Eric Valentines Underhead issues
Old 25th February 2010
  #1
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Balancing fig 8 underheads. Photo included!

hey guys,

I've lately been trying to perfect using 2 fig8 ribbons between the cymbals and the drums as my overhead image... much in the way Eric Valentine (TBS, QOTSA, Smashmouth, Third Eye Blind) does.
I love the sound but I'm not sure if there is a better way to approach it.
Essentially you have the raise the cymbals up really high to get the mics in.. but with a good drummer.. they can adjust really quickly.

At the moment I usually have one about 1.5 ft about the middle of the tom and snare and the other above the floor tom and my main concern has been making sure they are both in phase with the kick drum.
This makes for a great tom sound and nice rounded kick although it puts the snare quite heavily to one side (right side on my approach).

Has anyone else delved into this technique or has any ideas how to better center the snare in the image?? Or Do you think that its not that big of a problem having a snare heavy right side??

The other thing i did this weekend, which I quite liked was to also put up some 414's in XY above the cymbals and blended the sound although this did make the snare balance thing a little annoying.


any tips would be most appreciated!

...heres a rough photo I took on my iphone.. you can see sort of where the royer 121's are above the hats and floor tom

Old 2nd March 2010
  #2
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
not an issue that interests anyone??
e
Old 10th March 2010
  #3
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
ok ok.. so how about a debate on the importance of centered snares in overheads??

who doesnt do it? Who does?

I find I always make the kick centered but dont mind the snare off to one side a little.. although it does make me a little uncomfortable.
In saying that.. when you LOOK at a drum kit the snare is usually in line with the rack tom which is to the left (or right) of the kick.. so why is it not the norm to have it panned to the side??
Old 10th March 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
superwack's Avatar
Hey, there is a really cool video of Sean from Mercenary doing "underheads" + kick and snare using figure-8 ribbons (AEA R84) sounds great

can't give you the direct link but you can find the video player here (scoll down a bit) The Meth Lab - Videos

I'm planning on giving this a shot at my next drum session (apex 205's modded by Michael Joly)

Good Luck!
Old 10th March 2010
  #5
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
hey man,
cheers.. yeah i've seen that one.. great open sound!

Im talkin more about getting them RIGHT in between the cymbals and drums though
...yes.. it "your mics might get hit" territory.
but hey.. my moto is... gear is there to be used.. if it gets broken in the process of making great music with great sounds... then so be it.

in saying that... i dont use that technique with any old bozo drummer.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #6
Gear maniac
 
ev33's Avatar
Hi,

I saw this post about the "underheads" and thought I would give more detail about how I use them. I had I nice application of it recently and took some pictures of the setup. This particular setup is intended to be a more retro drum sound and is very simple. It is a total of 4 mics on the drum kit. It is as follows:

CMV-3 (close mono kit)
U87 (mono rm)
Coles 4038 (left kit)
Coles 4038 (Right Kit)

The 4 mics were recorded through a Studer J37 on their way to Pro Tools. There is quite a lot of EQ on the Mono Rm mic. It is EQ'd to be a complete drum sound and provide all of the low end for the kick drum. The CMV-3 adds detail and a defined attack to the kick and snr. It has a little bit of DBX 160 and an expander on it. The left and right underhead kit mics have a little high end boost to add some air to the typically warm 4038s. There's a little bit of spring reverb added to the the drum mix. The drum buss was compressed with a pair of Distressors and a pair of blue stripe 1176s in parallel.

I like the fig 8 underheads in this context because they only add the left and right information, They are incredibly isolated in that way. It maintains the center focus of the 2 mono mics.

Here are pics and a short .mp3 of the ref drum mix so you can check out the results.

