How To Mix Your Drums And How To Make Your Own Drum Samples + Free Pack

how to mix drums

how to mix drums

In a previous article (Main drums) I’ve presented you the main drums.

Those are the most used in electronic music.

Let’s go to the next level. Today I will present you some ingenious ways of creating your own drum pack.

If you were wondering, you don’t need any technical knowledge.

The example is very easy to understand. Just follow the steps.

I was awful at making my own drums in the past. Because I didn’t have any knowledge everything I was making sounded awful.

Even if I would have picked 2 drums they would have sounded bad.

I’m not speaking about creating a loop, or a good rhythm. I’m not actually going to present these notions today.

You will be surprised by these methods. Even if they are simple, most of them are secret.

Today I will also give you my collection of hats and claps.

I will also give you some other resources, like this flp template. You can Download It here.

With this template you can create your own hats or claps, but before you begin I would like to list the most important qualities of a drum.

Here is what I know so far:

1. Power – any music producer wants to make his drum as strong as possible. Most of them use compression or equalizer.

All the music producers are convinced that a professional loop is made of strong drums.

2. Clarity – if you hear a drum in a certain context, you need to be able to recognise it easily.

You need to be able of distinguishing between a snare, a clap, or anything else when you hear it.

3. Accuracy/Refining – the drum sample should not contain any frequency that could disturb the listener, not even one! It should sound perfect.

4. Shape – a drum should contain most frequencies that a human can hear.

5. Dynamism – a drum should have transients.

A professional drum should give energy to the mix. Most transients that are in a mix can be found in the drums.

6. Transparency – a drum should not modify any other element of the mix.

Transparency is the characteristic of a sound of keeping it’s qualities no matter what you overlap it with.

A good example of transparent sound is the white noise.

No matter what you overlap it with, you won’t change it’s structure.

These are the most important qualities of a professional drum. If you can find others then please do tell in the comment section below.

Ok, so now you know how does a perfect drum should sound. If it meets all these qualities, then it’s a perfect drum.

Where can you find professional drums? Here are the possibilities!

There are 4 ways of obtaining drums:

1. Download free samples from the internet

2. Buy a professional package

3. Use a drum machine

4. Create your own drums

Here is how do music producers get their own drums:

how to get drums

how to get drums

 

Until now, I’ve listened to hundred of songs, and I’ve tested thousands of samples.

I haven’t found more than 3 samples that were actually good.

And by good I don’t necessarily mean that that they do deserve 10 out of 10, they are just good.

Stop searching on the internet after drums. Especially after free ones.

You should rather buy a professional package, even if you have to pay for it.

I’ve recommended a collection in the past, and I still consider them to be good. I’m speaking about the “Vengeance – Analogue Drums pack.

This isn’t the best method either. Most of the paid drums are average. You need to test each one if you really want a good collection.

I am very fastidious when it comes to drums, so that I keep only those that I truly consider awesome.

Using a drum machine is a bad choice. The drums in such a plug-in are awful.

You will get to the same conclusion if you test Drummax, a default plug-in in Fruity Loops.

I prefer samples. If you know any good drum machine, then please tell me in a comment.

Shocking! It’s simple to create a drum!

The best way is to create your own drums! Yes, that’s right!

It might sound hard, but it’s not. Quite the opposite, you will be able of reaching a professional sound.

And also, you will learn a lot by experimenting. Don’t forget that your knowledge is precious.

Your experience cannot be stolen by anyone. It will help you a lot once you earn it.

The quality of your drums influence the overall quality of your mix. If your drums are bad so will your mix be.

How to mix drums, here are a few easy tricks

Now I will present you the steps required in order of making your own clap.

The clap covers the frequencies between ~200 and 20.000 Hz.

Each tip will be followed by a practical example so that you can understand better.

1. In the spectrum of such a drum you need fine passes from a group of frequencies to other, so that there won’t be areas in which the drum will sound unpleasant.

The smother the passing is, the better. This way your drums won’t sound rough.

Remember, a perfect drum is strong but it won’t be unpleasant for your ears.

2. Claps need to be leveled on the peaks. All the frequencies that surpass the average volume should be reduced.

Even further, there shouldn’t be missing frequencies, or “holes”.

3. Optionally, you could also add some easy reverb effect in order to simulate some areas.

4. The low frequency area needs sweeps. If you remove the white noise, reduce the frequencies under 2000Hz.

Replace that area with a sweep.

