How to Remove Snare Hits from a Kick Drum Mic with Drum Leveler

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How to Remove Snare Hits from a Kick Drum Mic with Drum Leveler

Hey, folks!

Matthew Weiss —,,

Here I am with another Sound Radix product.

I got it a few days ago.

Still in trial mode, haven’t even activated
it yet, and already I’ve used it on a mix

that was pretty much a life saver.

Drum Leveler is a really cool program.

Basically what it does is it isolates and
thinks of drum hits as individual bodies.

Then it uses pretty darn transparent automation
to adjust those things.

So it’s kind of like a compressor, and kind
of like a gate, except for instead of doing

it in terms of amplitude, it sort of intelligently
targets individual drum hits, which gives

it a little more versatility when it comes
to certain applications.

As we’re going to hear, one of those applications
definitely came up.

So, I’ve got this cool little drum loop here.

[drum loop]

And you’ll notice that it sounds really cool,
and the snare has sort of a compelling sound

to it, but it’s a little bit bitey, which
could be good if I wanted it, but truthfully,

I don’t want it to be that bitey.

What is making it that bitey?



That is my main kick capture, and as you can
hear, there’s as much snare in it as kick.

Actually moreso.

So, this creates a little bit of a dilemma.

How do I target the snare without damaging
the kick?

If I use a traditional gate, even if I put
in a side-chain, I’m probably going to lose

a little bit of attack from the kick drum,
and that’s something that always makes me

wince a little bit.

Now, there are definitely some good techniques
for getting around that, but instead of creating

a duplicate track, shifting it in time, timing
the gate, etc, which is a whole long winded

process, I can just use Drum Leveler.

So here is before.


That’s pretty darn transparent.

The kick sounds basically exactly the same,
and the snare is completely removed.

So, once again, before.


Now, the other cool thing is I want you to
listen to the kick drum.

There’s a little bit of a pickup note.

I want to see if you catch it.


One more time.

Notice how quiet that “ba-bump bump” is?[drums]

Now, we’ll put on drum leveler.


Notice how the pickup is now much closer in
level to the actual down beat?

I mean, it’s supposed to be a little quieter
because it’s a pickup.

You need that dynamic in there, but it’s not
so miniscule relative to how it was before.

All of that is happening in the same plug-in.

So, what I’m going to show you is my settings
and then I’m going to recreate them in real-time.

Sensitivity, I leave at zero.

I haven’t used the plug-in enough to really
get a good feel for the sensitivity.

Minimum re-trigger, 20 milliseconds.

That’s about right for most drum hits to give
it enough time.

Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on
the speed of the song.

Gain range, I left it at full.

The compression, I’m doing 25%, and that’s
actually what’s sort of helping to level out

the kicks.

Hold time, it’s a little longer, because I’m
targeting kick drums, which have a slightly

longer shape overall.

The recovery, that’s about right for general

Then this gate, which is really, really cool.

Of course, I’ve set the side-chain filter
to everything that’s below 170Hz is what I’m

listening to.

Everything above that is being ignored in
the side-chain.

So, here we go.

So, I want to target the kick drum.

In order to do that, I’m going to start with
the side-chain, and get my kick drum isolated



Now, notice how that pickup is – you can
see on the graphic display, the pickup and

the snare are about the same level.


So, I’ve got to turn it a little lower than

[drums play]

Now, the snare is really low and level.

So, okay, my low threshold, I want to set
it right below where the quietest kick drum

is coming in.


There we go.

Then I’ve selected the target level based
on how loud I want all of these kicks to be.

I don’t actually really need to bring the
kick up necessarily.

So the target level is basically where the
kick is trying to go in terms of level, so

all of the hits that are too quiet are getting
boosted, and all of the hits that are too

loud are going to get reduced, so I want to
find a spot where I’m not really pulling too

many kicks down.



Alright, so now I’m going to go back into
my monitoring chain – my regular monitoring.

[drums play]

And I don’t need quite as dramatic of an effect,
so I’m going to turn it on down a little bit.


I’m just doing a little bit of a boost to
those pickups.

If I wanted more, I could do more.

I could certainly set the compression higher,
but I don’t feel I need to.

Now I’m going to throw down the gate.


Now, I’m going to end up doing some compression
on the overall kick at the end of the day,

so normally I leave a little bit of the bleed

I find it helps keep the sound natural, and
it also helps really keep the attack of the

kick un-befuddled.

But, because I’m compressing it, I’m going
to turn that down a little further.


That’s how I got my settings!Another great
use for this is just simply if you have ghost

notes in a snare, and you want them to come
out of the entire kit, then you can use this

program to do that in a really transparent
way, and if you’ve been mixing long enough,

and you’ve ever dealt with live drums, you
know how much of a pain getting ghost notes

to stick out can be.

I think for that reason alone, it makes this
plug-in totally worth it.

But, you know, the more I’m using it, the
more I’m loving it, and I’ve only been using

it for a couple days.

Okay, guys.

Until next time!

How to Remove Snare Hits from a Kick Drum Mic with Drum Leveler

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A video on how to use Sound Radix Drum Leveler to isolate and remove just the snare drum hits from a kick drum microphone.

About Sound Radix Drum Leveler:

Drum Leveler is a new beat detection-based downward and upward compressor/expander. By selectively applying gain to single drum beats, Drum Leveler easily achieves the desired target level for each beat, without affecting bleed noise or beats that are out of the user-defined processing range.

Unlike traditional envelope-followers that detect incoming levels and utilize VCA to apply gain changes, Drum Leveler runs an advanced new algorithm that takes full advantage of the digital domain – allowing unparalleled control over your drums’ dynamics.

Drum Leveler is powerful yet easy to use. It will help you achieve solid driving grooves, improve clarity and add punch to any percussive performance.

Drum Leveler brings a new, radical approach to drums’ dynamics control. We’d like to encourage you to take the time and explore Drum Leveler to utilize its full power.

+ Transparent, beat detection-based simultaneous downward & upward compressor/expander
+ Applies gain to each beat individually to achieve set target level
+ Gain reduction and expansion is transient-accurate to the drum beat for artifacts-free transients reproduction
+ Dual threshold levels allows processing any level range to affect only specific beats within a track such as ghost notes or bleed without affecting other beats
+ Mono, Stereo, Dual Mono and Mid/Side operation modes
+ Easy to use and intuitive user interface

About The Pro Audio Files

Tutorials on mixing, mastering and producing music in Pro Tools with plugins from Waves, FabFilter, SoundToys, Softube, Sonnox, PSP, Slate Digital and more. Learn how to mix using EQ, compression and effects like reverb, delay, saturation and distortion on vocals, drums, guitar, bass and more.

How to Remove Snare Hits from a Kick Drum Mic with Drum Leveler

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