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!NOOBIES! Mixing Drums without samples (Simple Guideline)
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#91
28th February 2011
Old 28th February 2011
  #91
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Thanks for all these tips. Great stuff for a newbie! In my situation, where I typically record with 4 mics (kick, snare, 2 overheads) as far as phase checking, I've normally done no more than double check that the two overheads are equidistant from the center of the snare head, with a tape measure, or a piece of string. Before I starting doing that I had experienced phasing problems, but since, I don't notice the issue. Am I ok with this, considering just the 4 mics, or am I just lucky so far? Kick doesn't bleed too much into the overheads, and I use gates ITB on snare and kick. Just recording the band.... Thanks.
#92
1st March 2011
Old 1st March 2011
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Hey jonas,

Thanks for the post it was very informative and I'm sure it will help a lot of people.

I do take offense to the lazy engineers part (directed at James Meeker). You do realize that not everyone has access to high calibre drums, a nice big wooden room with a high ceiling and non-parallel walls plus the gear to capture these amazing sounds, right?

When I first started out I had four EV Co4 instrument mics and a Behringer mixer. And a Sound Percussion drum set. I can take that same setup now (I still own all of that gear because the used $$ is garbage), plug into my computer and use samples to make my crappy drums sound better than I could feasibly get on a budget. It's not laziness, it's reality.

Give me $100,000 and I could possibly get the sound I get out of drum samples that cost me $300. Sorry man but I'm not going to get a home equity loan to get great drum sounds. Two hours of studio rental time is about what it'd cost me for a decent set of drum replacement samples.

It'd be cool and give me a bigger e-penis to capture my own great drum sounds but I just don't have the money and neither do the musicians I record. Sorry! This is after all the LOW END theory forum.

The reality is I am recording in a real world basement studio with 8 foot ceilings and not so great drums. As much as I recommend to musicians to change their drum heads or guitar strings or rehearse they don't f*cking listen. All this talk about Mutt Lange and how great records used to sound ignores the realities of music piracy (which kills the recording budget due to less album sales), people's ADHD/fast-food RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW mentality and the fact that most of us aren't working with Madonna or Metallica or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or whomever has the money to afford great engineering.
#93
1st March 2011
Old 1st March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
I do take offense to the lazy engineers part (directed at James Meeker). You do realize that not everyone has access to high calibre drums, a nice big wooden room with a high ceiling and non-parallel walls plus the gear to capture these amazing sounds, right?
You do realize that every professional engineer in the world started out where you are? Somehow they managed to move on and up to better environments and equipment. Maybe you will too.

Either way, the approaches are universal. Not sure how your specific situation nullifies the general principles of drum recording. My examples are "perfect world" situations. If something sounds wrong chances are it deviates from the "perfect world" model outlined earlier. At least you know what needs improvement.

This should be the first rule of audio engineering:

"Hacks blame the gear. Professionals blame themselves."

Best of luck, sorry to offend you so greatly. Thicker skin may be required on your part, or deeper pockets. Or a new hobby. Don't know what to tell you. I can only relate my experiences and that involves real world situations of professional recording. I never liked the basement much, even when I was doing it.
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#94
2nd March 2011
Old 2nd March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
Hey jonas,

Thanks for the post it was very informative and I'm sure it will help a lot of people.

I do take offense to the lazy engineers part (directed at James Meeker). You do realize that not everyone has access to high calibre drums, a nice big wooden room with a high ceiling and non-parallel walls plus the gear to capture these amazing sounds, right?

When I first started out I had four EV Co4 instrument mics and a Behringer mixer. And a Sound Percussion drum set. I can take that same setup now (I still own all of that gear because the used $$ is garbage), plug into my computer and use samples to make my crappy drums sound better than I could feasibly get on a budget. It's not laziness, it's reality.

Give me $100,000 and I could possibly get the sound I get out of drum samples that cost me $300. Sorry man but I'm not going to get a home equity loan to get great drum sounds. Two hours of studio rental time is about what it'd cost me for a decent set of drum replacement samples.

It'd be cool and give me a bigger e-penis to capture my own great drum sounds but I just don't have the money and neither do the musicians I record. Sorry! This is after all the LOW END theory forum.

