Drum recording thread.

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Thread: Drum recording thread.

  1. #1

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    Drum recording thread.

    I've been wanting a thread to discuss drum recording in general with people that actually record drums or are looking for tips, looking to give tips etc.

    I personally record drums in my basement, low ceiling small room. I use an audix d6 inside the kick, two i5's on snare, 421s on toms and cascade fatheads on overheads. i've been getting better results lately as i learn more every session.

    I tend to bus the kick, snare toms and over heads out first and then bus those to a main drum bus. depending on the band i'll gate out the kick and snare, sometimes the toms but tom gating can be touchy with my setup since the walls are so close, i get a lot of bleed.

    i usually send the kick, snare and toms to a short reverb, leaving the overheads alone, just a little eq really. maybe a touch of comp.

    lets leave the sample replacement talk for another thread, i don't have anything against sample replacement or blending samples(i've done it a lot) but i'm more interested in actually recording drums for this thread.

  2. #2

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    I use different techniques/approaches depending what drums a drummer has or what kind of sound(style) he wants.
    I use a shure mic drum kit.
    Generally I send snare and toms to the same bus to add reverb, other effects like eq/comp etc I do in their own separate tracks.
    Kick and overheads I work separate.
    Then I send everything to a master bus and do some polishment like comp/eq/warmer etc.

    But like I said it all depends on what a band wants, some want a very raw sound almost like live, others want a very produced sound which generally they heard from a band they like.To me drums is the most difficult instrument to record cause generally, drummers want a sound that doesn't exist so I have to work like a horse trying to achieve what they want.

  3. #3

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    Its all about phase with (real) drums.

    A couple of quick tips:

    High pass OHs and ambients as high as you dare for faster, tighter drums, or where phase differentials are murking up/killing your low end.

    Draw an imaginary line down the centre of the kick and the centre of the snare. That is your line of phase coherence for your centre. OHs should be equidistant from that line.

    Gradually increase the distance of mics from toms as the toms get deeper, to keep consistent proximity effect and allow the lower RTs and FTs to be clear.

    Tune em. Obviously.

    New heads for anything even slightly serious. Obviously.

    Mics like i5s with massive amounts of off axis rejection can save your arse in the mix, even if you like their sound less in the raws. Take heed.

    Hats are evil.

    People seem to forget a lot that much of the a drum mix happens (or at least can be very hard to get away from) in the balance of how the drummer played. Things like hat bleed into snares and ride vs hat vs crash levels in OHs are best controlled this way. Pay very close attention to it.

    Drummers are evil.

    The room, the drums and the condition/setup of the kit matter much more than the mics.

    The drummer matters more than those, and is evil.

    I've encountered two responses to talking about tuning drums from drummers. 1: Blank face. 2: Something to the effect of 'I need to get round to doing that'. Silly, evil drummers. Do it for them.

    Micing individual cymbals is good for one of two things: Cranking them in the drummers phones so he backs off something he just cant seem to stop hitting too fucking hard, or the obvious, individual adjustment.

    Ambients are cool. I've never not used an ambient. Stick one mic wherever in the room it sounds best and most balanced.

    Best way for drummers to monitor: IEMs with big ass industrial ear defenders over them. Feed them a click, maybe some kick and possibly anything you want them to back off on.

    You can track drummers with a guitarist for band interaction/live feel in the timing and dynamics by having a guitarist play along with the drums. Bassist should work better, but for some god forsaken reason it rarely does.

    String. String is good. String lets things that need to be equidistant from other things be equidistant from other things. Like spaced pair OH from snares. Yay.

    Use spaced pair. XY and ORTF and blah blah can all go fuck themselves, its not 1975 any more.

    Didnt expect to type so many things. It'll do for now. Someone elses turn.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDV View Post
    Drummers are evil.
    The worst problem I have with drummers is rock & metal drummers hit too hard......everything.When I ask if they ever heard about dynamics, they answer "dude hitting hard makes them sound diferent".
    Of course they sound different but do you want your drums sounding the same during the whole song?(sometimes the whole album).
    They always make a weird face like if I was speaking aramaic.
    I tell they don't need to hit hat and crashes that hard cause they bleed into all mics and even if they didn't still they're loud already, they don't need somebody hitting them like a hammer.
    They give that "they sound different" again.

    If you want drums sounding the same during the whole song without dynamics, buy a drum machine
    Oh and about tuning their drums...................I gave up a long time ago

  5. #5

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    They're not just evil Mark, they're fucking stupid.


    I know they're expensive, and I can sympathise as it's not exactly the same as changing strings, but if you've already paid an engineer a few hundred quid for a session, what's a little extra for new heads to make sure it's completely optimal? It really is night and day.

    Also room mics, as Mark already touched on. They make the kit feel alive. Even if you're going for "tight" they still work. Either engineer them accordingly or use some sound design at mix stage (gates, transient designers, eq, comp, etc) for your desired flavour.

    But you can do all kinds of neat tricks with ambients that add all sorts of nuances. Where with close-mics you can't be quite so lax or experimental about it all (especially for metal) room mics are the fun part. Whack a LDC about 10ft from the kit and put an upside-down steel bin over it? Yeah why the fuck not. Compress the fuck out of it - instant dirty 'verb!
    Recording. Mixing. Mastering. Editing. Re-Amping.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Nov 2012
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    A good question is how much time drum skins last?
    Of course it depends on how much a drummer plays so let's assume he plays some days more, some less, some gigs in the weekend etc, so 2-3 hours per day an average.
    After how much time should he change skins?
    I play drums too but I don't have a clue so maybe somebody here could gives us that info

  7. #7

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    Not much to add to what MDV posted - that's excellent, dude.

    For rock music, simpler techniques like the Recorderman or Glyns techniques (google) can be quite effective in less-than-ideal rooms, but they're probably not going to work for metal sounds.

    From what little drum tracking I've done... Phase alignment is huge. Definitely take up MDV's string suggestion - tape one end to the center of the snare, and then use it to make sure your overheads are EXACTLY the same distance from the snare. Then, after tracking, go back and manually phase-align your different tracks so they're in perfect alignment. It really does make a difference in the perceived "punch" of a kit.
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew View Post
    Then, after tracking, go back and manually phase-align your different tracks so they're in perfect alignment. It really does make a difference in the perceived "punch" of a kit.
    At the expense of all of the size of the kit.

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