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Tom Editing

Lesson 21 from: Gear Gods presents Studio Pass: Kurt Ballou

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

21. Tom Editing

Lesson Info

Tom Editing

I do want to illustrate what talking bottom miking of tom sounds like looks like there's a bunch of tom it's sort of the beginning of the song so yeah let's just hear the top the rack hot for second okay, now to the rock bottom you certainly wouldn't use the rack bottom as your primary tom sound but together adding the bottom in there let's bring about him up a little bit work just just so you can tell what's going on little better together bringing the bottom in adds a certain three dimensionality to it but it also brings out a lot of sympathetic residents like with the kick I'm gonna get into adding editing the thompson a bit to remove some of that sympathetic residence that's gonna muddy every kick sound all right probably little too much bottom tom in there but you know, it does sort of add some three dimensionality to the sound and we can make that even a little bit better when uh according to my notes the rack bottom mike should slide in by twenty nine samples let's do that real ...

quick and about twenty nine and then delete you could see that track scoot back a little bit and then also my floor bottom is going to do a similar thing by negative fifty five samples okay, so um now I have, um done um a little bit of polar phase alignment or track alignment with all of my close mikes now some people will take that a step further and will begin to do some alignment of overheads and room mike's with close mikes I personally don't do that I feel as though you get sort of a greater stereo spread a greater sense of space when there's a subtle time lag between the close mikes and b overheads and reminds some people also the opposite actually push those mikes out even further to give it a greater sense of space and depending on the size room that you're recording in and how reflective it issue may choose to scoop that stuff around for this session, I'm not going to be scooting any of that stuff around, but I do. I will check the polarity of all this stuff again to make sure that the polarity of the snare in relation to the overheads is still correct. Now when I do that in my studio, I will do that on the analog mixing console because ah lot of in log year will flip the polarity of the signal for some unknown reason. Or maybe you have something screwed up in the wiring of your studio where it passes signal properly, but it, you know, inadvertently inverts the polarity of the signal s o as you're patching in new pieces of gear, particularly in the analog, I mean you want to double check the polarity of of of your signal anything that has a face relationship you want double check as you bring into pieces of gear I'm gonna skip that stuff for now but just be careful with that as you're doing stuff on your own. Um okay, so that is phase line we've already soak up the vibe johnson phase alignment you may want to do a little more level setting and adjusting after having done your phase alignment I'm feeling pretty good about it now and final editing you might want teo take a look at the heads and tails of songs there might be some symbols, okay, somewhere at the end of the song or the middle of a song that needs to be trimmed, it might be stick licks the beginning of the song that you might want to trim take care of all that stuff early on, double check your clarity and then the next stage will be tom editing before we do that, I just wantto let's quickly just listen to the raw drum tracks you have an idea about where where I'm at at this stage in my mex. All right, so again I mix on analog consul, but uh, you know, it'll sound similar to this and with no gear, no no hardware, no plugs on anything yet that's, that's basically where I'm starting so there's this thing that I do with tom editing that I haven't seen a whole lot of other people do and I think you need someone to share it with you guys um and the reason why I do it is actually let's go back and listen tio to my uh rack tom and floor tom tracks in solo so this bunch of high hat in there especially and some of all the other symbols as well as a bunch of sympathetic resonance from the snare and the bass drum depends on the style of music you're doing you might want to maintain a lot of that sympathetic residents it can give the drums a sense of size and space but if you're doing something especially something with really dense guitars that is just sort of background noise that muddies the sound of the drum so I prefer to get all my character from my room mikes and have my close might be a little more direct and punchy so for this band I'm going to pretty heavily edit the toms so that on ly the tom single's coming through on the toms or struck and when the times are not being struck they're they're silent I don't do it on all projects but on this project's going todo first thing to do just as a safety is first thing to do make a group of the top and bottom rack tone so let's call that tom and then I'm going to make a group of the talking bottom mike's for tom called that floor and then the next thing I wanna do is um duplicate the the rack tracks and the four tracks so that I have an alternate playlist this unedited so if I make any mistakes I can refer back to that unedited playlist or if I decide after the fact that the editing that I've done is too heavy handed I can then refer to the unedited track bring that back in and then use both tracks in my mix which will give me a sort of almost like a wet dry blend of unedited tom's versus at tom's and that's one one technique and could do to make um edited thomas sound more natural one of the the big drawbacks to editing tom's especially if a drummer has brash symbol position very close to it tom mike is if you know spend and if there are light tom hitter you know they might do some fill that has a big crash symbol in it they get to the floor tom and then when you turn on the floor tom track with your edit the decay of an adjacent symbol comes out of nowhere and that can feel really unnatural so in those cases you might not want to edit toms or you might want to have the the unedited tom track blended in with the right of the top track I was able to position the kit and tony was will you work with me enough that I could position everything on here so we don't have a ton of lead of symbols into tom like so it shouldn't be too much of a problem on this thing. All right? So let me, uh duplicate and you'll see that the names of those tracks change so now I'm working on duplicate track just for simplicity and I want to go back to the original tracked to my head it's because I don't think I'm going to pull out the two clips uh let's make a little bigger so we can see what's going on and um yeah, there we go um go back to medium here I'm goingto soma solo the tom tracks I'm also going to solo my overheads just so I have something happening all the time as a guide and now I'm going tio just start playing these tracks I've got my see this little ese guy over here that means keyboard shortcuts has turned on so you want to make sure your keyboard shortcuts are turned on and this feature up here is called tap transient you want to make that show that features turned on okay, so I see he does this fill that has a floor time hit in a row and it's followed by a cymbal crash here so what I'm gonna do on the tom track tab over to the beginning the tom track so taboo transient allows allows pro tools to find the beginning of any transient it's not always super accurate so if something seems off you can assume and do this manually on I'm