Mixing Home Studio Drums

Mixing Home Studio Drums

Hi Friends, 

I hope you're doing marvellously well! Today, we're starting a new series of tutorials:

I'm going to show you how I mixed the Indie-Pop song "Stay New" by Little Empire from start to finish, using only generic plugins and staying fully in the box. You can download the multitrack session of the song, follow along with the tutorials and mix the song for yourself. – All completely for free. It will be a lot of fun!

Our first lesson is all about Mixing Home Studio Drums.

I believe this tutorial will be very valuable to you, especially if you're in the early stages of your career:
When starting out, most of us don't have the luxury to record in high-end studios like NRG, United Recording or others, which have beautiful sounding live rooms, great mic selections and make it easy for to get the perfect drum sound at the source.

Instead, you might be recording drums in your rehearsal room or even a small bedroom with a limited set of microphones.

And you know what? IT DOESN'T MATTER!

You can still get a great drum sound out of these recordings by getting creative and applying the right kind of processing in the mixing stage. In today's tutorial I'm going to show you how!

The drums we're mixing today were recorded in a bedroom-sized room at my home studio, with a minimal mic setup and a drummer that played quite dynamically. A perfect example of what most of us are working with on a daily basis:

Download Multitrack Session

Download the multitrack session of "Stay New" by Little Empire for free and mix the song for yourself:

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Topics discussed in this tutorial:

  • How to mix live drums recorded with a minimal set of mics and use samples and reverb to create a huge drum sound.
  • Drum Bus Compression to add glue to your kit and make it sound cohesive.
  • Tame highly dynamic performances by using compression.
  • How to EQ kick drums, remove room resonance and make them sound powerful and energetic.
  • Enhancing your kick sound and helping it to cut through a dense mix by using samples. 
  • Increase the impact of your chorus by adding extra weight to your drums. 
  • Keep your phase in check to ensure a full and punchy sound. 
  • Snare EQ.
  • Tighten up your snare and remove high-hat bleed using gates. 
  • Creating fake ambience and room sound to make your drums sound big and create the illusion of a live room.
  • Toms: Controlling bleed using volume automation, EQ, limiting and compression to tame dynamics and add impact.
  • Production choices and though process.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and the multitracks. Once you've mixed the song, please post it to our Facebook page and tag Little Empire, so we can have a listen to your mix!

Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,


  • spark240

    Phew….this is going to test me !…Im way behind with proper EQ and phase stuff !

    Thanks Warren ..

    • Warren Huart

      Fantastic spark240! That’s great to hear you are going to be tested!! I wish you all the best! I hope you’re well. Have a marvellous time mixing the tracks! Many thanks Warren

  • Archie

    Great Help Warren Im basically using the standard templates you get with these plug ins, I have the Waves API and Gold Pack and posted on the forum a while back to get help.. which I did and greatly appreciated it was. I still find it all very confusing and i get lost quite quickly. But now with a this as my guiding light no more muddy drums for moi.

    I use SD2 Avatar, NY 2 and NY3 SDX expansions, but as clear and untreated as they can be i still manage to wreck its sound. Im not too sure on checking phase either.. and sometimes it get a bit confusing on YT. Im guessing all the SD recordings are in phase.. a dangerous assumption. Ho Hum!!

    Thanks W, you are a star!!!

    • Hi Archie that’s so amazing my friend! Thanks for introducing our work to new people! I’m really glad you enjoyed the video and found it useful! Have a marvellous time mixing the tracks! Many thanks Warren

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