I suffer from "percussion love" - Please help

I have started listening more carefully to the mixes of orchestral music in film, classical etc. And one thing that stands out to me is…how much lower the percussion mix is in level, compared to my tracks.

The percussion is simply a background element, that compliments the orchestration. The problem is that I come from a background of EDM and Rock/Metal. So I guess my ears are just so tuned to having a big and powerful percussion mix.

The problem is of course that the percussion overtakes the total mix, and reduces the power of the big brass, bold strings etc.

Are you also dealing with this “percussion love” syndrome that I seem to suffer from, and if so do you have any tips and solutions? :stuck_out_tongue:


Sorry but I suffer from the opposite.:blush: I love strings and emotional stuff so bad that I struggle to add percussion afraid to ruin the feeling. Maybe the middle way is best. Lagom if it could be translated.

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I don’t know about percussion specifically, but sometimes, I think I lose general perspective.

One trick is to reduce the monitoring level quite a bit. Anything that’s excessively loud tends to stick out on such levels, almost as if it’s not really part of the same track.

In the other end of the spectrum, perhaps less useful, somewhat unsafe, and definitely not a good idea when you already have listening fatigue: Louder monitoring. It should be “comfortably” loud and powerful, at the point where anything that is too loud or too harsh becomes annoying and uncomfortable.

In both cases, one should keep in mind that few things in this world are truly linear, so the perspective is “skewed” when changing the monitor level. Playing loud on speakers will excite more of the listening room, any changes in level will exercise the frequency dependent sensitivity of the human ear, etc. It’s almost like listening through different sound systems - which is also a tried and tested way of checking the mix.


I have a favorite in epic music whose name is Peter Roe. He uses quite heavy percussion, but in the mix they can be really soft anyway for example his cymbals, hits and booms. I don´t know how to achieve that if its the libraries them selves or the tweaking in the mixes. Maybe someone here can point in the right direction of good learning, videos, literature…

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I am practicing writing music for short episodes now and most of the scenes don’t really require percussion… I try to use the orchestral percussion wisely, not too much, but at the same time if we have brass it is better to use heavier percussion