how do you mix samples with recorded tracks?

snare and cymbal to be specific…

OK, so I’m looking to try and improve on some recorded drum tracks. Specifically I want even out some of the snare (without comping to death) and also to bring out some cymbal crashes in the overheads (the drummer is a little lite on hitting the crashes, but heavy on the high-hat, plus my OH mic’ing may have been off a little bit…)

Anyway, what do I need to mix samples in with recorded tracks? I know it can be done with n-track, I just don’t know exactly what you call this so that I can look it up/figure it out… are these VST synths? something else? My experience with recording has always been recording live bands, so using sequencers, syths etc… is completely alien to me!

Also, can anybody recommend a sample bank or program. I’ve heard of Drumagog, but I was hoping for a freebie. Or do all of the freebies just plain suck? Would these ( ) work with n-track ?

all help would be appreciated.

do a search, there was a topic that mentioned a free version of drumagog-or similar. have you considered copying the track and eq’ing it to bring out the sounds you want, then mix it back in? not a perfect way, but feasable. if the drummer is steady or played to a click track, you could turn on the grid and do it by hand…

you might be able to use a compressor with some careful settings to decrease the hi hat and increase the cymbals. set it up to react to the hi hat peaks, but not the crashes. if the crashes aren’t done often compared to the hi hats, you could always use the volume envelopes.

good luck :)

hmm… yeah I considered using the volume envelopes too. And I may have to do that with the snare. I really don’t think its gonna work on the hi-hat/crash cymbal problem. I’ll never get the decay of the crash to sound right, especially if he comes right down on the hi-hat after a crash hit.

I’m thinking I could take the snare track and gate it, then comp the #### out of it, then mix it in with the original snare track. I think that may work better than excessive EQ’ing, which I try to avoid these days… Come to think of it, I will definitely try this…

Still, I would like to know how to mix the samples in with the live instruments, as it sounds like it could be a very useful tool. Do I need to work with MIDI to do this? Again, I have no experience with MIDI… Another problem is that I have a Delta 44 soundcard. Can I work with MIDI at all with this soundcard as it has no MIDI in/MIDI out? I would think that it wouldn’t matter since its all internal, right?

Am I supposed to use one of those drum trigger plug-ins to trigger a MIDI event?

look at this General Noob MIDI Q: topic for how to set up the midi. no you DON’T need hardware. check peak freak out.

that’ll help on the snare if it peaks better than the other tracks. as for crash… probably gonna’ need to do it by hand.

Multi-band compression can help in some instances. The high band can act as a de-esser and even out the cymbals while the mids can help the snare/toms and the low the depth of toms and kick. All drums and cymbals span the full spectrum more than may be obvious.

I love n-Tracks Multi-Band Compressor - the one included with V4. It’s quite heavy handed when using the defaults (except all bands and the limiter are off by default) on drums but it may be worth a try. Send the drums to a group and put that in the group insert. Use the defaults knob settings at first, but be prepared to crank back on the thresholds, and enable all bands and the limiter.

This is use your ears while working with the whole mix stuff. There’s no good way to set them when the drums are soloed.

Now there’s a device I need to get friendly with- Multi-Band Compression. I’ve got a kick drum hiding in a mix, and I need to bring it out. Thanks for the tip, Phoo.

Oh, yeah- nice user-name! :D

I asked a very similar question last week, and eventually settled on KTDrumTrigger which allows you to filter out the offending drum beats from the drum track in question and use them to create a MIDI track which can then play nskit or whatever. You basically put the VST in as an effect, then adjust the filters so that the notches/thresholds, etc are getting you exactly the beats that you want and nothing more, then you create a blank MIDI track and use the KTDrumTrigger as the MIDI input. Arm the MIDI track for record, press record, go through the song and the MIDI drum track is created.

Once you’ve got the MIDI track, you can manipulate it/output it to whatever you like.


Interesting, I looked that up and downloaded it. When I get a chance, I’ll try and post. Thanks for the direction, John.

ah ha! thanks jmcullo, thats exactly what I was looking for. I actually D/L-ed KTdrum trigger but I’m getting “MIDI In” errors which I’ll have to troubleshoot (I thought this is maybe due to my Delta 44 soundcard?). But at least now I have some direction and at least a basic understanding as to how the process works… Once you have created the MIDI track, how exactly do you manipulate the samples? I D/L-ed a bank of drum samples and they are all .wav files. Does the MIDI track let you import a .wav somehow? or assign a .wav file to the MIDI events in a track?

Back to my snare track… I’ve decided I’m not gonna use the snare samples for this project because I’m getting some nice results with two tracks- one gated and comped really hard, one left “natural” (I believe this is called “parallel compression”?). I’m still gonna try to learn how to use MIDI samples though, it sounds like a nice addition to the arsenal…

I’m also still planning on using the cymbal samples, but I’m gonna use them sparingly. n-track sucks for this kind manual editing, but man those cymbal samples sound soooooo nice!

thanks for the advice. you guys are always so helpful!