The reality is I am recording in a real world basement studio with 8 foot ceilings and not so great drums. As much as I recommend to musicians to change their drum heads or guitar strings or rehearse they don't f*cking listen. All this talk about Mutt Lange and how great records used to sound ignores the realities of music piracy (which kills the recording budget due to less album sales), people's ADHD/fast-food RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW mentality and the fact that most of us aren't working with Madonna or Metallica or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or whomever has the money to afford great engineering.
lol.what a rant
#95
2nd March 2011
Old 2nd March 2011
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I think the "lazy engineers" statement is a little bogus. Takes a lot more time and care to properly lay samples across all the tracks. Lots of good stuff has been recorded in basements. Lots of good stuff with replaced drums as well.
#96
3rd March 2011
Old 3rd March 2011
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
You do realize that every professional engineer in the world started out where you are? Somehow they managed to move on and up to better environments and equipment. Maybe you will too.

Either way, the approaches are universal. Not sure how your specific situation nullifies the general principles of drum recording. My examples are "perfect world" situations. If something sounds wrong chances are it deviates from the "perfect world" model outlined earlier. At least you know what needs improvement.

This should be the first rule of audio engineering:

"Hacks blame the gear. Professionals blame themselves."

Best of luck, sorry to offend you so greatly. Thicker skin may be required on your part, or deeper pockets. Or a new hobby. Don't know what to tell you. I can only relate my experiences and that involves real world situations of professional recording. I never liked the basement much, even when I was doing it.
Offense wasn't greatly taken. Thick skin = possessed. I'm just trying to raise awareness to other people recording in their basements that using drum samples is a legitimate practice due to budgetary reasons. It's like telling the guy who drives a stock Honda Civic that he sucks at racing because a Lamborghini owner did a faster 1/4 mile run. WTF?

OK, if we're talking perfect world situations that's fine. And the advice you offered that low end theory (the name of this forum) folks can use is great. I did compliment you on that. I just have a hard time selling authentic drum tracks vs. sampled ones. If I can offer clients a better sounding track with drum samples then f*ck it I am using drum samples.

The source is the most important part. Again I am recording musicians who don't even want to put new drum heads on. A cheap drum set with new heads would sound better. So instead of EQing the hell out of the crappy sounding heads which will get me 70% of the way to a great drum sound I can slap some samples on that are 95% or more with a well-tuned, more expensive recorded drum in a million dollar studio tracking room.

Before drum replacement/samples were introduced I would be bitched at because their drums didn't sound like Metallica's or Pearl Jam's or <insert big band who spent $100,000+ recording their album here>. Now...they can come much MUCH closer as long as they have good chops.

You have to blame the gear if it sounds like sh*t. Sorry! You cannot force someone to buy new drum heads.Or they "forget" to buy them/put them on.

Quote: "Hacks blame the gear. Professionals blame themselves."

If gear didn't matter then the studio listed on your profile (Lava Room Recording) wouldn't record with an SSL 4056 G+ console ($70,000+), a Pro Tools HD system, $1,000+ preamps, vintage compressors, Steinway piano, etc. etc. coupled with a big ass high ceiling. If you can't get a good sound out of that then yes it's time to blame yourself.

You can only squeeze so much quality out with recording engineer principles with low end theory gear. Like you said, you never liked the basement much. The basement is Low End Theory's domain.

Come to think of it, did your post that was copied/pasted on the first message even originate from this forum or another here on Gearslutz? If not then I apologize.

Thanks to modern day software I can get closer to that million dollar sound for a pittance. I'm not going to be working with major label artists but at least I won't have to mortgage the house. If only I could get those darn musicians to change their guitar strings, etc...LOL!
#97
3rd March 2011
Old 3rd March 2011
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Just for reference, here are some tracks recorded/mixed at my basement studio.

mix 1 is with drum samples. Overheads (cymbals/hihats) are real.

mix 2 is non-sampled drums. Real guitar amp up until :31 (guitar solo) then it's Amplitube Fender.

mix 3, just a simple acoustic guitar/vocal arrangement.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 basementmix-1.mp3 (2.00 MB, 439 views)
File Type: mp3 basementmix-2.mp3 (1.38 MB, 375 views)
File Type: mp3 basementmix-3.mp3 (1.30 MB, 216 views)
#98
3rd March 2011
Old 3rd March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
Just for reference, here are some tracks recorded/mixed at my basement studio.

mix 1 is with drum samples. Overheads (cymbals/hihats) are real.

mix 2 is non-sampled drums. Real guitar amp up until :31 (guitar solo) then it's Amplitube Fender.

mix 3, just a simple acoustic guitar/vocal arrangement.
Wicked job man. Samples are a tool, on 2 and 3 they wouldn't work well. On one? They sound great. Here's some of my basement studio (which consists of two 10x10 rooms). DANGERCAT | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos
#99
4th March 2011
Old 4th March 2011
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Thanks Jordan! MySpace totally kills music quality but I can still tell you have some killer tracks too man. It's amazing what can be done with basement recording these days.

