Mixing Inside Your Drum Loops

04 Oct 2017

Deconstruct & Unmix Your Samples With Accusonus Regroover Essential

Accusonus Regroover Essential's intelligent unmixing algorithm is based on Machine Learning-derived algorithms that let you break down mixed loops into their constituent musical components. While this undoubtedly offers many creative possibilities for electronic musicians and remixers, what most people don't realise is that it's also an excellent general-purpose mixdown tool, providing powerful new ways of manipulating the internal components within mixed rhythmic loops. Let me explain a few of the things you can use it for.

For the sake of example, we'll assume you've got a drum loop where you're you're not happy with the snare tone. If you try to remedy that by just EQ'ing the whole loop in a traditional way, you'd end up mangling the sound of everything else into the bargain: the kick, hi-hat, percussion, and whatever other instruments are lurking in the shadows. On the other hand, if you let Regroover split the loop up into its components first, you can use the plug-in's built-in EQ effect to implement the change in a much more independent way. For the most targeted results, I like to use the Annotation tool to select all non-snare audio on the snare Layer. You could also try removing any residual snare energy from other Layers, but I don't worry too much about that personally, because I've found that the EQ processing is still very effective when operating on only the lion's share of the sound's frequency content.

You can use the Annotation tool to make any audio processing of a snare-drum Layer more targeted.

If I want to enhance the attack of the snare, then that Layer's Compressor module is the thing to use. Try a 6:1 Ratio as a starting point, with Attack and Release settings of 80ms and 250ms respectively, and then pull down the Threshold slider until you get a good dose of gain-reduction registering in the display. Now use the Make-up Gain to bring the subjective loudness of the hits back to where it was (toggle the Compressor's bypass button to check this) and you'll be rewarded with a harder and more well-defined attack transient.

The per-Layer compressor module can add a tremendous amount of extra transient to individual drum sounds if you use a comparatively slow Attack time and them pile on the gain-reduction.

You might also use fast-attack Compressor settings to round off the drum's spike, perhaps if you're getting unwanted flamming between your loop and another sample layered alongside. However, the best attack-reduction actually comes courtesy of the Gate processor. The trick here is to use as high a Threshold setting as you can get away with (while still causing the gate to trigger reliably on each hit) and then increase the Attack time to around 40ms. This will completely remodel the onset envelope of the snare into a smooth upwards ramp, effectively erasing any transient spike.

Although the compressor can soften drum transients, the Gate can be much more savage — effectively removing a drum's attack completely!

If you want to get even more surgical with processing that snare Layer, then here's a little dodge that allows you to separate it out for treatment with whatever other plug-ins you have in your arsenal. First duplicate the track with Regroover Essential in it. Then solo the snare Layer on the original track, while muting the snare layer on the duplicate track. Because Regroover's Layers always add up predictably, you'll now hear exactly the same thing from the two instances (as long as they're MIDI triggered simultaneously) that you initially heard from your single instance. Now you can insert whatever other plug-ins you like to process the snare-Layer-only Regroover track.