Eric Valentine

Eric Valentines Underhead issues-dsc_4278.jpg

Eric Valentines Underhead issues-dsc_4277.jpg

Eric Valentines Underhead issues-dsc_4276.jpg

Eric Valentines Underhead issues-dsc_4275.jpg

Eric Valentines Underhead issues-dsc_4274.jpg

DS.drums_02-01.mp3
Old 2nd May 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 
dave_ocean's Avatar
 

Thanks for the post Eric! Everytime I listen to "why should the fire die" it makes me want to weep with joy
Old 8th May 2010
  #8
Gear maniac
 

Sounds amazing! I love the fact that your sound example you provided is exactly "the Eric Valentine drum sound" which should put the haters to rest that you use the same sample for all the records you make. I'm sure you use sample enhancement but only for consistency and not replacement.

However, the kick and snare has a very distinct sound that I can hear though out most of your work. This clip reminded me very much of Taking Back Sundays "Louder Now" album. Is it the EQ on the room that make your drums sound this way? tuning on the drums? or the fact that you use underheads?

Anyway, you make great productions and can't wait for the new Taking Back Sunday album. Can you give me a little hint what the new album will sound like? How is the process diffrent since the last time you worked with them? How long into production are you and how long are you expecting it to take?

Also, killer work on the Slash album! Keep making great sounding records!

All the best
Linus
Old 8th May 2010
  #9
Gear nut
 
Brad_Wood's Avatar
 

Great thread & thanks for posting such useful info, Eric.


Best- Brad
Old 8th May 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Awesome thread, and thank you Eric for the info.

Sorry to hijack this thread but I have a couple of questions of my own.

Does the CMV-3 mic have any eq?

How does this setup different from the Good Charlotte and taking back Sunday records? More Mics?

Thanks in advance.
Old 17th May 2010
  #11
Gear addict
 
rhythmic5's Avatar
 

also, question for eric, how in the world did you get that tone of electric guitar in the chorus of Gives You Hell?thumbsup
Old 26th May 2010
  #12
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
crap! I hadn't checked back here in ages!
thanks soo much Eric!

I had been experimenting with this idea a lot but hadn't nailed it..when I read in tape op that you did it!

you've just pulled exactly the drum sound im always going for! I even use a 24' x14' kick no hole! haha

sooo.. the problem Ive always had is that I'm trying to get the underheads set so they are in phase with kick AND also so the snare as close to the center as possible.. but should I not be bothering and just use the close mono room to get the center image?
I've also experimented with using a couple of condenser's in xy as overheads for shine although i never really use them.

This is such a great idea Eric! Not only for the obvious sonic reasons but.. every time I use it.. the drummer freaks out at first but then loves it. I think because they feel like their having a unique studio experience.

I just got home from work.. but Im going straight back to give this another shot.

eric... kindest regards!

Matt
Old 26th May 2010
  #13
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
p.s.

...eric... were you googling yourself?? *cheeky tone*
Old 26th May 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 
jeremyglover's Avatar
i think one of the reasons erik's setup is working so well is that he is using just four mics, and great mics at that .. the idea is to keep it simple and you will find it so much easier (and fun) come mix time ..

BTW erik, love you custom CMV shock mount and cable adapter!

jeremy
Old 27th May 2010
  #15
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
ill take 3
Old 27th May 2010
  #16
Banned
 

It is interesting that this is all posted Eric because my old buddy Brian McCurry and I were recently discussing the figure-8 in the middle mic' ing you sometimes use.

Maybe I am too old school, but I would worry about getting those drums to punch out in dense mix.
The punch and definition of the kick and especially the floor tom bother me.
There just isn't enough point on the kick and the floor for me.
Once the other instruments are added and the tracking is built up I would worry about being able to add "point" to that kick w/o ruining other things.
It might just be the tuning of those drums that bugs me a bit.
That floor tom reminds me of too many poorly maintained kits with bad heads that I dealt with years ago.

I do like the way that they sound like a kit in a room.
The whole listening field IS filled with the sound of the drums as opposed to drums popping out of spaces in the mix (close mics and gates.)

The over-all sound is a bit claustrophobic and reminds me of my days in the '70s and early '80s when we thought that using a drum booth was a good idea.
Hmmmmm.... maybe I was much too hip to realize it back then?
I wonder how this would sound out in a moderate sized room that was more live...
Maybe I am just hearing that small-ish room?

