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jon
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Drum overhead mix techniques

Most of us fellow slutz seem to agree that the overhead mic(s) on a drum kit are pretty critical to the sound of the kit.

In the genres you've been working on lately, are you using compression much on the o-heads....if so, with which comps, and how much GR do you like?

Are you using using slower attacks to let the snare through, or quick attack to get less hit, more ambiance? How fast a release?

How about EQ -- how much EQing do you do? Are you filtering out lots of subs, low mids, or mids...or leaving them butt-naked natural?

Discuss...
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Agreed Jon.. OH are 'Where its at' for us relative to drum tones.

My fave method is to have a pair of 414eb's setup like the well documented 'recorderman' method. And then have an addtional pair of Km83 omni's about a foot or so (depending on drummer, stlye setup etc...so long as it sounds good who cares?) above the cymbals for capturing the air and attack of cymbals.

The 414's are multed out to an original 'straight' pair and a pair which is compressed and EQ'd with 1073's and the Variable MU (until i sold it) for these.. one if its great uses is to capture and soften those tranisent and get alil bit of level consistency to drummers who cant do it themselves.

On the compressor front i have had great success with both Variable mu.. my favourite and most expensive application for this comp, Al Smart C2 (**** is there anything it wont do!) Urei 1178 for fantastic for muscular and punchy overhead sounds. Generally i wont compress to hard just to tighten up image and or sound a little. a few dB here and there can go along way.

EQ wise i am conservately boosting some 110hz for the kik and highpassing everything below 100, cos il would use kik mic and kik 47FET to boost the ultra lows (if the kik has any) where there is more direct control and ability to add impact if its needed.

*pull out 300-500 area for that boxy shitty kik frequncies which some kiks seems to resonate

*Gassing the low mids for snare body (if it needs it) and pulling out some nasty midrange freqeuncies which make snares sounds kinda shitty (snare dependant of course)

Main thing is i just listen to what the OH's are telling me. From there i make a valued judgement as to how i can make the overall drum osund sound great just from the Overheads. I bring in the close mics to add more imapct and dynamics as to help consolidate the already drums sounds i have pulled from the OH's

bring it on cos this is a great thread.. one close to my heart!
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Compressing overheads is a nono for me on tracking

Overhead compression 'occurs' on my work at the mix stage, usually via drum groub / buss compression.

I tweak it at the mix now, incase if f**k it up too much at the tracking stage..
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22nd October 2002
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I'll do a small amount of compression for drum overheads during the tracking and then some more during mix...trakkers, distressors or 1176's all work great. A little before and a little after usually works great always with attack all the way open, release fast to medium fast and low ratio. Compression can really 'open up' the room for guys with limited real estate (including myself)...as long as the room has no problems compression can be a good friend. It's also nice to compress the hell out of a mono ribbon microphone (nuke it!!) after the drummer has played their part by piping the 'fundamentals' of the drum kit (what you would normally put on the drum submix) through the studio monitors and re-recording it. Just put the mic out in the hall with some reflective material around it (like drywall ) and it adds about 1000 sq feet to what you already have.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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I don't do squat to my overheads. I'll put up a pair of mics, maybe EQ them a bit on the way in. Last session it was a pair of AT4031s into Dakings, sucked out a bit at 3khz, boost a bit at 12khz and high pass at 25hz. I hardly ever compress overheads while tracking or mixing. I've tried in past but I just can't get it to work for me most of the time. Any tips?
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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I don't mess with mine either - a pair of KSM 44's into a Great River NV. I'll boost the top end on the mix (and roll off lows, if needed), but the only compression is that of the whole drum buss.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Lately I've been using a Royer SF-12 for OH, with just a touch (2-3db) of slow attack gain reduction from a pair of Trakkers, or occasionally a Peavey(!) VCL-2 (tube opto type).

Scott
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Just finished a steel guitar swing/jazz quartet with an exceptional drummer. Miked him up with 2 Beyer M260's overhead and right shoulder, ran them into API 3124's into Distressors 4:1 I think, 3-4 db GR max no eq. Used a Beyer M-88 on doubled headed kik (pseudo calf skin heads). Also spot miked snare, hat and two toms but didn't use them on the mix except one tune that had room bleed left over after a steel gtr fix. The other four tunes from that session just used the OH's with the kik. Mild eq on kik, flat on OH's. Gorgeous sound. I'll take 5% credit, the rest is due to the player.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Now thaaaat sounds like a groovy kit sound! I love the ribbon over the right shoulder thing.

Any chance you could post a sample? Love to hear it.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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For all the talk there's been about the 'recorderman' OH mic set-up, I'm still yet to see a picture of it.


I'm just better with visuals - anybody?

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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Hey crazybeast, Yeah it sounds great with the right player. I can make MP3's but I don't know how to post them or where...I need to get with that. I have E-mailed them before. I've just got dial up but if you send me an address I'll give it a shot.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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oops, kinda new to forum posting and just now thought to check your profile for e-address. I'll try to send a sample off later.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by VagrantSt
oops, kinda new to forum posting and just now thought to check your profile for e-address. I'll try to send a sample off later.
Cool! I look forward to it.

