Pre programmed EQ settings vs built plug-ins for Live Drum Mixing

I am trying to improve my mixing techniques. I was mixing some live drums in a project and was trying to give the kick and snare an optimal sound and increased presence in the mix. I watched a few YouTube videos on this and while some video hosts believed that using Cubase’s built in plug- ins such as Slate Digital and Brainworx worked best, others said that duplicating the drum tracks and then changing the polarity of one track to offset it’s counter track with a compressor to control bleeding is a great way to get a better drum sound from live recorded drums. While I was watching these videos I was wondering why no one mentioned anything about Cubase’s built in pre-programmed EQ settings? Also, what about the Control Strip? Aren’t these the best and easiest ways to enhance the drum sounds since these settings have been carefully tweaked to bring out the best sound quality possible. I am aware that the desired drum sounds are highly subjective, and even with that said, how do these built in EQ and channel strip settings in Cubase 12 compare to the built in plug-ins? And what about some fairly complex methods that I have seen in other videos? Don’t these pre- programmed settings save time? Isn’t that is what they are there for? Or are those settings not as good in quality as a very detailed manual methods? I know that a great kick sound and snare sound are essential for a great mix. Does anyone have a strong opinion one way or the other?

Thanks for your expertise!


The problem with using presets for this sort of thing is that, for example, a Kick Drum eq preset was not designed using the same kick drum, recorded in the same way, as the one that you are dealing with.

That preset may provide a very useful starting point, though. Kick drums are often eq’ed with a low end boost around the resonant frequency of the drum, a low-mid cut to reduce “muddiness” and a boost somewhere between 2-ish and 6-ish kHz to enhance the attack. So, start with your Kick Drum preset and tweak the precise frequencies (and the amount of boost or cut) to suit the particular kick drum and the style of music. Compression may (or may not, depending on musical style and the sound you are after) help to further enhance different elements of the sound.

You can apply a similar approach to the rest of the kit. Keep in mind, though, that you should also make adjustments within the context of the sound of the whole kit, the balance of the whole song and the style of the music.

That was a helpful tip! Thank you!