!NOOBIES! Mixing Drums without samples (Simple Guideline)
mynaemisjonas
Thread Starter
#1
9th September 2010
Old 9th September 2010
  #1
Gear addict
 
mynaemisjonas's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
!NOOBIES! Mixing Drums without samples (Simple Guideline)

Oops I ruined my own drum tutorial. Let me start over. This tutorial is for audio engineers who are just starting out. Everybody ends up doing their own thing but I will help you start exploring the world of mixing drums with very basic techniques.

This kind of mixing is for a basic pop rock kind of drum recording. Lets assume you have recorded these basic tracks, and you are using some format of Pro Tools. Also I will assume your tracks are recorded at a normal volume level that isn't peaking, EQ'd or compressed on the way in. Also assuming that you tuned your drums and used good heads.

Kick
Snare Top
Snare Bottom
Tom
Floor
Hi Hat
Ride
Overhead L
Overhead R

First what you want to do is group these together. Select all of these tracks together and use Command/apple + G.

Next we are going to change the output from each track to Bus 1-2.

Now create a stereo aux track and change its input to Bus 1-2. This will give you a master fader for all of the drums. This can come in handy in many ways especially later in mixing.

Pull the volume down on your drums until they reach -inf

Using right click or by disabling groups (Apple + Shift + G) pull up the kick and snare drum first. Set these right at 0.0

Set the snare bottom at a lesser volume like -8db and make sure it is in phase =p

Next we will grab the overheads which should be set somewhere like -5 to -10 DBs below the kick and snare depending on how you recorded them. Pan them all the way far left (hihat side) and far right (ride side). Mute your kick and snares or solo your overheads for the next section.

insert an EQ to both sides and use a low shelf EQ. I like to go from about 700h and below at about -5db to - 7db. and then maybe use a filter to remove everything below 100h completely. (this will help your Kick Drum have its own air to breathe in the lower spectrum). I also like to boost the high freq anywhere between 11K and 16K at about +3db or +4db. The shape of this boost should be blunt not sharp. A fun short cut to copy plugin settings is apple + shift + C and then apple shift V to paste!

Next pull up your hi hat and ride tracks (panned extreme left and right again) These should be very far down... only around -20Db or so (again depending on how loud they were recorded) I only add these in just enough to hear them but not actually HEAR them. Copy your overhead EQ over to your hi hat and ride. You can make fine adjustments later. (like maybe using 11k to boost if your overheads are boosted at 16k or visa versa)

Lets go back to your kick drum which should sound flat and boxy compared to your sparkly clean overheads. Take out some frequencies around 250-500h at about -4dbs. Boost the high end bluntly at about +3 to +4dbs somewhere between 2k and 8k (I like 8k). Now use a sharp boost in the low end anywhere from 60h to 120h (I like 60h) and I boost it pretty hard.

For the snare top you can use the same process but don't shelf the low end as hard, make your low end boost blunt and keep it somewhere around 100h and only around +3dbs.

Now experiment with high shelving out the really high freq from both the snare top and kick. You probably dont need anything above 16k. See how far down the freq. range you can make your high filter go. Maybe even down to 11K? This will reduce cymbal bleed and make them both sound a lot cooler I think.

Now we need to use some gating on the kick and snare top. Place your gate before your EQ. And probably solo the kick drum.

On the kick drum set your gates attack time to the shortest possible and a release from about 400ms to 1 second (depending on taste). Activate the side chain EQ's in shelf mode and shelf out everything above 2K. If you have a lot of bleed you probably wont be able to set your range down very far without it sounding unnatural. Try -15 to -20 in that case. Your hold function is important. If you are gating hard you might be gating the low freq out before it has a chance. bass freq take a few ms to build up after the initial attack of your kick. If you are gating hard you can use your ratio function to your advantage to let less intense kick drum hits(transients) to come through while still providing the super clean gated sound. You will have to experiment a bit here. and also listen to the kick in conjunction with your overheads to see how well your gate is blending bleedwise with your overheads.

Repeat the process for your snare, the snare does not have to be gated as hard (range and ratio) and should have a longer release time of about 1 second. You can active the low freq side chain EQ as well at about 100h.

Right about now your snare bottom is going to sound out of phase with your top snare. This is because of plugin delay. Every plugin adds a little bit of delay. Gates add a lot of delay. You can veiw the plugin delay by apple option clicking on the volume of your tracks. You can use the time adjuster plugin on your other tracks to compensate and match up to your kick and snare.

You can EQ your bottom snare to taste. Maybe use it as a high end boost or a bottom boost or both. That's whats fun about it.

Now it's time to pull up your toms... uh oh. I like to pan mine hard left and right. These definitely need gates. You can use what you learned about the kick and snare gating here. Try a longer release time of about 2 seconds. Similar EQ techniques as used prior here. If you are having a really shitty time, try automating the gate threshold. At the top of the plugin you will see auto and safe. Click auto. Select threshold. Now on your editing window you can select it as a parameter on the tracks (waveform, volume, pan, etc) it will take a little bit of time but it is WORTH IT!

I personally like to record the bottom heads of my toms as well. It increases the volume vs bleed of the tom dramatically and you can use a longer release time on the gate on the bottom and a shorter release time for the top. If you didn't do that. You can still get a good sound just keep trying. Next time give it a try

Keep checking your plugin delay as you add plugins.

Now if you have a solid drum sound going on lets add reverb.

Create another stereo aux bus this time input bus 3-4. Find a reverb plugin and make it 100% wet.

On each one of your drum tracks insert a send (below the plugins are sends)

Send bus 3-4

Here are some good starting levels

Kick -8dbs
Snare Top +7 dbs
Everything else 0.0 dbs

Adjust your reverb bus volume level (try -10dbs?) and now you can experiment with each send's panning and volume levels. I usually leave them all alone...

Now your drums should sound very clean, each part of the set very distinct but you might be lacking some color and life.

It's time to add compression.

I like to insert compression before EQ and def. after the gate. So you might have to move some plugins around. (put the gates at the top position)

for the kick lets try a 3:1 ratio quickest attack setting, set the release setting so that the gain reduction comes back just in time for the next hit or is nearly too slow to make it back. Set your input gain so that you are only reducing the gain at about 3 to 4dbs. Set your output gain higher or lower to compensate for what you've done input gain wise.

Repeat for snare top with a higher ratio (6:1?), and a little more gain reduction (to taste).

Leave your snare bottom alone... or.... set it for fast attack/fast release/highest ratio causing a good amount of gain reduction. This will cause it to buzz with the kick and toms. yummy. If your snare lost some of its crack or pop try slowing down the attack time a little bit.

Try a 4:1 ratio for your toms quickest attack and medium release (to taste). slightly more gain reduction than your kick drum used.

By now you should be rockin'

I like to make a duplicate drum bus (same bus input) and then nuke it with compression or distortion (same thing almost) and bring it up just barely (volume wise) underneath my clean drum bus.

I also like to mute the sections on the hi hat track when it is not playing, and same for the ride track.

If you are having problems with bleed try using microphones with better rejection (sm57) and a deader sounding room. (lots of treatment)

Here is what James Meeker's has to say!

"My two cents about producing drums "straight up" without samples:

Drum replacement has made us lazy. Too few of us are learning the craft and some of us that know it aren't flexing their skills. And the 'craft', so to speak, has very little to do with compressin' -n- EQ'in, but has everything to do with maximizing the player and the kit in a room in front of some microphones. This is the real deal right here: player, kit, room, mics. Live and die by those ingredients, because all the +15db at 62hz isn't going to help an improperly tuned kick drum sound amazing.

First off--know what you are looking for. There are many different kit sounds, but you have to pick one. Have some idea in mind what you need to accomplish for the track. This is going to take into account the style of music, the arrangement, the drummer's style, the kit, their preferred tuning, esthetic preferences of the band and yourself. Have an answer to the following questions:

dry versus roomy
bright versus fat
realistic versus hyped
wide stereo image versus realistic stereo image
vintage or modern flavor?
straight up or gimmicky?
balanced kit or mostly kick-n-snare?

By compiling a little mental list of 'this versus that' you've come a long way towards giving yourself the important END GOAL of what your engineering needs to accomplish. Keep in mind that all of these goals have nothing to do with mixing/processing/screwin' around with the audio in post--they have EVERYTHING to do with your room placement, tuning, microphone selection and placement, and guidance you need to give to the player. This is the *missing link* so many people seem to grope for answers for... it's about making decisions, having a clear picture in your head, and making it happen with the setup.

First thing's first--getting the kit places in a room. Obviously your familiarity with the room is going to be a big help here, you should already know the sweet spots for boomy, sweet and cracky. If not, open your ears and take a walk through the space and listen to the acoustics. For those of you not as familiar with the physics behind acoustics here are some guidelines that will hasten your search for 'the spot':

1.) Generally avoid the center of the room--largest build up of room modes here. Potential boominess lives here. Avoid the middle of width and length, AND height. Sticking your mics at the halfway point, for example, on the cymbals is a potential "gotcha" situation depending on the space. Definitely avoid the middle ground.