Cheers.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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Hey DigitMus.

Are you tracking to tape or DAW?

I'm on the fence about picking up a SF12 and haven't decided which way to go.

I'm tracking to tape (75% of the time) and wondering how it sounds. Digitally, it's widely praised as a way of knocking off the edges but I've yet to hear many people mention about using it to tape (although I'm sure lots do).

Anybody else?

With the exception of the mellower Alt/Country stuff I do, I pretty much go for the in-your-face ROCK sound. Digital recordings aside, is the SF12 a little too "not in your face" for this?

I know, I know, I should just try one. But everybodies input helps...

R.
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22nd October 2002
Old 22nd October 2002
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I don't compress OH's while tracking... never seems to work out in a pleasing way for me. I screw with them later if needed.
Quote:
Originally posted by NathanEldred
... It's also nice to compress the hell out of a mono ribbon microphone (nuke it!!) after the drummer has played their part by piping the 'fundamentals' of the drum kit (what you would normally put on the drum submix) through the studio monitors and re-recording it. Just put the mic out in the hall with some reflective material around it (like drywall ) and it adds about 1000 sq feet to what you already have.
Yea man, this can be the shit! I love it. My personal fav' for this lately is the Baby Bottle --> MDP-1a --> Distressor ("Nuke" is the only way to go here!).
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#16
23rd October 2002
Old 23rd October 2002
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Sadly, I don't have a functioning tape machine right now (need a head re-lap on one and major electronic surgery on the 2 track ). I'm tracking to a couple of Mackie HD recorders. As far as the SF-12 sound goes; it's got a lot of detail, a lot of balls, but lacks "air" unless you add some high shelving. On the plus side, it takes EQ really well.

Scott
#17
23rd October 2002
Old 23rd October 2002
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I generally don't do anything to the OHs on the way in. On mix I will add a little high to add detail to the ride cymbal or hats. Sometimes I'll try to bring out the SD, or soften it. I did a record recently where the way the drummer hit the cymbals gave them a very harsh sound. Even when I swapped the cymbals out they still sounded harsh. While mixing I compressed the OHs with a Joe Meek SC2.2. It helped a bit. An RNC can add some nice things to OH mics too.
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23rd October 2002
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I don't think I'd use an SF-12 to tape without lots of EQ on the way in. I tend to like some detail, not super crisp but having some sparkle is nice.
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23rd October 2002
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Yeah, as much as I'd love to buy the SF12 (and Lord knows I'm tryin') I think I'm going to go for two 121/122 for the time being. These'll take care of my stereo needs for right now. Can use them on OH if I want. And it means I'll have TWO!

When tracking, I generally only like to roll-off/highpass on the overheads. KM184's or 451's for maximum sizzle and then add, if needed, a bit a top when mixing. Haven't used 414's in ages. Don't know why, gotta try it again.

I used to use a 1960 on overheads and tap the compressor ever so slightly when tracking (sold it though) but wouldn't mind trying a 1969 in these duties. It seems it'd be nice having the 69 pre's when recording and the compressor for drum-sub/2 Buss when mixing.
#20
23rd October 2002
Old 23rd October 2002
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SF 12 DOES take eq well before AND after recording.

So I do it after,

Before (perhaps for tape) is also very good.
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23rd October 2002
Old 23rd October 2002
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I found a new HIGHLY useful tool this arvo.. that every slut should have if they are serious about tracking and mixing

API 560 graphic... WOW... so musical.. so many 'COOL' band and frequencies to play with! And it never really seemed to get out of control or harsh even when u gassed the 4K..

Nice tight and controlled bottom and rounded top end.. i think th e most valuable app for these in when tracking things like drums in the fact that it can cut and boost some nay good frequencies all in one unit.. If the 1073 has one shortcoming (please rupert allow me into heaven after this small blashepmous statement) is that all the tasty Frequencies are all on the mid band and you can only choose ONE of them..!!!! DOH!!! hence why the 1081's are so popular cos of the extra bands and the cross over frequecies, my SHEPS have that too and more! but these are THE BOMB!!!

I cant wait to borrow/steal/hire some of these for some drum tracking i am going to be doing on a looming project.... this sluts is got a woody for a change and its damn hard to make gear give me a woody unless its Female... too bad gear dont have gender.. i never could get arounds that latin/french masuclaine /feminine thang!

anyways so much of this gear is so sexy it would just have to be feminine!

PEACE
Wiggy

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23rd October 2002
Old 23rd October 2002
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DAMN IT JULES! I'm trying to get talked OUT of buying the SF12!

Something is telling me "spiritually" that I need to check out the SF12.

I was just so dang happy with the 121 (probably going get a 122 though. I reckon it'll be easier to mix and match pre's) that I feel like I'll be committing holy gearslut blasphemy if I don't at least try the SF12.

