Compressing Hip Hop Drum Beats

Transparent and parallel compression techniques for processing Hip Hop drum beats.

Beat Construction

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Compressing Hip Hop drum beats requires an understanding of the genre’s requirements. Throwing a compressor on the drum group and compressing for loudness is the last aim of a beat producer. That can be taken care of at the mastering stage. With processing drum beats the timing of the drum beat’s drum elements are as important as any other aspect of a Hip Hop song and this has to be taken into consideration when using compression. We can mimic the shuffle and swing timing by using the shaping parameters of a compressor but this only works when the beat is copied and used with parallel processing: you need two sounds to be able to hear timing differences between the two. We know that compression can alter the dynamic range of a sound, add colour when needed and offer clever ducking tools to manage the interaction between the bass and kick drum but how do you glue drum sounds within a beat to sound as if the drum beat is made up of like for like textures?

This tutorial shows you how to glue drum sounds using a transparent compressor.

In the video I use Cytomic’s The Glue compressor to compress a Hip Hop drum beat. I show you how the compressor works and how best to use it on the drum group of the DAW. I explain how to consolidate all the drum sounds into a single homogeneous sound. I explain what settings to use to achieve a transparent texture and show you why certain settings can either help or mar the process. I explain what requirements are needed for Hip Hop transparent compression and how to execute it using The Glue compressor.

Plugin used in this video:

Cytomic’s The Glue

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Glue Compression
  • Smoothing Techniques
  • Blend
  • Transient Control
  • Timing and Release
  • Tempo Sync
  • Dynamic Control