Tips for Gluing Together Acoustic Drums with Sampled Drums in a Mix

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Tips for Gluing Together Acoustic Drums with Sampled Drums in a Mix

Hey folks, Matthew Weiss —,, and I have a new mixing

tutorial out, it’s called Mixing Drums with

It’s all about how I approach dynamic shaping
of both acoustic live drums and programmed

sampled drums.

This little tutorial here is going to be about
gluing both of those things together.

So a lot of times when I’m constructing, like,
either a Trip Hop type track, or a Hip Hop

type track, or even some EDM stuff, or whatever
it might be, I will actually be blending something

like a drum break and triggered samples.

So I have exactly that going on in this situation,
it sounds like this.


When I’m doing this, I sort of have two ways
of doing it.

I either want maybe the triggered drum samples
to stand out and sound as if they’re their

own thing.

Nothing wrong with that.

Or I want the triggered samples to sound like
they’re very connected and very glued to the

break that I’m doing.

So here is the break by itself.

[drum break]

Here’s the snare that I’m triggering.

[snare trigger]

And here’s the kick that I’m triggering.

[low kick trigger]

The snare I specifically chose because I felt
that it blended well with the drum break,

but still sort of stood out as kind of its
own thing, but felt connected already.

The kick I was choosing because the drum break
doesn’t have a lot of sub in the kick, because

it’s a break, they usually don’t, so I wanted
something that was providing a lot of low

end energy to kind of fill it out.

So the first thing that we have to think about
when we are going for a connected sound is

which drums we’re choosing, and that should
be self explanatory, but the reality is sometimes,

we don’t think about that kind of stuff.

We just pick drums we like and worry about
it after the fact, which is okay actually,

it’s not the worst thing in the world.

This is going to be focused specifically on
how to really finish the gluing process.

Get everything to move together, have sort
of a homogenized tone, all of that kind of


So the firs thing I’m going to do is pull
up a compressor, and what I’m doing is — to

glue something, I want fairly transparent
compression going on.

I want something that leaves the attack of
the individual drums mostly the same.

Something that leaves the release and sustain
feeling mostly the same, but kind of allows

all of the ambient sound to sort of come up
with the same momentum and the same tone,

and maybe just to kind of smear the transient
and round out the transients a little bit

to get rid of any kind of, like, differentiating,
flammy type of things that might be happening

over a very short period.

So just to kind of round it all out together.

So here is the before and after.

And I’ll do it in solo mode.

[drums, before and after compression]

So aside from the fact that it’s making the
sound of the drums all maybe a little bit

bigger which is not a bad thing, it’s also
making it all feel connected, so I want you

to listen specifically for that connection.

Listen to the release of the snare, listen
to the attack of the snare, listen to the

tonal change between the kick drums.


Like, to me, the air off of the kick drum
from the break is like, pulling into the snare

when I put this on, and so the way I set this
is I use a pretty high ratio, I use a soft

knee compressor, I set the attack to a medium
attack speed for drums, which in this particular

case, is ten milliseconds, but it’s really
going to change depending on which compressor

exactly you’re using, but it’s not something
that’s so fast that I’m cutting off the transient,

but not something so slow I’m letting the
transient entirely poke through untouched.

So it’s a little bit of both.


And just that I feel has gone pretty far away,
but we can get a little bit more fun, and

I can use this tape machine plugin — this
is my favorite tape machine plugin, it’s Black

Rooster Audio, it’s called Magnetite, and
I really dig it.

So here is the before.

[drums, before tape emulation]


[drums, after tape emulation]

And again, like, because I’ve chosen a very
specific setting that I feel highlights and

compliments the punchiness and the tone of
the drums in a really flattering way, it’s

making the sound bigger for sure, but what
I want you to listen to is listen to how much

it sounds like multiple elements, versus one
really well recorded kit.


So I think to a very discerning and experienced
ear, you can still very clearly tell that

it’s samples embedded in a break, but I think
to the less discerning ear, to me, it could

actually pass for one really well recorded
kit, which I think is kind of cool.

Now, there’s going to be one more little step
to that, and that’s — I’m going to take

this same processing that I had done on the
main drum buss here, but I’m going to do it

in more extreme.

So here I have a second drum buss, which I’m
calling “Drum Color,” and what I’m going

to do is some very heavy compression.

[drums with buss compression]

And what I’ve done is I’ve set it into hard
knee mode, and I’ve sped up the attack, and

I’ve dug the threshold down so that I’m doing
a lot more compression over a faster period

of time, so we get a much more aggressively
compressed feel.


And you can hear the pumping pretty clearly.

It’s definitely an over compressed kind of

Then I’m taking the same tape machine, and
I’m just hitting it really hard.

[drums, heavy tape saturation]

And so you hear a little bit of crunch, it
compresses it even more so it kind of flattens

out the transients, and one of the things
I really like is that it brings out the personality

color of the kick drum in a really present,
but still very connected kind of way.

Listen to the kick specifically.

[drum playback]

Like, you really hear that, “woom” kind
of thing come out, which I think is pretty


So once I’ve done this very aggressive processing,
what I’ll then do is just tuck it way down

and use it as like, sort of a parallel process
to kind of just flavor the drums overall.


[drums, before processing]


[drums, after processing]

So we get that big open kick drum feel, we
get a lot of that extra bit of color that’s

just being tucked in there, and it sounds
like one stylized kit, which is pretty cool.

Now, I have gained a little bit of level overall,
so I’m going to throw on a trim plugin and

tuck it down so that it’s a little bit more
level matched.

This way, we can hear the before and after
a little bit more objectively.

So I’m going to bypass my effects here.

Here is how we started.

[drums, before processing]

Here’s where we ended.

[drums, after processing]

Sounds full, it sounds glued, it sounds connected,
it sounds possibly even like, one kit, depending

on whose ears are on it, and here we are in
the entirety of the mix, before and after.

[mix, before and after processing]

I think that’s pretty cool.

Now, I want to show you one more thing, but
before I do, hit that like button, hit that

subscribe button, don’t forget to check out
the link in the description, all of that good


Now once you’ve done that, I want to show
you one other thing.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to switch
the snare sample to something that sounds

entirely — like, doesn’t belong.

Here’s what we’ve got.

[mix, snare different sample]

Alright, let me get a slightly better level
for that.


Right, so clearly a very out of place, distinct
snare that’s been triggered.

Now, I’m going to apply the same processing,
and mind you, I haven’t made any adjustments

for this, but I’m going to apply the same

Let’s hear how it sounds now.


I think that’s kind of cool.

I’m going to do it one more time just to sort
of point out what’s happening.


To my ear, even though it sounds like a very
clearly dropped in, programmed, sampled snare,

and one that does not blend with the kit,
naturally, it does have a sort of connected

feel to it, even though it’s the wrong snare
for making that happen, because of the way

that glue action and the homogenized tone
of the saturation from the tape machine are

changing the sound.

Alright guys, until next time.

Tips for Gluing Together Acoustic Drums with Sampled Drums in a Mix // How to use compression, tape saturation and more to glue together live drums with sampled drums in a mix.

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.

Tips for Gluing Together Acoustic Drums with Sampled Drums in a Mix

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Tips for Gluing Together Acoustic Drums with Sampled Drums in a Mix

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