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How to Repair Overhead Mics in a Mix

July 20, 2016 Ace Healey 0 // // // In this video, David Glenn shows his processing on a pair of drum overheads. After receiving the files with a high-pass filter committed to the OH’s, David uses EQ to bring the low end back to taste. Learn the how and why behind his moves and use them in your future mixes.


Today we've got a pair of overhead mics we're going to talk about. They have come to me high passed, low cut, no lows at all. Super compressed and we're going to look at the before and then we're going to look at the after soloed and then in context with the drum kit, and then we're going to talk about why you might want either of those options in your productions or mixes.

So first things first, let me show you the before. This is a song called No Greater Love. I've just soloed the drums, but I'm going to give a shoutout to my man Arthur G. We're featuring this song July 2016 in The Mix Academy. So you can go to if you want to get your hands on these files and mix them for yourself.

These are the overheads before.

[drum overhead mics]

Okay. So you can hear, super compressed, no lows at all, upper mid-range and top end. Maybe we'd call that using the overheads as cymbal mics. So that's the first example.

Then what I did to them is really the most important thing. There's VMR here for VCC, but I'll quickly show you before and after, this is just adding maybe a little bit of thickness, a little bit of grit, not much.

[overheads with VCC]

Maybe a little upper mid-range and a little bit of volume as well. I tried to keep that level, but anyways, that's not the point of this. This video, I want to feature what I've done here.

So these came in high passed, and now I'm going to add some love back in.

Now, if something has been high passed, it doesn't mean that it's a done deal. That it's gone forever. You just have to boost with your ears. So that's a point of this video is just using your ears to boost. I've got 20dB. If I zoom in here on this EQ at around 583.58Hz. [laughs] 600Hz or so. Here's the difference, one more time before.

[overheads, before EQ]

And after.

[overheads, after EQ]

Okay. Still not the most amazing overhead drum sound you could possibly get. I got to reveal a little bit to you here, I actually produced this song — co-produced it with my buddy Victor Encarnacion and the artist Arthur G and then I programmed these drums using Superior's — Toon Track Superior Drummer 2.0. I can't remember which kit. It might've been the New York kit.

But I'm the one that high passed these originally. I produced it four, five, six years ago, I can't remember when I actually started tracking it, but I went with the high passed sound. Let's talk about what I did here real quick, and then I want to point out the benefits of either of those, and when you might want to try using them.

So first thing, the biggest move on this EQ here is the 600Hz boost at 20dB or so, and that is the main guy right there giving life to the kit and bringing back the toms. Without it…

[overheads, no EQ]

And with it.

[overheads, with EQ]

So now you can feel the toms are more active in this mic again.

The high-pass, low cut right here at 105Hz is just protection to make sure none of the super low end rumble — I've got kick — actually two kick mics, one featuring the sub frequencies, one featuring the punch. We've got the bass, we have other sub elements. I've got sub harmonics that I'm adding to pads and automating and managing my low end.

So I want to be careful to not let the overhead mics — oh, and we still have the tom mics, the direct mics.

So I want to be careful how much lows I let these overhead mics have, but I wanted to keep that under control with a high pass.

So those two are the main points of the EQ, but then because I have direct mics, I'm going to go ahead and play those for you. So come over here and we'll hear everything in context.

Because I have direct mics on these toms and the mallet-ed kick drum I created…

[direct mics]

Okay. Because I have direct mics featuring the clarity and the power and the oomph of the toms, I wanted to make sure that the overhead mics complimented that sound and it didn't get too boxy. So it's a trade off. How much of the mid-range do I want for the cymbals, and then how much do I want to control the tom sound in the overhead mics?

So let me show you these two points right here. 464Hz down 4.5dB, 759Hz down almost 6dB. Without them in the picture, the toms in the overheads sound like this.

[drum overheads]

Then I'm going to put them back in, reducing these frequencies.