025 MixCoachMinute-Led Zeppelin and the Attack Principle

More on those huge drum sounds and how the “attack principle” is at play.. even 30+ years ago


Raw Transcript:

Hey guys, it is Kevin again with MixCoach, another episode of the MixCoach
Minute brought to you by MixCoach Member. Check out MixCoach Member if you
want to get into a community of great mixers, great songs, and great
instruction. Come check us out; www.MixCoachMember.com.

Saturday I left you with a thought and we talked about the Led Zeppelin
song called When the Levee Breaks. I am using that song as an example
because my friend mentioned the song to me because we were talking about
the bigness of that track, even though it’s probably 20 or 30 years old
now, people still strive to have those sorts of sounds. I mentioned in that
episode that it was about low track counts or fewer instruments to make
bigger sounds and I wanted you to try that. Hopefully that’s working for

Another thought I had on the same subject was he said, “Those drums sounded
huge.” And I am quoting him here, he said, “But, here’s the thing I noticed
is that the drums sounded huge until the guitars came in and then they
pulled the drums down and the reverb down,” which made me think that we
have covered this before, called the attack principle. This is the perfect
example of the attack principle where the drums are loud and your ear
attaches to those drums being loud.

Then when the guitars come in you pull the drums down just a little bit and
the guitars get bigger but at the same time your ear is still telling you
that the drums sound huge again. This is the attack principle in practice.
Use the attack principle to make people’s ears hear things as being louder
than they are. If you have got a drum into, or let us just say that you
have an intro song and you need for the intro to sound big, do not just
leave it, do not just leave the static fader there. This is one of those
things that you do want to ride on an intro like this.

Let just say that you have a big drum intro with just drums, push the drums
up a little bit and then slide them back just a little bit as the band
comes in. People’s ear will go to the drums as being huge and loud, mainly
because they’re loud, and then they will always associate that with the
drums being loud even though the drums are lower in the course of the song.
That’s the attack principle. The attack principle simply says that what you
hear first you associate as being louder, so when you hear the attack of a
base guitar it seems louder than it actually is because you heard the
attack of it, your ear adjusts to that as being the loud sound.

Anyway, another example of a classic Rock and Roll song and how the attack
principle actually is working even in songs that old so, if you want things
to be heard, get the attack of them up a little bit more so that they still
sound natural. But the attack, pull the attack up, let your compressors
work for you a little bit and you will notice that they will seem louder
even though they are not necessarily louder. This is the attack principle
as it pertains to Led Zeppelin.

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the MixCoach Minute and check
out MixCoach Member. I will talk to you soon. Bye.

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