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How do you record drums for New Metal bands?
Old 20th May 2006
  #1
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Purusha's Avatar
 

How do you record drums for New Metal bands?

I have a lot to learn regarding the best positioning of the mics and stuff so I thought I'd ask here for some tips. Whatever you find helpful please say it. Specially regarding the OH position.

I also have a 24 ch. tape available for recording but I usually end up with at least adding or even fully replacing the snare and kick tracks with some samples so I am not sure if it does pay off for many hours of extra work with the tape.

I also have a bunch of hi end compressors and EQs (Manley, Tube-tech, EL8...) at my hand in this studio. Do you compress and EQ a lot when recording drums?

The project will end up in smaller studio for mixdown with less options in hi-end gear (Drawmer 1968ME, 1176, AMEK CiB, SSL 4000...). What do you suggest? Should I sculpture the sound of the drums already in the big studio or at least as much as possible or is this a Russian roulette
Old 20th May 2006
  #2
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

i don't understand what the deal is with having every single metal drum track triggered with a sample since the start of digital recording. you folks who record this music understand there was albums with great sounding drums made before 1990, right?
Old 20th May 2006
  #3
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Purusha's Avatar
 

Yeah, but can you compare the punch and how big the drums sound nowadays compared to older metal productions? It's almost impossible to make the drums to cut through the mix with over-compressed guitars and everything else without triggering. Very difficult job without a little help from drum samples. Specially with hi-speed double kick.

Old 20th May 2006
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purusha
Yeah, but can you compare the punch and how big the drums sound nowadays compared to older metal productions? It's almost impossible to make the drums to cut through the mix with over-compressed guitars and everything else without triggering. Very difficult job without a little help from drum samples. Specially with hi-speed double kick.

Purusha does not speak with forked tounge. Its a must preferably with Colin Richardsons own samples as they provide the kind of bite that you are after.
The other advantage is that the faster bits of kik can be quantised via midi
as can some of the tom fills so retrigger away matey you wont want to eq
to tape just eq for a phones mix its going to be chuck out all the guitar that went down anyway and get the drums sorted first. You are likely to be back home for that for cost reasons. Bob Caggiani is a bit of a dab hand at what you are after and is not unreasonable price wise for what he gets up to.
Old 20th May 2006
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purusha
Yeah, but can you compare the punch and how big the drums sound nowadays compared to older metal productions? It's almost impossible to make the drums to cut through the mix with over-compressed guitars and everything else without triggering. Very difficult job without a little help from drum samples. Specially with hi-speed double kick.

I finely tuned kick drum with a great drummer behind it won't need a sample. UNLESS you are looking for that Pantera kick sound.
Old 20th May 2006
  #6
Gear Nut
 
benelli's Avatar
 

drums

If you do it right, you don't need triggers.
The kit *has* to be tuned properly - it's gotta crack in the room, ya know? Spend a few hours getting the kick and snare just right - use a torque wrench, they help.

The trick that I've used on Wes Borland's record, A Perfect Circle, and any other times I record Josh Freese, is a little mic placed right at the right knee of the kick drum foot.

Let me explain, it's a bit complicated to put into words:

picture you're sitting at the kit, and look down, at the angle between the snare drum and the kick drum. Now, while the snare is round, you *can* in a way discern a basic 90 degree angle. Here's the fun part - put a royer 121 (it's perfect for this, if not, a 414 TL in figure 8 will do) upside down, straight, but turned at a 45 degree angle from the head of the kick drum. Since it's in figure 8, it should be picking up the head and the bottom of the snare drum right there. You will have to adjust the angle to your liking, maybe you want more snare, more kick, whatever... but this mic will make up the bulk of the sound of a drum kit.

Royer's like John Hardy M-1's in this situation. 414's like neve-ish things.

Hope this helps!

I'm looking for pictures of Josh Freese's kit that I took with this mic configuration.

ALSO - don't have the overheads too close to the cymbals - I like a spaced pair (measure each from the snare drum head and make sure it's the same distance) a little higher above the kit, like, 3-4 feet instead of the requisite 6 inches used in heavy metal.

Hope this helps!

