>> eyal: uhh. umm.>> joey: um! >> josh: and never, never use b8's.[laughing] >> eyal: oh, god. those are so bad.>> joey: yeah. b8's are terrible. >> eyal: shit. [music] >> joey: hey, guys. welcome to another episode of "keys to the castle". today you're going to be swimming with eyal levi and special guest josh newell. joel wanasek is not here he's sick today. however, we're still going to bring you some good information. today we're talking about cymbal mixing tips. and i think we're gonna start
with you, eyal. what's your first tip? >> eyal: well, the first thing that you should keep in mind about cymbals is that even though where you hear them in this mix is up in the high end and in the upper mids, you've got to realize that they are actually a broadband instrument. when you're miking cymbals a lot of noises get into the microphone that aren't even the cymbal, like the stand moving. all kinds of low-end vibration. so you definitely need to be very, very aware of where to high pass them and get rid of all the stuff that doesn't belong and then make some pretty surgical cuts to resonant nasty frequencies in the upper mid-range and the high-end. there's going to be a lot of that.
>> josh: i think one of the things to keep in mind when cymbal mixing is that volume automation is really going to be your friend. especially poorly recorded cymbals. even if you're compressing down on your cymbals a bit, you'll find that any kind of cymbals way off will disappear so just be ready to do a lot of rides. i'll ride up any crashes going into a chorus or a bridge. i've found most drummers hit their hi-hats way too hard. they'll just lay into it because it's comfortable. so, if it's a hi-hat beat i'll ride the automation down and then bring it back up when they change to a cymbal. it's a little time consuming, but i think in the long run it really helps even things out. >> joey: yeah, and i find my cymbal sound doesn't really come alive until i start to use
a compressor. you're going to treat real cymbals the same way as you would fake cymbals, because the thing that will make the cymbals glue together and connect with the rest of the song and the kit is the compressor. however, you'll notice on real drums that you can't really control the amount of bleed that the snare has as it pokes in from the overheads. so one way to combat that is to use an l2 which allows you to sort of cut the snare off at a certainpeak value so that it doesn't interact with the compressors threshold and it allows you to only focus on the compression of the cymbals rather than compressing the snare and the cymbals, and having this weird
awkward imbalance of volume reduction.>> eyal: another method to pull the snare out of the cymbals, which works equally well in my opinion, would be to throw a compressor on the cymbal tracks and sidechain it to the snare so that every single time the snare hits it ducks out of the cymbal tracks. whichever way you choose to skin the cat doesn't matter. what matters is that you're pulling the snare out of the overheads so that when they then get compressed you don't get weirdness. >> josh: i think another thing that kind of helps the cymbal mixing, i'm going to name-drop real quick, this is something i picked up from working with josh wilbur and andy wallace a little bit. they don't pan their cymbals a hundred percent out. i know a lot of people will do just hard left and right on the overheads. and those guys will
pan anywhere from just twenty-five to seventy-five. and by putting the cymbals in a slightly different place in the stereo field width wise, they're getting more room. they're cutting back on how much the cymbals are fighting with the guitars for top-end in that 3k to 5k range which can get a little crowded. so honestly, anything in your mix, you need to think about panning left and right and not just doing hard panning. something i've been doing recently is just bringing the cymbals in a little bit and it seems to give it more space.>> joey: yeah. and i guess the other thing to do is obviously you want to eq your cymbals. but there's some interesting ways that youcan eq cymbals that might not be immediately apparent. one of the things i find myself doing is using
a tape simulator or a saturator where i can balance off the warmth versus the top-end. you can sort of make the top-end more brittle, or more spacey, and more ambient. you can also, if you've eq'd or filtered out some of the low-end, get some more warmth back in there as well by using similiar techniques, or using some sort of distortion, or maybe even a tube simulator of some sort. i've found that those work really well. as well as multi-band compression. >> eyal: the one thing that you can do to fix cymbals that are just a little too short for whatever reason. like, sometimes for instance on a china cymbal, the miking job will be weird, or the drummer hits it at a weird angle, and then you just get the initial hit of the
cymbal, and then it quickly dies off. not much sustain to that. you can throw a transient designer and turn the sustain up on that.it's useful. it will lengthen the cymbals out and not just make a sound like "sch-" done.>> joey: just to bounce off of that real quick, and i know this is a shameless plug, but transify is actually really useful for that because you have four different sustain knobs over four eq ranges and you can control exactly where you want that extra ambience or that extra ambience or that extra sustain. it's perfect for cymbals. perfect for drum mixing. and try it on a load of different things as well, but especially cymbals. it really shines. >> josh: i think the magic solution for any mix problem is parallel compression, or parallel
processing. if i have cymbals that aren't sustaining quite as much as i want i'll have my main set of overheads and maybe i'll do a second set where i'm really squashing them with the slow release and kind of some choice eq and just blend that it in, and it can bring out sustain in cymbals. i've done it with room mikes too. i've even used, if it's a small enough room and you eq and compress it right, you can have your main set of rooms and then you can have another set that are really just there to bring out sustain in your cymbals, or even add a little top-end sheen without it getting really harsh. because room mikes being back, sometimes it gives you the ability to add more top end without having to worry about it getting harsh because they're not directly over the cymbals.
>> eyal: another thing to keep in mind, back to my earlier point about cymbals being broadband instruments. they're going to be stepping all over everything. guitars and vocals primarily. so, a good thing to do is to find what ranges your lead instruments like to live and just make some gradual gentle wide q cuts in the cymbals and the rooms right there to leave some space for the vocals because they will be stepping on them. >> announcer: if you learned something from this video, be sure to leave us a like. for more stuff like this, please share and subscribe. and let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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