BFD room/ambience channels, hybrid kits and studio reverbs


How do you approach BFD drums mixing when using a product like the IK Sunset/FAME studio reverbs or similar?

I mean, using BFD room/ambience channels doesn’t get in the way of the “studio reverbs” task to impart a cohesive “in the room” sound to the whole mix, including not just the drums but all instruments?

In a related question, how a BFD “hybrid” kit deals with the room/ambience channels? For example, let’s say I load a Horsepower kit, then replace the snare by one from another expansion. Isn’t a resulting “room” sound mismatch in doing so?

Thank you!


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In the DAW, I add my own snare plate, toms room and and a very slight ambience to the whole drum mix, but I’m mixing in the BFD3 ambience channels as well.

Depending on how much of your own spaces you’re adding, you may want to tone back a bit on the BFD Room and Ambience channels.

I like to get the drum mix happening first, with just the BFD3 directs and amb channels and then see what I’m going to need to add.

That’s a great question about how it handles those amb channels when switching between expansions. I thought about this myself recently.

great question, and of course dependent on genre/style/desired results.

BFD has always been my goto for an “open” (organic? natural?) kit sound. all BFD channels are routed to the DAW but I’ll often start with the ambient channels and add in kit pieces.

BFD FX are good enough and sometimes get used as part of a “kit piece sound”, -except- for reverbs/delays which are done in the DAW. and that can be the tricky part, no matter what you’re using. most of the work is in keeping the low end clear, the mud out of the mids and keeping the high end (cymbals) from getting too “washy/phasy”. I find I need a fair amount of HPF on both verbs and delays in the DAW to maintain “impact/presence”. and really watching any compression on the high end. It’s an art…

fwiw, all my kits are “hybrid”. (can’t recall ever using a preset, maybe i should…) snares seem to do just fine as they usually get the compression/verb needed to hold their own in a full mix. I seem to have more trouble getting toms to sound like part of a kit…

For that type of hybrid or mixed-ambience kits I usually don’t mind the mixed rooms (if the room of the mismatched snare is a sound I want like a bigger room etc), but if I hear a clash I will keep the original snare loaded but mute the close mics, then link/layer the new mismatched snare and mute the room mics, then I will tune the original snare to match the mismatched snare and I find that usually gives me the best of both worlds.

In general though there’s so much cheese on snares that we’re used to hearing that it’s completely fine to use one with a mismatched room, it’s when you have mismatched toms and cymbals that things start sounding wrong. Sometimes I will load a second snare just for its room mics and mute the close mics.

Also I have no set rules for what gets bussed out of the plugin into my DAW for additional processing, early on I followed some silly principles of keeping either everything in the plugin or everything in the DAW, but I find it works well to keep my primary mix in the plugin going to the main output, then buss out a bunch of aux channels into my DAW so I can add more expensive reverbs and different types of harmonic distortions/compression before mixing it all together in a main group track. Also I will have a set of just room mic auxes going out into the DAW for all kinds of silly tricks, including running room mics through additional reverbs. No rules, just do whatever sounds and feels good.

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I’ve found the ambience/room in BFD far more suitable than any send->reverb, regardless of the reverb or MIR Pro as the room and regardless of mixing room internally. I automate ambient channels; I like outputting ‘Room’ to the host and riding gain depending on what’s happening. I like the plate in an Aux channel and the inverse plate, and automating a send level from Aux1 to Aux2 with one of each in those two (and watching levels of those channels). At this point I use zero external reverb or delay for drums; my VSL cymbals are happy in MIR Pro and I get a nice blend of the two somehow. Both int. and ext. wet doesn’t work well for me.,


Hello, thank you for sharing your experiences.

Unsurprisingly, I can see there is no silver bullet.

I usually go for a preset that is within the ballpark of the sound I am aiming for, and adjust from there. Once I get a mix I like, I route the raw channels to my DAW and replicate whatever FXs were in the BFD mixer. Nothing against BFD FXs, I just prefer no to go back and forth between the DAW and BFD mixer.

This approach have served me well, but then I have all these beautiful snare and cymbal expansions wanting some action. Also plenty of reverbs and a couple of studio emulators. I guess the key to solve my dilemma is to experiment… some of your ideas shared here will definitely help.

Thanks again