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Compression on drums
Old 14th January 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Compression on drums

I am very new to recording drums. I've done countless acoustic tracks for myself and I've ****ed around with guitar/synth/e-drum stuff but never real drums.

So I have four tracks of compression to use (an ART Pro VLA and dbx 266). When actually tracking I would assume I just want to compress the overhead mics?

What about mix-down on the drums? How would I go about sending just the two stereo drum tracks back out of my system into one of the compressors?

My setup right now is...
MOTU 828mkII
Soundcraft Spirit M12 board
Garageband/Logic Express
Old 14th January 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
lpkyer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gutsofgold View Post
I am very new to recording drums. I've done countless acoustic tracks for myself and I've ****ed around with guitar/synth/e-drum stuff but never real drums.

So I have four tracks of compression to use (an ART Pro VLA and dbx 266). When actually tracking I would assume I just want to compress the overhead mics?

What about mix-down on the drums? How would I go about sending just the two stereo drum tracks back out of my system into one of the compressors?

My setup right now is...
MOTU 828mkII
Soundcraft Spirit M12 board
Garageband/Logic Express
Depends.
What kind of music are you recording? Does the drummer knows how to play in the studio?
Old 14th January 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
 

The music is an indie rock sound. The drummer is a kid who is very talented but not much experience in a studio. He understands the concept of consistency in his hits but I'm sure there will be times where he won't follow through on it.
Old 14th January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
lpkyer's Avatar
 

Be sure to make him practice with the metronome. I think that's the key.

As for your main concern.
I would use the ART PRO VLA on a pair of overheads (ribbons for indie rock are killer)
and the dbx 266 on toms. I'd add snare and kick comp in the box...266 will tend to give a dark blurry tone I don't like to snare and kick.
Old 14th January 2007
  #5
Gear Head
 

If you want a good mix...first you need a great performance and good mic placement...if you get both of them during taking the raw track...
you would have a good mix
Old 14th January 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I never compress drums while tracking. For a great drum compressor on the cheap look at the dbx 160xt.
Old 14th January 2007
  #7
yeah I don't like to print compression because if you screw up a great take...
Old 14th January 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Windtaken's Avatar
 

Something that might really benefit you is parallel compression. I find it helps when I'm using budget gear to make the drums feel more alive.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul0...logicnotes.htm

Be persistent if you want to compress overheads. You may get a lot of bleed.

To track first and compress later, output the two tracks to two line outs. Then connect those lines through your compressor and back into two inputs in your motu

then play those two already recorded tracks while recording two new tracks (at the line ins coming from your compressor)
Old 14th January 2007
  #9
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Janesaid2me's Avatar
I dont compress while tracking drums...then again i dont have any external compressors, but even then i dont know if I would....maybe a limiter on the kick....ive heard many people say they dont compress overheads at all...even after the fact....though ive also read it helps to lengthen the decay of cymbals...dont know though...cause again never tried it....honestly i dont see why you would need to compress going in....unless your drummer is really hitting all over the place...if hes a good drummer and fairly consistent you should be fine...instead of worrying about compression worry about where you are sticking your mics and what mics you are using....compression comes much later in making a great drum mix...at least i feel.
Old 15th January 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 
lpkyer's Avatar
 

Personnally I like very soft 2:1 comp on everything on tracking.
Old 15th January 2007
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Hmm yeah it makes sense, I will definitely track clean with no compression.

I have a new question about the workings of a compressor though. I understand that compression helps to level out the track. You set the threshold (highest level) and anything that now reaches above this level will only get through a certain amount depending on your ratio. So like a 2:1 ratio isn't as "compressed" sounding as an 8:1 which requires a higher level to raise the signal.

Now in terms of attack and release is where I get confused. I understand the concepts of the two (attack is the time it takes to apply said compression and release is the time it takes to drop the signal back down below the threshold, right?) So what then would this do to say...a snare?

The drummer is hitting AROUND for example -12 dB on each hit. So you set the threshold to -12 db and apply an 8:1 compression which means that it would require a hit on the snare of -4 dB to get the signal to raise above -12 dB, correct?

From here I get lost. Where does attack and release come into play?
Old 15th January 2007
  #12
Gear Addict
 
RUSCO's Avatar
Quote:
Personnally I like very soft 2:1 comp on everything on tracking.
I have been doing a lot of that lately too. Just a bit of comp on everything.
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