going to press b on the keyboard, which is a short cut for separate region then tab over to the next train's you which is a snare and symbol hit simultaneously could be again and do the same thing on the floor tom track and then tab over to where I know that hit isthe hey then I'm going to over shortly before the end of those hits and um press uh g which is a short cut for fade out you can also draw we knew around this and do it and press f which is a different way you fade out so now I have a quick fade on these toms I can go back tio go back to my hand tool, grab that stuff before the time hit delete it, grab that stuff before the time hit believe that now I'm ready to move on to the next time it so let's just take a listen all right? So he does it again saying it's the same pattern uh so I already know what to dio fact I'll just go ahead and do the first few of these because I know I know what's gonna happen because I'm already pretty familiar with this song and they missed one that's always weird working on unfamiliar computer because it you know, the tracking settled differently some kind of well clumsy right now and apologize for that so uh gone through and done a bunch of these um and then we can grab her hand tool and, uh, remove a whole bunch of this stuff that we don't need looks like I didn't pay those ones, so now I'm just going toe just just do both the same time with an f all right, so zoom out a little bit and, uh, hear how that sounds okay, so a lot of people do what I just did I'm going to take this one step further and do something that's a little bit less common because when I listened back to that, I hear yeah, you know, the toms a reddit and that's great, I just had the attack, but I'm also since he's a real big tom's that were kind of resident I'm missing that decay of the times. If I were to make my fade outs longer, I would preserve the decay of the tom, but I would also be hearing the that her brash attack of the symbol that comes after the times so what I'm going to do is is teo miss gonna turn off my tom groups for second here and then I'm going teo duplicate my top rack track okay, so go to track duplicate and what this does is makes an exact copy of that rack track and we'll allow me teo the opportunity to process that track independently from the original now have ragtop doop and I'll do the same thing with fork with the floor tom um so floor top dupe and um I'm gonna go ahead and re label these so now rack talk is going to be called rack high and the ragtop duplicate is going to called rak lo rock bottom would leave and then uh four top is going to floor high four top duke is going to be called floor low okay, now for those of you who have some live sound experience, you'll be familiar with the the concept of a crossover not something often used in pro audio leased in recording but it's something that we can use we use that in product when we're dealing with multi band compression, but we don't typically have a whole lot of control over our crossovers. I'm going to make my own cross over out of two instances off the dj, one band geek that I have independent control of the high track, so I'm just going to leave my soul is there and then listen to just the rack high now okay, so that's the the broadband rack signal that's been edited I'm going to use e q three one man and I'm going to set um a high pass filter and I'm gonna set that to sixty be proactive and choose a frequency uh the various frequencies will work let's let's try uh try three ninety okay, that should let that'll that'll thin out the tone quite a bit. Okay, let's go a little lower try um try three hundred thirty hurts so write them right in the low mid area a little bit fuller now um going to by pressing and selecting the plug in to drag it down to the rack lo track and I'm not going to change any settings with slope or the frequency but I'm going to change the filter type to a low pass so let's hear it what the rack lo track sounds like okay, so that's low component of the sound and you can imagine that if that was running all the time you wouldn't hear a ton of symbol on that track. Um okay now wanna change around the way in which I'm managing the iraq and for tom groups so go to my tom group which contains rack high, low and bought which is short for bottom and then he's going to remove the high stuff from the equation right now that'll allow me to edit the rack low and rack bottom as a group together without editing the rack high do the same thing for my floor tom track removed hi from the equation and now I'm only dealing with floor low at four body and so that I don't accidentally grab it I'm going to shrink the size of rack high on dh shrink the size of floor high but still have all my same stuff soloed the low components or soloed andi overheads are so low just for presents and still be able to hear the rack high so now let him go go ahead and do it is um grab my bracket tool and extend the length of the fade for just the low tracks and how far you want to do this is really up to you I'm just kind of doing our arbitrary amount right now you know I should probably go a little shorter and this will let you restore some of the residents of the tom track but still get the cymbals out of the way now you are going to bring in which looks like I never faded that one you are going to be bringing in some of that sympathetic residents with the kick so you have to be careful and you may you may choose teo on ly edit the rack low and not at a rack bought for example or floor but you might want to leave floor bought you know, faded back with the floor high track if if the sympathetic resonance of the times and the cake or too much for you so now let's uh, let's hear how that sounds? Oops. Missed one. You know what? I'm going to leave that missed one in there just because it might might make an interesting illustration of the difference between these two things. I think we'll be able to hear that difference a little bit more if I turn off the overhead tracks. Oh, wait, I forgot. Teo, do my cue on the floor, tom that's why, that sounded bad. So the drag just the same settings on two on two floor high and, uh, floor low and let's. Uh, hi. Passing high passing behind mike and low passing alone mike and let's hear that again? Okay, so we're getting some residents from the toms, but we're moving some harshness of the symbols on biff that is too severe for you guys. Then you can blend in your dry tom tracks back in with your edited tom tracks. Um yeah. So that's pretty much what I had to say about tom editing um next time to start talking about what I call turbo tracks on the kick and snares that determine picked up from matthew allard, who did most of the engineering on convergence jane doe charlotte but one of the closest things I had to a mentor or any questions we should cover before moving on or can I? Wei had one from park insane, just wanting why you wouldn't get the times to avoid heavy editing. Yeah, if I don't have a whole lot of time and there's a big distinction between through the the volume envelope of the tom toms versus the symbols bleeding into the tom likes, then you're getting is a perfectly viable way to do that. Typically, tom's aren't struck all that often, so it's not usually a big deal to edit them. You can certainly edit them a lot more accurately than you can get them there. I mean, I'm going to get into gating, actually, in just a couple minutes. Now, look with chickens near there being struck so often that it's not worthwhile to get them. Um, but with toms, you could be a whole lot more accurate by editing them. But if if I'm in a time crunch, then I'll reach for a gate on tom.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