Don't use triggers! Fight the good fight! No compression on the way in!!!!! Compression is how you lose transients and why you have to make your drum kit back with samples!!!!

best,
Old 20th May 2006
  #7
Metal drums other than Caribean ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daryllh
I finely tuned kick drum with a great drummer behind it won't need a sample. UNLESS you are looking for that Pantera kick sound.
Thats the ticket the producer of Pantera's name is Colin Richardson.
Rob is from Antrax and not one of these guys are big in the Catskills.
Old 20th May 2006
  #8
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by benelli

I'm looking for pictures of Josh Freese's kit that I took with this mic configuration.
This would be a great reference photo, and might end up on my desktop for a while.

Old 20th May 2006
  #9
Expediants and Drum Sound

[QUOTE=benelli]If you do it right, you don't need triggers.
I am sure that I would prefer to work like you but I work according to the instruction of producers. My drummer Adrian would love to drop the triggers
but Roadrunner do the hireing and fireing. I think the nasty commercial world
was what your customer had a little moan about not so long ago.
Old 20th May 2006
  #10
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Purusha's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by benelli
If you do it right, you don't need triggers.
The kit *has* to be tuned properly - it's gotta crack in the room, ya know? Spend a few hours getting the kick and snare just right - use a torque wrench, they help.
That is what I am going for although at the end I always end up with a little help from my sample bank heh

Anyway, so far I had only once the chance to keep the original sound and be really happy with it, but I had one of the best drummers in the country behind the KIT. This time it will be just a few kids so the rest you can imagine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benelli
Don't use triggers! Fight the good fight! No compression on the way in!!!!! Compression is how you lose transients and why you have to make your drum kit back with samples!!!!
Well, doesn't the tape take away the transients also? I can't say that I like the tape effect on the drums all the time. I like what it does to the low frequencies but the punch is often lost.
Old 20th May 2006
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i don't understand what the deal is with having every single metal drum track triggered with a sample since the start of digital recording. you folks who record this music understand there was albums with great sounding drums made before 1990, right?
"nu metal" wasn't around before 1990. And the people who generally play this style of music suck, therefore samples are needed to make it sound anywhere near musical. But that's just from my experience...
Old 20th May 2006
  #12
Gear Head
 

when it comes to metal drums i tend to prefer smaller kits since they generally sound better and come with better drummers haha. anyhow for the extreme sessions i usually close mic just about every cymbal no farther 12-15 inches from the cymbal with km184s, 86s, 414s or whatever. I prefer the 184s though. if there is alot of cymbals all around the kit i'll split the overheads into two pairs (4 184s usually) and mic between two cymbals from 12-15 at most to pick up both cymbals and keep the OH placement symmetrical between it all so the imaging stays intact. i always close mic chinas, hats and rides as well. toms always get 421s, and the snare gets a dynamic on top along with a condenser (57, i5 beyer 201, 421 etc... and 414 or ae 3000). Kicks i use re20s inside about 6-8 from the beater head and a 414eb on the outside where i feel the most air from the kick. i usually have anywhere from 1-4 sets of stereo rooms, always with royers, 87s and 414s. the royers usually get up about 15 feet and are in a spaced on in from the kit about 25 feet back. the rest are usually xy setup centered at the center of the kit with distance double for each set.

i aslo record a dry trigger signal on the kicks for replacement. sampling the kit is a must as i like to try and use the samples of the kit since it makes for better replacement later if the tones are great.

hope that helps.



Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i don't understand what the deal is with having every single metal drum track triggered with a sample since the start of digital recording. you folks who record this music understand there was albums with great sounding drums made before 1990, right?

OK, first of all i record alot metal projects for labels like roadrunner, century media, victory etc... Let me first say there is ALOT of producers that do rely and are know for huge drums based largely on triggers. I've done some records recently that i am extremely happy with the tones, and little or no sample were used. The ONLY reason i got away with using no samples is because the drummers were flat out ****ing GREAT. Im talkin bury the click, perfect hits nearly every time drumming that we only expect from the big studio cats. Unfortunately though, the majority of drummers out there cannot play metal and meet the demands that a good drum editor has set for them. And when they do try to meet those goals, they either lose time, hit soft or sloppy or are just plain bad. I dont know about you, i like my records to sound great, and if that drummer is playin ****ty im gonna quantize him and throw samples on the kick and snare (i hate tom triggers and only resort to them in the worst cases). Having said that, its beyond me why so many engineers that NEVER record bigger metal projects cant understand why the drum sounds are largely based on samples in this genre. Have you listened to the guitars? you get a great natural drum sound to cut through 4 tracks of detuned heavily distorted guitars with another track of distored bass and i'll glady you give you my studio. Everything in this genre is HYPED. the guitars are huge, the drums are eqd to hell and everything is extreme, and there is a handful out there doing it well and doing without hurting everybodies ears.
Old 20th May 2006
  #13
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Purusha's Avatar
 