Still, preferences in sounds mutate over the year and what sounds good at one time in history is considered awful later.
After a while "awful" becomes hip.

I have worked for many years to come up with a way to get the "point" and definition of close mic' ed drums and still have the sound of a kit in a room.
I have tried spaced LDCs in front of the kit, coincident pair LDCs and SDCs, LDCs positioned extremely high over the kit, mics over the drummer's shoulder, all over different rooms, on and on...

I will admit that the cymbals sound decent mic' ed from the underside.
It is more useful than the sound that radiates on the plane of the cymbal.
The sound of cymbals from the top (and bottom) are the sound we are used to hearing on recordings.

So, you commit to that compression at tracking?
Old 14th July 2010
  #17
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
ahhh man!

with Eric's guidance I reckon I'm getting really close to getting a sound I'm after!
shit yeah!

just did a job the other day using a similar approach to this..

Your right Eric, the real trick is that mono room being used as the overall sound for the drumkit.
Very cool...
i dont have any pics unfortunately but when I get access to my studio again (on hire) I'll upload some sounds samples.

thanks again
Old 15th July 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
It is interesting that this is all posted Eric because my old buddy Brian McCurry and I were recently discussing the figure-8 in the middle mic' ing you sometimes use.

Maybe I am too old school, but I would worry about getting those drums to punch out in dense mix.
The punch and definition of the kick and especially the floor tom bother me.
There just isn't enough point on the kick and the floor for me.
Once the other instruments are added and the tracking is built up I would worry about being able to add "point" to that kick w/o ruining other things.
It might just be the tuning of those drums that bugs me a bit.
That floor tom reminds me of too many poorly maintained kits with bad heads that I dealt with years ago.

I do like the way that they sound like a kit in a room.
The whole listening field IS filled with the sound of the drums as opposed to drums popping out of spaces in the mix (close mics and gates.)

The over-all sound is a bit claustrophobic and reminds me of my days in the '70s and early '80s when we thought that using a drum booth was a good idea.
Hmmmmm.... maybe I was much too hip to realize it back then?
I wonder how this would sound out in a moderate sized room that was more live...
Maybe I am just hearing that small-ish room?

Still, preferences in sounds mutate over the year and what sounds good at one time in history is considered awful later.
After a while "awful" becomes hip.

I have worked for many years to come up with a way to get the "point" and definition of close mic' ed drums and still have the sound of a kit in a room.
I have tried spaced LDCs in front of the kit, coincident pair LDCs and SDCs, LDCs positioned extremely high over the kit, mics over the drummer's shoulder, all over different rooms, on and on...

I will admit that the cymbals sound decent mic' ed from the underside.
It is more useful than the sound that radiates on the plane of the cymbal.
The sound of cymbals from the top (and bottom) are the sound we are used to hearing on recordings.

So, you commit to that compression at tracking?
Good thing you're here to school Eric. I bet he's learning alot!
Old 15th July 2010
  #19
Banned
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winey View Post
Good thing you're here to school Eric. I bet he's learning alot!
There always has to be this comment doesn't there?

I've been earning a few bucks messing with mics myself over the years.
I just moved on past the record making business to a different life many years ago.
Hats off to the guy for doing what he does.
One of my very closest friends in the audio business is a good friend of Eric's.

I'm not trying to "school" Eric.
He does his thing and earns money in the way he chooses and I do things my way and earn my income the way i please.
People pay me to do what I do and people pay him to do what he does.
I was just giving my opinion and perspective after mic'ing drums for well over 35 years.
Take it or leave it.

I'll have to be honest though.
I do not consider the drums on the QOTSA stuff to sound THAT great really.
They work, but I have had many very knowledgeable people who have been working in audio and recording for many years and think that the drums on the "Songs for the Deaf" records sound "weak."
Not my opinion necessarily, but I have had more than one person say this.

Yeah... maybe it is a "flavor of the month/year" thing, but it is just a sound you can use if you want.
What ever floats your boat I suppose.
Old 15th July 2010
  #20
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
totally respect your vibe Danny.

to me though with "Songs for the Deaf"... i dont think about them as being great cause they're phat and awesome. I like them cause they're fresh and maybe just a different perspective on what drums can sound like.