Here's an example of why I fell in love with drum samples. What it did to one of my old mixes, with just the snare and kick replaced...sold me. It totally opened up the mix and brought it to life. Too bad the dull sounding tracks are on the CD and not this mix. Oh well!

The mp3 starts without snare/kick samples then cuts. It's very noticeable.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 nosamplesvssamples.mp3 (2.96 MB, 274 views)
#100
4th March 2011
Old 4th March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
I just have a hard time selling authentic drum tracks vs. sampled ones.
The gist of the original poster was how to NOT use samples/replacement. That was the perspective used in my post and direction of the advice I gave.

Obviously sampling/replacement is a useful technique now more than 30 years old. Obviously in your situation it makes sense. The results you get are great, better than most studios that have an SSL, you should be proud.
#101
6th March 2011
Old 6th March 2011
  #101
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i can't wait for everything to be sample replace and guitar sim. any one can get a "good" recording today. it's almost (not quite) to the point where everything "rock" and "metal" (especially metal) sounds like it was done by the same engineer, with all the same band on the same equipment, but backing up a different singer. awesome.
/bitch.
#102
7th March 2011
Old 7th March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giraffe View Post
i can't wait for everything to be sample replace and guitar sim. any one can get a "good" recording today. it's almost (not quite) to the point where everything "rock" and "metal" (especially metal) sounds like it was done by the same engineer, with all the same band on the same equipment, but backing up a different singer. awesome.
/bitch.
Gotta tell you, it beats the days of what I came up with. Boss DR550 drum machine, a Tascam 4 track and a SM57. Heck, even my upgraded system I had in the early 90's with an Otaria MX5050 8 track, Yamaha 12 track mixer and SP900 sucked compared to what you can do with about 1,000 bucks these days.
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#103
11th March 2011
Old 11th March 2011
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giraffe View Post
i can't wait for everything to be sample replace and guitar sim. any one can get a "good" recording today. it's almost (not quite) to the point where everything "rock" and "metal" (especially metal) sounds like it was done by the same engineer, with all the same band on the same equipment, but backing up a different singer. awesome.
/bitch.
Seriously???/ Where is the engineering in that, it wouldn't be you!!!!! it would be the guy who created the sample.....
I think laying samples on everything is very poor engineering,
ProTools oping at most
get out of your chair and move the mic...
you can get decent recordings in your basement, you just have to work extra hard to get it right but it can be done...
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#104
14th March 2011
Old 14th March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A2D View Post
Seriously???/ Where is the engineering in that, it wouldn't be you!!!!! it would be the guy who created the sample.....
I think laying samples on everything is very poor engineering,
ProTools oping at most
get out of your chair and move the mic...
you can get decent recordings in your basement, you just have to work extra hard to get it right but it can be done...
i believe you misunderstood me.
#105
21st March 2011
Old 21st March 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
...Or maybe just eliminate the high hat from the main take and overdub it later (I swear they had to be doing this in the 80's, the high hat is so far to the left or right stereo image).
This is exactly what Hugh Padgham and Stewart Copeland did on the "Synchronicity" album. If I recall correctly (from reading abt. it), they tracked each surface of the kit one at a time, in total isolation.
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#106
21st March 2011
Old 21st March 2011
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
There's enough advice in this thread to get every noob chewin' for months on end. A lot of it they won't grasp until they have more mileage with drums. Later they will be educated enough to "ignore" some of these methods.

I'll repeat two things that were mentioned above but get overlooked often:

Get your tracks in phase. Do NOT time-align them. Phase!
Lowcut on nearly everything. If it's a kick then it's a very low lowcut.
Hicut on most things. It's digital after all.
The more tracks/mics you have the more you should understand what you do.

Print the long posts, study them again and again.

CHECK YOUR EFFIN PHASE. Really.
If you establish that you have a mic out of phase, what's the first step to rectifying that? How much does a mic have to be moved to change the phase and in which direction would you move first?
Is moving the mic the only option apart from an IBP box?

Cheers!
#107
23rd March 2011
Old 23rd March 2011
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd33 View Post
If you establish that you have a mic out of phase, what's the first step to rectifying that? How much does a mic have to be moved to change the phase and in which direction would you move first?
Is moving the mic the only option apart from an IBP box?
You move it until it is in phase. Use your ears and metering. The IBP can make things even more precise.

