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!NOOBIES! Mixing Drums without samples (Simple Guideline)
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#121
19th April 2011
Old 19th April 2011
  #121
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Thanx Dualflip,

That's a clear explanation!
We only have to consider phase-inversion, then,
and leave a phase-shift, caused by distant mic's,
for what they are.

Yes it's true what you say about those old records.
Love a lotta old recordings too! Whish i could ever come
close to the drum sounds on Stevie Wonder or Steely Dan recordings.
Haha, maybe a little too high on the ladder for me and my little
basement studio.
Ah well, this thread got me inspired anyway and i'm gonna pay more
attention to the phase and mic placements of my recordings.

Cheers.
mynaemisjonas
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#122
19th April 2011
Old 19th April 2011
  #122
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Your welcome.


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#123
20th April 2011
Old 20th April 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annalogatta View Post
Thanx Dualflip,

That's a clear explanation!
We only have to consider phase-inversion, then,
and leave a phase-shift, caused by distant mic's,
for what they are.
No problem!, Theres a misconception between phase and polarity, when you press the "phase" switch in your preamp, you are inverting the polarity, not the phase, phase has to do with time, in this case, the time difference between 2 signals and how do they relate to each other, polarity has only to do with the + or - of the signal, so when you flip the polarity on a pre, the time relationship between the two signals is the same but you are inverting the waveform, meaning that what was positive its now negative and viceversa, when you time allign the 2 signals on your DAW, you are altering the phase relationship between the 2 signals, since you are moving one in time in contrast to the other, therefore shifting the phase...
#124
21st April 2011
Old 21st April 2011
  #124
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Okay, so that would mean the two overheads should be at the
same distance from the kit, but how do you get them in phase
with the snare then since the close mic will pick up sound much earlier
in time then the overheads do?

Unfortunately i cannot monitor multiple tracks in my Motu 896 mkI,
to move the mics while listening. Any other easy way to check the phase?
I don't quite get the 'zoom in on the waves' method since you say,
if i got your words right this time, it's not to look for the polarity
differences and also not to time align the time differences...

It's all getting phasey in my head now...

Regards,
Lennaert
#125
21st April 2011
Old 21st April 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annalogatta View Post
Okay, so that would mean the two overheads should be at the
same distance from the kit, but how do you get them in phase
with the snare then since the close mic will pick up sound much earlier
in time then the overheads do?

Unfortunately i cannot monitor multiple tracks in my Motu 896 mkI,
to move the mics while listening. Any other easy way to check the phase?
I don't quite get the 'zoom in on the waves' method since you say,
if i got your words right this time, it's not to look for the polarity
differences and also not to time align the time differences...

It's all getting phasey in my head now...

Regards,
Lennaert
I think you misunderstand me, two signals can be in phase even if they are at different distances, however, some frequencies will be out of phase, meaning they will be cancelling, while others will be boosting, this is ALWAYS the case, in the real world, theres not such thing as perfect phase relationship between 2 or more signals, theres near perfect, but never perfect (unless you only have 1 signal, but still the room will bounce the signal back multiple times and it will add up to the original, so again, you have more than one signal, bla bla you get the picture). However the trick is to make that combination of cancelling/boosting sound pleasing, and theres when engineering takes place.
#126
23rd April 2011
Old 23rd April 2011
  #126
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Moving the mics around and experimenting is great!
This is very rewarding stuff!

Cheers



#127
4th May 2011
Old 4th May 2011
  #127
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With regards to the phase of the close mics in relation to the in-phase overheads:
That's one of the very good reasons to use dynamic mics on the close mic'd drums. Far less involved in mic to mic interplay due to smaller pickup range.
Want a headache? Sometime try to use medium/large diaphragm condensers on all the drums including close mic'd ones.
Just kidding... Don't do it. Heh.
#128
5th May 2011
Old 5th May 2011
  #128
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I’m coming from the Mastering side of mixes, but I always recommend; if in doubt mix cymbals lower rather than higher. They’ll come up in the mastering process and it’s hard to work with them properly if they’re mixed to loud.
#129
13th May 2011
Old 13th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf25 View Post
I will have a look into that way, not considered some of the techniques before, especially on the toms... Here is what I do to mix drums without replacing:

Group all drum tracks to a buss. No need for EQ or compression on the buss yet, I usually do it last. Then I check for phase issues before I start on the processing.