Thats why I like Eric's stuff.. not so much because its sounds fatter and louder and more amazing than everything else.. just different and interesting.

I kind of have the opinion that if we demand the artist we work with to be creative in their song writing etc that we should also demand ourselves to be creative in our approach to capturing music and sound.

But from the sounds of things.. you'd agree with me on that as it seems clear you have experimented much over the years to find your own unique flavour.
I welcome your comments and opinions to the thread even if I feel differently to you do.
Old 15th July 2010
  #21
Banned
 

I personally have never met Eric, but my good friend knows him very well.
I know the history of Eric's work mostly.
He has done some good records.
Total respect for that.

I am just so far from being in any kind of competition with people like him that it is probably hard to explain to someone like WINEY.
Of course, WINEY's comment was one of those smart-ass, zingers that are so easy to type out on a forum like this.
They sound so clever, but in my almost 55 years on this planet I have learned at least one thing...
That is the fact that almost every person who can snap off the funny quip like that is not really productive and and in the "loop."
The guy doesn't know me and he doesn't know Eric.
It is a quick and ignorant statement.

On the other hand... I have been recording bands in a professional recording studio since '75.
I know a few things.
I dropped out of recording bands for a living back in '92.
I did some cool stuff for some big name artists.
I know how to make an awfully good sounding rock record.
I know how to record and produce a lot of other types of music, too.

I still do occasional band projects, but to be honest the next step for me in '92 was to move to L.A. or change paths in my audio career.
I had lived in L.A. in the early '80s and I knew that I had no desire to go back and compete in that market.
I moved to the radio/TV production world and then migrated over to live event production.
ALL of these moves were to make more money.

I totally respect people who stay in the band recording game because it is not an easy path to take.
The lifestyle required versus the income just doesn't work for me.

My advice to people like WINEY is to not chase the techniques of only the people who create the records that you like.
There surely is some knowledge to gain, but there is a WORLD of knowledge beyond that tiny area of audio and production.

The majority of what I have learned over the years (other than stuff I figured-out on my own) has come from people who 99% of Gearslutz readers have never heard of.
You have to open your ears and eyes and learn a lot if you expect any longevity in this business.

If you plan on making a bunch of money recording bands you are taking a HUGE gamble.
You'd better really enjoy it and expect to make some sacrifices because it isn't the easiest or the most monetarily rewarding part of the biz.
To be honest... I can't live off of what a recording engineer or probably even what many producers earn.
Old 15th July 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Normally I would respond. But your self-important post states my case all by itself. Back to topic.
Old 15th July 2010
  #23
With all due respect Danny, your "bio" reeks of insecurity. How many times do you really need to state "I know a few things..."?? Maybe do yourself a favor and delete all that since it is completely OT.
Old 15th July 2010
  #24
Banned
 

I'm fine, so don't worry about it boys.

However, YOUR posts tell me exactly where YOU stand in the world.
Old 16th July 2010
  #25
Gear maniac
 
ev33's Avatar
Hey All, here are some answers to questions in this thread.

LinusWendel
the kick and snare has a very distinct sound that I can hear though out most of your work. This clip reminded me very much of Taking Back Sundays "Louder Now" album. Is it the EQ on the room that make your drums sound this way? tuning on the drums? or the fact that you use underheads?


I think the thing that is most responsible for the similarity between the example rough drum mix I uploaded and the TBS drums is the Distressors. They definitely have a very distinct sound. Everything else about those 2 drum recordings is pretty different. Different rooms, different drummers, different micing setups. I think its really the distressors your hearing.

anemicrock
Does the CMV-3 mic have any eq?


Yes, I recall boosting a bit of hi end and setting a hi pass filter at about 200hz. I used the EQ on the custom console I built. One of the unique features of that EQ is that the high and low pass filters have a Q control on them. That way you can add a resonance right at the frequency where you are lopping off (very much like the McDSP F2 filter plug in). I was using that to boost a bit at 200hz at the same time

anemicrock
How does this setup different from the Good Charlotte and taking back Sunday records? More Mics?


