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  • Drum recording tips

    guys,

    some of you record or play live drums on your records.

    please could you provide some guidance on:
    - mikes (how many? what types? placement?)
    - mixers (tips, tricks, recommendations)

    start with the basic stuff and assume no knowledge of the subject at all. any assistance would be great, many thanks!

    ta!
    http://www.blaxploitation.com
    Chops for show, groove for dough.

  • #2
    Originally posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (theeman @ July 22 2004,14:04)]guys,

    some of you record or play live drums on your records.

    please could you provide some guidance on:
    - mikes (how many? what types? placement?)
    - mixers (tips, tricks, recommendations)

    start with the basic stuff and assume no knowledge of the subject at all. any assistance would be great, many thanks!

    ta!
    As with all these things, Ed, it all depends on what kind of end result you're looking for. Funk drums, hiphop crunchy drums, jazzy etc.

    I'm afraid I don't know much about the mic types (engineer worries about all that), but I do work hard on placement. For a funkier sound, I do this;

    And for a right handed drummer -

    Set up is, kick, snare, one floor tom, 2 floating toms, medium crash left, thin crash right, splash bottom left, medium hats left, ride low right.

    One mic gets placed about three inches away from the snare, between the snare and the hats. Mic picks up snare and hat really well.

    One mic placed as close to the kick drum as you require - experiment with dampness and such like. This ones a special condenser mic - soz, haven't got a name for you.

    One mic placed high behind me over my right shoulder - about 6ft. Picks up ride and floor tom nicely.

    One mic placed high about 6 - 7ft high placed centrally to the kit. Picks the remaining toms and crashes nicely, as well as a bleed from the whole kit.

    This method gives you minimum separation, but gives you a great funk sound. Not too shitty (I seemed to remember Phil Lehmans technique was just 2 mic's - way too shitty for me), but definitely pretty. The mics that we use are fairly cheap standard Shure vocal mics.

    If you're looking for a cleaner hiphop sound, then you'll be looking for the clip on mics, which I've used before. There's a kit available of tiny mics, that get clipped either to the top or bottom of your rims. Separate mic for the snare and one or two suspended for the crashes will sort you out perfectly. With a little patience, you should be able to control the eq of each drum separately.

    One mic placed high above the kit will capture the crashes.

    Tips and tricks?? Ohh there are many - maybe we should yabber next time I see you, cos again it all depends on what you're hoping to achieve.

    Comment


    • #3
      One mic, placed above, in an arc. I've talked to plenty of people about this. Jonny has talked to loads too, if he's around he'll tell you how No Sleep Nigel likes to do it... and he's the best!

      If you mic everything, you just end up with the boring rock sound. Depends on what you want, like the above posts say. But you need space between the skin and the mic, that's for sure.
      http://wakeupanddie.com
      http://weirdgearnyc.com
      http://makethingsmatter.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by [b
        Quote[/b] (Nick Cope @ July 22 2004,15:08)]One mic, placed above, in an arc. I've talked to plenty of people about this. Jonny has talked to loads too, if he's around he'll tell you how No Sleep Nigel likes to do it... and he's the best!

        If you mic everything, you just end up with the boring rock sound. Depends on what you want, like the above posts say. But you need space between the skin and the mic, that's for sure.
        I don't agree, Nick. That's fine if you just want to replicate an old fashioned 60s sound, with little bass in the recording, but useless if you want a relatively modern sound.

        When I playing and recording in bands, it all depended on how many tracks the studio we were working in had (usually 16 or 24 for our budget), but these days, with Pro-Tools, I guess that's not an issue. Personally, I like to feel the kick on a recording.
        http://www.djhistory.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Let's get Nigel in on this!
          http://wakeupanddie.com
          http://weirdgearnyc.com
          http://makethingsmatter.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by [b
            Quote[/b] (ladyboygrimsby @ July 22 2004,15:30)]it all depended on how many tracks the studio we were working in had (usually 16 or 24 for our budget)
            I forgot to add that I've got a 32 track mixing desk. So if I did choose to separate each drum out to it's own channel (which is what mic'ing up to each drum will give - maximum separation), then you've got maximum control over the eq'ing that you give your kit.