5. Claps should be kept on mono. You can add a little panning to your hats though, but I usually keep all my drums on mono.

Claps are usually made of white noise.

I would recommend that you learn more about the white noise. We have an article about it here.

The white noise covers the whole spectrum, but it needs a certain length in order to cover the whole spectre, so if you don’t give it enough time it will sound incomplete.

When the white noise is suddenly cut the frequencies stop working as they should, and certain gaps appear, gaps that are unpleasant for the human ear.

Here is how a “mutilated” white noise sample sounds like:

mixing drums clap decay

mixing drums clap decay

 

The white noise doesn’t behave like a simple frequency. It needs time to cover the entire spectrum.

Here is how I create a real clap. Open FL Studio and set the tempo at 120 BMP.

Insert 3osc and set noise for all the oscillators, like in the following image:

mixing drums 3 osc generator

mixing drums 3 osc generator

Then go to the piano roll and insert a longer note. Watch the image carefully.

mixing drums note in piano roll

mixing drums note in piano roll

Add the pattern in the play-list. Insert 3osc in a mixer channel, then create a volume automatisation.

mixing drums insert on mixer

mixing drums insert on mixer

Now that you have a volume automatisation for the white noise, you can control it’s volume as you desire.

mixing drums clap

How to mix drums volume

Here is what you need to do:

This sample should be hold for 125 milliseconds at the same volume, then it should decay after 125 milliseconds too.

mixing drums clap envelope

mixing drums clap envelope

(The clap’s volume will be hold for approx 125 miliseconds, then it will reduce it’s volume until it reaches 0 in the following 125 miliseconds.)

125 milliseconds means 1/16 of a note at a 120BPM tempo.

For one sixteenth of a note the clap remains at the same volume, and in the next sixteenth it decays gradually.

You just need an EQ technique, which has just 2 simple steps:

1. Equalise all the frequencies (bring them them at at the same volume) from 2.000Hz to 20.000hz.

I like doing this with Spline EQ.

mixing drums spline eq clap

mixing drums spline eq clap

 2. Bellow 2000Hz you should reduce all the frequencies, but make sure to make this very smooth, and also that area bellow 2000Hz should not be entirely removed.

Remember that keeping a smooth transition from an area of frequencies to another should be very smooth.

Here is how I do it:

mixing drums clap frecvency

mixing drums clap frecvency

 

clap EQ

Why should you dampen the frequencies between 2000Hz when making a clap? Here are the reasons:

1. The frequencies under 2000 Hz don’t sound as good. If you don’t believe me then listen to the two following examples. Only the second one is good.

In order to replace the clap’s frequencies between 200Hz and 2000Hz you need to add a sweep.

How can you do that? Simple, add a kick that covers the frequencies between 200Hz and 2000Hz.

Now you know how to create a clap. It wasn’t that hard, was it?

If you want you can download the preset in order to repeat the experiment. Here is how our clap sounds:

Download Here: Clap Factory EQ

Ok, now let’s speak about making a hat. It’s much easier to create a hat than a clap.

The hat covers the frequencies between 5KHz and 20Khz. Some hats cover even bellow 5KHz.

Any sound has stronger and weaker areas. I call the strong areas peaks.

As an example, the hat has peaks on the high frequencies, while a kick has peaks on the low ones.

mixing-drums-hat-frecvency

how to mix hat zone

mixing-drums-clap-frecvency

how to mix your clap zone

mixing-drums-kick-spectrum

how to mix your kick zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

mixing-drums-snare-spectrum

how to mix your snare zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The area circled with white is the are where the hat is the strongest. That is a peak!

2 types of hats in electronic music

In a previous article I’ve taught you how to create your own hats. It was an example and a few easy to follow steps.

Now I’m going to tell you more about hats.

mixing-dums-hat

 

how to mix hat

There are two types of hats used in music.

I‘ve searched for more information on sites like Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-hat

Here I’ve found a few samples that you can listen to. According to wikipedia, these are the main types of hats:

Closed hi-hat

Open hi-hat.

Hi-hat being opened and closed by its foot pedal.***

These types of hats can be included in a single category. They are classic hats, or non-electronic hats.

In other words, they are produced without any electronic equipment.

The second category of hats are those created by using electronic equipment. The equipment can be hardware or software.

Do you know how was the Vengeance – Analogue Drums package made? It was made by using hardware equipment.

Now I will present you the two types of hats. The first category is represented by the metallic sounding hats.

These are obtained without the use of electronic equipment. You simple play a drum set and you have them.