2.) Think in thirds. Be a third of the total distance off both walls. This is a good starting point. Have your overhead mics two-thirds off the floor or so... same with room mics--which should also be obeying the rule of thirds--make sure that it's away from the walls by that distance as well as height.

3.) Room corners can be your friends if you want a more "rock" sound. To avoid nasty comb filtering effects stick a gobo or wall in the corner so it's "rounded off" a bit. Near center of the room works great for more "pop" drum sounds.

4.) Room mics should--in my opinion--be dramatically different in sound/feel from your overheads. Choose different mics for starters. Get them pretty far away if you're going for an ambient approach (i.e. "roomy"); if you want something a bit tighter a single microphone in omni that's about 5-7' closer should work. Speaking of room mics: if you want a more stereo kit you should experiment with mono microphones in spaced pairs with some baffling in between them--signals become more stereo when one side "hears" differently than the other from reflections and time delay--make the most of what you're going to get! Another thing to consider: if you want a 'tougher' and deeper room mic sound set their height to one-third off the floor; if you want a more airy and ambient sound put them at two-thirds height. The 'tougher' setup is going to get more kick/toms/snare; the 'airy' setup tends to accent strike harmonics and especially cymbals. EVERY CHOICE OF YOUR SETUP SHOULD REFLECT YOUR END GOAL!

This may be a no-brainer, but it is so important it bears repeating: your drum sounds are only as good as your drums and tuning. Call a professional if you have to. Use new heads. Avoid coated heads. The best sounding drum heads have very, very short lifespans... use those. Remo Ambassadors and Emporers rule the day. In my opinion any other choice is just stupid because these are the best sounding heads used on probably a few hundred thousand records that you love. Man up, just get the Remos, make sure they're new and tuned like a champ. A well tuned drum set with quality heads like Ambassadors should give you an erection just hearing them in the room. Until you draw wood, you're not ready for mics.

Make sure the kit is in great condition. Take care of all the little problems. To wit: oil the kick chain and pedal, oil the high hat pedal, make sure the felts are new-ish and appropriately locked down (not too tight, not too loose), make sure all the laminate and binding is solid inside and out, make sure the drum mounting lips are smooth without divots or bumps, make sure the lugs are secure and quiet, make sure the kit isn't going to fall over--tape the bitch if you have to, make sure the throne doesn't squeak, make sure the snares aren't resonating with the kick/toms (retune if they are), make sure the sticks are good to go and new, make sure the kick isn't going to "walk" on you, make the drummer take off their rattling jewelry, make sure the drummer doesn't have their cell phone on them and knows the punishment if someone texts them during a take, and so forth. If you find the slightest odd noise you need to troubleshoot it and take care of it with extreme prejudice.

When it comes to microphone choice... well that's getting pretty personal. One man's secret weapon is another man's trash. You know your mic collection--USE IT. The important question, except at the most lavishly equipped studios, is one of allocation--you only have "X" mics to go around. You may have to make compromises. However, your BEST mics should be on the most important elements based on your goal. If a super wide stereo image is no big deal but a beefy room sound is--put the more expensive mics as the rooms instead of the overheads. You get the picture.

Since we're talking about mics, let's spend a moment on placement. Pay special attention to "problem children" that are going to make hitting your audio goal difficult. If your end product is going to be kick/snare centric you're obviously going to have to spend a minute to make sure your kick and snare mics are isolated as much as possible from the other elements. No matter what, you should take a minute to make sure the goddamn high hat isn't squaking 5's in your snare mic--this is going to screw you every time no matter what. Do whatever it takes to get the high hat out of your snare mic and vise-versa. I know some guys that put the 'hat mic BEHIND the drummer pointing at the hat--using the player's body as a shield to block out the snare. Hey--it works! Whenever possible avoid those clip on mics and use a stand--the less wonky low end sympathetic resonance you can eliminate the more you can let the low end sing 'loud and proud' in your mix without things getting weird.

Word of warning: don't use two mics on a single source (like kick drum) unless that's what you NEED to do. Most engineers I know just do it because they think it makes them badass. I dunno. Use what you need and nothing more. Sometimes you may need two mics, sometimes you may not need any. Keep your goal in mind, and what/who you're working with.

After you've covered the basics: kick, snare, toms, overheads and rooms, you can start thinking spot mics. Looking for an ultra stereophonic image? Then spot mic your cymbals; make sure they are in phase, and edit or gate the suckers. When they hit the cymbal you hear that mic, and about 500 ms later it's gone. Does wonders for the stereo image. Just ask Bob Rock, he's famous for these kinds of capers... and it sounds great. Don't worry about getting everything, just get the things important to your end goal. Maybe that means spotting the ride, or the chinas. Whatever it takes, you're there to deliver. You're the man with the plan.

Now that you've gotten a bazillion microphones on the kit comes the moment of truth--phase check. This is a pain, it takes some time, the band will whine and complain, the drummer will think you're daft, but it is critical that the mics are in sympathetic phase with one another. Use a phase meter, use your ears, zoom in on a snippet of recorded audio and eyeball it for Christ's sake, but do it. Make adjustments. If you are lucky you'll have some of those amazing IBT boxes that let you tweak the phase angle (or just use the UAD plugin). Every time I've been hired to mix a project I didn't record and the drums sounded funky there were always a few mics out of phase.... kick OOP with the OH's, or the middle tom a little bit out. Don't let this be you. This is also why the "less is more" school of drum miking can sound so... well... phase coherent, realistic, punchy and fresh. Once again use what you need and no more/less.

Let's talk for a minute about outboard gear. If you have it--USE IT! Throw on the compression, get the EQ happening right here and now. Screw options later. If the kit sounds fantastic, what other options do you really need? Obviously don't spend five hours EQ'ing the snare, but paint some bold, broad strokes. Hell, the client is paying for that outboard, might as well use it. Besides, how are you going to know that you've got *THE* sound until you run it through the ropes? This is the old school stuff. And if you've got gates--use them! Gate the kick and snare now. Gate the toms. Make it happen. Do some damage. Once again, this is how they made those records from 20, 30 or 40 years ago you live and die by. Make choices, be an engineer. Plus, all that stuff will be available during mixdown for other things. Saves time to have a bitchin' drum sound by just pulling up faders when starting your mix.

Last but certainly not least is the player. Unfortunately you're stuck with this guy. You can't swap 'em out like a mic, or tweak them like an 1176, or even fire them like an intern. This is the guy you have to work with. So look out for them. Make sure they are properly rested, know when to tell them to take five minutes for a break. Don't let them drink too much or smoke too much. Be encouraging. Point out the good twice as often as the bad. Let them know you're on their side. Let them know all this hard work during the setup was for THEM. Remind them how much you love recording drums and how there's no such thing as a great record without great drum tracks. Boost their confidence, give 'em a hug now and again. You know... bullshit them.

Okay, now that you've recorded some stellar drum tracks with passion and skill it's time to mix them. While I don't want to get into the depths of mixing drums at the moment (because it would take a month... fiddly subject), there are a few things to keep in mind.

1.) Did I mention gates were your friend? Well, chances are you're going to need them hardcore mixing without drum replacement. Sometimes, in this crazy world, you may find yourself copying the snare track and gating it really hard for one track, and only gating it a little bit for the other. Do whatever it takes to get that happenin' sound. There are no rules except there's no excuse for bad engineering.

2.) Commit to not using triggers. Don't wimp out. So what if it doesn't sound like the last 30 Seconds to Mars album... without triggers and Autotune they wouldn't sound like it either. Use older albums as your frame of reference, not today's generic "IQ 80 drum machine" albums.

3.) Realize that it's not going to sound perfect like a sample replaced album. Revel in the authenticity of each unique note that was created by a living, breathing human applying stick to skin. Take comfort in the knowledge that vibe is everything.

And don't forget there are a whole host of other options! Try recording drums first, cymbals on a second take--eliminates most of your bleed problems. 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). Experiment with overdubbing kick or snare on top of the main track (better hope the drummer has rockin' timing and you used a click!) There are a million options to try. Unfortunately none of them are particularly fast ways to record drums."
Quote
5
#2
9th September 2010
Old 9th September 2010
  #2
Gear maniac
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
#3
10th September 2010
Old 10th September 2010
  #3
Gear nut
 
Protooled's Avatar
 

!NOOBIES! Mixing Drums without samples (Simple Guideline)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mynaemisjonas
No professional by any means. But tonight I tried a few new things with great success, and wanted to share them. This is to get you in the right place generally if you are starting out. This is for a natural sounding Pop Rock kinda thing. Somewhere in-between clean and dirty. If you don't like these ideas make your own tutorial! No flaming please. We all mix different. This is for beginner beginners.

Setting the General Mix

1. group all your drums into a group.
2. Send them all to a stereo bus
3. Set some generalized levels (hopefully you've got some room mics, if you don't, add a reverb bus in the mix and send it to your stereo bus as well, not a really long reverb either, keep it simple stupid, also 100% wet) and make sure things are in phase.
3. Add brightness to the stereo bus (compare to brightness of favorite mastered CD) Do not do any more EQing here.
4. Find the oomph of your snare and boost it. (if you have two snare top mics boost only one of them, probably the one that captured more low frequencies)
5. Cut the snares oomph frequency from all the other parts of the kit (assuming your rack tom's oomph is below that) including the room.
6. Cut out a low shelf in the overheads hats ride room mics rack and snare below 100
7. Duplicate your stereo bus and nuke it with compression/limiting and mix it under the volume level of your normal drum bus. Take off some of the high end eq. (depending on your plugins used this could add "plugin delay" which will make your drums sound terrible. See bottom.