KICK: There are a few things here, usually I gate first, then use an EQ to cut any muck out of the kick (usually resides around 300-400Hz for the most part) and then find the point where the snap is on the sound and boost it with a fairly narrow Q (but not so much that it resonates and gives a weird sound, and not too much) Then I use a Highpass filter below 40Hz to get rid of the extra rumble that will clutter the low end later. If the kick has no real thud or if the low end has been poorly captured, I use a signal generator to make a sine wave at 50Hz, and then use a sidechain gate on it so that the sound only plays when the kick hits. I then use some compression to glue the EQ I used, depending on the style I might use very different compression but I always leave between 30-50ms attack time to let some or all of the transient through without it being squashed down, which leaves us with a nice and punchy kick.

SNARE: It depends on how many mics are used. If say only one SM57 is used, I generally gate the snare first, then use another highpass filter to roll off everything below 80Hz. If the snare sounds too thuddy I cut around the 350Hz area (depends on your snare sound) and boost a bit at 4-5kHz for the sizzle. If after the boost it sounds a bit papery, I add back some of the cut at 350Hz to thicken it up. Then I compress to taste. Try different compressors on the snare, it can give vastly different results. My go-to compressor plugins for snare are Voxengo's Crunchessor, Waves' RComp and Stillwell's Rocket. Crunchessor gives a really fat sound when driven, Rocket gives a really retro, almost distorted sound, and RComp gives a smooth and rich sound. Then I usually create a reverb track and send the snare sound to it to add the reverb to it. I am a fan of the gated reverb, used a lot in the 80's. Sounds great!

TOMS: The toms are probably one of the harder sounds to get right. Generally I gate, then set the sidechain filter on the resonant frequencies. Next I EQ to remove the clutter (depends which tom you are doing it on, experiment with the EQ to find the best place to cut) then I use a highpass filter below the resonant frequency and a lowpass filter above the frequencies where the attack is at. That way I can clear out the high end for cymbals and such. Occasionally I add some subtle distortion to the tom tracks (one with a wet-dry control) so that I can really bring out the resonances but still leave it punchy. But too much distortion is a bad thing so you have to go carefully. Changing where it is in the signal path also leads to very different results.

OVERHEADS: If the overheads sound good as they are, I roll off below 40-70Hz and then use a very light compression (usually ratio of about 1.2-1.5) and then I can set a lower threshold to give the overheads a really smooth and tight sound. If the overheads are not quite right, I usually just use shelving EQ to bring out the parts of the overheads that I feel are missing or lacking, and then go from the start with the HPF and compression. Usually, subtlety is the trick with overheads as you can get a very musical sounding overhead track without it sounding overcompressed, and the peaks will be under control.

ROOM: If there is no room mics, I duplicate my overhead tracks and then I put them to a separate group (which then runs to the drum buss). On this group, I use a transient enhancer, but I de-emphasise the transients and bring out the release time of the group. This gives more of a washy sound to the group and makes it sound further away from you. Then if necessary I use reverb as an insert on this channel (very short reverb time, use the filters to taste and cut out the low low end, no pre-delay (you will see why in a minute)) and this really adds the roomy touch when you get the wet-dry balance right. Then I offset these tracks by a few ms (this emulates the sound hitting the further mics at a later time as sound does not reach the room mics at the same point which it meets the overheads, of course with no room mics we have no extra mics so we have to use this to emulate the situation) Then I set the levels on the entire kit and mix the 'room mics' in to the kit sound. If you want to go crazy, you can also try using a very driven compressor after all of this to really make the room pump.

If there is already room mics, I usually roll off all below 70Hz to get rid of the boominess that may have been picked up, and then I may do a variety of things. Again I am a fan of the pumping room sound so I will try the driven compressor first of all to see what effect it has.

WHOLE KIT: Now we have got everything sorted out I usually just need to add a bit of compression to the group to glue the drums together. This time however I use the compressor differently. First, I set a very HIGH ratio (say 12:1, no I am not nuts, keep reading!) with attack and release at 1ms and 5ms respectively. I then set the threshold to the point where I can see that the compressor is squashing down every hit, but is fully released before the next hit comes in. Next, I adjust the attack time to get the punch I want, and then adjust the release time to get the smoothness I want. After this i turn the ratio back down to a point where the compressor is glueing everything together, but not overcompressing the kit and killing off the dynamics.

