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Garnish Music Production School in London

Parallel Compression on Drums | Piers Moth Mixing Blog # 2

Parallel Compression on Drums & More | Piers Moth Mixing Blog # 2

The first topic of this week’s session was noise gating and how this can be used for a variety of functions, which previously I would have not known about.  Mainly, of course, it is a function that only lets the main qualities you wish to hear through, but making this happen effectively takes some fiddling to get the desired effect and clean up the sound source to hear just what you want.   Tips such as trying to keep the threshold as high as possible and in general having these dynamic inserts prior to your EQ were very useful.

This also led on perfectly to simple sidechaining and an explanation of what it is and how it works which meant that later in the session, advanced sidechaining with a gate was easy to understand, and great fun to use.  I enjoyed using the hi-hats to trigger the gate on a bowed guitar part.

The main part of the day was spent on compression.  Firstly the explanations of what the threshold, ratio, attack, release and knee were excellent.  It was great to have some visual aids of the diagrams to explain through these, and how they can be used to affect the individual sound source and bring out the main qualities and sit them at the front of the mix.  I previously had no idea just how important it could be at clearing up and bringing out vox, or how it could impact the snappyness of a snare/kick in addition to many other features compression can change/improve.

We went on to learn about using parallel compression to reinforce the kits, and how with certain styles, i.e. rock a heavily compressed entire kit can have a powerful impact on the overall mix.  This also reinforced our understanding of bussing and practice putting it into use and mixing in the auxillery channels.

I would just like to take this moment to point out how the structure of the course is great and the flow of techniques, effects and processes used and learned about is perfect.  One topic leads into the next smoothly and the skills are all built upon from one area and week to the next.

At this stage, I am finding that in listening to music on my Iphone/home stereo, I can hear many of these mixing effects being put into use and have developed my listening ear to be able to hear things in greater detail than I was able to do before. As a result, I am enjoying listening to music even more, and have widened the variety of genres I listen to in order to hear how different production techniques are applied to different styles and compare them.  I even listened to a ‘Spice Girls’ track just to hear how they achieve what they do, reminding me that, I need to gets myself a five string bass!  And actually, I think I might actually like some of their music!

Check the video below on parallel compression on drums.

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