GodCity Salem Impulses

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I've been engineering out of my home studio for the past 7 years. I recently graduated from college for studio production and recording bands has been my main source of income for the past 5 years or so. Honestly, this course was incredible and completely worth the $100. Kurt Ballou truly understands the art and he really got me excited to be a recording engineer. I already knew a lot of the techniques and details he went over, but he presented his ideas so intelligently that I was happy to sit through the topics that focused on beginners. I'm not a huge metal or hardcore fan, but Kurt has amazing taste in the way he produces these bands. It's hard to listen to some of the releases today that have the life sucked out of their music with full-on drum replacement and crazy amounts of autotune. It was just refreshing to listen to an engineer who totally knows what makes rock music exciting. This class is worth checking out even just to watch a successful modern engineer show you the basics of his craft.

Fariz Junaini

This was a great course to pick apart the brain of The Kurt Ballou, but I felt some of the topics could be presented a little better and went more in-depth in like the framework of the mixing process. I fell like if you don't have an understanding of basic audio engineering you would be pretty lost but thank god I knew enough to get me through. But nonetheless, Kurt shared some pretty interesting techniques like the crossover method. Love this guy! Hope to see more of him!

a Creativelive Student

This course has been the most comprehensive I have watched concerning the art of audio manipulation. The points made in terms of phase relationships, mic technique, and polarity are valuable insight into getting good sound. My personal favorite was the way he edits toms. All the content is good stuff and well worth your money. Icing on the cake in the included IR samples. I purchased the course for $79. I love you Kurt!

Student Work