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Quickie Guide to DAW Mixing, Part #21

Since we’re focusing on DAWs, there’s a good chance you’re using sampled drum sounds. It’s important to keep in mind that these sounds may have been EQed within an inch of their lives during the production process. If you’ve chosen a sample, chances are you already like the sound. The only issues you really need to contend with are EQing drums to fit in the mix. Here are some basic guidelines that apply to both samples and acoustic drums.

For a defined, punchy kick drum, boost at 80Hz, cut around 400 Hz (to remove boxiness and conflicts with other instruments), and boost at 3-4kHz (to bring out attack). For snare, add body at 250Hz, presence at 1.8kHz, and highs at 7kHz for a little crispness. Toms should be handled individually if possible; the approach is pretty much the same as for kick drum with the exception of boosting the lows. If you like a crisp, clean sound on hi-hat, roll off the lows and boost a little at 10kHz. If you like a chunkier sound, boost the upper mids (5-6kHz) a bit.

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