When you’re recording or mixing real drums, spill between microphones isn’t something you worry about overmuch, (unless the recording is really bad). Likewise, when you’re using commercial samples, whether a virtual drummer like EZDrummer or single samples from a commercial package, you know that the sounds will have been recorded using high end equipment and you can rely on the quality you’ve paid for when you drop those samples into your song, without worrying about random noises-off.
But what about when you don’t know the provenance of the sample you’re given? I came across this recently, when I mixing a track. The drums were provided from samples that didn’t seem to come from the same source. In particular, the kick drum seemed incongruous – not only was it a fairly hefty electronic whump on what was otherwise a gentle ballad, there was definitely something else about it that wasn’t right. There was indeed a cuckoo in the nest and in this video, I show you how I found it and what I did to silence it.