Gating drum tracks

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by Tommi, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. Tommi

    Tommi Guest

    Until recently, when mixing drums, I've put a gate on most of the drum
    tracks when they're not
    being played. This was of course a quicker method to reduce noise than the
    one I use now; ie.
    I manually silence the bits I want in my wave editor.

    It's just that, this has become way too time-consuming! So I've thought
    about switching back to my original method..but I'm concerned about losing
    some transients in the beginning of each hit, especially the bass drum hits
    sound a bit flat to me when put through a gate, but I don't know if this is
    only psychological.

    Because a lot of you guys seem to know these devices very precisely, my
    question is:
    do I lose some of the transients when gating the drum tracks? Is it better
    to mute the silent bits manually? Thanks in advance.
  2. Sugarite

    Sugarite Guest

    > Until recently, when mixing drums, I've put a gate on most of the drum
    > tracks when they're not
    > being played. This was of course a quicker method to reduce noise than the
    > one I use now; ie.
    > I manually silence the bits I want in my wave editor.
    >
    > It's just that, this has become way too time-consuming! So I've thought
    > about switching back to my original method..but I'm concerned about losing
    > some transients in the beginning of each hit, especially the bass drum

    hits
    > sound a bit flat to me when put through a gate, but I don't know if this

    is
    > only psychological.
    >
    > Because a lot of you guys seem to know these devices very precisely, my
    > question is:
    > do I lose some of the transients when gating the drum tracks? Is it better
    > to mute the silent bits manually? Thanks in advance.


    You can make your own comparison by recording both a snare with gate and
    without at the same time, see what gets chopped/delayed. Myself I always
    manually gate toms, doesn't take long in Protools, and I rarely get enough
    bleed on the kick to worry about. I have a handy trick for the snare if
    you've got a spare track in your editor:

    - Use a hypercardioid dynamic mic on the snare chain (like a Beta 57), and
    aim the rejection pattern (60 degrees off of rear axis) at the center of the
    kick, this gets the best isolation on the snare
    - Either use it just for this trick or make a copy so you can use it in the
    mix as well
    - Mute it, pre-delay it by 3-4ms, and use it as the trigger for the snare
    gate (external key/sidechain input required)

    This way the gate will open just ahead of impact, so no transients are
    missed, and if mic'ed right you get perfect gating, so no kick or hats will
    bleed into your snare verb.
  3. Lou Gimenez

    Lou Gimenez Guest

    I can see why you might want to gate or mute the toms, but unless there's a
    problem with the kick ,snare etc, why would you even want to gate them
    unless its for an effect.
    --Lou Gimenez
    The Music Lab
    2" 24track w all the Goodies
    www.musiclabnyc.com



    > From: "Tommi" <tommiwide@suomi24.fi>
    > Organization: Song Networks Internet Services
    > Newsgroups: rec.audio.pro
    > Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2003 13:12:18 +0300
    > Subject: Gating drum tracks
    >
    > Until recently, when mixing drums, I've put a gate on most of the drum
    > tracks when they're not
    > being played. This was of course a quicker method to reduce noise than the
    > one I use now; ie.
    > I manually silence the bits I want in my wave editor.
    >
    > It's just that, this has become way too time-consuming! So I've thought
    > about switching back to my original method..but I'm concerned about losing
    > some transients in the beginning of each hit, especially the bass drum hits
    > sound a bit flat to me when put through a gate, but I don't know if this is
    > only psychological.
    >
    > Because a lot of you guys seem to know these devices very precisely, my
    > question is:
    > do I lose some of the transients when gating the drum tracks? Is it better
    > to mute the silent bits manually? Thanks in advance.
    >
    >
  4. Garthrr

    Garthrr Guest

    In article <BB65ABF2.3AFF8%musiclab@att.net>, Lou Gimenez <musiclab@att.net>
    writes:

    >I can see why you might want to gate or mute the toms, but unless there's a
    >problem with the kick ,snare etc, why would you even want to gate them
    >unless its for an effect.
    >--Lou Gimenez
    >The Music Lab


    My sentiments exactly. The leakage that usually appears in the kick mic is so
    mild as to be negligable. The snare is a bit different because of hi hat
    leakage and I can understand gating the send to the reverb but with a well
    played and well tuned kit gating shouldnt be necessary. I think it usually robs
    the drums of some life.

    Garth~


    "I think the fact that music can come up a wire is a miracle."
    Ed Cherney
  5. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Sugarite <nobody@home.com> wrote:
    >> Because a lot of you guys seem to know these devices very precisely, my
    >> question is:
    >> do I lose some of the transients when gating the drum tracks? Is it better
    >> to mute the silent bits manually? Thanks in advance.


