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Recording/Mixing record with two drummers. Any experience? Audio Interfaces
Old 19th July 2013
  #1
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Recording/Mixing record with two drummers. Any experience?

Next week I start recording an EP with a very hip Indie/Americana/Folk band. I've listened to their demos and the songs are great and they're all solid musicians who can really play. I've recorded quite a few bands like this but this one is presenting a unique challenge: they have two drummers.

I was hoping to get some insight from you vets out there. Any tips? I'm open to ideas and recommendation, especially as they pertain to placing them in the stereo field and maintaining an open mix that's not too drum heavy, even though the instrumentation is actually is.

Thanks!
Old 19th July 2013
  #2
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JonMiller's Avatar
I've done hard left and hard right when they are playing different rhythms, with the kick close mics up the middle.

It was unnatural, but gave a good bit of space to work with the rest of the elements in the mix.

Try moving one kit forward and one backwards in the mix, that can help too.
Old 19th July 2013
  #3
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Good luck with that challenge. I would be interested in hearing what you did in the end. It sounds most fascinating.
Here is a link from Tape Op that you might find useful: http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewt...3907a11ca05a8c
Old 19th July 2013
  #4
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I used to work with a double-drummer group from the 70s-80s called .38 Special.
The biggest problems were to keep the drummers from "stepping on each others' toes",
playing-wise...LOL!!! Assuming that this is not an issue, keeping the "mud" out of the tracks was the bitch. Too many mics around all those drums was always a potential problem. Basically stereo OH's, plus snare and kick for each. Mic'd some of the toms for fills by the one drummer, but had to keep things simple in the studio for two kits with heavy hitters.
Old 19th July 2013
  #5
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Joao B.'s Avatar
 

Last year I did a live session for a band with 2 drummers. Can be tricky but since the guys are amazing musicians I didn't struggle too much.

I think that in the mix the drums are mono, one on the left and one on the right. I think we tracked and mixed it in about 5-6 hours.

Here's some footage of the session with the final mix.

Old 19th July 2013
  #6
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Drumsound's Avatar
One of the first records I ever did had 2 drummers on 5-6 songs. The studio owner tracked the first few tunes with one drummer, and I tracksed the tunes with 2 and mixed the whole thing. It was pretty crazy and awesome music. I did stereo OH, BD and SD mics, plus a room mic. I panned the 2 drummers hard left and right and the room mic was center. It was cacophonous to say the least.
Old 20th July 2013
  #7
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Thanks for all the feedback thus far. Great stuff!
Old 20th July 2013
  #8
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Arthurelletson's Avatar
 

Have a listen to the spaceways inc and Zu collaboration called radiale. It has two drummers for Modt of the album, panned left and right I think.

I great example to two great drummers playing together.
Old 20th July 2013
  #10
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I had to do this a lot with King Crimson when they had Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto in the band. I usually took it on a song by song basis depending on the part. I often like to think of it a creating one giant drum sound with drummer with 4 extra limbs.

If the drummers play a lot of the same hits, I often found it better to separate those hits panning wise so they did not come off as flamming.
Old 20th July 2013
  #11
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TonyD's Avatar
A band I'm producing currently called Polar Picnic have two drummers. They're both really excellent players, but it does pose challenges. The key is in the grooves - if they have very similar grooves, the left-to-centre and centre-to-right can work well, but you have to be careful about kick drums. Most of the time they'll be okay but in the mix they can cancel out or suddenly spike in energy. I tracked to tape so with the compression things came out pretty consistent, but I still had issues. These mixes were a real fight.

I've had greater success with the songs where the two drum grooves were rather different. That meant I could pan them as you normally would, using the full stereo width for both kits, and mic one kit to sound 'behind' the other (more OHs, less close mics, more rooms).

I guess to a certain extent the band will have specific, and strong, ideas about what they want to achieve with having two drummers (as it's a ballache to gig!) so their vision will most likely dictate what you have to deal with. My guys were all tracking live, and I found the room mics set to have one kit in one side and one in the other worked well.
Old 20th July 2013
  #12
Gear interested
 

I suggest an other way, I would mix one of the drumsets to a real, acoustically perfect hifi drum sound and the other to a strange, artificial one using triggers on it, use whether electronic samples. In this way you can choose the right sounds to the second one to not fight each other but cooperate.

If this extreme way is not match to the band's music, you can try this triggered method only on of the kick, for the same advantages, you can tailor its sound well.

But I'm sure that just one kick needs real sub and the others sound needs a high pass filtering to prevent fighting and cancel each other in a sub area.
Old 20th July 2013
  #13
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I had to do this a lot with King Crimson when they had Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto in the band. I usually took it on a song by song basis depending on the part. I often like to think of it a creating one giant drum sound with drummer with 4 extra limbs.

If the drummers play a lot of the same hits, I often found it better to separate those hits panning wise so they did not come off as flamming.
Each of those guys plays like they have 4 limbs. I saw one of those tours. Amazing.
Old 20th July 2013
  #14
Gear Guru
 

I like the idea of a common room mic
Old 21st July 2013
  #15
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Each of those guys plays like they have 4 limbs. I saw one of those tours. Amazing.
True. In the "Double Trio" era, every guy in that band played enough to fill up and track by themselves.. but there were six of them! I felt that working on some of those albums was my masters thesis in mixing.
Old 21st July 2013
  #16
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Try ducking down the second drummers kick with a sidechain compressor keyed with the first drummers kick.
Old 21st July 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
Try ducking down the second drummers kick with a sidechain compressor keyed with the first drummers kick.
of course, first you have to figure out which one is the "first" drummer! heh
Old 21st July 2013
  #18
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Also, if one drummer has a large kick, say a 24-26 inch, an the other drummer has a smaller higher kick, say 18-20 inches, that works out nice.
Old 21st July 2013
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
True. In the "Double Trio" era, every guy in that band played enough to fill up and track by themselves.. but there were six of them! I felt that working on some of those albums was my masters thesis in mixing.
no doubt!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
Also, if one drummer has a large kick, say a 24-26 inch, an the other drummer has a smaller higher kick, say 18-20 inches, that works out nice.
It works for the Allman Brothers
Old 13th January 2017
  #20
Gear Nut
Just started a spec mix for a band...turns out they have two drummers. Anybody mix two drummers here? If so, what'd you do (generally speaking)?
Old 14th December 2017
  #21
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Arseny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joao B. View Post
Last year I did a live session for a band with 2 drummers. Can be tricky but since the guys are amazing musicians I didn't struggle too much.

I think that in the mix the drums are mono, one on the left and one on the right. I think we tracked and mixed it in about 5-6 hours.

Here's some footage of the session with the final mix.

amazing song, sounds great
Old 14th December 2017
  #22
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double drums

i did dozens of drum clinics with double drummers plus play along tracks/backing bands (sheila e/ndugu chancler, jon hiseman/bill bruford, terry bozzio/chad wackerman etc.)

it's not really different than mixing two guitars or an orchestra: panning is important (l to c/c to r), levels as well (or the whole image will shift once you 'loose' one drummer) and i agree that you could enhance the difference in sound between them.
i'd probably set up three room mics (l/c/r), trying to keep the drums out of the center by choosing a different pickup pattern on the center mic and mixing it with different compressor settings (to me, a compressor is mainly a rhythmic tool!)
Old 15th December 2017
  #23
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arseny View Post
amazing song, sounds great
Yeah, that was fun! A lot of interesting noises going on!
Old 15th December 2017
  #24
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Joao B.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arseny View Post
amazing song, sounds great

Thanks guys! Haven't heard this track in a while, it was a really fun session!
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