Toms

1. Duplicate your tom tracks
Set a will be for the brightness and attack
Set b will be for the resonance and fullness

2. Solo your toms and boost the high mid frequencies to get the desired attack/punch. Remove the low end frequencies.

3. Add a gate, use the side chain frequencies to capture the high mid area. Set the fastest attack and a pretty short release with no hold.
Lets say 200-300ms If the kick and snare come through its fine... Maximum threshold, leave no bleed.

for set B eliminate all high frequencies above the resonate frequency, set a gate on these with a long release time. 3 - 4 seconds and make sure the attack isn't creating bad artifacts. use the side chain EQ and center in right on the resonate frequencies.
Also leave no bleed here either.

if you do this right you should have all the attack with no cymbal bleed
and all the resonance without having a bad pongy sound when the toms aren't being played.

Finish it up

Add some EQ and compression here and there where it seems necessary on the kick and snare... very light stuff because your compressed drum buss is already doing the job. Your cymbals should all be bright but you can clean up your hats lower and mid frequencies.

Make sure the hihat is coming from one concentric point. IE gate the snare and outside kick if needed, but leave the bleed at somewhere like negative 10, adjust the ratio so you aren't losing the quieter hits. if you had two top snare mics... you need not worry about this because you don't need to gate your oomph boosted mic most likely.

THE IMPORTANT PART


Check your plugin delay.

If you are using protools you can buy a plugin called mellow muse which you insert as the last plugin on every track.

Or... Apple click the volume and you should get a new display which will tell you your plugin delay. You can use the time adjuster plugin (it comes with protools) at the end of each track to match the delays.

Match your drum bus's to eachother. (if stuff was sounding really bad inbetween the drum bus's this is where it gets fixed)


At this point you should be definitely in the ballpark. Make sure your tracks aren't peaking.


Sincerely and with much Narcissism.

This is just what I've been looking for some straight up mixing tips thanks guys gonna check back every now and again to see others opinions

Thanks,
J
#4
10th September 2010
Old 10th September 2010
  #4
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
I think Meekers post nailed it best but I'm going to add to this. Don't start mixing drums until you have your guitars for the same reason why a lot of people don't track bass until they've tracked guitars. You really have no idea where you stand until the whole shabang is in front of you. How something sounds in solo doesn't matter squat unless you plan on presenting a beautifully recorded bottom snare track to the world. For snares, a 57 is great for the mid range punch but the top end is typically too grainy to enhance the crack of the drum. Try a condensor with the 57, I've been using a Cad E100 about 6 inches off the drum and its been working marvellously. I (and many others) have found that your 57 looking across the drum produces a much more desirable sound then pointing it down at the center of the head. Bottom mics occasionally are useful for reverb sends but have that papery sound that often doesn't work for hard hitting drum sounds. Record it anyways, if you hate it mute it. Check phase. Tuning is important, so is the right amount of ring. Some snares have a better ring to them than others. Use Gaff tape to tame some of it out. Spaced Overheads produce a much better picture of the kit than xy in my experience, equal distance from the snare to keep the image accurate. Put mics on well tuned toms, cup the mic with your hand, have the drummer hit the well tuned tom, sweep the mic until you feel the resonance on the back of your hand. It's not subtle. These mics will make up a quarter of the sound as the Overheads will dictate the tom sound depending on how you process them. Kicks also do great with condensors, dynamics and subs. If you have the inputs use them, check phase. Figure 8 mics with the null at the beater is a great sound when paired with a dynamic right up on the beater. Build a tunnel. The Evans head with the dampening rings are great, and the bass ports that you mount in the hole can help the bottom end a lot. Put a mic on the hihat and the ride.

[Br]

[Br]

When you've gone through this you get to mixing. You'll have a lot of good options.
Send the closemics to one bus, and the Overheads to another. Some people like room mics that are hit real hard, they help the close mics but ruin the integrity of the overheads for me so its usually a no go. A hair of compression to add a bit of weight to the overheads is fine. Use lightly. Dial in the hihat and ride mics until the image shifts and transients pop out a bit. The close mics can take abuse as you see fit. Parellel processing is a must. Listen to your reverb tails closely. Your well tracked drums shouldn't need a whole lot of massaging to sound slammin. Sorry for the exhaustive post.
#5
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #5
My two cents about producing drums "straight up" without samples:

Drum replacement has made us lazy. Too few of us are learning the craft and some of us that know it aren't flexing their skills. And the 'craft', so to speak, has very little to do with compressin' -n- EQ'in, but has everything to do with maximizing the player and the kit in a room in front of some microphones. This is the real deal right here: player, kit, room, mics. Live and die by those ingredients, because all the +15db at 62hz isn't going to help an improperly tuned kick drum sound amazing.

First off--know what you are looking for. There are many different kit sounds, but you have to pick one. Have some idea in mind what you need to accomplish for the track. This is going to take into account the style of music, the arrangement, the drummer's style, the kit, their preferred tuning, esthetic preferences of the band and yourself. Have an answer to the following questions:

dry versus roomy
bright versus fat
realistic versus hyped
wide stereo image versus realistic stereo image
vintage or modern flavor?
straight up or gimmicky?
balanced kit or mostly kick-n-snare?


By compiling a little mental list of 'this versus that' you've come a long way towards giving yourself the important END GOAL of what your engineering needs to accomplish. Keep in mind that all of these goals have nothing to do with mixing/processing/screwin' around with the audio in post--they have EVERYTHING to do with your room placement, tuning, microphone selection and placement, and guidance you need to give to the player. This is the *missing link* so many people seem to grope for answers for... it's about making decisions, having a clear picture in your head, and making it happen with the setup.

First thing's first--getting the kit places in a room. Obviously your familiarity with the room is going to be a big help here, you should already know the sweet spots for boomy, sweet and cracky. If not, open your ears and take a walk through the space and listen to the acoustics. For those of you not as familiar with the physics behind acoustics here are some guidelines that will hasten your search for 'the spot':

1.) Generally avoid the center of the room--largest build up of room modes here. Potential boominess lives here. Avoid the middle of width and length, AND height. Sticking your mics at the halfway point, for example, on the cymbals is a potential "gotcha" situation depending on the space. Definitely avoid the middle ground.

2.) Think in thirds. Be a third of the total distance off both walls. This is a good starting point. Have your overhead mics two-thirds off the floor or so... same with room mics--which should also be obeying the rule of thirds--make sure that it's away from the walls by that distance as well as height.

3.) Room corners can be your friends if you want a more "rock" sound. To avoid nasty comb filtering effects stick a gobo or wall in the corner so it's "rounded off" a bit. Near center of the room works great for more "pop" drum sounds.

4.) Room mics should--in my opinion--be dramatically different in sound/feel from your overheads. Choose different mics for starters. Get them pretty far away if you're going for an ambient approach (i.e. "roomy"); if you want something a bit tighter a single microphone in omni that's about 5-7' closer should work. Speaking of room mics: if you want a more stereo kit you should experiment with mono microphones in spaced pairs with some baffling in between them--signals become more stereo when one side "hears" differently than the other from reflections and time delay--make the most of what you're going to get! Another thing to consider: if you want a 'tougher' and deeper room mic sound set their height to one-third off the floor; if you want a more airy and ambient sound put them at two-thirds height. The 'tougher' setup is going to get more kick/toms/snare; the 'airy' setup tends to accent strike harmonics and especially cymbals. EVERY CHOICE OF YOUR SETUP SHOULD REFLECT YOUR END GOAL!

This may be a no-brainer, but it is so important it bears repeating: your drum sounds are only as good as your drums and tuning. Call a professional if you have to. Use new heads. Avoid coated heads. The best sounding drum heads have very, very short lifespans... use those. Remo Ambassadors and Emporers rule the day. In my opinion any other choice is just stupid because these are the best sounding heads used on probably a few hundred thousand records that you love. Man up, just get the Remos, make sure they're new and tuned like a champ. A well tuned drum set with quality heads like Ambassadors should give you an erection just hearing them in the room. Until you draw wood, you're not ready for mics.

Make sure the kit is in great condition. Take care of all the little problems. To wit: oil the kick chain and pedal, oil the high hat pedal, make sure the felts are new-ish and appropriately locked down (not too tight, not too loose), make sure all the laminate and binding is solid inside and out, make sure the drum mounting lips are smooth without divots or bumps, make sure the lugs are secure and quiet, make sure the kit isn't going to fall over--tape the bitch if you have to, make sure the throne doesn't squeak, make sure the snares aren't resonating with the kick/toms (retune if they are), make sure the sticks are good to go and new, make sure the kick isn't going to "walk" on you, make the drummer take off their rattling jewelry, make sure the drummer doesn't have their cell phone on them and knows the punishment if someone texts them during a take, and so forth. If you find the slightest odd noise you need to troubleshoot it and take care of it with extreme prejudice.

