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mono drum recording, will the experts lend an ear
Old 26th January 2013
  #1
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limey222's Avatar
 

mono drum recording, will the experts lend an ear

OK, so only some of my gear is technically high end, having recently downgraded somewhat, I need only those with a wealth of experience to speak here. I have a newly purchased UAD Apollo Quad featuring 4 quite pristine mic pre's and 4 line inputs totaling 8 inputs. I have a Jim William's modded Soundcraft Delta 8x4x2 in a custom oak desktop frame that I plan on using the direct outs of the Delta pre's into my Apollo line ins. I have the following additional gear: Great River pre, Distressor and a newly-serviced Klark Teknik DN514+ quad gate. My available mics consist of a newly-aquired Coles 4038 ribbon mic, 2-Avantone CR-14 ribbon mics, 1- Shure SM7b, 2- Shure 57's, 1- Audix D6, 1- Studio projects C1 LDC, 1- ADK Vienna LDC and 1- extremely-modded Apex 460 Tube mic with GE NOS 5 star tube.
I've really developed a liking for mono drums recently, I like it in dense mixes, I like it in sparse mixes, never was a fan of big splashy stereo drums. Given my limited equipment I would really like to hear from some of you more experienced guys on what you would utilize to get a good mono drum recording, if you feel strongly about stereo you can add those suggestions as well. AD conversion is courtesy of the Apollo and I'm using Nuendo 5.5 on a mac-based DAW with lots of available UAD and Waves plugs .
Old 26th January 2013
  #2
It really depends on the vibe you are going for. Want something punch as hell and maybe a little dark? Coles 4038 maybe out in front of the kick, maybe start with it about chest height, maybe move it around a bit to see what pleases you. Dont like that? Get it above the kit, try and find where you get the best balance. Not the vibe you are looking for? Try the same with something else you've got. Listen. Does it please you? Try something else.

(To be clear... trial an error will teach you more about this stuff than anything else.)
Old 26th January 2013
  #3
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limey222's Avatar
 

Thanks for the response, I had already put the drummer on notice that he would need to schedule some time in the studio over the next week or two for some experimenting. I figured that I would put the Coles up about chest height in front of the kick, may be slightly biased to the snare side and 3-4 feet back. A 57 on the snare, D6 or even the SM7 on the kick. Does anyone think that one of the CR-14 ribbons would add anything worthwhile as a center overhead, they can pick up a lot of sizzle though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
It really depends on the vibe you are going for. Want something punch as hell and maybe a little dark? Coles 4038 maybe out in front of the kick, maybe start with it about chest height, maybe move it around a bit to see what pleases you. Dont like that? Get it above the kit, try and find where you get the best balance. Not the vibe you are looking for? Try the same with something else you've got. Listen. Does it please you? Try something else.

(To be clear... trial an error will teach you more about this stuff than anything else.)
Old 27th January 2013
  #4
Gear Addict
 

I've had great success with the Tchad Blake method of placing one LDC (in my case a Blue Blueberry into a TG Channel) between the kick drum and floor Tom facing the snare. It's so simple and sounds really good. Check out the vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS_YZ...e_gdata_player
Old 27th January 2013
  #5
Massive fan of mono drums here. my go-to setup at the moment is a Coles 4038 over the middle of the kit, closer to the right edge of the snare, and clear of the rack tom. Height is about at head level with the drummer when seated. (it helps to have a drummer who won't hit the mic in the middle of the performance). I like to use a V76 or something similarly thick and clear. Maybe you'd think about your Great River for this purpose?

Then it's just adding additional colours to taste. I'll often use a D12 on bass drum, but you would probably have success with your SM7 or something else in your list.

If I want to grab a sound with minimal mics I will often just use the Coles OH, D12 bass drum and a U67/U87/D12 in what I've come to know as the 'motown' position - up underneath the rack tom, top of the mic pretty much lined up with the rim of the bass drum. (capsule aimed horizontally, parallel to the floor, towards the snare drum). This captures a great image - you get a nice bass drum, hi hat and snappy snare sound. Mixed with your OH it's often all you need.

If you want more detail, add close mics to taste!

Here's a recent photo of my idea of the 'motown' position i often use.
Old 27th January 2013
  #6
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mappee's Avatar
LDC OH and maybe kick mic was prevalent British technique of the 60's.
Also seen same used by Phil Spectre.
I once positioned 1 mic in front of kit about 8' and recorded a surprizingly good drum sound.

