so as you can hear it was just a little bit of that sort of cloudiness and build up at about 350 400 hertz in the room uh with all of the instruments going on all the voices uh just they really start to build up and add on one another uh and and it just sort of gets uh you know unclear in that range so i just scooped out a bit at 360 hertz and did the of course the high pass roll off uh with the lower slope so it wasn’t too steeply cutting off the the low end at 112 hertz and so that’s pretty much all that that really nice earthworks sr25 microphone needed for eq so i’m not going to do much more than that maybe if you’re using a cheaper lower end microphone which i use a lot is you know maybe you have to dip out different parts of the spectrum or maybe

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you need to get some more top end back into the thing and have the symbols really shine and brightness of them shine through and so you want to add boost a little bit at the top end as well and so that’s it for all of the main microphones here let’s have a listen to all of the mics together full drum mix and let’s bypass the eqs and put them back in and that should be a really dramatic effect to hear all of the microphones without their main eqs in and then putting them back in for full fidelity [Music] and so isn’t it a massive difference that the eq makes on the microphones you know putting it in taking it out putting

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it back in it really cleans up the entire mix uh each shell and symbol is really singing to its full fidelity uh you know there’s there’s not any washiness uh you know of any uh voices drowning out one another each of the shells are sounding really full fidelity and things like that it’s a lot more clear and the drum uh performance is a lot more cr clear and crisp and just you know it just sounds better right and so you know of course there’s a lot more we can do for the processing compression and gates and editing and things like that not in this lesson though we do a lot of that we go over all that kind of stuff in and here on youtube so be sure to subscribe to us on youtube and facebook and instagram where we release all kinds of free lessons like this and uh we even talk you some behind the scenes in uh you know recording studios and recording sessions and scenario different scenarios and things like that and check out where we have our awesome subscription service there

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and our wicked community of recording enthusiasts like yourself so thank you so much for watching and i’ll see you in some more lessons [Music] you

How to EQ Live Drums

Video Text:

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so today I am going to show you how to create a quick mix for live drums using EQ on each individual drum that you’re mixing I am NOT going to be focusing on compression for this video so there’s not going to be any compressors on any of the drums we’re just focusing on the the points of EQ that you want to focus on each instrument of the drums before you mix in the rest of your band and I’m working on an X 32 behringer x32 and then I have some tracks that are we going to be coming in through virtual soundcheck from service that I have previously recorded so we’re going to go through each mic on the drums and just the quick points of where you want to focus on for EQ now before I start you know every soundboard drums drummer

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sound system is different so these aren’t absolute frequencies that you need to boost or cut when you are EQ ageneral range of where you want to focus on so the first thing you want to start with is your kick drum I have it over here to the first instrument coming in on the board and I’m gonna solo that and we’re gonna gonna look at some some EQ in for that so let me solo that so I’ll bring up the fader and this is what the kick sounds like with no EQ coming in the first thing you want to do is you want to locate where the punch is of the kick drum so you where you’re gonna you’re gonna hear the punch and you’re gonna also feel it so I like to do a tight cue and I boost it at the lower frequencies and ice’ gonna sweep until I

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find where that sweet spot is so I’ll take the low EQ and let’s see boost it I’m gonna do a tight key like this boost it and then I’m gonna sweep it down here until I until I hear it I think right here right here is where I’m feeling it and so I’m gonna keep it right there and then the next thing that I do is I like to put a high-pass filter and on and you cut cut all the lows that are coming going on before then went in a live setting I feel like it cleans it up so there aren’t any low boomy frequencies coming through before that

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that punch sound and the next the next part of the kick drum you want to see if you can hear is that sound of the beater coming through now this microphone it already has a good bit of the beater sound coming through already but we’re gonna find where it is and we’re gonna loosed it so it’s gonna be up high in the 2 to 4 K somewhere so I’m gonna let’s see I’m gonna sweep until I hear it so I like where it’s sounding right there so we have our low frequency or punch frequency and then our the sound of the heater coming through and then also if

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you want if there’s some muddiness going on you can definitely cut some of the lows out of there so like you if I were to boost it there’s kind of some a little bit of just muddy stuff right here if you want to cut that will definitely make your kick sound a little punchier so this is what it sounds like without EQ and this is when we put that put that EQ lon [Music] so for this snare I had a top snare mic and a bottom snare mic the top snare mic I use to get some punchiness in the sound of the stick hitting the snare drum and then the bottom snare is for

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the I try to capture the sizzle of the snares that are on the bottom of the drum and so I’m going to just solo the top snare [Music] I’m gonna look for kind of the punch in the lows so right there is where the punchiness is on the EQ spectrum now boosting that too much when we make it muddy or boo me but it’s good to know where that is right now and what I will do is put a little cut put a high-pass