Definitely more mics. Those records are more of an extravaganza approach. On those types of projects I like to have a lot of options when I'm mixing. That way I am confident I can find what I need to try to get the drums to fight their way through all the guitars.

rhythmic5
also, question for eric, how in the world did you get that tone of electric guitar in the chorus of Gives You Hell?


On 'Gives You Hell' there is no distorted electric guitar on the choruses until the last one. The first 2 choruses are all acoustic guitar and distorted bass (playing chords). The distorted bass sound is an old Kay bass that looks like an SG (don't know what model it is) plugged into two amp setups. Amp #1 was a 70's Big Muff pedal into a Magnatone 260 guitar amp that has 2 12" speakers in it with a 47fet in front of one of the speakers. it is incredible for bass guitar. More sub low end than I've ever been able to get out of an SVT. Amp #2 was a Soldano SLO100 going into an SVT cab with a C12a on it.

Tandem5
sooo.. the problem Ive always had is that I'm trying to get the underheads set so they are in phase with kick AND also so the snare as close to the center as possible.. but should I not be bothering and just use the close mono room to get the center image?
I've also experimented with using a couple of condenser's in xy as overheads for shine although i never really use them.


When ever I've used this, the under heads by them selves really sound pretty bizzarre. There is definitely no good center image and the isolation between the left and right is over exagerated. I think its part of what makes them work in this context. The stereo image is so extreme that you only need to add a little bit to add width to the mono mics with out really changing the sound of them.

Tandem5
...eric... were you googling yourself?? *cheeky tone*


I CONFESS!! I was searching for my own name on Gearslutz. Its actually been really helpful for me. I've found that the worst way to get honest feedback from people is to ask them yourself. This forum has been a great source of unfiltered reactions to stuff I've done in the past from people that are really listening and really passionate about record making.

My job is to capture recordings of songs that will receive the highest possible percentage of positive reactions from the artists listening audience. I am always trying to find ways to do a better job for the bands that hire me and honest feedback is extraordinarily valuable. I will be starting another record with Taking Back Sunday in a month or so and am determined to have the drums be more unique amongst the other rock records I've done. Some of the motivation for that is from reactions on this forum.

dbbubba
So, you commit to that compression at tracking?


Actually no, all the compression I mentioned in the description is on playback. Thank you for all the other comments as well. Like I said earlier the feedback is helpful and interesting for me. It gives me an opportunity to consider another perspective and decide if there is something I would have done differently or if there is something that I might try differently in the future.

Thanks Much All!

Eric Valentine
Old 16th July 2010
  #26
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
thanks for taking the time again eric!

man.. i am pumped to see what comes from this new TBS record!

M
Old 16th July 2010
  #27
Banned
 

Hey Eric,

I am Brian McCurry's friend in Texas who got him started down here.
I don't think we ever met, but I did use the restroom at your place one night when Brian stopped by (I am 54 and beer drinking requires more pit stops.... you'll see some day.)
You were in the middle of a closed session, so Brian dropped off a piece of gear and I used you facilities.
Thanks!

Anyways... I have always been intrigued by your under-cymbal mic' ing ever since the article on you came out in TapeOp.
Over the years I have tried similar stuff, but always come back to the "standard" mic' ing.
I guess after so many hundreds and hundreds of mic' ed drum sets I am just so familiar with the "regular" techniques and know the results I'll get.
I have also done so much work were the time required for experimentation and fine-tuning of other techniques didn't exist.

Also, I want to make absolute sure that you realize that I am not criticizing the drum sound on any of your work.
I am so bad about knowing who does what records because most CDs I get come from a few friends who turn me on to new stuff.
I never see the covers and credits, so I am just assuming that you did QOTSA "Songs for the Deaf."

