Sunday, December 23, 2012

Drums to Save the World

Sometimes audio mixing is ideological. I don't like to think about it as ideological, but it is. Like for instance one can get all ideological about never replacing drum sounds, using the myriad of tools out there.
I like to pretend I'm not ideological. Actually, I may be entirely too lazy to be ideological. I don't want to replace the snare and the kick because that's really boring.
But I'm also not into spending hours and hours trying to get a particular snare sound. I just want it to sound "good", whatever good might mean on a particular day, and then start playing.
I guess the same thing goes with all instruments. Once I get a guitar sound which works, I stop. If I need another sound for another part of a song or whatever, I'll go for that but I don't really want to sit there all day tweaking sounds. I want to play.
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I'm starting to get uninterested in "dead" kick drums. I kind of want a kick to ring out like a marching-band bass drum. Now, I'm only saying this about my music -- there's plenty of awesome records out there in different genres that just sound fantastic and have very different kicks and such. But I do want the kit to all sound like it was played at the same time and in roughly the same acoustical space. I guess "When the Levee Breaks" is the direction I'm going in there.
How to get the hi-hats to shut up has been my question of late. Maybe by asking the drummer to play them quieter? Nah, that can't possibly be it...
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Now, the fact is that the only way I know how to mix music is too loud. Too much compression. I need to become less like that. Then again, I've been complaining for years that I mix too loud (the volumes in my control room are not very loud, I mean the mix itself). I mix movies too loud. I mix music too loud.
It's because of the compression. That stuff is like a drug. You get on the compression pipe and you just can't say no to it. Because compression makes everything sound awesome. You know it does. You know you want more of it.
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Sigh. These are the things I'll be working on for the coming year.

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