How to reduce "rumble" on Low Percussion?

We all love those deep powerful percussion parts, right? :stuck_out_tongue:

But they can be a hell to mix, as the low end sustain (tail) can completely eat up all head room in the low register. So how do you usually solve this with low cinematic percussion?

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  1. Simple Low Cut Filter
  2. Dynamic EQ
  3. Multi-Band-Compression
  4. Multi or even simple Transient-Shaper
  5. Bonus: Side-Chain-Ducking with the main element that should win the space

There are many ways, but the last one already has the right question, who should win the space down there?

Sincerely,
Alexey :slight_smile:

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Thanks Alexey, the purpose I am looking for is to have the deep low-end in the attack part of each hit, but then not have all that rumbling tail that “clouds” the bass register.

This is why I have used transient shaper, but I was thinking there might be some other better way. Perhaps I will try using an expander, which is the opposite of dynamic range compression, as in this case I want to push down the sound after the initial hit. :slight_smile:

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I can’t remember actually doing this for percussion, but to get really massive and tight bass, I sometimes cut most/all lows from the orchestra, and replace it with a carefully designed sub synth.

And of course, if there’s other stuff going on in that frequency range, some side-chaining might be in place as well, though one should probably be subtle with that if a realistic orchestral sound is desired.

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Check out if there’s a “Release” knob in your sound library. The rumble is due to the background noise building up when samples accumulate. Check out this great tutorial from Anne-Kathrin Dern. All her videos are great and she goes straight to the point.

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Except for the release trick depending on the library I use to sweep with an narrow eq above 12-18 db and then cut the rumble. I also sweep for the attack of the stick and boost 3-6db. Tuning the drum and boost a few db.
If you want clarity put eq after compressor.
https://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

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I second this. Most of the time with samples you can just cut everything under 20 to 40 hz on your drum bus which works really well. Live drums I think are where you’d use the rest… :smiley:

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Let’s say the drum preset is called ‘big boom’ or ‘massive drums’. I want to have it be super deep, but I don’t want all that insane release tail eating up the headroom in the low end in between each drum hit.

I will try cutting with EQ, but the only way I have found to reduce the tail so far is with mic positions (more close, less hall), and with transient shaper (reduce sustain).

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Do you just want a shorter tail Mikael? If you want a boom but not the low end I’m not sure why you’d want to put a boom in? :slight_smile:

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Not a “boom”, I am talking about any low percussion hit. Let’s just take orchestral bass drums as an example. Some libraries have soooooo much tail in the low-end. While others are more punchy. That ringing low end tail is often in the way. I don’t want to use sidechain compression as that messes with stemming the groups individually. So right now I am using transient designers and reduce the tail for a more punchy low end hit, and less tail. I was just wondering if there are other ways? :slight_smile:

PS. I am also thinking about some kind of automation so that I can open up the tail more in less dense sections of the track, and make it shorter and punchier in the chorus/power section to give room for other low end instruments.

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Oh right I see. It sounds like you’ll have to bounce to audio and manually fade out the tail?

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No other, more “automatic” way? Did you ever use transient designers in the way I describe?

Transient designer won’t fix this. It’s an issue with the sample.

The only other way I can think of you maybe fixing this issue is by adding a gate with a slow ish release and then adding a tiny bit of reverb to soften the edge of the gated drum.

I only usually opt for this if I’m doubling with other sample libraries but it should work. Generally I’d just bounce down the file and do it that way. Would only take a minute or so. Maybe check out both and see what works for you?

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Well, my main way of doing this so far has been to go to sample libraries that have naturally more punch in the low percussion, without too long tail in the bass frequencies. I’ve found “real” orchestral bass drums much better at this compared to hybrid libraries which seem to always have that huge tail.

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Yes, hybrid stuff generally has a hit paired with a woosh. It’s a bug of mine too as i would rather a straight hit and whoosh seperate. This is what gives that fail. I understand why your disliking it now. Not great to have in some cases.

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Some more ideas:

If there is dynamics, but not enough of it, you might get it punchier using a dynamic EQ or multiband compressor, set to expand the dynamic range, and perhaps accentuate the transients in the relevant frequency ranges as well.

If the punch/rumble ratio is still not right after you got the dynamics right, maybe add some saturation that kicks in during the attack bit?

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Thanks David, I am especially interested in your final tip. You know any saturation plugin comes with ADSR envelope so that I could shape the saturation over time?

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how about using gain, reverb and eq at the end or in random order.

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I would like to find automatic FX not manually reduce gain after every hit. Basically I guess I am after an ADSR envelope to control various aspects of the sound.

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I actually upgraded a plugin like that the other day: FabFilter Saturn. The original one already has a modulation section where you can add triggered envelope generators, envelope followers, and various other stuff. Version 2 adds more control, improves quality, and has a nicer UI.

You can set up an envelope follower in transient mode, and use that to dial in dynamics, drive, EQ etc to shape each band as desired. You can also select sidechain or one of the bands as input/trigger for each envelope unit. Playing around with that just now, I turned the Apocalypse Solo Bass & Toms kit into a tight, dry jazz kit. :smiley:

Of course, there’s also kiloHearts Multipass, if you want to do basically anything that comes to mind. It borders on modular synthesis, but the user experience is a lot smoother than building things from normal plugins in the DAW. MultiPass has LFOs and envelopes with about the same feature set as Saturn.

Both of these also support triggering the envelope generators directly with MIDI, if you need to tighten things up beyond what’s possible with audio triggering, or want some surreal triggering/gating effects.

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