The reason I singled that record out was because a friend specifically sent me that CD as a guide to how he wanted the drums on his project to sound.
I LIKE THAT RECORD A LOT.
Still, as I played that record for other players I know who are aware of the process they were not knocked out by the drum sound.
To be honest, it always surprised me.

Me? I like it and don't like it at once.
I like the dry approach of that record a lot.
I realize that you may not have used the under cymbal mic' ing on that record and I know that the cymbals were OD 'ed after the drums were cut.
I tried that approach several times years ago and the down side for me is that the cymbals seem "un-connected" with the rest of the kit.
It forces you to rely on the close mic'ing of the snare (and toms to a degree.)
That yields the dry sound, but it is something I have worked against for so long that it is hard for me to like it.

I also HATE the sound of drum booths with a passion!
Drum booths were the standard thing when I learned the rope down here in Texas and I have fought so hard to avoid that sound.

Also, that record interested me greatly because I am also a long time user of Sphere consoles and still own several Sphere mic pre/EQ rigs.
The lineage of Quad8 and Sphere is parallel and the sound is so similar that it intrigued me to hear a record done with gear that I was so familiar with.

I know that if you are like me it is tedious to re-live and dwell on past projects too much, so for that I apologize.

BTW... some of the project where my friend gave the "Songs fot the Deaf" drum sound as an example of what he wanted was cut by Brian Schuebel over at what was then A&M Studios in the big room.
The drummer was Mike Malinin who is with the The Goo Goo Dolls now (great drummer BTW!)
I didn't go for the dry sound because I had four tracks (2 close room mics and two distant) of drum room sound.
That room sound was too special and too much of a treat for me to not use.
I also had to mix several cuts I did in my room in Texas and the band played live in the room, so it had a definite room vibe I had to match.
It all came out great.

BTW... in highly envy you having the room that you do.
Very few people realize the benefit of a great sounding room and some are just special.
I myself have had quite a few (six?) rooms and only two were special rooms.
One was built on plans that were the same as the old Devonshire B room and (I believe) United Western.
A good friend owns that bulding now and I still use it, but I sure miss it.
Well.... not the overhead costs so much!
Either way... those special rooms are to be treasured.

Take care... tell Brian I said "hello."
Old 16th July 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Worlez's Avatar
 

Hi Eric,
I have only recently discovered your work, but it's really cool of you to share some of your methods with us Great work on the Slash album!

I've been using the Songs for the Deaf drum sounds as a benchmark for a while now, and I was hoping that I could ask you specifically about the kick drum sound you got on that record? The way the bottom end feels like it's rooted to the floor is really cool - how did you approach this?

Also, the guitar sound on those rough mixes is very cool - would you be able to share some of your methods for how this was captured?

Thanks in advance!

Al
Old 16th July 2010
  #29
Gear maniac
 

Eric, regarding the "slappy" mid-range kick tone that you achieve on a lot of your records (such as the new All American Rejects); I read in another thread that you like to use a coated batter head on the kick drum. I'd imagine this largely contributes to that sound over a clear head, correct? Do you have a certain type of pedal beater that you like for rock projects?

I use two Distressor's on kick/snare nearly every production and have yet to come close to a sound like that!
Old 16th July 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Hi Eric. Huge fan of your work. Very generous to post here and with an audio file no less. I have a handful of friends (more than a few actually) who have made records with you over the years and I had heard that you used a sdc close to the bass drum beater with another mic on the resonant side. I think you consistently get a great and very unique bass drum sound and was a little curious if the U67 on bass drum is a new thing for you? Also is a full resonant head your preference still? I love the sound of a full reso head, but I find the bounce freaks out the drummer if he's not used to it. Thanks man! Really cool that you are so creative with record making and don't just do the standard accepted thing like a lot of folks. Makes for a much more interesting listening experience IMO.
If you see Josh Freese anytime soon tell him his former bandmate Matt says hello.
Is that Josh on most of the Slash record? In sound on sound it credited Josh on drums, but the picture was someone else. Looked like Dave Grohl actually. lol Take care. Keep up the good work.
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
DannyDiggs / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
2
WTMNMF / The Moan Zone
4

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

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.