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Author Topic: Recording Drums  (Read 1383 times)

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Offline ScienceForGiants

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Recording Drums
« on: August 08, 2011, 11:24:29 PM »
Drums are one of my favorite things to record... there is just so much going on with them therefore so much to capture and so many ways to do it.
I thought it might be a cool idea to discuss your favorite way to record and mix drums, or perhaps an inventive way that yielded a unique or interesting sound, things like that!
Ill start :)
I tend to use a pretty straightforward combination of close mic'ing and overhead in recording drums, as i have a smallish, pretty nuetral room that, while not bad sounding, doesnt produce a very large sound, and deems close mics necessary in most cases. I mic the top head of each drum, usually a few inches above pointed toward the center, and generally also a bottom mic on the snare... but how much i use of this often depends on the genre and the sound of the snare itself. for kick, ill usually have the front head off with a pillow inside, and a mic with good low end response positioned at the end of the opening pointing slightly off center at the batter head, tends to yield a great punchy full sound. for overheads i really have found that i like using 2 cardioid ldc's as a spaced pair, sitting pretty low (about head level while sitting at the drum kit, maybe a bit higher) spaced wide with one pointing at the high-hat and the other at the ride. i find this usually makes for a pretty full representation f the kit and a fantastic stereo image. Sometimes i will have the overheads oriented in an x-y setup up over the drummers head pointed pretty sharply downward at the center of the kit, usually using small diaphragm pencil condensers. If i want an extra big sound without using much digital reverb and have a good extra condenser laying around, ill set it up down the hall or next room over in the kitchen and move it around until i get a nice reverberant sound and mix that in to taste.


I change this up a lot depending on what im going for or how creative im feeling, but this is a simple setup that i know i can fall back on and pretty quickly get a good sound.


So now your turn... what are your favorite tricks and techniques here? :D
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Offline Glenn

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Re: Recording Drums
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 05:29:35 AM »
Hey SFG, welcome to the Forum!  Nice to have you here, and a great topic too!

Drums are one of my favorite things to record... there is just so much going on with them therefore so much to capture and so many ways to do it.
I thought it might be a cool idea to discuss your favorite way to record and mix drums, or perhaps an inventive way that yielded a unique or interesting sound, things like that!

Yep, also one of the most challenging instruments / gear to record. 
If you can learn to record many and varied sets of drums, you can pretty much handle anything that may come your way with other instruments as well.  You learn so much to do with the 'sound' of a drum, from pitch, to tone, to sustain, ... dynamics...almost everything involved with sound can
happen with drums. .. the good and the not-so-good.  lol.

Quote
Ill start :)
I tend to use a pretty straightforward combination of close mic'ing and overhead in recording drums, as i have a smallish, pretty nuetral room that, while not bad sounding, doesnt produce a very large sound, and deems close mics necessary in most cases. I mic the top head of each drum, usually a few inches above pointed toward the center, and generally also a bottom mic on the snare... but how much i use of this often depends on the genre and the sound of the snare itself. for kick, ill usually have the front head off with a pillow inside, and a mic with good low end response positioned at the end of the opening pointing slightly off center at the batter head, tends to yield a great punchy full sound. for overheads i really have found that i like using 2 cardioid ldc's as a spaced pair, sitting pretty low (about head level while sitting at the drum kit, maybe a bit higher) spaced wide with one pointing at the high-hat and the other at the ride. i find this usually makes for a pretty full representation f the kit and a fantastic stereo image. Sometimes i will have the overheads oriented in an x-y setup up over the drummers head pointed pretty sharply downward at the center of the kit, usually using small diaphragm pencil condensers. If i want an extra big sound without using much digital reverb and have a good extra condenser laying around, ill set it up down the hall or next room over in the kitchen and move it around until i get a nice reverberant sound and mix that in to taste. 

From what you've described, it sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on set up and approach, with respects to mic'ing etc.   I agree with you about enjoying a good wide, full, stereo image with the kit.   
Good idea using the extra mic for some 'ambience' some distance from the kit.


Quote
I change this up a lot depending on what im going for or how creative im feeling, but this is a simple setup that i know i can fall back on and pretty quickly get a good sound.


So now your turn... what are your favorite tricks and techniques here? :D

I agree, it's a good idea to stay flexible, even though certain ways do become 'tried and true', one must always be 'open' to new ways of doing the 'same thing'..with different results...depending on what your going for.

Here's a little tid bit...   
For a thicker snare sound, you can record the kit as usual, - and if the snare is on it's own track, you can put just the snare track on the monitors, taking a feed or one of the monitors and placing it on the floor, face up...then place the snare across the speaker, snares up, then play the snare track back through that monitor... put a mic on it, and record that track for fatter thicker 'snare' sound.  You can also try some crazy EQ or filtering, or phasing in combo with this, for a 'different' snare sound that gets mixed into the kit sound.

For a 'gated' type of snare sound, or toms, a piece of muslim cloth taped near the rim of each drum can help control 'ring' when other drums are being hit, acting similar to a 'gate' effect, but in a very subtle way.  It really does help keep them silent while not being played, making for an overall better, cleaner sounding kit.

Speaking of 'gates'... I love running a snare through a noise gate, after it passes through a reverb unit, ... applying heavy gating... and riding the input gain up so the signal stays 'open' for a half second or more, depending on the tempo of the tune... add's a really nice effect. Same on toms, for certain fills.

I have even added 'white noise' into that snare signal so that the white noise is triggered every time the gate opens for the snare track - so there is a heavy 'shhh' from the snare and at the same time  the white noise is triggered and adds to the 'shhh' sound, but all is quickly 'silenced' in between each hit...so a rhythmical and extended 'snare' sound is created... I think this could be called the 'Phill Collins" drum sound (of the 80's I guess) as in the tune, Another Day in Paradise.  I love that sound.. and it took me about a year to figure it out - playing with all kinds of noise things and snares trying to mimick his sound.  .... fun !!

Ok, enough of me for now...lol...

good topic SFG!!  :D
next...

Happy Recording
Glenn
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 05:38:31 AM by Glenn »
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