Izotope Neutron's Multiband Gate can clean up a drum sample to fit perfectly in the mix. To improve the clarity of your music, keep reading.
Below you'll find the step-by-step I used to fix a strange noise on the kick drum sample while mixing one of my songs.
Of course it would have been easier to replace the kick. The thing is: sometimes we really like the sample, right?
I didn't want to replace that one. It was already tuned to the song's key, had a nice low end and a nice thump.
The problem we'll fix with a Multiband Gate
Sadly there was a sustained high frequency that simply didn't fit the mix.
It sounded like the kick was layered with a high-hat sample and some reverb. It was clashing with my own hi-hats and percussion.
Therefore, the whole mix lost clarity.
You can find all the audio examples in the video above.
When you hear the isolated kick, it doesn't sound like it will be a problem.
But in context — with the rest of the drums and instruments — it didn't work.
I had to deal with it.
And the right tool to fix this problem is a Multiband Gate, like the one included in Izotope Neutron.
How a Multiband Gate works
This article is not sponsored. However, I recommend you check Izotope's website for great mixing tools.
In case you're wondering which version this is, I got the advanced version that came with their music production bundle.
The video above was recorded before they released Neutron 4, although the steps are still the same.
With a multiband gate, you can isolate the sustained part of problematic frequencies and cut it while preserving the transient part — crucial on a kick drum.
Multiband Gate step-by-step
First, use the solo button to find the exact frequencies where the undesired sound starts.
Then make the gate affect just that band — in the example above, I made the separation at around 2.1kHz.
The oscilloscope allows you to quickly visualize the waveform — and position the threshold line below the peak.
The other parameters work just like any gate.
The ratio is how much gain reduction will be applied when the gate closes.
Leave the attack at zero so the gate opens fast and you don't miss the transient part.
If you increase the attack, the transient will be gone too. That would ruin your kick.
The release control helps us fine tune the speed at which the gate goes from open to fully closed.
A fast release keeps only the transient.
In our example, the lower band remains unaffected — the gate does not act on this range.
Why not use a regular gate effect?
If you try to use a conventional gate effect to address this problem, you will gate the low end of the kick drum, making it a short sample.
It would lose it's purpose and power.
Why not use an equalizer?
If you try to use an equalizer to cut the high frequencies, that will affect the whole sample — transient and decay.
That would result in a dull kick drum, which could work in certain songs. It certainly didn't work in mine.
Why not use a transient shaper?
The first effect I tried to remove that undesired sound was a transient shaper — the gate effect is somewhat a drastic measure.
The Multiband Transient Shaper included in Izotope Neutron did reduce the sustain, but it wasn't enough.
There was still some of that high-hat layer — it wasn't the right tool for this task.
A Multiband Gate is laser-targeted
The Multiband Gate is the perfect solution for that type of problem.
It preserves the low end while cutting the high frequencies short.
In about 20 seconds adjusting the controls, you'll achieve a kick drum sound that matches the song's vibe.
No need to go out of your way looking for another sample.
In my case, that would have taken more time since I'd have to adjust the low end, the duration and the tuning to ensure it didn't conflict with the bass.
What else can a Multiband Gate do?
This technique is not just for kick drums.
You could use a multiband gate to completely reshape the envelope of any sound with surgical precision.
You can remove the attack or sustain at any specific frequency range, while preserving the other frequencies.
I don't have a Multiband gate plugin
You can get away with splitting your sample in two — using equalizers in parallel.
Use the low-pass and high-pass filters to create a cross-over.
Then apply a classic gate effect in the chain that has the problematic frequencies.
I believe that's how Neutron does it. But it's a lot faster and convenient. Besides, it probably has a more precise cross-over.
Now it's your turn
Alright! Now you know my ultra secret approach to clean-up specific frequencies out of samples with Izotope Neutron.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
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