Routing Question: Drum(s)->Reverb->Compressor

Say I want to compress a mono snare drum that has reverb on it.

What is the best way to do that?

  1. Insert Compressor on the snare track. Send to reverb FX channel as a pre fader send?

  2. Send drum track to the reverb FX Channel and then output the snare track to the an FX Channel with a compressor inserted?

  3. Or, is the send/return of a mono snare track a linear function , so that if I send/return first to a Reverb FX channel and then to a Compressor FX channel that will accomplish my goal? It’s confusing because typically a reverb is stereo, while a compressor is mono. Does that make a difference in how the sound is processed in Cubase?

Thanks for your responses.

All depends on what you want to achieve?

Simple way, insert comp on snare track, use send to rev/FX track (post fader)

Thanks for your reply Split.

I want my drums to sound upfront even when using reverb.

I read an interview with Eric Valentine where he said “the most important thing for keeping that upfront quality when adding artificial reverb is blending in the reverb before compression. This is how I think about it. If the reverb is being sent to the compressor with the drum sound that is being sent to it, lets say 10db of reduction on the significant hits, then what is really happening is that the reverb is being turned down 10db when ever the drum hits and then swelling back up to the audible volume in between the hits.”

He also said this, which I believe is based on using compression and reverb on an entire drum bus: “Whenever you have multiple things sent to a compressor what ever the loudest element is will essentially be ducking all of the quieter elements in the blend. With drums and artificial reverb it makes it so the hits stay dry and you only hear the reverb tails in between the hits.”

Pretty much right imo

Sometimes parallel compression can help a lot. with a kit reverb before the compression.
It’s a complex subject with multiple solutions depending on the scenario.
Compression on various elements of a kit and or the whole kit, in single or parallel or even more, it really depends.

That makes it very difficult to say anything definitive about how to go about achieving a “sound”

I would go as far to say to remember that a drum kit is an instrument and should mostly (but not always) treated as such, rather than a collection of individual elements!

Yet, overheads and room mics are so different than individual mics. So, imo dealing with them is different than dealing with kick/snare/tom and hat mics.

Split wrote:
I would go as far to say to remember that a drum kit is an instrument and should mostly (but not always) treated as such, rather than a collection of individual elements!

I agree.
Keeping the drums up front by manipulating/compressing the reverb is a fun way to make your production sound nice and weird.
If on the other hand, you want to fool someone into thinking that you have a real drummer in a real space, then you have to keep in mind that all real world reverb comes back to your ears in a filtered version of what initially comes to your ears as the direct sound. After limiting the kit to be as fat as I want it, I find that it’s most convincing to me when I send that result to my favorite room reverb. Then there’s a more cause/effect relationship between the two.

BTW, if the goal is to make the drums seem closer to you, are you aware that the pre-delay/initial return adjustments on the reverb are designed for that? The rationale is that if you’re standing next to the drums, you’ll hear the direct sound first, then the reverb will come back a millisecond later for each foot the sound travels to the wall and back to your ears.
That’s a more realistic way to separate the drums from the reverb, without messing up the reverb’s decay algorithm through the compressor.
Besides, if you try your method, you’ll see that the drums just plain sound dry, especially on that highest dynamic points, where you probably don’t want them to sound dry. (I’ve tried it that way) So why bother to use reverb on the drums at all?
Then, after the compressor opens up, you just have that detached unrelated reverb bouncing around in your mix, muddying up everything.

So anyway, that’s been my experience, so now I’ll just negate all that by admitting that my favorite drum sound in the world is limiting them through an 1176 limiter, to the point that the actual drum room’s ambiance starts to stretch.
It’s hard for me to explain why this sounds good to me after laying out my arguments above.
My opinion is that this kind of compression mimics the way our ears limit/distort when we’re in a room with drums, cuing us that the drums are just too damn loud! :open_mouth: