State of the Mix – Fall 2010: Drum Grouping


I used to do my drum parallel compression by bussing all my drums to the LR, and then bussing the channels I wanted to parallel compress through a group that also routed to the LR. This works, however, I would sometimes run into trouble if I needed/wanted to pull my overall drum levels back. Doing this meant lowering the input faders typically using a VCA.

The problem was by pulling the input faders back, I was also pulling back my send to the parallel compressed group which is essentially the equivalent of raising the threshold on my parallel compressor which would then change the sound I was getting. The drummer wasn’t changing the way he was playing in these scenarios so I wasn’t really liking what happened. This setup made adjusting the overall drum level a two step process since I would need to readjust the compressor threshold in the process.

So, again, now that the aux fed subs are gone I can use two groups for drums: one uncompressed and one compressed. I haven’t typically put my kick drum in the drum spank group in the past so the aux fed subs weren’t really biting me on that one, but the issues with feeding the subs did discourage me from using an uncompressed group for the drums. As for adjusting overall drum level, I now have the two groups assigned to one VCA so that I can get a sound and then still control the overall level. The reviews were good the first time out on this so I’m going to stick with this for a while I think.

David Stagl

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