            So the boring rock sound you speak of Nick, isn't 100% related to the recording of them, more the engineer hired by the band/record company that's tweaking the sound.

            I like the four mic method cos it gives a great response, a nice thud, as well as that 'bleed' aspect that gives funk recordings their appeal.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't think we've ever used the same set up twice when recording the Guder drums, and even when we have, it hasn't sounded the same

              We started mixing 2 or 3 mics to a stereo pair on tape, but more recently record one channel of kick, one of snare and one of overhead / 'room' mic. Normally SM58 on the snare - between that and the hats like wot Greg says - an electrovoice RE20 on the kick (I've cut a hole in the front skin in the top left 'quarter' and place the mic inside the shell) and an AKG 461 (i think) about 6/7 feet away on the right pointing at the ride. More recently we tried a pair of AKG414's as overheads either side of the kit, with a bit of kick mixed in to taste.

              The first recordings we did were with a really bad Peavey mic (sm58 copy) , a 58 on the snare and another hanging over the rack tom about 2 feet up. Sounded great, but we've never been able to do it again

              Like the others have said though, it depends what sound you're trying to get ...
              FunkyDown
              Facebook | Mixcloud | Soundcloud

              Comment


              • #8
                This thread could go on forever, as it's ultimately a matter of preferences. In my view Greg, maximum separation has it's downsides: firstly, to prevent the other percussion bleeding into each other, you'd have to close mic everything. Doing that reduces the resonance of each instrument. Sure, you can control and EQ each one separately, but how much control do you really have over the overall sound? You may as well just construct drum patterns on a MPC for all intents and purposes...

                Close miking/separating everything just reduces each sound to it's base level. The more you control the recording environment this way, the less room there is for the 'happy accidents' the mixing together of the live sounds as it happens, as opposed to controlling it beyond the mics: it is this that gives tracks their characteristics.

                Yes, you can still control many aspects and a really skilled producer and engineer can work wonders, but you've still got to let the music breathe of its own accord. That's why personally, I'd prefer to control the space and handle the drums as a whole - least as an approach anyway. You've still got to adjust, move things around etc. It's not just a case of plonking down a mic and sparking up the band...
                http://wakeupanddie.com
                http://weirdgearnyc.com
                http://makethingsmatter.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by [b
                  Quote[/b] (ladyboygrimsby @ July 22 2004,15:30)]I don't agree, Nick. That's fine if you just want to replicate an old fashioned 60s sound, with little bass in the recording, but useless if you want a relatively modern sound.

                  When I playing and recording in bands, it all depended on how many tracks the studio we were working in had (usually 16 or 24 for our budget), but these days, with Pro-Tools, I guess that's not an issue. Personally, I like to feel the kick on a recording.
                  Yeah, but you like disco, Bill!

                  http://wakeupanddie.com
                  http://weirdgearnyc.com
                  http://makethingsmatter.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think the only real consideration is having a kickass drummer!

                    I HATE that kick sound on modern recordings when you can hear the top end of a kick like in that shite Jooolz Holland prog (shoot the engineer on that excuse for a moosic prog) BANG BANG!
                    Go on wit'cha bad elf

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by [b
                      Quote[/b] (Nick Cope @ July 22 2004,18:28)]
                      Originally posted by [b
                      Quote[/b] (ladyboygrimsby @ July 22 2004,15:30)]I don't agree, Nick. That's fine if you just want to replicate an old fashioned 60s sound, with little bass in the recording, but useless if you want a relatively modern sound.

                      When I playing and recording in bands, it all depended on how many tracks the studio we were working in had (usually 16 or 24 for our budget), but these days, with Pro-Tools, I guess that's not an issue. Personally, I like to feel the kick on a recording.
                      Yeah, but you like disco, Bill!