When it comes to microphone choice... well that's getting pretty personal. One man's secret weapon is another man's trash. You know your mic collection--USE IT. The important question, except at the most lavishly equipped studios, is one of allocation--you only have "X" mics to go around. You may have to make compromises. However, your BEST mics should be on the most important elements based on your goal. If a super wide stereo image is no big deal but a beefy room sound is--put the more expensive mics as the rooms instead of the overheads. You get the picture.

Since we're talking about mics, let's spend a moment on placement. Pay special attention to "problem children" that are going to make hitting your audio goal difficult. If your end product is going to be kick/snare centric you're obviously going to have to spend a minute to make sure your kick and snare mics are isolated as much as possible from the other elements. No matter what, you should take a minute to make sure the goddamn high hat isn't squaking 5's in your snare mic--this is going to screw you every time no matter what. Do whatever it takes to get the high hat out of your snare mic and vise-versa. I know some guys that put the 'hat mic BEHIND the drummer pointing at the hat--using the player's body as a shield to block out the snare. Hey--it works! Whenever possible avoid those clip on mics and use a stand--the less wonky low end sympathetic resonance you can eliminate the more you can let the low end sing 'loud and proud' in your mix without things getting weird.

Word of warning: don't use two mics on a single source (like kick drum) unless that's what you NEED to do. Most engineers I know just do it because they think it makes them badass. I dunno. Use what you need and nothing more. Sometimes you may need two mics, sometimes you may not need any. Keep your goal in mind, and what/who you're working with.

After you've covered the basics: kick, snare, toms, overheads and rooms, you can start thinking spot mics. Looking for an ultra stereophonic image? Then spot mic your cymbals; make sure they are in phase, and edit or gate the suckers. When they hit the cymbal you hear that mic, and about 500 ms later it's gone. Does wonders for the stereo image. Just ask Bob Rock, he's famous for these kinds of capers... and it sounds great. Don't worry about getting everything, just get the things important to your end goal. Maybe that means spotting the ride, or the chinas. Whatever it takes, you're there to deliver. You're the man with the plan.

Now that you've gotten a bazillion microphones on the kit comes the moment of truth--phase check. This is a pain, it takes some time, the band will whine and complain, the drummer will think you're daft, but it is critical that the mics are in sympathetic phase with one another. Use a phase meter, use your ears, zoom in on a snippet of recorded audio and eyeball it for Christ's sake, but do it. Make adjustments. If you are lucky you'll have some of those amazing IBT boxes that let you tweak the phase angle (or just use the UAD plugin). Every time I've been hired to mix a project I didn't record and the drums sounded funky there were always a few mics out of phase.... kick OOP with the OH's, or the middle tom a little bit out. Don't let this be you. This is also why the "less is more" school of drum miking can sound so... well... phase coherent, realistic, punchy and fresh. Once again use what you need and no more/less.

Let's talk for a minute about outboard gear. If you have it--USE IT! Throw on the compression, get the EQ happening right here and now. Screw options later. If the kit sounds fantastic, what other options do you really need? Obviously don't spend five hours EQ'ing the snare, but paint some bold, broad strokes. Hell, the client is paying for that outboard, might as well use it. Besides, how are you going to know that you've got *THE* sound until you run it through the ropes? This is the old school stuff. And if you've got gates--use them! Gate the kick and snare now. Gate the toms. Make it happen. Do some damage. Once again, this is how they made those records from 20, 30 or 40 years ago you live and die by. Make choices, be an engineer. Plus, all that stuff will be available during mixdown for other things. Saves time to have a bitchin' drum sound by just pulling up faders when starting your mix.

Last but certainly not least is the player. Unfortunately you're stuck with this guy. You can't swap 'em out like a mic, or tweak them like an 1176, or even fire them like an intern. This is the guy you have to work with. So look out for them. Make sure they are properly rested, know when to tell them to take five minutes for a break. Don't let them drink too much or smoke too much. Be encouraging. Point out the good twice as often as the bad. Let them know you're on their side. Let them know all this hard work during the setup was for THEM. Remind them how much you love recording drums and how there's no such thing as a great record without great drum tracks. Boost their confidence, give 'em a hug now and again. You know... bullshit them.

Okay, now that you've recorded some stellar drum tracks with passion and skill it's time to mix them. While I don't want to get into the depths of mixing drums at the moment (because it would take a month... fiddly subject), there are a few things to keep in mind.

1.) Did I mention gates were your friend? Well, chances are you're going to need them hardcore mixing without drum replacement. Sometimes, in this crazy world, you may find yourself copying the snare track and gating it really hard for one track, and only gating it a little bit for the other. Do whatever it takes to get that happenin' sound. There are no rules except there's no excuse for bad engineering.

2.) Commit to not using triggers. Don't wimp out. So what if it doesn't sound like the last 30 Seconds to Mars album... without triggers and Autotune they wouldn't sound like it either. Use older albums as your frame of reference, not today's generic "IQ 80 drum machine" albums.

3.) Realize that it's not going to sound perfect like a sample replaced album. Revel in the authenticity of each unique note that was created by a living, breathing human applying stick to skin. Take comfort in the knowledge that vibe is everything.

And don't forget there are a whole host of other options! Try recording drums first, cymbals on a second take--eliminates most of your bleed problems. 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). Experiment with overdubbing kick or snare on top of the main track (better hope the drummer has rockin' timing and you used a click!) There are a million options to try. Unfortunately none of them are particularly fast ways to record drums.

Hope this helps someone,
Quote
2
#6
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #6
Gear addict
 
surfspank's Avatar
 

James, that is just about the most detailed post I've read on the subject. Great job. I hesitate to ask the question because you have been so kind with your time to type this much, but what albums would you consider good reference albums? I know I use more than one and it's all personal taste, but I'm curious what you would consider a benchmark since you clearly have the love for drums. Also, when I reference it's gotta be Vinyl. I'm not really a snob about it though, it's just how I learned to listen to good music growing up. I find you can really hear the difference in mixes because it seems to be more pronounced, to my ears at least, on records. I can usually keep the EQ in relatively the same position listening from CD to CD but I usually have to adjust for every record, and in that way I can sorta tell how things were EQ'ed in the mix...or at least get a rough idea.

Thanks for sharing,
Dustin Levay.
#7
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #7
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
I'm going to disagree with Meeker on head choice, I'm still in love with EC2's on my Ayottes for top toms. REPLACE THE RESONANT HEAD. I also wouldn't gate on input, what happens when your drummer goes into a part that contains a lot of ghost notes? If you knew the song well enough I suppose you could dial the gate as he's playing but if not, all that work to bs the drummer is lost on the fact that you as an engineer have failed to capture his sound and the drummer will notice. All very good points though especially the rule of thirds, using baffles to seperate room mics and spot mics on cymbals will be all things I try out on the next time I record drums.
Quote
1
mynaemisjonas
Thread Starter
#8
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #8
Gear addict
 
mynaemisjonas's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Fun thread!

Glad it's taking off a little bit, and hopefully people learn and create their own mixing methods!
#9
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #9
Gear addict
 
surfspank's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
I'm going to disagree with Meeker on head choice, I'm still in love with EC2's on my Ayottes for top toms. REPLACE THE RESONANT HEAD. I also wouldn't gate on input, what happens when your drummer goes into a part that contains a lot of ghost notes? If you knew the song well enough I suppose you could dial the gate as he's playing but if not, all that work to bs the drummer is lost on the fact that you as an engineer have failed to capture his sound and the drummer will notice. All very good points though especially the rule of thirds, using baffles to seperate room mics and spot mics on cymbals will be all things I try out on the next time I record drums.
I'm going to have to disagree with both of you on head choice. For my kit, DW, Evans are pretty much garbage. It's subjective though. Every kit is a little different and something that sounds good with one Drummer's stroke might not with another. When you get into head brand, it's splitting hairs. As long as the heads stay in tune and sound good IMHO it doesn't matter what brand is silk screened onto it. I've got a goat hide drum that sounds fantastic...not sure if it's a Remo goat or an Evans goat...come to think of it might be Aquarian since I've been favoring those skins lately.
#10
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #10
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mynaemisjonas View Post
No professional by any means. But tonight I tried a few new things with great success, and wanted to share them. This is to get you in the right place generally if you are starting out. This is for a natural sounding Pop Rock kinda thing. Somewhere in-between clean and dirty. If you don't like these ideas make your own tutorial! No flaming please. We all mix different. This is for beginner beginners.

Setting the General Mix

1. group all your drums into a group.
2. Send them all to a stereo bus
3. Set some generalized levels (hopefully you've got some room mics, if you don't, add a reverb bus in the mix and send it to your stereo bus as well, not a really long reverb either, keep it simple stupid, also 100% wet) and make sure things are in phase.
3. Add brightness to the stereo bus (compare to brightness of favorite mastered CD) Do not do any more EQing here.
4. Find the oomph of your snare and boost it. (if you have two snare top mics boost only one of them, probably the one that captured more low frequencies)
5. Cut the snares oomph frequency from all the other parts of the kit (assuming your rack tom's oomph is below that) including the room.
6. Cut out a low shelf in the overheads hats ride room mics rack and snare below 100
7. Duplicate your stereo bus and nuke it with compression/limiting and mix it under the volume level of your normal drum bus. Take off some of the high end eq. (depending on your plugins used this could add "plugin delay" which will make your drums sound terrible. See bottom.

