Drum Programming Pro Tip

Ok, who am I kidding. Amateur tip. But here it is...

So you've got built an awesome groove, you've layered all kinds of superb music overtop, you've done your arranging, you take a break and you come back and you feel the whole thing is kind of muddy. Your super cool electro kick or snare are fighting with the synth pads. And you feel that familiar self-doubt creeping into your session.

Most mix tutorials concern themselves with making space in a mix in the frequency domain by subtractive EQing your tracks. This is still very important but...

A simple way to make a little more space is to shorten the drum samples. Think about it. If your big kick drum rings through for a 200ms, chances are it's eating a big chunk of your spectrum right up to time the next percussion hit is played. If you twiddle knobs on your drum software to make the decay faster then you'll can retain the sonic/musical characteristics of the drum hits while making space in your mix in the time domain. Now you have space between the hits for your musical genius to come through.

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