Mixing Toms: Punch and Clear Sound
Mixing toms is fairly easy with the technique that you’ll find on the video below. Many a times toms have a nasty boxiness or honky sound that you may not even realize. Toms of amateur mixers sound dull and powerless, whereas toms of pro mixers sound clear and punchy. Take a look how to mix toms in any DAW:
First of all check that your toms are in phase with the overheads. Flip the polarity of the tom mics on and off and listen if it makes any difference. Pick the one that has more sound, low end and energy. Usually out of phase toms sound thin and hollow.
With toms (as with any drums) you can EQ them pretty hard. The main thing is to get rid of the boxy, honky sound that lives somewhere around 600 – 900 Hz. Boost with a narrow Q to find the exact spot where to cut and cut enough to get rid of it all. Sometimes theres also some muddiness around 150 – 300 Hz.
Cut away 60 – 80 Hz with low cut filter depending on a tom. Boost from around 8k upwards for attack. Another place to look for attack is around 4,5k.
Depending on a tom – whether it’s rack or floor tom – boost low end from around 80 – 200 Hz. You don’t want to make the toms too boomy, so mostly a tiny boost does the job.
When compressing, use slow attack and fast release, just like with kick and snare. This will add punch and energy to the toms. Use gate to get rid of the cymbal bleed if you need to.
Hopefully you found this video helpful. If there’s anything you want me to cover in the future videos let me know. Send me an email or leave a comment below. Ask if there’s anything unclear or if I left something out. Cheers!