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Microphone Month

Tech Tips

inSync Tech Tips cover over 4,800 music and audio topics spanning 15 years of technological development. Look here to find answers to your tech questions, cool tips and tools for making music, and more.

Drums Tech Tips

Slate Digital’s Trigger Platinum Samples

Q: I'm interested in Slate Digital's Trigger Platinum drum replacement plug-in. Since I already own Steven Slate Drums, can I access all of those samples from the plug-in? A: The Slate Digital Trigger plug-in comes... Read more »

Optimizing for Drum Replacement

Yesterday's Tech Tip of the Day talked about cleaning up a kick drum track riddled with bleed. One option we suggested was drum replacement. Here are some tips for optimizing a track for use with a drum replacement... Read more »

Kick Drum Bleed

Q: I'm working with live Pro Tools multitrack recordings of my band, and there were two mics/tracks for the kick drum. One was from a Yamaha SubKick and the other was from a standard dynamic microphone (maybe an... Read more »

Compressed Mono Drum Mic for Effect

Here's a drum tracking trick that can give you great options for your drum sound: Place a single microphone 5-10 feet in front of the kit at 3-6 feet in height. The idea is to capture a solid mono picture of the... Read more »

Cool Tool: CrashGuard

It's a common problem: You're miking up a drumkit. You get great snare and tom sounds, then the drummer starts playing the hat and his crash and ride cymbals — and the cymbal bleed into the snare and tom mics... Read more »

Enhancing Snare Drum Attack

Q: I've got a snare drum track in my mix that just sort of lays there; it's thuddy and doesn't have much attack or presence. I've tried compressing it, but that just makes it sound "flatter." Anything I can do to... Read more »

Kick & Bass Reverb

Q: I read the Tech Tip from last Friday about panning the kick drum and bass guitar to the center of the mix. I have a similar question: some engineers I've talked to say that I shouldn't put reverb on the kick drum... Read more »

Kick & Bass Panning

Q: Why are the kick drum and the bass always panned to the center of mixes? A: In the "old" days of vinyl records, the low-frequency instruments were panned to the center of the stereo field to physically optimize... Read more »

Cool Tool: Pearl Throne Thumper

Electronic drum kits are awesome for so many reasons — controllable volume, direct feed to a PA or DAW without microphones, sonic flexibility, and pure convenience, among a long list. But one thing an... Read more »

Vocals Getting Lost in the Mix

Q: I'm very happy with the big sound of the drums, bass, guitars, and piano in my mix, but I'm having trouble getting the vocals to punch through clearly. Any quick suggestions? A: This is clearly a deep topic, but... Read more »

Wavedrum Replacement Head

A poster on our Facebook page asked about what replacement heads to use for the Korg Wavedrum. The answer is that any standard 10-inch drumhead can be used. When installing the new head, be sure to tighten the lugs... Read more »

Always Carry a Backup

Last week, Sweetwater hosted the regional finals for the Roland V-Drum Contest. There were amazing drummers here, tearing things up on a TD-20 electronic drum kit! One player, however, had problems with his memory... Read more »

Louder Sound Without Compression

Want to make a mix seem louder without resorting to heavy compression or limiting? One trick is to try adding some boost around 2kHz. This is the frequency range where our ears are most sensitive, so pushing the... Read more »

Drum Damper

How many times have you been in the studio recording drums and ended up with toms that are too resonant or that have too much ring? The solution is often to either place duct tape on the batter head or to tape an... Read more »

Learn to Tune Drums

Our friends at PreSonus have put together a video on tuning drums featuring legendary drummer Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett. In addition to discussing his philosophy of drum tuning for kick, snare, and toms, Moffett... Read more »

Musician’s Essential Toolkits, Vol. 1 – Drums

Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong — and probably at the most inconvenient time and place. However, a corollary states that whatever you're prepared for won't go wrong. We don't... Read more »

Parallel Compression and Phase Issues

Q: I'm trying to do parallel compression on my drum track in Pro Tools, but the sound seems like it's screwed up, almost like it is out of phase. Why is this happening? A: It probably IS out of phase. The first... Read more »

Brighter Snare

Need to make a snare drum, either from a track you've recorded or from a virtual instrument or drum machine sound brighter, more lively, with more attack? You could try boosting the high-frequency EQ. But that isn't... Read more »

Avid Boom Outs

Q: I enjoyed the Avid Boom tips in last week's inSync (here, here, and here). Is there a way to get individual outs from the channel strips? A: Sorry, Boom doesn't have individual outs for each sound. One workaround... Read more »

Avid Boom Trick #2

Here's another "hidden" feature in Avid's Boom virtual drum machine: You can change the sound that is assigned to a channel strip by clicking the drop-down "Sample Selector" menu. But you can only access one type of... Read more »

Avid Boom Trick #1

Here's a hidden feature that will let you expand the sounds you get from Avid's Boom virtual drum machine. Underneath the "M" and "S" buttons on the instrument channel strips, there's what looks like a philips-head... Read more »

Making the Most Out of Mishaps

At a recent recording session, the upright bass player was also using an amplifier to make his instrument louder. We had a condenser mic on the bass itself and a dynamic mic on the amp. Unfortunately, the bass... Read more »

Sculpting a Mix with EQ

For excellent clarity in your mixes, where instruments and tracks aren't fighting one another, use EQ and filtering to specifically define the frequency range each track is living in. By carefully stacking the... Read more »

Mic Cable Labels

Want to speed up set up time and sound check the next time you play a gig? (Or run a session in your studio, for that matter...) Dedicate a mic cable to each microphone and label it on both ends. Lead vocal? Give... Read more »