Tuning, heads, kit and great drummer/room = a nice starting place.
Old 27th January 2013
  #7
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andychamp's Avatar
I recently used an EV 635a dynamic omni just peeking over the BD's rim, player side, looking at his knee.
I felt it picked up a well-balanced image of the kit.
What amazed me even more is that - although it's known as a rather bass-shy mic - there was plenty of hefty and clean BD "whomp" available after applying some, admittedly massive, EQ. (Cubase channel EQ, "low shelf 4" with the Q maxed out, gives a Pultec-ish curve with a dip right above the boost.)
I tried the Daptone/Motown position several times, and with different mics, but always missed something.

@those using a single Coles from above: how low do you come down towards the kit?
Old 27th January 2013
  #8
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Rob G's Avatar
 

Whatever works.

Rob G.
Old 27th January 2013
  #9
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limey222's Avatar
 

Thanks to all, I getting some great suggestions, please keep them coming.
Old 15th July 2015
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by fridge_me View Post
Massive fan of mono drums here. my go-to setup at the moment is a Coles 4038 over the middle of the kit, closer to the right edge of the snare, and clear of the rack tom. Height is about at head level with the drummer when seated. (it helps to have a drummer who won't hit the mic in the middle of the performance). I like to use a V76 or something similarly thick and clear. Maybe you'd think about your Great River for this purpose?

Then it's just adding additional colours to taste. I'll often use a D12 on bass drum, but you would probably have success with your SM7 or something else in your list.

If I want to grab a sound with minimal mics I will often just use the Coles OH, D12 bass drum and a U67/U87/D12 in what I've come to know as the 'motown' position - up underneath the rack tom, top of the mic pretty much lined up with the rim of the bass drum. (capsule aimed horizontally, parallel to the floor, towards the snare drum). This captures a great image - you get a nice bass drum, hi hat and snappy snare sound. Mixed with your OH it's often all you need.

If you want more detail, add close mics to taste!

Here's a recent photo of my idea of the 'motown' position i often use.
I'd like to hear this setup. do you have any tracks, or multitracks, of the coles/12/u67 combo with that placement?
Old 15th July 2015
  #11
I have an Apollo 8P. I recorded drums using a single AEA R84 centered over the whole kit a bit in front of the drummer. Kind of over the snare. Was not expecting much and was very pleasantly surprised. Bear in mind that I record acoustic Jazz, music in which the kick drum is not as prominent as it is in other styles.

If you want more kick some of the suggestions for mic placement are worth trying. But the single large ribbon mic is a great way to go. As you implied, I think, there is a coherence to the kit that simply is not there with multiple mics. The caveat here is that there is certainly a type of drum sound, modern drum sound, that

you will not get with a single mic regardless of the mic, the preamp, the placement or any other signal chain differences. One mic on drums is great but not for everything.
Old 15th July 2015
  #12
My go to as of late is close mic kick and snare, and overhead moved around per song. E.g., if there is a lot of low tom action I'll figure 8 over head and try to get low tom prox. effect and ride on one side of the figure 8 and hihat on other. I like to experiment with drum mic placement.
Old 15th July 2015
  #13
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Sometimes if I'm after an 'old soul' sound, I'll just use a single ribbon mic about 4 or 5 feet above the kick drum. Even my cheapo Apex 410 works great for this.

But more often I'll 'cheat' and use my stereo AEA R88, then at least I can mess with the stereo width in Logic depending on the tune. The R88 is a gorgeous mic for getting a simple, accurate sonic picture of a drum kit. The Coles 4038 is much darker, but does something magic to the toms… so sometimes I'll blend that in too.

Yeah, I guess I cheat on the '1 mic' idea a whole lot.
Old 18th July 2015
  #14
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I have tried doing mono with a coles OH and kick and snare mics, but it is so much better with 2 in recorderman setup, even when doing mono. Recorderman is awesome for taming cymbals (which most drummers abuse, because of their damaged hearing) and the dark ribbons even more so. I like to mic the kick and snare both with 57's. The 57 sounds great up close on the batter and boosted around 3k, depending on the drum and heads.

Really there is no standard formula you can follow for every kit, as they all very quite a bit. But you can have your base, the ribbons in recorderman, and 57's on kick batter and snare, then go from there. That's always been a solid go to for me, and works in stereo and mono. But I have found just a little panning is better than just straight mono.
Old 18th July 2015
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
I have tried doing mono with a coles OH and kick and snare mics, but it is so much better with 2 in recorderman setup, even when doing mono. Recorderman is awesome for taming cymbals (which most drummers abuse, because of their damaged hearing) and the dark ribbons even more so. I like to mic the kick and snare both with 57's. The 57 sounds great up close on the batter and boosted around 3k, depending on the drum and heads.

