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Gated Reverb – An In-Depth Guide to the Original Huge Drum Sound

If you’ve ever heard drums from the ’80s, you’ve heard gated reverb. Developed by Hugh Padgham and Steve Lillywhite, gated reverb provides a sustained burst of reverberated sound with a sharp cut-off. 

It’s the secret ingredient to a classic drum sound, but it’s much more than that too. Gated reverb can be used on any kind of track, from a live drum kit to a soft synth, and combined with other processing effects to explore endless sonic possibilities.

In its most basic essence, the gated reverb setup is constructed by applying a generous amount of reverb, typically with a massive room size and a long delay time, to a dry signal. Then apply a noise gate so that once the volume of the reverberation falls below your threshold, the sound will be completely cut off. Sweep your threshold to find the sweet spot for exactly when the noise gate is applied, waiting just long enough to let the drum sound with a short, massive burst, and that’s the sound! 

If you are working with a midi track and looking for an extra crisp sound, one trick to getting an impeccably clean cut-off is to side-chain the noise gate to a muted copy of the dry signal instead of the reverberated signal. This way, you’ll avoid any wavering around the threshold. Just extend the hold of your dry sound and sweep your threshold accordingly.

When working with live drums, obviously the playing field changes completely. If your goal is to emulate the sound of ‘80s drummers like Jeff Porcaro, Omar Hakim, Vinny Colaiuta, Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, Ndugu Chancellor, Peter Erskine, and of course, (duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, blam! blam!) Phil Collins, good news  – the above process covers most of the essentials!

Depending on the drum part and the desired sound, you may find it necessary to track your shells (and perhaps your hats) and then your other cymbals as overdubs. This may end up being an essential step when it comes time to apply appropriate effects levels to these separate tracks on room mics or overheads. 

Furthermore, if you’re looking to truly milk the gated vibe, try muting and tuning down your drums, and having the drummer hit a bit harder. This attack-heavy/sustain-light sound works well with the reverb to let the reverb do its job without muddying the sound with wet and dry sustain sounding together.

Finally, back in the DAW, you may apply any number of effects in addition to your gated track. For maximum control over the dry and wet signal, you can run the dry and wet signal in parallel, with one chain 100% dry and the other 100% wet, setting levels on each to set the effect level to your preference. With these signals split, automation and further effects can be applied to only the wet or dry signal as needed.

Looking for tips on organizing your signal path? Check out our guide to optimizing effects order in your signal path.

Friday, 14 January 2022
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2021 at SourceAudio in Review


2021 has been a huge year at SourceAudio. Check out the highlights in our 2021 review!


In 2021, we reached 21.7 million tracks hosted by over 2700 catalogs and libraries on the platform.



This year, SourceAudio revenue-generating programs hit new milestones and made music monetization easier and more profitable than ever.

SourceAudio ONE

In 2021, we launched SourceAudio ONE, bringing multi-platform, opt-in blanket licenses deals to music libraries and millions of premium tracks to broadcasters. Every deal comes with full transparency and reporting, built on our flagship management and delivery tools.


YouTube Content ID

In 2021, we started to offer the first 90 days of YouTube Content ID at a 100-0 split! Collecting Youtube royalties with SourceAudio provides better payouts and more powerful tools than any other Content ID provider. Check out our full list of features, a complete interface tour, or read what our clients have to say.


SourceAudio Collect

Global performance and mechanical royalty collection has never been easier than it is now with SourceAudio Collect. Collect from whatever territories you need, from over 72 unique territories around the world, at a competitive revenue split. We handle all the legwork of registering your tracks!


Alpha Libraries for Radio

In 2021, Alpha Libraries for Radio surpassed 2 million tracks, servicing over 4000 users with over 650k tracks downloaded. Alpha stands as the leading provider for premium radio production music, with 6 new albums released every day of the week.


Podcast Music

Podcasters in 2021 trust Podcast Music for everything from single song licenses, to podcast network blanket subscriptions. With over 1 million tracks available for one-stop licensing, it’s the largest production music library just for podcasting and offers a grant of rights that covers everywhere podcasts are used.


In 2021 we released all of these brand new features


SourceAudio Mobile

Our mobile-optimized site went live this year, bringing essential site features into the palm of your hand.


SourceAudio for Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition

Now available in the Adobe Exchange, the SourceAudio extension for Premiere Pro and Audition allows Adobe users to browse SourceAudio-hosted libraries, play tracks, and drag-and-drop audio files into a project, all within their Adobe session.


Music Access Filters

Music Access Filters provide all the power of Music Access Profiles in the same functionality, but allow for multiple filters to be assigned to a single user. Music Access Filters allow your users to toggle their assigned access settings so they can jump between different visibility/download settings in real time.


E-commerce Customer Management Panel

The new e-commerce user management panel allows site administrators to search users, manage user subscription status, see how many download credits users have, and add or remove credits instantly.


Questions about any of these features or programs?

Reach out here

Friday, 10 December 2021
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Upcoming Online Music Industry Events and Resources – Winter 2021/2022

Check out our handpicked list of the best online resources for composers and music businesses this winter!

IMSTA FESTA - December 12, 2021

IMSTA FESTA is a celebration of music technology that brings manufacturers face to face with their product users. These consumer shows have something for all musicians, songwriters, producers, audio engineers, music students and educators in the industry. From industry panels and master classes to software exhibits and song reviews, IMSTA FESTA is a free online event for everyone involved in making music.

Learn more and register here: https://www.imsta.org/2021_germany.php

NY:LON Connect 2022 - January 18-21, 2022

NY:LON Connect gathers top decision makers from the international music industry to discuss and debate key industry issues and set the agenda for the coming year. This marquee global music business summit features a high-level program that explores the future of music, with keynotes and presentations from industry power players focused on driving positive change in the business. In addition, the event offers focused networking opportunities which will build relationships that will impact the international ecosystem for years to come.

