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Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the mix

 
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mikethomasmusic
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Joined: 01 Aug 2010
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Location: Northampton,MA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:40 pm    Post subject: Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the mix Reply with quote

I record a lot of demos using the built in Drummer feature that is in Logic pro X. I love the easy to use concept and interface it has to offer as well as the ability to be able to uniquely come up with different parts and fills for your song's different sections.

However, I'm finding if I try and add just a small amount of color to the drums, (mainly preset drum reverbs), they will sound fine when solo monitoring back just the drums on their own; but, once in the mix I can't help but notice most of the time my results are sounding anything but stellar. Instead I'm getting sounds that are more akin to something one might expect to hear from an old cheesy hair band's 4 or 8 track demo circa 1987. You know that real cheesy almost too processed sounding big reverb sound that makes the recording sound way too amateurish no matter how good the rest of the tracks,instrumentations sound. And this is happening when just adding small amounts of reverbs that are specific presets to be used on drums.

Perhaps I'm confusing these drum reverb presets? This thought being that the reverb presets geared specifically for drums is geared not to be used her say with the logic pro built in drummer feature but instead intended for use when micing actual real acoustic drums? Obviously you can not beat real drums over anything sampled as good as they may sound. I've always been more in love with my drum results from combing close mixing techniques with that of high up stereo overheads in a decent large room/

I'm wondering if the majority of Logic users that use the built in drummer feature are mostly just leaving the drums dry which would mostly be setup in their stock preset format or if anyone has any suggestions that might help make the drums sit better in the mix? I've tried some different eq's,compressors,limiters etc.. As well of course trying several different reverbs. Perhaps its just that as good as the built in drums do sound, I'm expecting to get more of a real drum sound out of drums that are still just sampled drums?

I do think that when dry they do seem too sit a little better in the mix, but I've never been a big fan of dry sounding drums. I always like to simulate some kind of at least natural room sound one would expect to naturally hear while standing in a decent room listening to someone play the drums.

Just some background off it helps or not?

I mostly self record and track all the instruments myself, (vocals,guitars,bass,keys and then add the drums as well as sometimes adding various overdubs be it extra percussion, and or various orchestration overdubs, such as strings,brass or woodwinds.

I mainly write and record songs that in some regards can best be described as a mixing a bigger (sometimes distorted),Alt rock/Indie rock guitar sounds with that of I don't know, say lots of colorful overdubs akin to an example of say Pet Sounds era Brian Wilson, or Sgt. Pepper era Beatles.

I'm basically fussing Alt rock with aspects of psychedelic multi-colored overdubs of the above mentioned 60's style, while also sometimes mixing in more of an early rock 50's influence that can sometimes even harken back to hearing a slight glimpse of old Jazz standard coating.

Basically I'm all over the place and perhaps what my real problem is, could be the fat that I don;t have much for outboard gear and because I'm adding so many overdubs and tracks as well as utilizing several plug ins per tracks that it could come down to the fact that I am just trying to create Shingle out of shit?

IDK, but thanks in advance for any help and suggestions.
Very grateful to the community.
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floid
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the mix Reply with quote

Maybe reamp them. Use a room mic.
Maybe use something other than drum preset verbs.
Maybe find some process of lo-fi-izing them that sounds kind of ridiculous on its own.
And mix these back in with dry track to taste.
Maybe embrace the nature of what they are and cannot be.
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kslight
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the mix Reply with quote

I can't say anything specific about Logic or its drums, but in general I have the following that is worth experimenting with:

1. Are you using the reverb as an aux send as opposed to an insert?
2. Are you monitoring on headphones or with speakers?
3. Have you tried different reverbs, or drastically changing the reverb (adding predelay, dampening the high end, adding an EQ or other processor afterwards, etc)?
4. Is reverb even necessary at all?


As far as drums go, I almost always prefer an actual room mic to reverb, but if anything at all I'll only put reverb on certain elements like snare and toms. Usually I'll dial it in to where it sounds good, then I'll back it off. Too much reverb has the tendency to give you that real cheesy sound, when I deal with reverb it is most often that if I can pick it out in the mix, then I've gone overboard.
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Corey Y
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the mix Reply with quote

What reverb are you using in Logic? I typically use Toontrack's Superior Drummer 2.0, but have messed around a bit with the Drummer instruments in Logic X. Some are a lot more dry or roomy than others, there's certainly a lot to tweak there for different sounds before ever getting to plug-ins. There is a control for amount of "Room" sound on the Drummer instrument as well, I think that pops up under the information tab if I remember correctly.