Also consider increasing its isolation with baffling, off-axis rejection, etc....
#108
24th March 2011
Old 24th March 2011
  #108
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So whats wrong with 7a's?? tutt
#109
31st March 2011
Old 31st March 2011
  #109
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This thread helped me tremendously! I think the thing that helped me the most(which, i never wanted to use an effect across the whole buss like eq) was adding the brightness right from the start on the buss. I found I barely, actually i don't think I really adjust any high end 5k+ on any individual instrument now.

Also, sucking the snares ooompfh out of everything else.

Thank you.

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#110
31st March 2011
Old 31st March 2011
  #110
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To whoever wrote the original post I would like to say a HUGE thankyou, you should definitely sell DVD's, Books or even teach at a School or something, you've tought me more about drums than a 2 year National Diploma has, I hope you see this and for everyone else who's pitched in with ideas and help I really appreciate it and I think alot of other new guys do too,

J
#111
4th April 2011
Old 4th April 2011
  #111
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I am so glad I stumbled onto this thread. I am definitely a mixing noob, and I am a drummer. I'm so bummed that everybody's replacing so much these days, because let's face it, properly-recorded/mixed real drums always sound better. I mean, I love the sound of Hysteria by Def Leppard, but the drum sounds, as good as they sound, are somehow too homogenous for me. Granted that was relatively early on in the technology of sampling/drum replacement, but still, REAL DRUMS ROCK! 'Nuff said. Now to start trying some of this stuff...
#112
5th April 2011
Old 5th April 2011
  #112
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Rich noobies should really take notes here. The rest of us can copy and paste this thread into our "what to do when we can afford an amazing drum kit, room and decent mics" text file. Then copy and paste drums into our sequence.
#113
5th April 2011
Old 5th April 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Math5461 View Post
Rich noobies should really take notes here. The rest of us can copy and paste this thread into our "what to do when we can afford an amazing drum kit, room and decent mics" text file. Then copy and paste drums into our sequence.
you can get a really good drum sound with a bunch of 57's, any old pair of condensers/ribbons as overheads.
in a room you spent 15 min prepping with stuff you stole from the rest of the house.
or even in an untreated garage (the bigger the better of course)

and shit drums.
as long as the heads are fresh and tuned.

but....... cheap bronze is hard to work with.
everything else you can do pretty well with almost no budget.
#114
5th April 2011
Old 5th April 2011
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giraffe View Post
you can get a really good drum sound with a bunch of 57's, any old pair of condensers/ribbons as overheads.
in a room you spent 15 min prepping with stuff you stole from the rest of the house.
or even in an untreated garage (the bigger the better of course)

and shit drums.
as long as the heads are fresh and tuned.

but....... cheap bronze is hard to work with.
everything else you can do pretty well with almost no budget.

Never been one to under estimate a bunch of 57's. Or ribbons for that matter. My favorite kick mic right now is the cheap apex ribbon. Just playing devils advocate. However, Condensers are not to be used on drums beyond a closed miced hi hat or tom (just to stir sh*t up).

Oh, what does cheap bronze mean??
#115
5th April 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Math5461 View Post
Oh, what does cheap bronze mean??
sh**ty cymbals.
#116
7th April 2011
Old 7th April 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Math5461 View Post
Rich noobies should really take notes here. The rest of us can copy and paste this thread into our "what to do when we can afford an amazing drum kit, room and decent mics" text file.
You'd be surprised at the number of "noobies" capable of landing gigs at recording studios large enough to have professional equipment. I mean, seriously--a professional kit, room and "decent" mics aren't that rare or expensive in the grand scheme of things.

Nobody said you have to pay for everything yourself. I own exactly zero recording equipment I consider to be professional. Nada. El Zilcho. Never owned a single pro microphone myself. Not one. Not even a SM57.

Weird I've somehow had 'magical' access to Royer 121's, Telefunken ELAM's, vintage RCA ribbon mics, SSL E series desks in many configurations, Trident 80b's, Neve V3's, Neve 8100's, Neve 1073's, Distressors, Kepex Gates, Lexicon PCM everything, 480L's, 224XL's, ProTools HD whatever, Otari Radars, IZ Radars, Lynx that, Chandler that, U87/U67/U47 everywhere, Manley everything under the sun, etc, etc, etc, etc.....

Get clients, get gigs, take to pro studio and ::POOF:: just like magic you'll have professional stuff to work with. It's not *that* hard. You can do it. I've seen morons with half the intelligence of a lab rat manage to produce records in the 'big' studio.
#117
10th April 2011
Old 10th April 2011
  #117
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To the guys saying that they dont have nice rooms, or nice equipment, or nice drumkits, let me tell you something. When i first started, meaning before I started doing this for a living, i used to record wherever i could with whatever i had at hand, i obviously sucked at the beginning, then after some years, when i got better, i started working in small studios, or not very high-end studios.