    Usually what you lose is everything but the transient part. Which is the
    point of using the gate as an effect. That sharp snap that gets added
    that cuts off the reverb tail.
    --scott


    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  6. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Tommi:
    I was very glad to see several responses in favor to "no gating". I am
    a strong believer that unless you are trying to create an effect, I
    would not use any sort of gating. Gating does have plenty of
    advantages and applications in the studio, especially when done
    correctly, but I think it really does take away from the natural sound
    of the drum kit. Take extra time up front to get the kit to sound as
    good as you can make it before you start the recording process.
  7. Tommi

    Tommi Guest

    I guess I should've said it more clearly that I use gates in the mixing
    process only to clean up the whole tracks (tom tracks and bd sometimes),
    and, wasn't worried about the decay of the natural drum sound, merely the
    part in the beginning of the hit, which led to me thinking this:

    A gate doesn't "know" when the signal rises above the threshold, so it must
    be that it lets the sound through only after it has already been above the
    threshold for a while. That is my concern, because logically thinking you'd
    miss some frequencies which are there only for a short period in the
    beginning of the hit. I'm using software gates but I guess I could try the
    method you described Sugarite, thanks for the tip.
    As for everyone else who warned me about gating drums, don't worry, I
    usually use gates so that their thresholds are quite low, so a lot of
    decaying signal gets through. The philosophy behind this is that I usually
    compress quite heavily the drums in general, so the gates make sure very
    low-signal hiss doesn't exist and therefore can't be compressed upwards. But
    this is only when gating, and I'm now beginning to think I should switch
    back to manually silencing the bits in my wave editor!





    "Michael" <audioguy021@netscape.net> wrote in message
    news:4aff065e.0308180802.19485c99@posting.google.com...
    > Tommi:
    > I was very glad to see several responses in favor to "no gating". I am
    > a strong believer that unless you are trying to create an effect, I
    > would not use any sort of gating. Gating does have plenty of
    > advantages and applications in the studio, especially when done
    > correctly, but I think it really does take away from the natural sound
    > of the drum kit. Take extra time up front to get the kit to sound as
    > good as you can make it before you start the recording process.
  8. Garthrr

    Garthrr Guest

    In article <bhsqbh$1k6$1@news1.songnet.fi>, "Tommi" <tommiwide@suomi24.fi>
    writes:

    >A gate doesn't "know" when the signal rises above the threshold, so it must
    >be that it lets the sound through only after it has already been above the
    >threshold for a while. That is my concern, because logically thinking you'd
    >miss some frequencies which are there only for a short period in the
    >beginning of the hit.


    Yes, you will cut at least some of the leading edge of the transient of a
    signal. In some cases this wont be a problem but in some cases it can rob you
    of the punch and immediacy of the drums. There are gates that have a "look
    ahead" feature which works by delaying the audio a few milliseconds in order to
    let the processer examine the envelope and act in advance of the actual audio.
    Sort of like having someone down the road from you on the phone telling you
    about the traffic coming your way.


    >As for everyone else who warned me about gating drums, don't worry, I
    >usually use gates so that their thresholds are quite low, so a lot of
    >decaying signal gets through. The philosophy behind this is that I usually
    >compress quite heavily the drums in general, so the gates make sure very
    >low-signal hiss doesn't exist and therefore can't be compressed upwards.


    Sounds like you already know this but make sure you send to your gate first and
    then to the compressor. The reverse order makes it much harder for the gate to
    discriminate between signal and noise.

    I've pretty much given up on gates for drums. The problem is that the more you
    need to gate a track (i.e. the more noisy the track) the harder it is to get
    the gate to do what you want. These days its so much easier to just clean
    tracks or reduce the gain of offending sections like leakage between tom hits
    etc. Gates do a much better job with stuff like tape hiss and we dont have much
    of that anymore.

    Garth~


    "I think the fact that music can come up a wire is a miracle."
    Ed Cherney
  9. Rich Wilner

    Rich Wilner Guest

    audioguy021@netscape.net (Michael) wrote in message news:<4aff065e.0308180802.19485c99@posting.google.com>...
    > Tommi:
    > I was very glad to see several responses in favor to "no gating". I am
    > a strong believer that unless you are trying to create an effect, I
    > would not use any sort of gating. Gating does have plenty of
    > advantages and applications in the studio, especially when done
    > correctly, but I think it really does take away from the natural sound
    > of the drum kit. Take extra time up front to get the kit to sound as
    > good as you can make it before you start the recording process.


    who says he's going for a natural sound?
    just about every modern recording i've heard recently doesn't have
    natural-sounding drums at all.

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