Well said, Axeman
Old 20th May 2006
  #14
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by arrogantbastard
"nu metal" wasn't around before 1990. And the people who generally play this style of music suck, therefore samples are needed to make it sound anywhere near musical. But that's just from my experience...
I don't know why stuff like this helps. Recording is sometimes a job, like any other. Sometimes you get brilliant stuff coming through the wires, and sometimes you're just trying to keep the lights on.
Old 21st May 2006
  #15
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i don't understand what the deal is with having every single metal drum track triggered with a sample since the start of digital recording. you folks who record this music understand there was albums with great sounding drums made before 1990, right?

Every major metal cd from 1983 had samples
AMS had a sampler in 1982.

Sure some heavy thrash band didn't trigger but everyone else did . All the hair
bands triggered since 83


YES did it first in 82 on 90125
Yes that is the first record with a sample
Old 21st May 2006
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
audioalchemy's Avatar
 

new metal

i really have to rant about the whole "new metal" thing. i have been working on an ep for a band here in town and every single session is a f'ing nightmere for exactly the wrong reasons. they have crap gear to start but the incessant bs about i want this sound or that sound. what happened to the band playing it right the first time. i can't stand all this quantize this and align this and tune this and sound replace that. i wish somebody could put out a nationwide public service announcement to these bands. tell them that they suck and should hire people to play on their records for them. damn. sorry, need to rant but i do speak the truth.
Old 21st May 2006
  #17
Regarding drum samples... you do realize that they were actually drums that were recorded and processed at some point, yes? Great kit, great room, great player, great engineer, enough time ($) to do it right: add those together and you don't need the samples. Unfortunately, one or more of these things is often missing, and then the samples can save the project.

However, samples don't relieve the responsibility of getting good drum sounds. In most cases, samples are best when tucked under good sounds just to fill them out, not to replace them entirely.

For some ideas, a good metal drum sound can be accomplished by using a SM**** or Beta**** inside the kick, a D12 (not D112) outside, or a subkick or some other dark, bassy microphone. Snap and click come from the 91 while the outside mic handles the thunder. Roll the top off the outer mic to minimize leakage, and also because that range is what the 91 is handling (in the D12 the rolloff is already kind of happening). I usually used spaced pairs overhead for this style, as opposed to XY on projects with a more natural sound. Other than that, just straight ahead good technique wins the day. Typical choices like a 57 on snare (top and bottom), 421s on toms, and 87s overhead work well. There are plenty of other great combinations too.

Occasionally, people add a ride cymbal mic, though I try to avoid it if possible. It's usually unnecessary and harms more than it helps. But occasionally, if the ride is covered up by other cymbals and the overheads get no line of sight to it, and if there's a lot of very precise bell stuff happening, then you have no choice. However, it's a last resort, and don't feel you have play it up for the whole mix. Also, the overheads are probably going to be pretty low for this stuff. Add in room mics to get more space. I often have 5 or 6 room mics up. I don't necessarily use all of them all of the time, nor do I use them all in the same way, or even put them all in places you may expect, but the room mics can have a huge, positive impact on the final sound.
Old 21st May 2006
  #18
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5

What was the sample you added to the snare?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
SAMPLE ??? No sample used here, I don't like samples. That's the way the drummer played it.
This mwagener guy has obviously never recorded any metal...

heh heh heh
Old 21st May 2006
  #19
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins
Every major metal cd from 1983 had samples
AMS had a sampler in 1982.

Sure some heavy thrash band didn't trigger but everyone else did . All the hair
bands triggered since 83
see above
Old 21st May 2006
  #20
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Purusha's Avatar
 

Since we are all talking about samples so much, which is your favorite CD collection with snare and kick samples?

I always record the individual hits from the kit when recording drums. It help a lot later on. But a nice collection of drum samples is really necessary when making metal albums.

