Using Dynamic EQ on the Drum Group

Glue the drum group with dynamic equalisation!

Beat Construction


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Within every DAW lies a feature that is used to consolidate like for like instruments and sounds and it is called the Group. We use groups for a number of reasons but primarily it is to ‘group’ like for like sounds so that broadband processes can be applied to all the sounds simultaneously in one location. The most common use of a group in this scenario is to use it for ‘gluing’ purposes. A glue process is simply a process that is used to apply the same texture to a number of sounds thus gluing them into one homogeneous sound. Most common processes for gluing a group are compression and equalisation. Nowadays we can apply both these processes in a single process – that of dynamic equalisation. I use dynamic equalisers on drum groups more than any other form of compression and equalisation simply because of the sheer versatility of the process.

Up until recently we used to use compression to compress and equalisation to equalise. Today we use a combination of the two in a single processor and that processor is called a Dynamic Equaliser albeit with a difference. Most will state that a multiband compressor is much like a dynamic equaliser but there is a difference in that the crossovers in a traditional multiband compressor have fixed slopes whereas the dynamic equaliser has variable slopes. That has since changed with some multiband compressors offering variable slopes.

Multiband Compressor

A multiband compressor is a compressor that splits its entire frequency range into smaller bands that can then be compressed individually. Multiband compressors are particularly useful when the audio being treated has a wide variety of frequencies

Dynamic eq

A dynamic equaliser applies the gain change directly to the gain parameters of a multiband parametric equaliser. As with most dynamics processors, the the threshold determines at which point gain changes take place. You have control over the bandwidth denoted by the Q value and, much like a compressor, the response is controlled with attack and release functions.

Drum Group

This is where we send all individual channel sounds within the DAW for broadband processing. The group will consist of various like for like sounds so that single processes can be applied to multiple sounds.

In the video I use FabFilter’s Pro Q3 dynamic equaliser to process the drum group in the DAW. I explain what a dynamic equaliser is and how to use it for both adding dynamic motion to a drum beat and to glue the drum sounds into a single homogeneous sound. I explain how to remove redundant and problematic frequencies using the dynamic equaliser. I end by showing you what settings to use to achieve different drum bus gluing textures.

Plugin used in this video:

FabFilter Pro Q3

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Dynamic EQ
  • Threshold
  • Bandwidth
  • Q Factor
  • Response
  • Expansion versus Compression
  • Tips and Tricks