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filter on and I’m gonna just cut all the lows under there because we don’t really want to hear now I’m hearing a ring going on which is common than snares so we’ll see if we can find it it will boost it’s where that ring is and then and then we can cut it and see if that helps [Music] so I think it’s sounding like it’s right there so we definitely hear less of that and

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then you also from here you can find where that frequency is that this of the stick hitting the snare drum so [Music] [Laughter] [Music] [Laughter] [Music] so I like I like we’re boosting it where

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it comes out right there so we got we’ve got that the Bhumi the punchy part we’ve cut some of the mids we’ve got that stick right there sometimes I like to cut more of this stuff happening in the middle so I’m just gonna cut some stuff and see if it sounds better or worse [Music] [Music]

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[Music] and now I’m gonna go I’m gonna solo the bottom snare first thing I’m gonna do is put the high-pass filter on there I like

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cutting a little of that and then you definitely want to blend it in with a snare the top snare see how that’s blending so we got that snare right here [Music]

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okay so now I’m gonna move on to my Tom so we have one hi Tom in a low Tom and both of these you kind of approach them the same way as far as you find the tone of the Tom and the sound of the stick hitting the Tom and then you want to clear up some of the muddiness so we’re going to find a place where the high Tom hits so I’m going to sweep until I can find the tone of that top so you can

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really hear the the tone come out right there and I’m going to put the high pass on cut everything under there let’s find that stick up there the stick sound I [Music] think there’s a lot of muddy stuff happening in here so kind of makes it a

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lot punch here so this is what it sounds like without EQ get some more tone out of it now we’ll move on to the low Tom and you use kind of the same method for that as well it’s just a it’s a lower tone lower frequencies happening here

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let’s see so we’re gonna find our tone of that time cut everything below that [Music] I’m hearing a lot of muddy stuff happening as well but first let’s find that let’s find that sticks out

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[Music] so let’s play our Tom’s together and see what we’re getting from that [Music] okay and let’s splenda Knauer kick snare and our to snare mics and our to Tom

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Ikes [Music] and let’s move on to our hi-hat Mike

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with the hi-hat Mike I don’t really spend too much time on the EQ of that because I honestly don’t use a ton of it in the mix but we definitely want to cut some of the low stuff that’s happening in that mic so let’s see if we can find where it [Music] get to a section loop a section where it’s playing a lot [Music]

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[Music] so I’m kind of hearing to me it sounds like a kind of a dingy sound and I kind of want more of the high end of it and not the dingy sound if that makes sense so I want to see if I can try to find where that that ringing is happening and maybe cut a little bit of it it might wind up sounding a little too weird with it cut but I just want to see if I can find it [Music] [Music]

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right there [Music] [Music] some of the low just cleans it up a little bit in my opinion before we blend that in I’m gonna move on to the overheads and my take on overheads is I like it to capture all of the sound of the drums so not just the ride cymbal on the crash cymbal but also it’s getting

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some of the natural sound of the toms and the snare and I don’t like to EQ it I like to EQ it as little as possible just because I feel like that is more natural sounding so I definitely put a high-pass filter on there but we’ll see what that is sounding like [Music] I’m going to put the high-pass [Music] I just want to leave it like that and see if I can blend that up with the rest of the mics and see if that is a good it

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captures the overhead sound well so I’m going to now kind of blend the instruments and I start with kick and then go snare toms and then add I think what I’ll do is I’ll add the overheads first and then kind of playing the hi-hat mic because one thing is if you blend it’s easy to blend too much hi-hat in and then it kind of sounds harsh with the mix and you have to back it down a little bit so I’ll make the hi-hat the last thing that I put in the mix so now I’m going to start start blending them in [Music]

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I’m gonna find a place where it has some Tom’s to blend those there’s some stuff I’m hearing in the Tom’s that I don’t like I think it’s kind of where we were cutting before I just cut a little bit more of it let’s try that [Music] I might drop a little bit of that tone

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out to make the High Times down stand out a little bit less [Music] and blend in my overheads and it’s good to know that I have my also I’m going to

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pay in my hi-hat to the right because if you’re looking at the drums on stage you would be looking at the hi-hat to be on the right of the set so I’m going to pan that to probably 75% to the to the right [Music]

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so now I have a basic drum mix that I’m happy with there will be some points of e queuing that I will need to change once the rest of the band comes in just to kind of fit with the overall mix and also if I were using compression that would definitely bring out some frequencies and I would need to change some of those frequencies but that is a quick easy way to kind of get the the focus points out of the EQ so you can set up the rest of your mix

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