Electronic drums have become the new standard for the most popular music genres, from hip-hop to pop to EDM. Many of the world’s greatest artists go on tour without a drummer — something that was unimaginable just a few decades ago. The drums are still an integral part of popular music, but instead of a real drummer on an acoustic kit beating the beats, it’s usually a producer bending over a laptop.
However, this does not mean that acoustic drums have no place in modern music. Of course, genres such as rock and country always use drummers. But for producers who are used to working with digitally generated 808 and percussion, there are many advantages to mixing acoustic drums with electronic drums. However, it is important to ensure that the mixing of the two occurs smoothly. Otherwise, the contrast can be authoritarian, sloppy and inorganic. Here are five ways to mix the two:
1. Use sidechain compression for mixing
A sure way to make room for acoustic drum samples and electronic drums is to use sidechain compression. For example, if you have a loop of an acoustic drum beat, but you also want to use a punchy electronic kick and snare drum, sidechain the loop to kick and snare drum. Thus, every time the electronic kick and snare drum beat, the loop is compressed, and then lowered in volume. This will ensure that they do not fall over each other all the time.
2. EQ the acoustic battery to lo-fi
If you put a high and / or low pass filter on your acoustic batteries, you can melt them in the background. If you have an electronic trap beat in front and in the middle, using lo-fi acoustic drums in the distance can help add dynamic and organic movement to your rhythms. Without a heavy low – end or high-end, their presence becomes less pronounced and overwhelming in accordance with the rhythm of the trap.
3. Use a heavy door
A noise gate makes it possible to control the volume of an audio signal. If you align an electronic rhythm with an acoustic drum rhythm, attaching a door on each drum track will help keep you from competing against each other. If you want one beat to be more prominent than the other, put a heavy door on the drum track that you want to bend into the distance.
4. Mix widely in stereo field
With the complete stereo mix, you can mix acoustic and electronic drums by simply panning and stereo expansion. For example, producers like Flying Lotus will use an electronic drum beat front and center, but make a minimal acoustic jazz beat up to one ear. This technique allows you to choose the rhythmic elements that you want to be in front and in the background.
5. Let them speak individually
Although the goal here is to mix the two effectively, there is nothing wrong with giving them both their own time to shine. For example, try starting your song with an acoustic drum kit — make it look like there’s a drummer on the road for the first song of the song. But for pre-chorus and chorus, cut out these drums completely and bring a bit of electronics. Then return to the acoustic drums for the bridge or the outro. Just make sure the contrast works and is not too messy and sporadic.