This will leave you with a very punchy sounding kit, with a smooth high end. Great for a lot of mixing styles, I have used it from some light pop mixes to heavy metal! I hope it helps out some beginners! Remember, everyone has their own way of doing things so a lot of people may think the way I do it is a load of poo and the rest may agree with my method. Try it and see


what do you mean by phase issues ?
#130
18th May 2011
Old 18th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adri_hern View Post
what do you mean by phase issues ?
Read the complete thread, this was already answered by me and others...
#131
18th May 2011
Old 18th May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiosounds View Post
I’m coming from the Mastering side of mixes, but I always recommend; if in doubt mix cymbals lower rather than higher. They’ll come up in the mastering process and it’s hard to work with them properly if they’re mixed to loud.

True, however that wouldnt happen if mastering engineers didnt destroy the mixes for the sake of loudness, but then again, what you are saying is correct for today's mastering levels. However, in an ideal world, if it werent for the loudness, cymbals in a mix should be mixed to a point were they sound good, instead of having to worry about and imagine how they will sound after the mix gets destroyed..
#132
7th June 2011
Old 7th June 2011
  #132
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My method for the right drum mix is this:
1) Know what sound you want before recording, instead of relying on post processing.
2) Tune the kit up and get it sounding good in the room. No mics yet.
3) Put a mic up front of the kit and listen to how it sounds. Move the mic again...than again...than again...than again, etc, etc. etc. until it sounds good on tape. There you go its mixed. One channel.

You’ll have to mix it someday, so why not mix it now and get the right sound while you have the drummer in the room with you?
#133
7th June 2011
Old 7th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMegaEli View Post
My method for the right drum mix is this:
1) Know what sound you want before recording, instead of relying on post processing.
2) Tune the kit up and get it sounding good in the room. No mics yet.
3) Put a mic up front of the kit and listen to how it sounds. Move the mic again...than again...than again...than again, etc, etc. etc. until it sounds good on tape. There you go its mixed. One channel.

You’ll have to mix it someday, so why not mix it now and get the right sound while you have the drummer in the room with you?
Good concept, one mic doesn't necessarily work for certain styles though.
#134
7th June 2011
Old 7th June 2011
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Yeah, one mic definitely wouldn’t work with all styles. But you can get a pretty heavy sound. I think all of Jack White’s stuff is one mic, no?
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#135
14th June 2011
Old 14th June 2011
  #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musimedia View Post
Why is this not a sticky?

No doubt...some great info here.
#136
27th June 2011
Old 27th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMegaEli View Post
I think all of Jack White’s stuff is one mic, no?
For drums? No way.
#137
30th June 2011
Old 30th June 2011
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aaa tank you so much, this is a great great thread, we should have more of these!
#138
30th June 2011
Old 30th June 2011
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Great thread

I've been mixing drums adding samples as default for years now,
but last week a TV show was filmed in our studio, tracked 9 bands in 3 days,
musicians were playing in one room

I mic'ed the drum with just 4 mics and since there was no time at all to deliver the audio, I went for the first time in years with no samples (altho' I was eq'ing everything while tracking)

Results were quite nice for a totally live recording, I'll post some clips
#139
9th July 2011
Old 9th July 2011
  #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Actually, I always hated the "Operation Mindcrime" drum sound. It's just too much gated verb for my tastes. Shame, because the album is classic and they're great performers--seen them twice; their ability to deliver an album's sound live is uncanny.

Another drum sound I really can't stand is The Cure, "Disintegration." Great album, but marred by over-the-top, distracting drum production. Their next album, "Wish" has really good drum sounds though. Not spectacular, but real, visceral and not calling a ton of attention to itself because it is so effecty.
In context with their opera voicing of Jeff, I find it fitting that the drums have the verb thing going, sort of in a opera stage, but I agree the gate thing ruins it somewhat, a nice tail would have been great
But sonically Jeff becks , freeway jam is made of wet dreams, Can anyone tell which snare is used on that track>?
YouTube - ‪Jeff Beck - freeway jam
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#140
14th July 2011
Old 14th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basslik View Post
In context with their opera voicing of Jeff, I find it fitting that the drums have the verb thing going, sort of in a opera stage, but I agree the gate thing ruins it somewhat, a nice tail would have been great
But sonically Jeff becks , freeway jam is made of wet dreams, Can anyone tell which snare is used on that track>?
YouTube - ‪Jeff Beck - freeway jam
Can anyone tell me?, thanks
#141
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
My personal trick:

Draw out a simple table on a piece of scrap paper. Make the rows instruments (kick, snare, high hat, tom 1, 16" fast crash, 18" crash, etc...). The columns should be the microphone/channels (kick inside, kick out, snare top, tom 1, etc...)