Toms

1. Duplicate your tom tracks
Set a will be for the brightness and attack
Set b will be for the resonance and fullness

2. Solo your toms and boost the high mid frequencies to get the desired attack/punch. Remove the low end frequencies.

3. Add a gate, use the side chain frequencies to capture the high mid area. Set the fastest attack and a pretty short release with no hold.
Lets say 200-300ms If the kick and snare come through its fine... Maximum threshold, leave no bleed.

for set B eliminate all high frequencies above the resonate frequency, set a gate on these with a long release time. 3 - 4 seconds and make sure the attack isn't creating bad artifacts. use the side chain EQ and center in right on the resonate frequencies.
Also leave no bleed here either.

if you do this right you should have all the attack with no cymbal bleed
and all the resonance without having a bad pongy sound when the toms aren't being played.

Finish it up

Add some EQ and compression here and there where it seems necessary on the kick and snare... very light stuff because your compressed drum buss is already doing the job. Your cymbals should all be bright but you can clean up your hats lower and mid frequencies.

Make sure the hihat is coming from one concentric point. IE gate the snare and outside kick if needed, but leave the bleed at somewhere like negative 10, adjust the ratio so you aren't losing the quieter hits. if you had two top snare mics... you need not worry about this because you don't need to gate your oomph boosted mic most likely.

THE IMPORTANT PART


Check your plugin delay.

If you are using protools you can buy a plugin called mellow muse which you insert as the last plugin on every track.

Or... Apple click the volume and you should get a new display which will tell you your plugin delay. You can use the time adjuster plugin (it comes with protools) at the end of each track to match the delays.

Match your drum bus's to eachother. (if stuff was sounding really bad inbetween the drum bus's this is where it gets fixed)


At this point you should be definitely in the ballpark. Make sure your tracks aren't peaking.


Sincerely and with much Narcissism.
[sigh] ...
#11
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
frans's Avatar
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.
#12
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by surfspank View Post
...but what albums would you consider good reference albums?
Here are what I consider to be benchmark albums for drum sounds. There are plenty different reasons why I'll love a particular drum sound, so I'll just leave a few notes for each. I don't expect this list to be popular, because it has *NOTHING* to do with drum sounds I've heard in the last 10 or 15 years, which are pretty much miserable in my opinion.
*Note: I'm 39 and my selection is going to reflect my age, just deal with it. I'm old, gimme a break.

Pat Benatar, "Invincible": great early 80's hyped sound. Explosive gates and gated reverb abound, but the tone and playing just grab you. Engineer Joe Chiccarelli was really on the ball for the entire album. Pat's albums always had inspiring songwriting, production and playing. Plus, Pat Benatar takes bigger dumps than the female singers around nowadays (::cough:: Lady Gaga ::cough:. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
YouTube - Pat Benatar - Invincible

Soundgarden, "Fell on Black Days": big, fat, natural and roomy, yet still with a bangy direct sound. Absolute opposite of the 90's 'small drum' sound. Michael Beinhorn was truly inspired on this session, an excellent example of not letting production tricks get in the way and just letting the real sound of the artist shine through.
YouTube - Soundgarden - Fell On Black Days [Studio Version]

The Power Station, "Some Like it Hot": the first of a few Tony Thompson tracks (he is sorely missed). One of the great gimmicky drum sounds, great groove, great tone, great playing. The tight, buoyant kick drum is a Thompson hallmark. With Bernard Edwards engineering and producing? Get outta' here!
YouTube - The Power Station / Some Like It Hot : The Power Station

Rick James, "Give It To Me Baby": oh the snap! Cocaine may be a hell of a drug, but Rick James was a hell of a producer. Slick, post-MoTown and in the pocket. Excellent example of a layered drum production--just listen to the verby claps and tamborine on top of the snare to vary the feel from section to section. Total groove and cool. You just don't hear shit like this anymore.
YouTube - Rick James - Give It To Me Baby

Anthrax, "I Am the Law": Eddie Kramer is the master. One of the few metal albums that sounds good across the board. Drum production is first rate. Sounds like Charlie Benante had high hat on the left and right side. Judging by his 80's kits the setup must have been massive. Still, sounds tight with minimal phase incoherency which is a testament to Kramer's skill and technique. The tight gated snare provides a unique feel to the entire album. Excellent setup, tuning and playing. While it's clear the guitars and vocals are ruling the day, the drums still ring true in the mix.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ZuSM_UfJo

Talking Heads, "And She Was": solid, tone-y, excellent separation, a benchmark for clean drum sound. You can just hear how well the kit was set up. Obviously there are some overdubs of cowbell, and I'm guessing the high hat was as well. Shows that simple playing can still be inspirational. Track down an original recording, because the link doesn't do the real thing justice.... this lossy version kind of sucks but it was the best I can find.
YouTube - Talking Heads - And She Was

AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night": Mutt Lange, 'nuff said. People forget that before he became the master of overproduction he did records straight up. Everything sounds great, drums are a clear departure from the 70's but not yet 80's. A perfect rock recording, unpretentious, blue collar, surly and a bit buzzed. Extremely natural sounding. Stereo separation on the cymbals is noteworthy for the time, definitely some clever production going on here.
YouTube - AC/DC -- You Shook Me All Night Long with lyrics

Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams": Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut engineering on this landmark album (hey, I GREW UP on this one...). Probably the best example of a tight, close, dry 70's drum sound. You can hear how the overheads are about 4" off the cymbals. High hat separation is fantastic. Very clear and bright sound. Not to discredit Mick Fleetwood, but this track shows you can take a very middling player and still end up with a great drum sound if you do your homework.
YouTube - Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (with lyrics)

Van Halen, "I'll Wait": I've always loved Alex Van Halen's tone and playing, even if I'm not a huge fan of the band. What I love about this is you can hear the imperfections (pay close attention to his footwork, he likes to pound the one). Amazing tom tuning--THIS is how you tune a friggin' kit! The snare sound is very unique, solid, just tone for days. The kick drum is fat and chunky as hell. Everything is in the pocket with swing and feel. So 80's, yet so not 80's. Damn, why don't we have characters like this anymore? Now I'm depressed. If you can't learn something from this you're white bread.
YouTube - Van Halen - I'll Wait

Men At Work, "Overkill": Jerry Speiser was an underrated talent. Good solid and simple drum tracks, amazing tuning. His consistency and power is laudatory. Peter McIan, the engineer, is also a bit under appreciated. Very solid and uncluttered drum production showing a mastery of the basics. It's not easy to get a track sounding this solid. The snare tone is f'ing killer.
YouTube - Men At Work - Overkill (1983)

Kingdom Come, "Get It On": okay cheesy song, but the first sign of greatness from Bob Rock. I'm guessing there's some sampler-based triggering on the snare because it has that late 80's Akai vibe to it (yeah, drum triggering is 30 years old btw). There's a lot of cool vibe going on here, one of the first conscious efforts to get away from 80's drum production. Finally, some room mics are making their way back into the mix!
YouTube - Kingdom Come - Get It on

Sepultura, "Stronger Than Hate": lo-fi and mean, recorded at Morrisound when they were still small. Very natural and aggressive--this is how drums should sound for heavy metal. Shows just what can happen when the band and engineer are dedicated to making a great sounding record. No fancy tricks, mics or consoles here. Heck, it was probably dropped to 16 tracks. You wish your trigger happy band's drums sounded half as good.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJanNq2eGVI

Madonna, "Like a Virgin": don't laugh, this is a first rate Nile Rodgers production: disrespect Nile and we're fighting. Tony Thompson on drums. Madonna always surrounded herself with top talent. The kick drum just kills. Excellent control of the overheads/high hat for a tight, dry and clean drum sound. Don't try this at home.
YouTube - Madonna - Like A Virgin

Curtis Mayfield, "Move On Up": awesome 1970's drum sound, eccentric and multilayered. There's a virtual percussion orchestra going on here... the kit is just one part of the whole. Years ahead of anything the rock world was doing at the time. Make sure to listen to the whole track, because things get really interesting around 4:20. RIP Curtis, we miss you buddy.
YouTube - Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

INXS, "New Sensation": very gimmicky, tons of gated 'verb on the kick.... nice... Bob Clearmountain has always been a genius at stamping a production. This is an example of production making the track as the basic tracks are clearly overshadowed by a mountain of delay, chorus, EQ and clever reverb, but what an end product. Inspiring in a guilty way.
YouTube - INXS - New Sensation

Michael Jackson, "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough": bet you thought of his discography I'd pick "Billie Jean" (which is brilliant as well). But I prefer this dirty, analogy, over-EQ'd on top post-disco dance cut. I'm stupid that way. As far as pure production goes, you're better off studying the "Thriller" stuff because Bruce Swedien isn't considered a god for nuthin'. Anything that Quincy or Bruce has touched is gold in more ways than one.
YouTube - Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