Anyone here who wants to share some of his favorite samples?
Old 21st May 2006
  #21
Sample Golddust

I was lucky enough to engineer a few projects produced by Colin Richardson
and get given the samples from "Burn My eyes". I have never found a more impactive set. The "Noble Richardson Snare L&R" are big as a house but short enough for very radical tempos at about a 40/60 mix with a sympathetically tuned
live snare they add great definition and weight and do not make any blast beats
sound too unnatural. Rich Kik L&R are just the industry standard expletive, expletive, Effing Expletive!. Knock houses down with them. Legend is that they are
a led zepp kik with a partial on the front of the back of a serving spoon cracked on a big oak table with an alloy foil Kit Kat wrapper in between. Its a sort of brittle Gink sound that will cut through any mix. The samples were not triggered but laboriously placed one pair at a time at high magnification in perfect phase with the live kiks in the edit page of protools. It took about two hours to complete a kik track if there were a few patches of doubles. I don't like triggered drums either and I don't use tom samples. There I have given away all the secrets and will never work in this industry again but you don't have the samples do you Ha Ha.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
Old 21st May 2006
  #22
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beechstudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by axeman720
when it comes to metal drums i tend to prefer smaller kits since they generally sound better and come with better drummers haha. anyhow for the extreme sessions i usually close mic just about every cymbal no farther 12-15 inches from the cymbal with km184s, 86s, 414s or whatever. I prefer the 184s though. if there is alot of cymbals all around the kit i'll split the overheads into two pairs (4 184s usually) and mic between two cymbals from 12-15 at most to pick up both cymbals and keep the OH placement symmetrical between it all so the imaging stays intact. i always close mic chinas, hats and rides as well. toms always get 421s, and the snare gets a dynamic on top along with a condenser (57, i5 beyer 201, 421 etc... and 414 or ae 3000). Kicks i use re20s inside about 6-8 from the beater head and a 414eb on the outside where i feel the most air from the kick. i usually have anywhere from 1-4 sets of stereo rooms, always with royers, 87s and 414s. the royers usually get up about 15 feet and are in a spaced on in from the kit about 25 feet back. the rest are usually xy setup centered at the center of the kit with distance double for each set.

i aslo record a dry trigger signal on the kicks for replacement. sampling the kit is a must as i like to try and use the samples of the kit since it makes for better replacement later if the tones are great.

hope that helps.






OK, first of all i record alot metal projects for labels like roadrunner, century media, victory etc... Let me first say there is ALOT of producers that do rely and are know for huge drums based largely on triggers. I've done some records recently that i am extremely happy with the tones, and little or no sample were used. The ONLY reason i got away with using no samples is because the drummers were flat out ****ing GREAT. Im talkin bury the click, perfect hits nearly every time drumming that we only expect from the big studio cats. Unfortunately though, the majority of drummers out there cannot play metal and meet the demands that a good drum editor has set for them. And when they do try to meet those goals, they either lose time, hit soft or sloppy or are just plain bad. I dont know about you, i like my records to sound great, and if that drummer is playin ****ty im gonna quantize him and throw samples on the kick and snare (i hate tom triggers and only resort to them in the worst cases). Having said that, its beyond me why so many engineers that NEVER record bigger metal projects cant understand why the drum sounds are largely based on samples in this genre. Have you listened to the guitars? you get a great natural drum sound to cut through 4 tracks of detuned heavily distorted guitars with another track of distored bass and i'll glady you give you my studio. Everything in this genre is HYPED. the guitars are huge, the drums are eqd to hell and everything is extreme, and there is a handful out there doing it well and doing without hurting everybodies ears.
Nice studio Jason! Enjoyed your bit on the Road Runner DVD! Too Cool!!
Old 21st May 2006
  #23
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slaves666's Avatar
1st of all it's NU-METAL

2nd.....I think the trend of layered and unreal sounding drums came from Def Leppard and the 80's huge gate snare reverb on Poison and Flanged cymbals on Motley Crue records.

3rd....The fact that every band wants things louder, the less dynamics everything in the mix has.....

4th.....Also take into account that most bands record in crap drum rooms, and use the fix it in the mix mentality.....so samples, autotune, quantize, copy/paste, has become the industry norm. It also leads to generic sounding bands with no "real" vibe.

