Overhead and room recordings are incredibly challenging to mix. Regardless of the gear, room, and drum performance quality, you still need to make many corrections to make your cymbals sound pleasing in the mix. Having this in mind, you can turn for help to many processing plugins that are available in the audio market these days. By using these tools, it became much easier to introduce clarity back to dull and hollow-sounding drum recordings, especially if we talk about cymbals, hi-hats, and sounds that belong to the high range of the frequency spectrum.
In the next tutorial, we will guide you and show you some practical examples of one such plugin unit. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use a couple of pre-recorded drum kits that can be found within our drum machine RitMix, which is part of the SoundBridge: DAW.
The plugin that we will use for this tutorial is named “DF-Clarify,” and Drumforge designs it. In its essence, it creates clarity with your cymbals and hi-hats by using a proprietary audio learning and processing algorithm. We could say that its main advantages are: the ability to increase clarity and intelligently removing harshness in the sound of your cymbal and room mic recordings. It also offers precision tone-shaping control with the smooth and weight knobs and ability to relax the top end of cymbals recordings with the soften controls. So, let`s check out its interface in-depth and explore its control parameters.
At first glance, we can say that this is a simple-looking plugin with not so many options. But that doesn’t diminish its audio processing value. In the top part of the interface, we can see a big old fashioned VU meter and IN/OUT controls on the sides of it. There is also a BYPASS switch in the top left corner. Below that we can see the “PROFILE” tab, which enables you to select and store up to 5 unique profiles for each instance of DF-CLARIFY. You can also save and load profiles from your computer via the disk and folder icons.
The lower section contains main parameters of this plugin and the center is reserved for the “CLARIFY” control whose main aspect is the ability to “LEARN”. By pressing this button, the learning process of DF-CLARIFY starts on an audio source. DF-CLARIFY will only learn when you are playing back audio through it. The process is complete when the yellow ring around the knob is completely full. Furthermore, learning can be done from one longer section or multiple shorter sections of a performance. Multiple sections learning will create a profile average which can make the algorithm more effective at targeting cymbal clarity over a whole performance and not just one section of it.
Moving forward we have “WEIGHT”, which adjusts what crossover frequency range the clarity algorithm effects. The range is 100hz to 1khz. The clarity algorithm applies itself above this crossover point. On the opposite side, there is also a “SMOOTH” control which defines how precise the clarity algorithm is. This allows you to do fine adjustment or general tone shaping.
RANGE and AMOUNT
In the bottom part of DF-Clarify interface, we can see two more parameters which are “RANGE” (Selects a specific frequency from a preset range to soften) and “AMOUNT” (Controls the amount of the applied softening). Consequently, the soften algorithm combats general cymbal harshness to make your cymbals more pleasing.
After a brief introduction of DF-Clarify parameters, now is the time to check out some practical audio examples. We will first hear drum sequences unprocessed and then processed with DF-Clarify.
~Drum Groove 1 – Unprocessed
~Drum Groove 1 – Processed With DF-Clarify
~Drum Groove 2 – Unprocessed
~Drum Groove 2 – Processed With DF-Clarify
Download the project here.