Def Leppard, ""Bringin' on the Heartbreak": Mutt Lange before he truly became Mutt Lange. One of his last productions before he went off the cliff into laborious (but amazing sounding) studio tricks. This is pretty much straight-up and consequently very inspirational. Shows why Mutt had to become what he became--he was just too ahead of the pack, and had mastered everything that came before. Stupidly big, pounding snare.... almost 30 years later it can leave you scratching your head wondering how the hell he did that with the technology from that era. A godsend. I wish I could find a link to audio that does it justice... hunt down the original recording.
YouTube - Def Leppard - Bring On Heartbreak w/Lyrics

Slayer, "Skeletons of Society": Dave Lombardo is a top drummer, transcending mere 'metal' drumming. Plus it's mixed by Andy Wallace? What more could you want? Sure, there's some triggering but it doesn't overshadow what's going on. Strange how the most characterful players always have their own characteristic tuning.... in the midst of all these toys we've lost so much authenticity. When you listen to this it makes you realize what a disservice triggers have done to music. You can feel the abuse the drum kit took on this recording, Lombardo hits it like a man.... another thing we've lost. Track down an original recording, because as usual this link isn't doing any justice to the real deal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RxUzXzGSFA

Stevie Nicks, "Edge of Seventeen": nice reference for unpretentious, solid drums without any pomp or circumstance. Nice and clear, punchy with a good crack on the snare. Excellent example to fit a kit into a relatively full pop-rock production. Some nice additional percussion in there as well.
YouTube - Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen (with lyrics)

Bryan Adams, "Run to You": stupid amounts of roominess! This was tracked live in the studio, there's an article from Mix Magazine with some great details. Nice 80's effects (reverse 'verb, gated verb) on select hits--nice production details! The basic sound is very crisp and solid. The engineering really sells the song. Try to track down an original recording, because the best link I could find sucked. Sorry.
YouTube - Bryan Adams - Run To You

Mötley Crüe, "Primal Scream": more Bob Rock on top of his game. Truly inspiring drum sounds courtesy of Tommy Lee, you can practically hear how big his dick is on this recording. Solid, fun and big. Excellent balance of room versus direct signals. Surprisingly raw for such a hi-fi production. Five stars in every category.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUJT1RaB778

Missing Persons, "Words": straight ahead production, a good barometer for where drums should sit in a light pop track, very much with the times, but notice how when you have a master behind the kit like Bozzio things really come to life. Kit tuning, control and dynamics are excellent. Interesting tuning, a bit higher pitched than you normally hear.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IasCZL072fQ&ob=av2e
Quote
5
#13
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #13
Gear addict
 
surfspank's Avatar
 

Sheeee-it James, you just made me realize I'm old. Most of this stuff is dispersed throughout my Wife's and my record collection. There's no shame in being 39. I'm 40. That's a diverse list of music for sure, the fact is there are great drum sounds in all genres. There's one album I listen to that always blows me away it's Frank Black and the Catholics first one. I'm not sure who was involved in the production, but geez. It's recorded live onto 2 track and has some serious guts. I swear I can feel the band's sweat hitting me every time I listen to it. When I think of recording my live drums this is usually where I start. I always want to keep them as live as possible, which usually means a crap load of extra takes and practice time to get it right. It's worth it though. Since digital came along and has been evolving, I'm not sure if there's an appreciation for the amount of control and processing modern musicians have at their fingertips. If anything it probably this has played a role in the overprocessed and stale sound of modern Drums. It's too easy. In that way I sort of miss the rewind button (not the waste of tape)....it made people look for solutions, not quick fixes ITB. In a way we are lucky to have been the crossover generation between Digital and Analog. It definitely helps to know how both formats have been used to make great music. I feel like a lot of good methodology, and the sounds associated with them, is being lost in the convenience of the DAW quick fix.

I love your list, gotta admit some of it had me laughing especially since I also owned some Pat Benatar when I was cutting my musical teeth. I think in this day and age the Rumours album slips under the radar, but once a month (yep) my Wife makes me listen to it. Truthfully, I've always loved the album because before that my Mother made me listen to it once a month. The production of that album can't be denied, it's brilliant.
Thanks again for sharing. I really hope people keep the thoughts flying because there really is no one set way to mix Drums. No two rooms are the same, no two Drummers are the same, etc. Some of this stuff works in my room, some of it I would be an idiot to waste my time trying....but it's all great advice.

Glad you showed for the discussion,
Dustin Levay.
#14
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #14
I think that digital tools are great, very useful, but....

It's almost a moral crisis we are in. Too much faith in technology has eroded our belief in human ability. It's not just the music industry, but every endeavor that's been touched by rationalization. It reminds me what Erich Fromm wrote about the death instinct inherent in late stage capitalism as we shift orientation towards technology and uniformity.

I'm rebelling against all of that. I can't make a living making records how I think they should be made, so I'd rather just not make records. Besides, for the first time in years I'm actually enjoying music again not being surrounded by it.

Although dwarfed by today's technology and options, it's incredible what engineers and musicians accomplished using a fraction of tools we have now. There used to be such a breadth and character to music. I just don't hear it anymore. Music is a commodity, a product, something to be marketed to teens and sold with a price tag attached. It's a lifestyle option now. The art just seems drained out of it.

I tried, but I couldn't come up with one truly inspiring drum sound from the last decade. There's stuff that sounds good (most modern Green Day stuff done with Jerry Finn) and all, but it just seems like a "me too" production. Not standout. Not unique. Not taking risks.
Quote
2
#15
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #15
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
I'm going to say that American Idiot still has my favorite drum sound for that style of music. Very roomy and hard hitting. Tre is a great straightforward rocknroll drummer that adds so much to the bands sound. Atom Willards sound on the first Angels and Airwaves is also another to listen to, huge roomy sound and Willard has a distinct style you can hear a mile away.
I'm surprised the topic of stick choice hasn't come up yet. I for one shudder everytime a hard rock drummer comes in with 7a's.
#16
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #16
Gear addict
 
surfspank's Avatar
 

Historically Art has always had it's hands tied by societal constraints. I agree with you there James. I think the common mistake today is that people are too focused on what Technology gives as opposed to what it takes away through obsolescence. I find myself always listening for something that's missing. In my mind, these days it's the totality of the kit. I find a lot of modern productions sound like they are being recorded to make the production easier. Separate the elements, choke out the bleed, process the pieces of the kit separately, compress, gate, etc. Personally, I've found myself more pleased with viewing my kit as one piece in a room. I'm always preaching my love of bleed because I find it gives my sound presence and totality. When I separate elements it takes away the glue that holds things in place...the naturalness of sound expanding within a room....the Art of harnessing and translating the energy of sound. Definitely an expensive and time consuming venture in an era where all cost seems to be paramount and very little is given. Did I mention I'm really digging this thread?

Jordan, next time a Metal Drummer shows up with 7a's let them know that is what my 2 year old Daughter uses...true story.
#17
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #17
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Pssh haha AGREED Surfspank. Vic Firth 2b for me. Anybody here getting fancy with beater choice? I've taped coins to heads and beaters before for that crappy audix kick sound that everyone worships.
#18
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #18
Gear maniac
 
bassguy6's Avatar
 

Good info here. Some stuff I am going to try out...
#19
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #19
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by surfspank View Post
Personally, I've found myself more pleased with viewing my kit as one piece in a room. I'm always preaching my love of bleed because I find it gives my sound presence and totality. When I separate elements it takes away the glue that holds things in place...the naturalness of sound expanding within a room....the Art of harnessing and translating the energy of sound. Definitely an expensive and time consuming venture in an era where all cost seems to be paramount and very little is given.
I can't get into this sound at all but that's probably because every band I've worked with wants a standard rock/metal/punk sound. The bleed off a rack tom mic for me is just a god awful hideous sound. You also mess with the image of the kit as well but again its subjective and really depends on what you're going for.
#20
13th September 2010
Old 13th September 2010
  #20
Gear addict
 
surfspank's Avatar
 

Jordan,
1a's for me. I play my racks at pretty flat angle and have a 441 between them about 5 inches off and a little behind pointing directly at the snare. I tweek the levels until everything sounds good. I have another 441 between the floors at roughly the same distance pointing between and at the snare. No complaints about how the bleed sounds, good image and sound. Expensive mics though and it took a year to adjust my style to accommodate the better sound and ring of flat drums. Something not a lot of Drummers like doing...playing for better sound. It's hilarious the amount my rims get hit when another Drummer sits behind my kit so it was totally worth it.
Quote
1
#21
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Beyersound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Here are what I consider to be benchmark albums for drum sounds. There are plenty different reasons why I'll love a particular drum sound, so I'll just leave a few notes for each. I don't expect this list to be popular, because it has *NOTHING* to do with drum sounds I've heard in the last 10 or 15 years, which are pretty much miserable in my opinion.
*Note: I'm 39 and my selection is going to reflect my age, just deal with it. I'm old, gimme a break.