The thing is that when you record in those sort of studios you experience a lack of everything, for example, you really dont have a room mic because theres no point to mic the room since its either too small or too dry, or because it sounds far from great, you dont have any mics but the "stock", you know the usual 57s, d112, an average pair of condensers etc.. nothing fancy, an average drumkit, you may have 2 good preamps and the rest are generic stuff, etc...

So bottom line, when you are working in those conditions you have to make a bigger effort to get the sounds you want, you have to spend more time mic-ing, you are short on preamps and mics, so you cant place that "extra mic" to experiment, you have to work around more than you would like with the tuning of the drumkit, lets not even talk about external gates or eq's or even compressors, those are unkown in the small studio world, you should consider yourself lucky if you have enough gear to record a drumkit, but lets just hope the drummer doesnt want to use an extra Tom or else you are screwed, LOL. But even then you can get good sounding records.

In fact i once got hired to record and mix a set of 4 major records, the first one went double platinum, and it was entirely recorded on a small studio, small room, average kit, mixed totally ITB with a digi002, the second album went platinum too, and the remaining 2 went gold. Now wait a minute, im not saying they sound great, they sound ok, considering the short time available, the tools, and resources we had at the moment, etc.. although the sound quality didnt seem to matter with such a hit album.

Ok so long story short, when you work on less than ideal studios, you have to do a lot more work to get everything sounding great, but when you suddenly start going to the big studios, with lots of toys, great rooms, etc... the experience you got from the "guerilla recording" at the small studios becomes priceless, suddenly you find out that you can get amazing sounds, a lot easier, but it probably wouldnt be possible if you didnt spend so many time moving those mics in the small studio.

Anyway... sorry for the long post, just wanted to share some experiences.
#118
16th April 2011
Old 16th April 2011
  #118
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James & Jonas,
Thanx for the schooling guys!
Realy helpfull stuff in here.
I'm tracking drums a lot and with the first try-out i did tonight
on your tips and tricks i allready realy improved my sound!
Got me realy excited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
Get your tracks in phase. Do NOT time-align them. Phase!

CHECK YOUR EFFIN PHASE. Really.
Hi Frans, can you please ellaborate a bit on the forbidden time-align move?
I do that a lot and most of the times it gives my drum sound
more punch. (especially when i pull back the room mics to align the kick)
Can you tell me why it's such a bad move to you?
I'm not telling you it IS a good move after all,
i just want to learn what i might have done wrong all this time,
and why phase is the key here.

Regards,
Lennaert
#119
18th April 2011
Old 18th April 2011
  #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annalogatta View Post
Hi Frans, can you please ellaborate a bit on the forbidden time-align move?
I do that a lot and most of the times it gives my drum sound
more punch. (especially when i pull back the room mics to align the kick)
Can you tell me why it's such a bad move to you?
I'm not telling you it IS a good move after all,
i just want to learn what i might have done wrong all this time,
and why phase is the key here.

Regards,
Lennaert
Me too. I've been selecting and placing each mike to obtain the best sound for the production and then time-aligning them in Reaper.
It's been yielding some very decent results for me, given the crappy space we have to record in.


Is there some reason that this is wrong or a bad move.
Again, like Lennaert, I'm not trying to pick holes, but instead trying to learn something from someone more experienced.
#120
18th April 2011
Old 18th April 2011
  #120
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The thing with time alligning is this, the sound of the drumkit changes when you allign it, if you have a crappy recording, or phase wasnt taken into account this may help, but the thing is that its no substitute for the sound of a drumkit if phase is taken into account when recording, because this will benefit the sound of the overall kit, plus you are making decisions on how the drums are sounding, and not how they might sound.

When i say that you should consider phase it doesnt have to be matched phase which is what you guys are doing by matching the tracks, but i mean that the phase relationship between drums is enhancing the sound, in fact its impossible to get matched phase on a drumkit in real world situations (unless you are using a computer or similar), because no matter how in phase mics are with each other, they are still at different locations so theres no such thing as matched phase, what you actually have to make sure is that the phase difference between them is actually enhancing the sound. Take a drumkit recording in which phase was taken into account as part of the global sound, then time allign it, and it could sound like crap, or loose all of its mojo.

Back in the old days they couldnt time allign tracks, and they got some awesome sounds!
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