Start with the kick. Arm all the drum tracks. Hit record. Have them hit about 3-4 kicks. Stop record. Now zoom into your waves and make sure the kick is going "up" in each channel/mic. If not TOUCH NOTHING but mark it out of phase on your table for that channel.

Continue with the rest of the kit until you see what instruments are out of phase with what microphone.

Now make judgement calls for which microphones need adjusting. Usually you don't need to make more than a 1/2" change to bring things in line.

Then retest. Sometimes an adjustment to fix one thing puts 3-4 out of phase. Those are the breaks.

Eventually you'll find the happy compromise where the most important things are in phase for which mics. Obviously something like tom mics, which are probably going to be edited and gated, are less important than insuring your kick/snare are in phase for your overheads.

Fiddly, but its the best way to be sure. Rarely will you have the time to get this precise on anything less than a healthy budget.
Firstly, thanks for the thread. Definitely a couple of new ideas in here for me. That being said, I'm not usually a slow individual - actually I'm quite the opposite - but for some reason I can't quite get what's being written here. I've often done the ol' record the kick on all the tracks and see where it's ending up but I don't get the part about "Now zoom into your waves and make sure the kick is going "up" in each channel/mic. If not TOUCH NOTHING but mark it out of phase on your table for that channel.". What does that mean? Why would you mark it as out-of-phase if you don't see it on the track.
#142
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annalogatta View Post
Okay, so that would mean the two overheads should be at the
same distance from the kit, but how do you get them in phase
with the snare then since the close mic will pick up sound much earlier
in time then the overheads do?
You can use a sample delay plugin to time align the close mics with the room mics. Just delay the close mics by the appropriate number of samples and you will hear the immediate difference.
#143
19th July 2011
Old 19th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stossy View Post
So whats wrong with 7a's?? tutt
Nothing, it's rock drummers who want to sound like god on a mountain walking in with them (and old beat up heads on CB kits).
#144
26th July 2011
Old 26th July 2011
  #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
Firstly, thanks for the thread. Definitely a couple of new ideas in here for me. That being said, I'm not usually a slow individual - actually I'm quite the opposite - but for some reason I can't quite get what's being written here. I've often done the ol' record the kick on all the tracks and see where it's ending up but I don't get the part about "Now zoom into your waves and make sure the kick is going "up" in each channel/mic. If not TOUCH NOTHING but mark it out of phase on your table for that channel.". What does that mean? Why would you mark it as out-of-phase if you don't see it on the track.

I'm somewhat new here... but hopefully I can take this one without falling on my face.

When you record your 'test track,' you've got all of your drum mics recording the 4 or so 'test hits' on the bass drum. When you stop the recording, you have a region in your DAW for every mic that was just recording.

You have to literally zoom in on these regions until you can clearly see the waveforms. Waveforms are math. when you see them peak going UP, that's what he means by "up." In math terms, it is going 'UP' by 'X.' The waveforms should all match in this respect, because if the wave is going DOWN in one region and UP in the other, they are cancelling each other out. It's literally x - x.

He's saying to mark it on your chart to let you know it is out of phase, but to not physically adjust any mics until you have checked every channel. Once you see what IS out of phase, you have to make an 'executive decision' as to what is more important to have in phase.

Just judging by the wording of your question, i almost thing you thought he was talking about what you see in the METERS, not the REGIONS. the METERS will go up regardless of what the actual waveforms are doing.

Close? eh?

Last edited by jasonallenh; 26th July 2011 at 03:44 AM.. Reason: punctuation?
#145
28th July 2011
Old 28th July 2011
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Wow, great thread. I feel like I need to go back to the start and read again! I'm a drummer of 25 years, but just starting to record myself (I've recorded with many engineers over the years, but never understood what they were up to in that 'other' room in the studio). Can't wait to try some of the stuff mentioned, and I'm gonna start by checking phasing of my mics! Thanks again guys, priceless stuff.
#146
19th August 2011
Old 19th August 2011
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Thanks for this thread!
#147
22nd August 2011
Old 22nd August 2011
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very informative and helpful thread THANK YOU!!
#148
4th September 2011
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Producing vs sound

This is a great thread for those wishing to learn elements of how to record drums, and I'm always impressed at the generosity of those pros willing to take the time to type out detailed explanations of things that are of great benefit to so many of us that just don't have the same training and experience that they do. It's such a time-saver to be able to read something instead of spending months and years to discover it yourself, and we all benefit with the better music that is made as a result.