                      Mmm, let's see... music using well recorded drums: every Afrobeat record of note, including everything by Fela Kuti, all the good James Brown and JB's albums, 90% of all the breaks used in hip hop, every hip hop record ever made, anything by Steve Gadd from Pastime Paradise (Barretto) to Late In The Evening (Paul Simon), all the good dub and, yes, disco... I rest my case.
                      http://www.djhistory.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yeah, the JB's drum sound is the one I'm really striving to get. Clean, but with plenty of breathing space. Same goes for the NVG late 60's early 70's Blue Note sound. Technical considerations aside, the fact that I'm a shit drummer isn't helping though
                        FunkyDown
                        Facebook | Mixcloud | Soundcloud

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by [b
                          Quote[/b] (Dr Rubberfunk @ July 23 2004,10:31)]Technical considerations aside, the fact that I'm a shit drummer isn't helping though
                          At least you hold the sticks by the right end.
                          www.thesoundlibrary.net <- Changed URL

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            i&#39;m looking for a punchy, crisp sound, like say ceccarelli - gang progress. more late 70s jazz-rock than funk.

                            there&#39;s definitely two schools of thought here - close miking vs. two condensers. there&#39;s some late 60s / early 70s technical info from abbey road showing them using two Neumanns not overhead, but out the front of the kit at waist height. apparently some fo the later beatles material was recorded like this.

                            similar techniques with bonham on led zep 4 too.

                            i&#39;m with the kick drum fans. it needs to feel like it&#39;s kickign you in the chest, but not too toppy. a fat, crisp snare is important too.
                            http://www.blaxploitation.com
                            Chops for show, groove for dough.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              hi ed,

                              just a few quick hints and tips from me - i&#39;ll try and keep it short. having worked for you in the past a little bit, i reckon i might offer some bits you&#39;ll like here...

                              regardless of how you&#39;re placing the mics, how you&#39;re mixing and eq&#39;ing and which engineer you&#39;re working with, if any, consider the following little tips:

                              1) - think about using a little creative compression on the kit as a whole. use a fairly slow attack, a fast release, a compression ratio of say 6:1 and place the threshhold so that you&#39;re getting at least 3-6dB of compression action. these are ballpark settings - it will need a little fine tuning to get the best from it. also, consider the type of compressors on offer to you - i always favour a good all-valve design over everything else and think it goes a long way to helping achieve a solid, upfront sound with a bit of vintage character. the overall effect of this setup is to make the drums pump and breathe a bit more - good compression can turn a good drum sound into something special.

                              2) - use some good all-valve eq on the kit as a whole, too. nothing brings out the sizzle of a well-played ride cymbal or the slash of hi-hats than a little &#39;air&#39; at around 16khz. unfortunately, most desk eq&#39;s these days feature mediocre eq (that&#39;s a very subjective comment&#33 but you should make sure you have access to a nice outboard all-valve unit. general solid-state or (dare i say it) digital eq is fine for creating a bit of space within a mix generally (especially when cutting rather than boosting frequencies) but it won&#39;t tickle your ears in the same way when using it creatively.

                              3) - here&#39;s a little killer for you - once you&#39;ve mixed the kit, done all the above and got it all sounding sweet, print the stereo drum submix (or mono if you&#39;re doing that) to analogue tape, at 7 1/2 or 15 ips. get some saturation happening by going about 3dB into the red on the tape machine. you&#39;ll love the results - use something like a studer, with an older tape formulation - i like ampex (now quantegy) 406, rather than the newer formulations like 456 or 499, for the simple reason that they saturate easier. the saturation acts like a bit of glue to hold the separate parts of the drum kit together as a whole, making the whole listening experience more enjoyable and brings it all upfront more. it works differently to standard compression and complements it very well indeed.

                              there you go - enjoy your drum recording and speak to whoever&#39;s handling the engineering side about these things if i&#39;m not making any sense - i don&#39;t know how basic i was meant to keep it.

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