Pat Benatar, "Invincible": great early 80's hyped sound. Explosive gates and gated reverb abound, but the tone and playing just grab you. Engineer Joe Chiccarelli was really on the ball for the entire album. Pat's albums always had inspiring songwriting, production and playing. Plus, Pat Benatar takes bigger dumps than the female singers around nowadays (::cough:: Lady Gaga ::cough:. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
YouTube - Pat Benatar - Invincible

Soundgarden, "Fell on Black Days": big, fat, natural and roomy, yet still with a bangy direct sound. Absolute opposite of the 90's 'small drum' sound. Michael Beinhorn was truly inspired on this session, an excellent example of not letting production tricks get in the way and just letting the real sound of the artist shine through.
YouTube - Soundgarden - Fell On Black Days [Studio Version]

The Power Station, "Some Like it Hot": the first of a few Tony Thompson tracks (he is sorely missed). One of the great gimmicky drum sounds, great groove, great tone, great playing. The tight, buoyant kick drum is a Thompson hallmark. With Bernard Edwards engineering and producing? Get outta' here!
YouTube - The Power Station / Some Like It Hot : The Power Station

Rick James, "Give It To Me Baby": oh the snap! Cocaine may be a hell of a drug, but Rick James was a hell of a producer. Slick, post-MoTown and in the pocket. Excellent example of a layered drum production--just listen to the verby claps and tamborine on top of the snare to vary the feel from section to section. Total groove and cool. You just don't hear shit like this anymore.
YouTube - Rick James - Give It To Me Baby

Anthrax, "I Am the Law": Eddie Kramer is the master. One of the few metal albums that sounds good across the board. Drum production is first rate. Sounds like Charlie Benante had high hat on the left and right side. Judging by his 80's kits the setup must have been massive. Still, sounds tight with minimal phase incoherency which is a testament to Kramer's skill and technique. The tight gated snare provides a unique feel to the entire album. Excellent setup, tuning and playing. While it's clear the guitars and vocals are ruling the day, the drums still ring true in the mix.
YouTube - I am the law-Anthrax

Talking Heads, "And She Was": solid, tone-y, excellent separation, a benchmark for clean drum sound. You can just hear how well the kit was set up. Obviously there are some overdubs of cowbell, and I'm guessing the high hat was as well. Shows that simple playing can still be inspirational. Track down an original recording, because the link doesn't do the real thing justice.... this lossy version kind of sucks but it was the best I can find.
YouTube - Talking Heads - And She Was

AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night": Mutt Lange, 'nuff said. People forget that before he became the master of overproduction he did records straight up. Everything sounds great, drums are a clear departure from the 70's but not yet 80's. A perfect rock recording, unpretentious, blue collar, surly and a bit buzzed. Extremely natural sounding. Stereo separation on the cymbals is noteworthy for the time, definitely some clever production going on here.
YouTube - AC/DC -- You Shook Me All Night Long with lyrics

Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams": Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut engineering on this landmark album (hey, I GREW UP on this one...). Probably the best example of a tight, close, dry 70's drum sound. You can hear how the overheads are about 4" off the cymbals. High hat separation is fantastic. Very clear and bright sound. Not to discredit Mick Fleetwood, but this track shows you can take a very middling player and still end up with a great drum sound if you do your homework.
YouTube - Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (with lyrics)

Van Halen, "I'll Wait": I've always loved Alex Van Halen's tone and playing, even if I'm not a huge fan of the band. What I love about this is you can hear the imperfections (pay close attention to his footwork, he likes to pound the one). Amazing tom tuning--THIS is how you tune a friggin' kit! The snare sound is very unique, solid, just tone for days. The kick drum is fat and chunky as hell. Everything is in the pocket with swing and feel. So 80's, yet so not 80's. Damn, why don't we have characters like this anymore? Now I'm depressed. If you can't learn something from this you're white bread.
YouTube - Van Halen - I'll Wait

Men At Work, "Overkill": Jerry Speiser was an underrated talent. Good solid and simple drum tracks, amazing tuning. His consistency and power is laudatory. Peter McIan, the engineer, is also a bit under appreciated. Very solid and uncluttered drum production showing a mastery of the basics. It's not easy to get a track sounding this solid. The snare tone is f'ing killer.
YouTube - Men At Work - Overkill (1983)

Kingdom Come, "Get It On": okay cheesy song, but the first sign of greatness from Bob Rock. I'm guessing there's some sampler-based triggering on the snare because it has that late 80's Akai vibe to it (yeah, drum triggering is 30 years old btw). There's a lot of cool vibe going on here, one of the first conscious efforts to get away from 80's drum production. Finally, some room mics are making their way back into the mix!
YouTube - Kingdom Come - Get It on

Sepultura, "Stronger Than Hate": lo-fi and mean, recorded at Morrisound when they were still small. Very natural and aggressive--this is how drums should sound for heavy metal. Shows just what can happen when the band and engineer are dedicated to making a great sounding record. No fancy tricks, mics or consoles here. Heck, it was probably dropped to 16 tracks. You wish your trigger happy band's drums sounded half as good.
YouTube - Sepultura- Stronger Than Hate

Madonna, "Like a Virgin": don't laugh, this is a first rate Nile Rodgers production: disrespect Nile and we're fighting. Tony Thompson on drums. Madonna always surrounded herself with top talent. The kick drum just kills. Excellent control of the overheads/high hat for a tight, dry and clean drum sound. Don't try this at home.
YouTube - Madonna - Like A Virgin

Curtis Mayfield, "Move On Up": awesome 1970's drum sound, eccentric and multilayered. There's a virtual percussion orchestra going on here... the kit is just one part of the whole. Years ahead of anything the rock world was doing at the time. Make sure to listen to the whole track, because things get really interesting around 4:20. RIP Curtis, we miss you buddy.
YouTube - Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

INXS, "New Sensation": very gimmicky, tons of gated 'verb on the kick.... nice... Bob Clearmountain has always been a genius at stamping a production. This is an example of production making the track as the basic tracks are clearly overshadowed by a mountain of delay, chorus, EQ and clever reverb, but what an end product. Inspiring in a guilty way.
YouTube - INXS - New Sensation

Michael Jackson, "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough": bet you thought of his discography I'd pick "Billie Jean" (which is brilliant as well). But I prefer this dirty, analogy, over-EQ'd on top post-disco dance cut. I'm stupid that way. As far as pure production goes, you're better off studying the "Thriller" stuff because Bruce Swedien isn't considered a god for nuthin'. Anything that Quincy or Bruce has touched is gold in more ways than one.
YouTube - Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

Def Leppard, ""Bringin' on the Heartbreak": Mutt Lange before he truly became Mutt Lange. One of his last productions before he went off the cliff into laborious (but amazing sounding) studio tricks. This is pretty much straight-up and consequently very inspirational. Shows why Mutt had to become what he became--he was just too ahead of the pack, and had mastered everything that came before. Stupidly big, pounding snare.... almost 30 years later it can leave you scratching your head wondering how the hell he did that with the technology from that era. A godsend. I wish I could find a link to audio that does it justice... hunt down the original recording.
YouTube - Def Leppard - Bring On Heartbreak w/Lyrics

Slayer, "Skeletons of Society": Dave Lombardo is a top drummer, transcending mere 'metal' drumming. Plus it's mixed by Andy Wallace? What more could you want? Sure, there's some triggering but it doesn't overshadow what's going on. Strange how the most characterful players always have their own characteristic tuning.... in the midst of all these toys we've lost so much authenticity. When you listen to this it makes you realize what a disservice triggers have done to music. You can feel the abuse the drum kit took on this recording, Lombardo hits it like a man.... another thing we've lost. Track down an original recording, because as usual this link isn't doing any justice to the real deal.
YouTube - Slayer - Skeletons of Society

Stevie Nicks, "Edge of Seventeen": nice reference for unpretentious, solid drums without any pomp or circumstance. Nice and clear, punchy with a good crack on the snare. Excellent example to fit a kit into a relatively full pop-rock production. Some nice additional percussion in there as well.
YouTube - Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen (with lyrics)

Bryan Adams, "Run to You": stupid amounts of roominess! This was tracked live in the studio, there's an article from Mix Magazine with some great details. Nice 80's effects (reverse 'verb, gated verb) on select hits--nice production details! The basic sound is very crisp and solid. The engineering really sells the song. Try to track down an original recording, because the best link I could find sucked. Sorry.
YouTube - Bryan Adams - Run To You

Mötley Crüe, "Primal Scream": more Bob Rock on top of his game. Truly inspiring drum sounds courtesy of Tommy Lee, you can practically hear how big his dick is on this recording. Solid, fun and big. Excellent balance of room versus direct signals. Surprisingly raw for such a hi-fi production. Five stars in every category.
YouTube - Mötley Crüe - Primal Scream

Missing Persons, "Words": straight ahead production, a good barometer for where drums should sit in a light pop track, very much with the times, but notice how when you have a master behind the kit like Bozzio things really come to life. Kit tuning, control and dynamics are excellent. Interesting tuning, a bit higher pitched than you normally hear.
YouTube - Missing Persons - Words
Nice listing of favorite drum sounds, though sometimes you just list the producer, not the engineer. That was Mike Shipley who mixed "Bringin On The Heartbreak", and of course the great Bob Clearmountain did "Run To You". Don't forget the legendary Ken Scott for "Words", and the reason the toms are "interesting" sounding, is that it is an all roto-tom kit. Terry Bozzio does rule by the way.

