Sound Radix Drum Leveler

Make those drums sit just right
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The best intentions notwithstanding, drums are an orchestra unto themselves, and as such, they’re a bear to mix. Often the internal dynamics of a drum track may cause one kit piece to stand out too much or, conversely, not hit hard enough. What do you do with a stem track if ghosted snares get lost in the sauce?

Sound Radix Drum Leveler is at heart a dynamics processor, simultaneously encompassing compression and expansion, but with a twist or two. It gives you control of the gain for individual beats without affecting bleed or adding any of the artifacts that crop up when processing transients. Part of that talent lies in its advanced real-time beat-detection capabilities: You can zero in on just the hits you need to change by setting upper and lower thresholds to reach a target level, leaving hits outside the threshold completely untouched. For further focus, you can set the plug-in to operate in stereo, dual mono, and mid-side modes.

Do you want to raise a weak kick drum and toms while taming an occasionally overzealous snare? Our reviewer did this—and without boosting the already pronounced cymbals—in a stereo track. He declared without qualification that Sound Radix Drum Leveler is a “product every mix engineer should own,” and we agree.