Friday, August 28, 2020

Drums - Isolating and Emphasizing - Bottom Snare Drum Microphone

Video Created by JOEL CAMERON - Transcribed by TOM BOWSER

What are ghost notes? Ghost notes as they pertain to the drums are quiet notes usually played in between accented notes. They do NOT always have to be played in between accented notes. Ghost notes can be used to fill in the groove and give it more feel rather than the groove sounding very straight and rigid.

Ghost notes may be more felt than heard. Musicians on the stage who are playing with the drummer may be able to feel the ghost notes and lock with the drummer better because the drummer is filling out the groove more and giving it more feel.

If ghost notes are present in the track you want them brought out and heard. If there is not ghosting you do not need to use this technique because the back beat will be the loudest thing in the track and will be the most audible over any leakage in the track (the kick for example).

Use compression to help the ghosting be heard:

  1. Instantiate a Pro Tools Compressor/Limiter Dyn 3 on the bottom snare track.
  2. Use a really fast ATTACK TIME (10.0us or so). To reduce the attack time (make it faster) turn the ATTACK knob on the DIGI Compressor / Limiter counterclockwise. With this approach we are going to try to even out the amount of snare response from the ghosting as from the snare heads.
  3. Increase the RATIO to around 8 to 1 so it's compressing pretty dramatically.
  4. Increase the RELEASE time from the default of 80ms to 160 to 180ms.
  5. Increase the GAIN as needed.

Looking for total compression of -12 dB or so.


The bottom of the snare may be rattling just as much when the bass/kick beater hits as it is with the strike of the drum stick. We can limit how much of the kick/bass drum we hear in the bottom snare mic using the following procedure.

  1. Create a pre fader send (click on the PRE button) on the inside kick channel. Route the kick send/signal to an unused bus. Label the bus "KICK IN SEND".
  2. Instantiate a second compressor after (in serial) the first compressor on the bottom snare track (see above directions).
  3. Set the key input of the second compressor to the bus chosen for the kick drum send (KICK IN SEND).
  4. Enable the side-chain of the second compressor by clicking on small key located in the SIDE-CHAIN section of the DIGI Compressor / Limiter. Click on the tiny speaker to the right of the small key in the SIDE-CHAIN section of the compressor to listen and verify the bass/kick drum signal has been routed properly to the compressors side-chain. Turn the side chain listen off once you've verified the compressor is receiving the kicks send.
  5. Increase the ATTACK time (as fast as possible) by turning the control/knob counterclockwise.
  6. Decrease/slow the RELEASE until it sounds natural (Example: 300 to 400ms). Watch the gain reduction (GR) meter to get a sense of the speed of the compressors release time.
  7. Adjust the THRESHOLD to achieve -12dB or so of gain reduction. For a more natural sound increase the THRESHOLD until you see around -6dB of gain reduction.

NOTE: Verify your settings and how they affect the sound by toggling the compressor plugins BYPASS switch.