Tips for Replacing Cymbals in a Mix

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Tips for Replacing Cymbals in a Mix

Hey, everybody.

Ian Vargo here with The Pro Audio Files, and
I wanted to share a technique that I just

stumbled across today, actually.

I’m working with this band, “Sunny Love
and the Moon Parade,” and I love everything

about the recordings, and the performances,
and the songs, except for one thing that was

bothering me, and that’s the drummer’s crash
cymbal.

It just seemed a little bit harsh and bright,
and it’s partially my fault, because I also

recorded it, and I think I mic’d it a little
bit too closely, so I tried EQ-ing and compressing

it, and the ultimate decision was just that
I wanted to replace it.So I’m going to show

you how I did that.

So let’s take a listen to our original drum
set.

The instrumental.

[music]

Let’s solo the drum overheads.

[drum overheads]

Hear how it’s just a little bit harsh and
bright?

What I wanted was something slower and warmer,
so what I did is every time that there was

a cymbal hit, I created an instrument track
in Pro Tools right here.

Using the pencil tool, I just drew in a cymbal
hit, or at least a trigger that would ultimately

trigger a cymbal hit.

I made sure to get really almost sample accurate
with these triggers, and then I loaded BFD2,

which is a really great drum VST.

It comes with a bunch of really great sounds
and I ended up using this cymbal sound, right

here.

So let’s take a listen to it.

I’m going to solo it.

[crash cymbal]

It has a little bit better sustain, and it’s
less harsh than the original.

[crash cymbal]

Okay.

Let’s take a listen with everything else.

[song]

Unfortunately, you could still hear a little
bit of the original cymbal in there, so what

I ended up doing was printing this MIDI triggered
track to audio.

So now, I’ve got this cymbal track right here
– we’ll take a listen to it.

[cymbal]

Printed directly from this BFD2 track.

What I did was then sent this track via a
send, buss 20 – let’s unmute it here – in

pre-fader through buss 20, and then sent the
overheads to this aux track right here.

Sent to this aux track.

On this aux track, I put a compressor.

It’s important to choose a compressor that
has a side-chain input.

As you can see, I have the side-chain input
set to buss 20, which is receiving signal

from my printed cymbal hit over here.

Now, let’s take a listen to what happens every
time that cymbal hits.

Let’s mute this.

[drums]

So, basically what’s happening is every time
we have this cymbal hit, which is the cymbal

that I like, these down here are compressed
a pretty great deal.

I’m using a fast attack and a relatively slow
release, and it’s compressing about 10dB.

So, ultimately, let’s take a listen here…

Everything all together.

[song]

Great!

So, I’m pretty happy with the results, because
it really gets rid of that fast, harsh cymbal

sound, and the resulting sound is pretty natural.

So, if you guys have any questions, make sure
to get in touch with me.

My name is Ian Vargo.

I have a 40 page paper on the history of drum
replacement and augmentation.

If any of you guys are interested in reading
it, let me know and I will make sure to send

it to you.

This has been Ian Vargo with The Pro Audio
Files.

Thanks!

Tips for Replacing Cymbals in a Mix

Learn more from Ian Vargo in his debut course ➥ http://masteringinthebox.com
The Pro Audio Files: http://theproaudiofiles.com
Learn compression: http://learncompression.com
Ear training: http://quiztones.com

A video on replacing crash cymbals in a mix with FXpansion BFD3 and sidechain compression.

Transcript:

Hey, everybody. Ian Vargo here with The Pro Audio Files, and I wanted to share a technique that I just stumbled across today, actually. I’m working with this band, “Sunny Love and the Moon Parade,” and I love everything about the recordings, and the performances, and the songs, except for one thing that was bothering me, and that’s the drummer’s crash cymbal.

It just seemed a little bit harsh and bright, and it’s partially my fault, because I also recorded it, and I think I mic’d it a little bit too closely, so I tried EQ-ing and compressing it, and the ultimate decision was just that I wanted to replace it.So I’m going to show you how I did that. So let’s take a listen to our original drum set. The instrumental.

[music]

Let’s solo the drum overheads.

[drum overheads]

Hear how it’s just a little bit harsh and bright? What I wanted was something slower and warmer, so what I did is every time that there was a cymbal hit, I created an instrument track in Pro Tools right here. Using the pencil tool, I just drew in a cymbal hit, or at least a trigger that would ultimately trigger a cymbal hit.
I made sure to get really almost sample accurate with these triggers, and then I loaded BFD2, which is a really great drum VST. It comes with a bunch of really great sounds and I ended up using this cymbal sound, right here.

So let’s take a listen to it. I’m going to solo it.

[crash cymbal]

It has a little bit better sustain, and it’s less harsh than the original.

[crash cymbal]

Okay. Let’s take a listen with everything else.

[song]

Unfortunately, you could still hear a little bit of the original cymbal in there, so what I ended up doing was printing this MIDI triggered track to audio. So now, I’ve got this cymbal track right here – we’ll take a listen to it.

[cymbal]

Printed directly from this BFD2 track. What I did was then sent this track via a send, buss 20 – let’s unmute it here – in pre-fader through buss 20, and then sent the overheads to this aux track right here. Sent to this aux track. On this aux track, I put a compressor. It’s important to choose a compressor that has a side-chain input.

As you can see, I have the side-chain input set to buss 20, which is receiving signal from my printed cymbal hit over here. Now, let’s take a listen to what happens every time that cymbal hits.

Let’s mute this.

[drums]

So, basically what’s happening is every time we have this cymbal hit, which is the cymbal that I like, these down here are compressed a pretty great deal. I’m using a fast attack and a relatively slow release, and it’s compressing about 10dB.

So, ultimately, let’s take a listen here… Everything all together.

[song]

Great! So, I’m pretty happy with the results, because it really gets rid of that fast, harsh cymbal sound, and the resulting sound is pretty natural. So, if you guys have any questions, make sure to get in touch with me. My name is Ian Vargo. I have a 40 page paper on the history of drum replacement and augmentation. If any of you guys are interested in reading it, let me know and I will make sure to send it to you.

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 Replacing Cymbals in a Mix

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Tips for Replacing Cymbals in a Mix

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