Register here: https://nylonconnect.com/

NAMM Believe in Music – January 20-21, 2022

The North American Music Merchant Show’s Believe in Music event offers informational resources for music professionals. Previous years itineraries have included guides for music educators, production tips for pivoting to an online product, audio engineering seminars, and celebrations of culture. View this year's schedule at a glance at the link below which includes on-demand content, global livestreams, and more educational material.

Opt in to be notified when registration opens: https://attend.believeinmusic.tv/

Jason Blume Songwriting Workshop, presented by BMI – February 15, 2022

This February, Jason Blume will provide a constructive critique of one song from each workshop participant and will share a melody or lyric technique. Selected songs will be forwarded to up to 10 publishers (depending on genre). During the more than 25 years that Jason has been teaching this workshop, attendees have had #1 singles, signed staff-writing deals, and placed songs with artists, publishers, and in TV and films.

Learn more and register here: https://www.bmi.com/events/entry/585498

Friday, 3 December 2021
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Customize Metadata Embedded in Track Downloads with Metadata Embedding Profiles

All your essential information, embedded into every track download. SourceAudio Metadata Embedding Profiles allow site administrators to tailor their metadata embedding specifications for each of their users. 

Maintain Thorough Metadata for Embedding With Powerful Editing Tools

Embedding complete metadata starts with keeping your site’s tracks thoroughly tagged.

The metadata embedded in downloaded tracks is pulled from your site in real-time at the time of download, so embedded data is always up to date with all your latest changes.

Alternatively, you can always opt to ignore all on-site metadata so that your tracks are downloaded with the exact metadata they were uploaded with. Just head to Admin Panel → Manage Metadata → Downloading → Metadata Injection. Catalogs checked off in this section will be downloaded with up-to-date metadata from your site. Catalogs unchecked will be downloaded with the exact embedded metadata they had when uploaded. Click to save at the bottom of the section after making any changes.

Read our article on metadata essentials for a complete guide to the fundamentals of your tracks’  metadata.

Metadata Embedding Profiles

For any catalog that has Metadata Injection enabled, you can set exactly how metadata is embedded using Metadata Embedding Profiles and Music Access Filters.

To adjust these settings, head to your Admin Panel → Manage Metadata → Downloading → Metadata Embedding Profiles. Here you’ll find the SourceAudio Standard embedding, active by default on all tracks and users when Metadata Injection is engaged, as well as the tools to create custom Metadata Embedding Profiles.

To customize embedding settings, click to create a new embedding profile, click the double paper icon to make a copy of any currently existing profile, or click the pen/paper icon to edit any existing custom profile. Once you’re editing a profile, use the dropdowns to select which SourceAudio metadata fields will embed into each ID3 standard embedding field and save in the bottom right. These ID3 tag standards ensure that your embedded data is readable by all ID3 tag compliant software such as iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, Soundminer, and more. 

Finally, link your Metadata Embedding Profiles to your Music Access Filters to activate them. Head to your Admin Panel → Manage Users → Music Access Filters, then edit your Music Access Filters by clicking the pen & paper icon, then adjust the Metadata Profile drop-down, and save.

The metadata that embeds on the tracks a user downloads will conform to the settings of the Music Access Filter they’re using and the corresponding Metadata Embedding Profile assigned.

Site administrators also have the option to download samples of any embedding profile or non-embedded files by going to any track detail page  → Edit Track Metadata → Edit (on the Download Now section), and choosing a download option.

Friday, 26 November 2021
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Music Production Essentials: Compression Controls

Compression can work wonders to boost the energy of an audio track, but if you’re new to using the effect it can be difficult to hear and to understand exactly what’s going on. Here’s a comprehensive explanation of the controls on a standard compressor used to shape the effect and generate the sound you’re looking for.

Threshold and Ratio

The threshold and ratio values of your compressor work together to determine the level of the effect – whether your signal will be very compressed, or barely compressed at all.

First, a threshold is set to indicate a volume level so that anything louder than that level will trigger the compression effect, reducing the signal’s volume.

This massively important control will determine how much of your track will have compression applied. Often the threshold is set so that only the peaks are compressed, whereas a very low threshold could compress the whole track, and a threshold that’s too high won’t compress anything at all.

The compressor ratio sets how much the signal is reduced when it goes above the threshold. For instance, suppose at a certain point a track is 12 DB louder than the set threshold. If the compression ratio is 2:1, the compressor would reduce the signal by 6 and allow 6dB of signal above the threshold. For every two DB above the threshold, one DB of that signal is allowed to sound. If the compression ratio is 3:1, the compressor would reduce the signal by 8dB and allow 4dB of signal above the threshold – for every three DB above the threshold, one DB of that signal is allowed to sound.

Anything over a 50:1 ratio is no longer considered a compressor, but instead, a limiter. As the first number increases, this is considered a higher compression ratio, and an infinite compression ratio would not allow any sound above the threshold whatsoever, creating a “brick wall limiter”.

Essentially, the lower the ratio, the more dynamics are allowed to sound.

Attack and Release

The attack parameter on a compressor determines how quickly the gain reduction is applied to signal above the threshold, and the release parameter determines how quickly the gain reduction is backed off.

With a long attack, The compressor will be slower to apply to gain reduction to the signal, and allow the initial hit, or transient, to cut through. With a zero attack value, the compression will be applied immediately.

With a long release, the gain reduction will be applied for a longer period of time. With a short release value, the gain reduction effect will go away more quickly, allowing the audio level to rise back up if the release is short enough relative to the transient signal.

Not sure where to put compression in your signal path? Check out our guide to optimizing effects order!

Friday, 19 November 2021
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