Really there is no standard formula you can follow for every kit, as they all very quite a bit. But you can have your base, the ribbons in recorderman, and 57's on kick batter and snare, then go from there. That's always been a solid go to for me, and works in stereo and mono. But I have found just a little panning is better than just straight mono.
Sounds like a cool setup. Do you have any raw drum clips?
Old 18th July 2015
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telecasterrok View Post
Sounds like a cool setup. Do you have any raw drum clips?
This includes my (subtle) feedback and echo chamber technique, and a fifth mic (oktava 319) on the underside of the tom, catching all of the sympathetic resonance from the kick and ring from the rim shots. It's not orthodox, but this is my own playing:


Perfectly tuned kit
Old 18th July 2015
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
This includes my (subtle) feedback and echo chamber technique, and a fifth mic (oktava 319) on the underside of the tom, catching all of the sympathetic resonance from the kick and ring from the rim shots. It's not orthodox, but this is my own playing:


Perfectly tuned kit

Hey man, sounds great! thanks for posting. That is a fine sounding kit. I have a 1" otari 8 track too. Mx70 love it. Any way you could post it without the feedback and echo chamber technique (I'd be interested to hear what that technique is too)?
Old 18th July 2015
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
I recently used an EV 635a dynamic omni just peeking over the BD's rim, player side, looking at his knee.
I felt it picked up a well-balanced image of the kit.
What amazed me even more is that - although it's known as a rather bass-shy mic - there was plenty of hefty and clean BD "whomp" available after applying some, admittedly massive, EQ. (Cubase channel EQ, "low shelf 4" with the Q maxed out, gives a Pultec-ish curve with a dip right above the boost.)
I tried the Daptone/Motown position several times, and with different mics, but always missed something.

@those using a single Coles from above: how low do you come down towards the kit?
I love that little ev635a. You're right, just eq in the bass you need. I like to do it with a pultec clone *after* going to tape. really brings up the harmonics. Like you mention, the dip after the bump can smooth out the mids.

I have a project coming up where we're going sounds ala Dylan's "John Wesley Harding". The ev635a is going to see alot of action.
Old 19th July 2015
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telecasterrok View Post
Hey man, sounds great! thanks for posting. That is a fine sounding kit. I have a 1" otari 8 track too. Mx70 love it. Any way you could post it without the feedback and echo chamber technique (I'd be interested to hear what that technique is too)?
Thanks a lot. It's actually not a fancy kit at all, just very specific about drum sizes and heads and especially tuning and miking and tape saturation.

Yeah, the MX 70 is so great. No real coloration unless you hit it really hard, so it's very transparent yet warm and fat. It doesn't hold calibration as good as studers, but it's still pretty stable.

Well the feedback is part of the sound. I use a lot of drum resonance as you can hear, because when you tune precisely, the sympathetic resonance sounds beautiful. Most people try to cut it out by miking the tops or muting the drums, because the resonance is not musical. I take the mics on snare and the oktava under the tom, and feed it back through a speaker with the lows cut out, so it fills the room with resonance, and all the mics pick it up. That opens up the sound a little and gives it space without having to use reverbs, which I don't like. Then when mixing, I run some of the mics back through the speaker into the drum mics, and get the right mix of sends and returns to get more ambiance (sometimes using more feedback by running the same mics picking up the speaker fed back into it, so like triple feedback).

Occasionally I will run an analog delay into the send, but a little bit goes a long way and make the room sound huge. That's usually only for effect, but it's still more realistic than most digital verbs I hear.


I had setup an analog mix to get that recording, so sorry, can't get it back without the echo chamber without setting it up again without recall, which is a pain. Maybe next mix I do, i will do one without it and post it or send it to you.
Old 19th July 2015
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
I take the mics on snare and the oktava under the tom, and feed it back through a speaker with the lows cut out, so it fills the room with resonance, and all the mics pick it up. That opens up the sound a little and gives it space without having to use reverbs, which I don't like. Then when mixing, I run some of the mics back through the speaker into the drum mics, and get the right mix of sends and returns to get more ambiance (sometimes using more feedback by running the same mics picking up the speaker fed back into it, so like triple feedback).

Occasionally I will run an analog delay into the send, but a little bit goes a long way and make the room sound huge. That's usually only for effect, but it's still more realistic than most digital verbs I hear.
Whoa, crazy. That has been on my list of things to try for a while... I thought I was the only person who thought to try it. Specifically, I want experiment pumping some reverb out into room while tracking to be picked up by the drum mics. I didn't think to try a delay. Very cool. I'm hoping to get a more natural ambience with the drums as I have a very heavily treated, dry, tracking and mixing space.
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