I must say that the best sounding records to come out lately have been the Jet and Wolfmother. Although they sound like 70's rock bands, the records sound organic and have real tones to them. All this Nu-Metal, Metal-core and stuff is cookie cutter stuff.....not that it's bad, but it is what it is....no more, no less. The same can be said for hip-hip these days and most pop music.
Old 21st May 2006
  #24
True All True But

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaves666
1st of all it's NU-METAL

2nd.....I think the trend of layered and unreal sounding drums came from Def Leppard and the 80's huge gate snare reverb on Poison and Flanged cymbals on Motley Crue records.

3rd....The fact that every band wants things louder, the less dynamics everything in the mix has.....

4th.....Also take into account that most bands record in crap drum rooms, and use the fix it in the mix mentality.....so samples, autotune, quantize, copy/paste, has become the industry norm. It also leads to generic sounding bands with no "real" vibe.

I must say that the best sounding records to come out lately have been the Jet and Wolfmother. Although they sound like 70's rock bands, the records sound organic and have real tones to them. All this Nu-Metal, Metal-core and stuff is cookie cutter stuff.....not that it's bad, but it is what it is....no more, no less. The same can be said for hip-hip these days and most pop music.
The adage "Ours is not to reason why ours is but to do or die".
If I want to work under all the pressures that the industry places on one and I produce an album with less perceived loudness the A&R guy is not going to want
my services again in the metal field. I have bands turn up for self financed projects
and play me stuff that they love the sound of and are shocked when I point out that what they are listening to is an extremely well recorded drum kit augmented with samples and that to do that I will need a budget timewise to work on the sample side of it. Yeah it will turn out with unwavering bar line VU set at 0.
No dynamics to speak of but since the single most sought after audio tool that the high end audio industry ever aspires to (in fact we are talking about the Holy Grail)
Is the Fairchild 670 Comp/Lim, the first tool that ever attempted this direction with good competence. Why would we all pay so much for a valve tool that ruined recorded dynamics.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
Old 21st May 2006
  #25
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackcatdigi
see above
I dunno I guess I never heard any of his records.
The 80's stuff I listen to was triggered

Been then again if you have great gear and a great drummer you shouldn't have to sample. There are no triggers on Pornograffiti??
Old 21st May 2006
  #26
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Here's a clip of my band that we're tracking at this moment.


These are the drums (nu-metal style)


No triggers except a background snare combined with my original. You can barely hear it but if I took it away, you would notice some of the snap is gone.


ps: Don't mind my ****ty ghost guitar track... I was paying more attention to the drums and realized that I am supposed to play guitar while he's tracking and I end up screwing up.


OH were XY


processing was 1-3 db of compression on most mics... some maybe 1/2 to 1 db. and Eq/comp on all drums was done while tracking. I used R-Comp on the mixbuss to make it a bit more exciting for listening purposes.

drums were recorded in a treated 10X10 room with 7 1/2" foot ceilings.

I find Eq'ing first then compression makes this happen better for me.



It's mostly all in the drums and drummer. The rest is Eq and Compression.

If the drums or the drummer can't cut it, then you'll have to use samples.


Good luck!

Jason
Old 21st May 2006
  #27
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Poulin
If the drums or the drummer can't cut it, then you'll have to use samples.
maybe i fit into a small minority of an "old school" category but i'd say "If the drums or the drummer can't cut it, then you'll have to switch the drums and probably the drummer."
Old 21st May 2006
  #28
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ripper's Avatar
 

Thanks Audio Alchemy!!!

Hey Audio Alchemy...
hope it's ok i nicked your post for my signature.

you feel my pain.

and what's with metal bands and spelling? I know they're pretty thick, but how hard is "NEW" to spell? It's only got three letters, for Christ's sake!

At least they could have put an oomlat over the "U"!dfegad
Old 21st May 2006
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
cfjis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ripper
and what's with metal bands and spelling? I know they're pretty thick, but how hard is "NEW" to spell? It's only got three letters, for Christ's sake!

At least they could have put an oomlat over the "U"!dfegad
Its actually spelled "Umlaut"...


Cheers,
CJ
Old 22nd May 2006
  #30
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
maybe i fit into a small minority of an "old school" category but i'd say "If the drums or the drummer can't cut it, then you'll have to switch the drums and probably the drummer."

Of course that would be best but... when you have to make it work with what you got, you gotta do it some way or another.

Right?


Some of these bands don't have the budget for session drummers or, they just don't want to do it.

improvise.



Jason
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