Maybe if the SF12 isn't in-your-face enough for me on OH I can use it as a room mic to dampen down the granite walls a bit. (?) See, ya got me thinkin' again...

It's a difficult life.

R.
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23rd October 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tim L
I don't compress OH's while tracking... never seems to work out in a pleasing way for me. I screw with them later if needed.

Yea man, this can be the shit! I love it. My personal fav' for this lately is the Baby Bottle --> MDP-1a --> Distressor ("Nuke" is the only way to go here!).
Sounds like a nice setup!
Jax
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23rd October 2002
Old 23rd October 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ol' Betsey

I used to use a 1960 on overheads and tap the compressor ever so slightly when tracking (sold it though) but wouldn't mind trying a 1969 in these duties. It seems it'd be nice having the 69 pre's when recording and the compressor for drum-sub/2 Buss when mixing.
Might seem like a nice idea until you hear the pre's. If you're used to higher end stuff, they probably won't impress you. I think the only difference between the pre's in the 60 vs the 69 is the addition of Burr Brown op amps, which would make the 69 sound silky and cheap as opposed to just cheap.
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24th October 2002
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There's definitely a like/hate (notice I didn't say love/hate) thing with the 1960/1969.

I actually quite liked em' on OH's. Didn't really ever use them on anything else. I think I used the DI a coupla times maybe but that's about it.

Maybe I'll kinda like the 69's Burr Brown's cuz their kinda silky?

R.
#26
24th October 2002
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I NEVER COMPRESS OVERHEADS DURING TRACKING...I USE EITHER NEUMAN KM84S OR SURE SM81S AND ROLL OFF AT ABOUT 85HZ. I ALSO USE A PAIR OF OMNI MICS *87S OR 4050S) A LITTLE FURTHER OUT FOR AMBIANT SOUND....THOSE I ROLL OFF AT 100HZ. I NEVER SET UP SOUND ON CLOSE MICS UNTILL I HAVE THE OVERHEAD SOUND I WANT .
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25th October 2002
Old 25th October 2002
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I like the 414 TLIIs, or the Tracy Korby tube mics as my OH pair.

I like what the OH pr does to the snare and toms as well, so for me it takes quite a while finding the perfect spot to get good even cymbal coverage, good stereo imaging and balance, and all the while keeping the snare centered.

During tracking I print a pretty good amount of my prospesctive tone,
ill roll off at 30-40hz, pull some mud at 300-500 hz, add a little 3-5 khz and a little 10-12khz.

I use the Manley Vari-MU, slow attack, fast or med fast release, just pulling a few DBs to tape.

During the mix I may roll up the filter higher if I want more of a cymbal mix and less of a kit look.

My OH mix compression will very depending on the drummers style, or song style.
If he is riding the crash cymbals, which has been in vogue for a few years, ill squeeze them up pretty good so there is no much transient movement just a wall of slosh. If not ill leave them pretty free, maybe just grabbing the snare hits.


take care
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25th October 2002
Old 25th October 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
Might seem like a nice idea until you hear the pre's. If you're used to higher end stuff, they probably won't impress you. I think the only difference between the pre's in the 60 vs the 69 is the addition of Burr Brown op amps, which would make the 69 sound silky and cheap as opposed to just cheap.
"Silky" was an intentional part of the program... as for sounding "cheap", I don't know what that sounds like.

I know what tone and texture we were going for when the tone of the unit was defined... I know that we hit the mark from the perspective of intention... I know it's a distinct tone and texture that's good in some applications, and sucks hamster dick in other applications... but I have no ****in' clue what "cheap" sounds like.

If you have a moment, could you attempt to define "cheap"? I would appreciate it.

FWIW, I found the pre's in the 1960 to sound like you were trying to pull the audio through a sponge [hated the ****ing things]... the idea was to be very different from those pre's... so in one way, I guess your post says we hit the mark [though not in a way you find useful... which is cool... nothing is right for every one, nor every application, I'm not getting 'defensive', I'm just really curious what "cheap" sounds like].
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#29
25th October 2002
Old 25th October 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ol' Betsey
Are you tracking to tape or DAW?

I'm on the fence about picking up a SF12 and haven't decided which way to go.
The first time I used an SF-12 for an overhead was to tape... Emtec 911 at 15 ips on an MTR-90 mk II. The overall texture was wonderful [the drummer was also using freshly polished cymbals... something I'm not usually to fond of]. For that recording I was using the pre's in the desk [A-Range], no EQ.

Lately, I'm still sold on the SF-12 for overhead applications. I've been recording everything in the digital domain since January of this year [RADAR-24, S-Nyquist converters]. I haven't been back to the room with the A-Range in quite a while... but last time I used the SF-12 I used it with a Manley "SLAM!", and found the results quite pleasing.

Sorry if I'm not doing a very good job of 'talking you out of it'...
#30
25th October 2002
Old 25th October 2002
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Here's another vote for the SF-12 on OH's. I find that I really like it on its own for the "whole kit sound" (maybe a little extra kick mic blended in).

I need to try it on piano...

-Moze
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