I prefer using Logic's Space Designer for drum reverb most of the time. Again, there are A LOT of sounds in that, so there's some that sound great and some that are kind of over the top or extreme sounding. I have a few favorites, but I still end up cycling through a lot of choices and then using it as a Send, with no dry signal, sometimes with a HPF before it depending on the sound I want and mess around a lot with the levels to get things sounding natural or to the desired effect. Most of the time I'm using a room sound, though occasionally a spring or plate if it works. It's pretty easy to jump right to really extreme sounds with a lot of Logic effects, I typically end up dialing everything way back and trying to use them more sparingly.
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joninc
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the Reply with quote

mikethomasmusic wrote:
I record a lot of demos using the built in Drummer feature that is in Logic pro X. I love the easy to use concept and interface it has to offer as well as the ability to be able to uniquely come up with different parts and fills for your song's different sections.

However, I'm finding if I try and add just a small amount of color to the drums, (mainly preset drum reverbs), they will sound fine when solo monitoring back just the drums on their own; but, once in the mix I can't help but notice most of the time my results are sounding anything but stellar. Instead I'm getting sounds that are more akin to something one might expect to hear from an old cheesy hair band's 4 or 8 track demo circa 1987. You know that real cheesy almost too processed sounding big reverb sound that makes the recording sound way too amateurish no matter how good the rest of the tracks,instrumentations sound. And this is happening when just adding small amounts of reverbs that are specific presets to be used on drums.

Perhaps I'm confusing these drum reverb presets? This thought being that the reverb presets geared specifically for drums is geared not to be used her say with the logic pro built in drummer feature but instead intended for use when micing actual real acoustic drums? Obviously you can not beat real drums over anything sampled as good as they may sound. I've always been more in love with my drum results from combing close mixing techniques with that of high up stereo overheads in a decent large room/

I'm wondering if the majority of Logic users that use the built in drummer feature are mostly just leaving the drums dry which would mostly be setup in their stock preset format or if anyone has any suggestions that might help make the drums sit better in the mix? I've tried some different eq's,compressors,limiters etc.. As well of course trying several different reverbs. Perhaps its just that as good as the built in drums do sound, I'm expecting to get more of a real drum sound out of drums that are still just sampled drums?

I do think that when dry they do seem too sit a little better in the mix, but I've never been a big fan of dry sounding drums. I always like to simulate some kind of at least natural room sound one would expect to naturally hear while standing in a decent room listening to someone play the drums.

Just some background off it helps or not?

I mostly self record and track all the instruments myself, (vocals,guitars,bass,keys and then add the drums as well as sometimes adding various overdubs be it extra percussion, and or various orchestration overdubs, such as strings,brass or woodwinds.

I mainly write and record songs that in some regards can best be described as a mixing a bigger (sometimes distorted),Alt rock/Indie rock guitar sounds with that of I don't know, say lots of colorful overdubs akin to an example of say Pet Sounds era Brian Wilson, or Sgt. Pepper era Beatles.

I'm basically fussing Alt rock with aspects of psychedelic multi-colored overdubs of the above mentioned 60's style, while also sometimes mixing in more of an early rock 50's influence that can sometimes even harken back to hearing a slight glimpse of old Jazz standard coating.

Basically I'm all over the place and perhaps what my real problem is, could be the fat that I don;t have much for outboard gear and because I'm adding so many overdubs and tracks as well as utilizing several plug ins per tracks that it could come down to the fact that I am just trying to create Shingle out of shit?

IDK, but thanks in advance for any help and suggestions.
Very grateful to the community.


I don't think this has anything to do with outboard gear.

I do think that maybe you are trying to do 2 different things that are hard to marry. And i really do think that it's a challenge to blend a lot of organic, real sounds with synthetic drums or digital piano - that one always sticks out to me. They are complex instruments to recreate digitally and can feel very plastic or sterile!

Alt rock (though a pretty broad term) would typically be more polished and processed and beatlesy stuff is gonna be really dry - i can't remember ever noticing reverb on any beatles songs ever. it might be compressed and manipulated but not really wet. a pet sounds drum overdub might use a bit of a chamber or plate reverb on like tom rolls or typanies - but that's quite different from a digital verb used on a alt rock song... also the tonality of bright and aggressive vs darker and mellower on 60s tracks is important to recognize.

I am often reminded how dry many of my favorite albums are but for some reason, we can default to putting reverb on everything. try leaving it really dry and see if you can get used to it.

if there's any way to try recording real drums - you might like it Smile

a few other tricks to try - roll most of the top end out of your reverb - like anything over 4 or 5 k. it will be much darker and more subtle.

also - try shortening the decay times a lot.

good luck!
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Nick Sevilla
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting Logic Pro X drums to sound better sitting in the mix Reply with quote

Quote:
However, I'm finding if I try and add just a small amount of color to the drums, (mainly preset drum reverbs),


That is the problem right there.

Never use presets for anything other than to get an idea of what a plug in does.

Always start from a preset that you like, and adjust that to fit your mix, never the other way around.

Cheers
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