I just wanted to drop a note in her for younger readers regarding some of the methods that are described here and the sounds that result, including some of the signature drum sounds that have been listed. I'm no pro when it comes to recording, but...

Pop music has continued to make use of any technology that can make music more commercially attractive; this is more about sales than producing great music, and as a result we have auto-tuned voices and overproduced mush that have lost so much of the human or organic feel that I personally find the most important element of the music I love.

Before you subscribe to certain methods for recording drums, please make sure that you're aiming for the sounds that these methods arrive at. James has been incredibly generous in sharing his techniques for recording, and the signature sounds that have shaped his tastes. I'm a little older (46) and find some of those same drum sounds much too produced for my tastes (as he mentions); I'm really glad that a lot of today's independent music has moved towards a much more "naturalistic" approach for recording that involves less processing and time spent recording and allows home artists to focus more on song than production. I have no doubt that the drums recorded for the Avett Brothers or other independent-ish acts have their share or technology and processing used, but it's not the uber-production techniques used later by people like Mutt Lange and thank God for that! I personally don't find his drum sounds are necessarily "good sounding" for music to my ears, but were more designed for audio novelty and to help to move "units".

I don't necessarily intend to put a judgement on one type of production vs. another, but just wanted to drop a note here to younger people looking for advice, to remind them that there's been lots of great music (from modern indie back to early Led Zeppelin) that was recorded with 3 or 4 mics and much less processing than has been described here. These earlier drum sounds, created through simpler methods, are considered some of the greatest drum sounds ever created and are featured in some of the most powerful recorded music that has ever been recorded.

Before you decide on a set of techniques for recording, it might be best to go out and find interviews that reveal the manner of recording for the music that is most important to you. The lessons of things like phase and eq'ing are important basics to understand, but processing beyond things like basic compression and reverb are a personal choice driven by the type of music you're creating. The less processing you need to get to your sound the better, and more mics and processing don't always lead to better sound!
#149
3rd October 2011
Old 3rd October 2011
  #149
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Here's what I do in terms of panning a smaller kit. (Bass Drum, 2 toms, snare, ride, 2 crashes)

Center - Over Heads
12L - HiTom
20 - LoTom
20L - Snare
5L - Kick
80R - Ride and Crash 2
70L - Crash 1

Those are just my preferences, seems to work quite well, free's up some space in the middle of image for vocals and other such things.

In terms of EQ's and compression, I usually only compress the bass drum and MAYBE the overheads, if needed. For kick, I set the threshold around -6 Db, and the ratio somewhere between 3:1 and 6:1. Attack in the lower 50 range, and the release around the 150 range.
It's not a lot of compression, but it can really help make the bass drum sound not quite as boom-ey and muddy, and clearer (even though it doesn't affect the EQ at all).

In terms of EQ, in the kick, I boost around 150Hz 1-2 Db for some more boom, and around the 750Hz by 1-5 Db for some added clarity and punch.
Snare, I cut around 900Hz by 2 Db and add 9Khz by a Db.
I don't really mess with the toms, but when I do, I cut around 800Hz by 2 Db.
Cymbals are the same as toms for me, but I sometimes cut the 1.5khz range by 3Db and boost the 11Khz range by 2Db.

Overheads are the biggest thing for me. They either make or break my drum sound (being a single OH person, saving for another), I cut both at the 150Hz and 700Hz by 1-4 Db, I also boost the 2Khz range by a Db, and the 8khz range by 1-4.

Hope you try these things out, they work well for me!
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"Bullshit. You put a $10 dollar mic in front of a drum-kit, I can guarantee it won't sound like my 15 mics that cost over $10,000".

Last edited by Johnpjm; 3rd October 2011 at 08:44 PM.. Reason: Adding things.
#150
7th October 2011
Old 7th October 2011
  #150
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pushing pedals is offline
Good Kit - tuned well- in a nice room- great drummer. Don't have these things? Compression , Automation, Tab to transient. Basically every headache in the book. I keep myself from sound replacing by telling the drummer to go occupy himself while i mic his kit. While he's gone I tune it. Truth be told, out of hundreds of clients only 2 or 3 can actually tune a drumset. Being a musician and an engineer, I wonder why some of these guys have $3000 kits and can't tune. Or don't own a metronome.
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