I’ve been lucky enough to be able to record in a real nice live room for the last few years that allows me to get nice big drum tones with room mics. However, when mixing songs that were recorded in a smaller room, there are still ways to get that big roomy drum sound. Here’s some tricks to help make your small room sound huge.
Start by choosing drum samples. SSD is perfect for this as you can separate the room and close mic for the same sample. Just solo the channel on the mixer then bounce it out. Once you have your sample, use an API 550a EQ, to boost lots of low end and mids and cut some highs. This is an attempt to replicate some of the characteristics that mono room with a ribbon mic would capture.
Another EQ can then be used to clean up some of the extreme lows and some low mid build up. Pro Q is perfect for this as you can easily sweep through and cut multiple problem frequencies.
Having these big roomy samples lined up with your close drums can get messy and doesn’t replicate a room microphone as there will be some physical delay. By adding a delay it mimics the position of a room microphone, the longer the delay the further away the mic.
For compression I often choose Kramer Pie, crushed it pretty hard and crank the output to add some cool saturation.
Sometimes with lots of compression it can result in the drums having too much sustain. To fix this pull back the release on a transient designer. This should help tuck these sample rooms into the mix.