Addictive Drums: Multitrack Mixing

Introduction

Addictive drums is a great sounding virtual instrument with much to offer! From the plug-in you can customise your kit, adjust bleed levels for individual microphones, and even use the inbuilt effects to mix as you please without any additional plug-ins! If your’e like me though, you want to work with the drums as if they had been recorded live and all you had was raw untouched tracks.

Pro Tools will, by default load this plug-in onto a stereo instrument track which encourages you to apply all of your effects from within the plug-in; this guide however will show you how to setup the plug-in within Pro Tools so each piece has its own track, allowing you to apply your own usual routing and effects.


Creating your ‘Raw’ kit

After becoming familiar with how the Addictive Drums interface looks and works, you will find making changes is much quicker and you’ll soon find even more of its extensive options.

This tutorial is based on the presumption that you already have a MIDI drum performance which is playing out through Addictive Drums.

The first thing you will be looking to do is to make sure that there aren’t any effects being added internally, meaning you will want to create a ‘raw’ output ready for you to start mixing yourself from scratch. If you have a specific drum kit setup which you wish to use then you will need to view the effects page of each track and ensure everything is bypassed.

1.) Firstly, access the channels effects page by clicking the track name on the mixer.

2.) Click the master power buttons on each of the effects to bypass them.

3.) As you bypass the effects, you should notice that they become greyed-out (like the distortion effect in the image above).

4.) This could be a good time to have a play with the bleed level of each track, such as the amount of snare going to the overhead microphones. There is no need to worry too much at this stage though as you can easily make these changes later as you please.

You should now have a pretty dry sounding kit consisting of the raw sample sounds without any effects being applied.


Setting Addictive Drum’s outputs

Next you will need to tell the plug-in that you want each drum part on the mixer to have its own output, this can be very tricky within some virtual drum plug-ins but within Addictive Drums it is as simple as pressing a button!

You will notice a small arrow at the bottom of each channel strip, selecting this button will send that track signal to its own output (we will talk about how to grab this stream in your Pro Tools mixer in a while), notice how you can even send the room microphones for example to their own tracks.

Quick Tip: All of the tracks will output in straight mono with the exception of the room microphones, overhead microphones and master out which will output either a stereo signal or split mono.

Now would be a good time to note which tracks you have sent out on their own path, more importantly you will need to note how many mono and signals you will be mixing individually within Pro Tools.

Say for example we were sending out:

  • Kick Drum (Mono)
  • Snare Drum (Mono)
  • Hi-Hat (Mono)
  • High Tom (Mono)
  • Floor Tom (Mono)
  • Room Microphone (Stereo)
  • Overhead Microphones (Stereo)

Receiving the tracks within Pro Tools

Now that we have told the plug-in to send those tracks to individual outputs, we need to receive and route the signals in Pro Tools – and we achieve this through the use of Auxiliary Input tracks.

Go to the track menu and select ‘New Track’ (Mac: CMD_SHIFT_N or Windows: CTRL_SHIFT_N) you will now see the track setup box which will ask how many tracks and also what kind. If we use the example above, we will need 5 mono auxiliary inputs and 2 stereo inputs as can be seen below.

Click ‘create’ and these tracks will be created in line to the right of the last track you had selected, now we need to assign each of Addictive Drums’ outputs to the auxiliary tracks. Towards the bottom of the channel strip is the I/O (input/output) routing, from the input dropdown, select Addictive Drums > Outputs and then select which ever kit piece you would like on that track, it is also a good idea at this time to name the auxiliary tracks as well, this can be performed by simply double clicking the title down the bottom of the channel.

Quick Tip: You will notice that only the mono signals show up on the input setup of mono tracks, this means that you can work with the stereo signals separately if you wish.

Despite the sound output now coming from these new tracks, you will still need to keep the original instrument track as this is holding the plug-in, this is unless you convert the track outputs to new audio regions…. next is how.


Exporting the multitrack drums as audio

If you are working on a computer which is struggling to run the plugin consistently, or you would rather work with audio regions as opposed to editing the sounds within the plug-in, you can export the sound feeds. This is a pretty simple process similar to what we looked at before but instead of picking up the plug-in feeds using auxiliary tracks, we will instead use audio tracks. Once you are happy that each of the audio tracks are receiving the correct sound feeds, you are ready to record them.

Quick Tip: Ensure that you are happy with the levels and MIDI recording/performance before recording or else you may end up wasting time re-recording afterwards.

Simply record enable the desired audio tracks and then play/record your session through, if all is set up correctly you should see the region waveform as the recording occurs in real time (as if you were recording a live drummer).

When you are happy with your new recordings you can make the instrument track inactive to save your computers processing power. To deactivate the track, right click the track name and selecting ‘make track inactive’ this menu will also give you the option to hide the track from the mix window view as well.

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