Some other great drum sounds might be:

Aerosmith - the "Pump" album. Bob Rock hits his stride with this one. Incredible definition and impact, a model sound for rock drums.

Shawn Colvin - "A Few Small Repairs". A record full of acoustic instruments and great textures. A challenge that Clearmountain and Producer John Leventhal absolutely nailed, the kit sounds different on every song, but absolutely perfect and appropriate. A must listen for any aspiring engineer and drum sound aficionado.

Ratt - "Detonator". Shipley's great drum mixing chops at their finest. This record was overlooked by most, I might never have heard it if I hadn't been asked to mix the tour. Great playing, and a big, punchy, round, and well polished drum sound. Also a fierce guitar sound (and playing) to go with it!

Hall And Oates - "Big Bam Boom". As the name states, the drum sound is killer. It switches between Linndrum (you can skip most of those parts) and Mickey Curry doing his usual magic with an acoustic kit. Listen especially to "Bank On Love" and the bridge solo in "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" for absolute huge Clearmountain drum genius.

Def Leppard - "Pyromania". I had to mention this one, it was the first example of the ultimate possibilities of drum programming and samples in a big rock mix. Shipley and Mutt created this amazing milestone with the lowly 8bit resolution of a Fairlight, and changed the way we get drum sounds forever. The ride sounds a bit stiff, but the drum sound and groove of this record are legendary, still hard to believe all the drums are programmed.

Honorable Mention

Queensryche -
"Empire", "Operation Mindcrime", and Rush - "Power Windows". Very 80s/early 90s sounding but great nonetheless. Jimbo Barton mixed all, he is quite underrated as a drum sound guy. Two great drummers, great performances, represented expertly by Jimbo.

The Tubes - "The Completion Backward Principle", The brilliant drumming of a very underrated Prarie Prince (He's kinda the American John Bonham meets Simon Philips/Terry Bozzio). Great sounding and well tuned Yamaha kit (I love the attack of the high end Yamahas!) engineered brilliantly by the mighty Humberto Gatica. The kit is huge, he even uses 6"and 8" traditional toms, double 24" bass drums, and he plays every drum masterfully throughout. Very 80s sounding, but just plain outstanding. "Talk To You Later" was just the start of a great record that never lets up.

As James was eluding to, these are great references for what is possible in a drum sound, and a great yardstick. Most of these go pretty far back (I am even older than James!) but are very important. They have inspired me in my live and studio mixing, helped me to develop a reputation for good drum sounds that has contributed greatly to building a career that still feeds my family to this day. Good Luck!
#22
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
I'm surprised the topic of stick choice hasn't come up yet. I for one shudder everytime a hard rock drummer comes in with 7a's.
Stick choice is one of those personal drummer things. There is no "best" stick, but there are inappropriate ones for certain styles. Obviously wimpy little girl sticks are a no-no for anything that's supposed to have power. Likewise, trees are a bad selection for a light drum sound.

It comes back to the whole idea of THE PLAN™. Stick choice should fit in there, but no matter what you do/say some drummers aren't going to change.
#23
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
Queensryche - "Empire", "Operation Mindcrime", and Rush - "Power Windows". Very 80s/early 90s sounding but great nonetheless. Jimbo Barton mixed all, he is quite underrated as a drum sound guy. Two great drummers, great performances, represented expertly by Jimbo.
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.
#24
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #24
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by surfspank View Post
Jordan,
1a's for me. I play my racks at pretty flat angle and have a 441 between them about 5 inches off and a little behind pointing directly at the snare. I tweek the levels until everything sounds good. I have another 441 between the floors at roughly the same distance pointing between and at the snare. No complaints about how the bleed sounds, good image and sound. Expensive mics though and it took a year to adjust my style to accommodate the better sound and ring of flat drums. Something not a lot of Drummers like doing...playing for better sound. It's hilarious the amount my rims get hit when another Drummer sits behind my kit so it was totally worth it.
441's are dandy. I got to use them on a session once and they were real nice. Why not a 421 over the floors? DW's are gorgeous.
#25
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
mhs2xs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by surfspank View Post
I'm going to have to disagree with both of you on head choice. For my kit, DW, Evans are pretty much garbage. It's subjective though. Every kit is a little different and something that sounds good with one Drummer's stroke might not with another. When you get into head brand, it's splitting hairs. As long as the heads stay in tune and sound good IMHO it doesn't matter what brand is silk screened onto it. I've got a goat hide drum that sounds fantastic...not sure if it's a Remo goat or an Evans goat...come to think of it might be Aquarian since I've been favoring those skins lately.
+1 I think you and I went to the same school or something.

In one of my rants on another thread where someone was complaining about "drummers who refuse to play soft while recording" I tried to explain this. One of my old kits, a Ludwig Rocker circa '88 was a 9pc dbl 24kick monster. It sounded like utter crap if it wasn't skinned with Remo Pinstripe batters and Remo Ebony Resos. I don't know what it was about that combo. I spent hundreds if not thousands trying everything I could. You still had to beat the snot out of em to get em to sound right. But when I did, man they were great. I had to go to the Ahead-Tommy Lee sticks (about a 2b or rock diameter with an extra 1/2" in length and the taper started way down) to gain some inertia. Playing with normal 5b's sounded wimpy as hell and would wear me out from having to swing em.

I'm glad there's drummers and those who know how to record them on here to speak to these issues. Thanks to all for the really great information in this post. AWESOMENESS!

Cheers!
Mitchell
#26
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Beyersound's Avatar
 

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.
Actually my understanding is that there is little or no gated verb on Mindcrime, it was shorter hall/chamber and/or room verbs cranked up. I know that's what I used on the snare/toms for them. When did you see that tour, was I mixing? Cheers James!
#27
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #27
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Unfortunately right now, my drums are tracked in a treated 10x10. The day I have a bit more space will be one of the happiest days of my life. Back to drums and creating the glorious kit sound. I was just looking over at my collection of cymbals. USE CONTRAST. At my local retailer high end cymbals sit in a divided locker divided by size and style. Long story short I get a lot of great different sounding cymbals for a song. Again, very little consideration is given to any of these and they all go towards the plan. I have big, small, bright, dark. Snares too, I have a 13" Sonor Custom (beef and punch) and a Pork Pie Little Squealer (wicked snappy pop sound). These two cover a lot of ground (of course an Ayotte Keplinger, Firecracker and Black Beauty are on the long list) in my corner and when I'm using them I deliberately pick out cymbals that are going to contrast with these drums. Fat drums, bright cymbals. Bright snappy drums big dark cymbals. This creates a very nice contrast that works well for me.
Quote
1
#28
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Beyersound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
Unfortunately right now, my drums are tracked in a treated 10x10. The day I have a bit more space will be one of the happiest days of my life. Back to drums and creating the glorious kit sound. I was just looking over at my collection of cymbals. USE CONTRAST. At my local retailer high end cymbals sit in a divided locker divided by size and style. Long story short I get a lot of great different sounding cymbals for a song. Again, very little consideration is given to any of these and they all go towards the plan. I have big, small, bright, dark. Snares too, I have a 13" Sonor Custom (beef and punch) and a Pork Pie Little Squealer (wicked snappy pop sound). These two cover a lot of ground (of course an Ayotte Keplinger, Firecracker and Black Beauty are on the long list) in my corner and when I'm using them I deliberately pick out cymbals that are going to contrast with these drums. Fat drums, bright cymbals. Bright snappy drums big dark cymbals. This creates a very nice contrast that works well for me.
I would have to agree that cymbal selection is the most overlooked element with many drummers and engineers. I get so many tracks to mix where I wish there had been different choices made! I also love having more than just one snare used on a record, it helps give songs a more individual identity many times.
#29
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #29
Toronto Maple Leafs fan
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
I would have to agree that cymbal selection is the most overlooked element with many drummers and engineers. I get so many tracks to mix where I wish there had been different choices made! I also love having more than just one snare used on a record, it helps give songs a more individual identity many times.
And again I'll contrast. I like to think of everything as a cohesive album. I guess because I have my own rig I have enough resources to put out full albums that reflect where I'm at. This starts with lyrics, reocurring themes and riffs, and of course tones. I mix through the same compression and eq on the songs, and dial up the same snare sounds. Gtrs change here and there but I always try and think of the big picture. On ep's where concept isn't the priority but rather a collection of great songs then I have at it and switch it up accordingly.
#30
14th September 2010
Old 14th September 2010
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
AWhen did you see that tour, was I mixing?
Saw them open for Metallica in Toledo, Ohio--September of 1988 on the Mindcrime tour. Saw them a second time for Empire in 1990 in Detroit, I believe in December or maybe January.

Good band, I just thought the kit was WAY too wet on Mindcrime. All the other records sounded acceptable to me.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
grosslyobscure / Electronic Music Instruments & Electronic Music Production
26
filthyrich / So much gear, so little time!
15
GravityRobert / Low End Theory
2
The Marrvel / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
4

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.