The problem with this type of hats is that they sound harsh.

They are the type of hats that are unpleasant, and that interfere with the frequencies of other instruments.

The metallic sounds don’t cover the whole spectrum. They have missing frequencies, this making them hard to listen to.

A refined hat like the one in my example (in the previous article) won’t disturb the listener.

Let’s make a comparison. How would a building that has missing pieces look like? Not to well. Probably it would be close to collapsing.

The hats work by the same principle.

Here are some tips that you should consider when creating hats.

You should not completely remove the lower frequencies.

It should be kept because any element in a mix needs peak areas and soft areas.

Even further, if the drums are solo then you will hear those gaps in the spectrum.

Besides those peaks, the hats and claps have ridges, that contain background frequencies, which should not be completely removed.

Do you know how you should equalise any sound? Never completely remove a frequency or a group of frequencies.

Just lower that area’s volume by a fed dB’s and it should be enough.

The peak areas of the main drums!

mixing drums proportion

mixing drums proportion

Old style of mixing versus the new one!

Do you know how do the analogue drums sound? The kick sounds weak, like a hit, and the snare is usually short.

The cymbals and the hats sound very metallic.

I‘m not saying that they sound bad. They simply don’t fit in electronic music.

It’s a type of rhythm that fits the older styles. I believe that electronic music should sound “new”, modern.

The type of drums that lack energy won’t satisfy the needs of nowadays’ producers. I prefer strong drums.

What do I mean by modern? A pure and refined sound. Here are the 2 types of rhythm.

Hear the same beat made of different versions of drums:

In the first example you can hear the classic drums, and in the second the modern ones:

Listen Clasic Drums

Listen Modern Drums

The difference is huge. You can sense it without a professional sound system.

Here is my recommendation regarding drum categories.

If the music style is a classic one (like rock, pop, jazz, country, etc) then use classic drums.

They give that certain atmosphere to those genres.

If you are making electronic music, avoid that type of drums. You should use strong drums, refined hats, and perfect claps.

I’ve told you many things about hats and claps. Now you know how they should sound.

How to mix drums, including kick and snare

Fortunately you can find a lot of good kick samples on the internet. The reason is simple. It’s very easy to create one.

I’ve ever found a tutorial where they teach you how to create one.

The kick can be obtained from a sinusoid.

It starts at a high frequency and stops at approx 48 Hz in a very short time.

It might be a simple element, but you should still give it the proper attention.

Here are the problems that come when mixing it with the track:

1. It does interfere with the bass quite often, reducing the energy of the mix.

2. Sounds weak (doesn’t deliver a punch)

These are the main problems. There are solutions though. First you should use a quality sample.

Trying to compress a bad sample is just a waste of time.

Choose the right bass and kick, so that they do never meet (they should not use the same frequencies).

If you can’t do that then there is another way.

Use sidechain (dynamic compression). The sidechain technique makes a sound go following the other.

When one increases in volume, the other’s volume decreases.

So this is how you solve the first problem, but be careful with the sidechain compression.

You might end up doing more harm than good.

A way of making the kick sound stronger is by using the EQ. Here is a tutorial about equalising the kick. 

Mix your drums and create a professional beat!

You’ve learned some efficient ways of mixing your drums, but when adding them to a certain context you need to make sure you do respect the following rules:

1. Don’t overlap 2 drums that cover the same frequencies. You will highlight that area too much. Use drums that complete each other like a puzzle.

2. Keep the kick, snare, and clap on mono. You can use a little panning on the hats.

3. Not all drums sound powerful. You can keep some in the background.

4. Don’t remove the air from the hats! Leave all the frequencies below 18.000 Hz untouched.

The mix will be glowing if it has all the frequencies.

You should remove anything over 18.000 Hz. Usually, the human ear can’t hear over that level.

I remember that a friend of mine said that we should remove all the frequencies over 15.000 because a mix that has frequencies over that level is hard to listen to.

But it proved to be just a myth. The frequencies over 15.000Hz don’t sound bad. It depends what sounds you do use.

There are many good projects that have sounds over 15.000Hz.

Even though I’ve said many things, there are still some untold things, so please leave a comment and let’s talk about it.

What do you think the next article will be about? Ways of creating a beat! You should stay tuned!

Share with your friends if you’ve found this article useful!

Good luck finding your inspiration, and thank you for your attention!

how to mix drums

how to mix drums download

download here deluxe drums pack

How To Mix Drums [Free 70 drums samples]

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