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Recording drums in a 10'X20' room with 71/2 foot ceiling...
Old 31st January 2003
  #1
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guittarzzan's Avatar
Recording drums in a 10'X20' room with 71/2 foot ceiling...

Hi, I know this isn't an ideal drum room by a long shot, but is it possible to get some workable drum tracks in this size of a room with such a low ceiling? Also, the floor is carpeted. I'll probably give it a shot anyway, but I'm just curious if any of you have had any success recording drums in very un-ideal locations.
Any thoughts or tips are appreciated.
Thanks,
Steve
Old 31st January 2003
  #2
Gear Head
 

I would
A) Make sure the drummer is a real craftsman behind his kit.
B) Make sure the drums are sounding fantastic before setting up a single mic(tuned,etc.).
C) Start deadening the room...a little at a time 'til you get a workable sound.
In other words, it's possible.
Many folks deaden the room as much as possible right off, but I suggest making the room work for you in some way. Just trust what your hearing as you set-up mics.
Hope this helps,
Old 31st January 2003
  #3
Gear Addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 

Try putting a decent amount of foam or blankets up in one corner (walls and ceilng) and put the drums there, leaving the rest of the room untreated. This will keep you from getting weird phase-y cancellation off the ceiling or close walls, but won't leave you with a completely dead room.

Also, if you can, try keeping the door open--for whatever reason, it seems to open up the sound.

(This is just trial-and-error stuff I've gotten from recording in crappy spaces, so I wouldn't take it too seriously.)
Old 31st January 2003
  #4
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
It's possible. You'll probably end up using the overheads mostly for cymbals rather then the whole kit. Also, omni mics probably won't be your friends in this case. You could also try moving the overheads out in front of or placing them behind the kit so you get less ceiling reflections. Maybe throw a mic up in front of the kit anyway. Sometimes when I get tracks to mix that have been recorded in bad rooms (my room has 8' ceilings too, it ain't that much better) the room mic becomes a much bigger part of the sound then the overheads. I wouldn't deaden the room too much. Cut down on flutter echo if there is any and leave it like a bedroom. If it's too dead then you have a small dead room and the drums will never sound good. I'd rather have some bad room tone then that.
Old 31st January 2003
  #5
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Definitely try to kill the reflections coming from the ceiling. Try putting the BD in different places in the booth till you find a good (in phase low-freq. modes) low-end spot. As Jay said you'll most likely will end up using the OH as "cymbals" mics anyway. If you find some cool spots for ambient mics multing them (or a sub mix of the whole kit) and completely squashing that (distressor "nuke" setting style with a fair amount of distortion) and bringing it under the more natural drum sound should help you in faking/creating some space and giving some size to those drums. If the room doesn't have some form of bass trapping, leaving the door open can help.
If leaving the door open is not an option, try putting something like a rolled-up futon in the corners... :eek:
(How's that for desert island make-shift acoustical treatment... )

Also, if there is any possibility of removing the carpet or temporarily bolting some plywood sheets over it you might consider it. There's nothing like dfegad carpet over concrete to suck the life out of those drums... tut

Good luck and don't expect something spectacular...
Old 31st January 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 

DEFINITELY possible !!!
I just played drums for an artist who just got sign with a major label and the drums were tracked at my project studio with an PT HD and Daking pre's ( love the Daking stuff ).
My room is 10x12 with a 7 1/2 foot ceiling. Spend some time on mic placement...no rules here, just experiment and MAKE SURE all your mics are in phase, this makes a BIG difference.
When i built this room, it was mainly for practicing but the drums sounded so good that i end up doing movie soundtracks and records instead of booking time in major studio. Good Luck.
Old 31st January 2003
  #7
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

10x20 isn't that small. Kill the corners, find a way to angle off with a gobo or something any parallel flutter producing walls. Put the kit in the middle of the room. If you can treat the ceiling directly above the kit? Put up four hooks and hang a piece of ply wood unevenly to the floor. Depending on style you should be able to use whatever mic.ing nique you want if you treat the room properly. All these should also make some interesting diffusion
Ribbons or LDCondensors in blumlein (x-y with figure 8) for over heads. Don't rule out the floor mic in front of the kik. etc....
Old 31st January 2003
  #8
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Kris's Avatar
Diffusion on the ceiling works for me... I've got approx 20 RPG style pyramids that help... for a quick fix buy 4 Auralex t'fusors and throw them up there...cost you approx $200 ???
Old 31st January 2003
  #9
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by groundcontrol
If you find some cool spots for ambient mics multing them (or a sub mix of the whole kit) and completely squashing that (distressor "nuke" setting style with a fair amount of distortion) and bringing it under the more natural drum sound should help you in faking/creating some space and giving some size to those drums.
Yeah, but don't print it like that if you can avoid it. That clean room mic track might save your ass later. You can also squash it in the mix or while monitoring the tracking.
Old 31st January 2003
  #10
Gear Addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
You'll probably end up using the overheads mostly for cymbals rather then the whole kit. Also, omni mics probably won't be your friends in this case. You could also try moving the overheads out in front of or placing them behind the kit so you get less ceiling reflections. Maybe throw a mic up in front of the kit anyway. Sometimes when I get tracks to mix that have been recorded in bad rooms (my room has 8' ceilings too, it ain't that much better) the room mic becomes a much bigger part of the sound then the overheads
That's interesting. When record in my own (small) room, I tend to use the overheads as cymbal mics because it seems to work best. A while ago, though, I recorded a band in a huge room, something like 80x50, with 20-30 foot ceilings. In that case, I ended up with more "whole kit"-style overheads, just through trial-and-error.

I never really made the connection, but it totally makes sense.
Old 31st January 2003
  #11
Jax
Lives for gear
 

My live room is 23 x 18 x 8'7", just a little wider and taller than Steve's, so I work in many of the ways mentioned above. Someone suggested hanging plywood at an angle from the ceiling, which is what I do. I have two 5 x 3 (or are they 6 x 4... I can never remember) plywood boards hanging over the drums, and the angle bounces reflections out into the room, away from the kit. The angle is not very steep... just enough to redirect the reflections. The boards have a layer of 2" foam covering on the side that faces the kit.

In my room, the best cymbal articulation/defintion happens with recorderman's 2 mic technique (with a great snare popping right down the middle), or with a spaced pair as overheads (generally 3:1 rule, but not strictly adhered to at all). This doesn't give the me best L to R imaging, though. For that, I stick a pair of mics out in front and to the sides of the kit at about 6 feet away and maybe 7 feet up, with the mics more paralell to the ground than pointing down. The idea is to grab half of the kit with each mic per side, and it works quite well. I've recently had very good success in keeping these outer mics equidistant to the 2 mics setup in the recorderman technique, except that the distance from those two mics is doubled or sometimes tripled... doesn't matter that much as long as it's done in equidistant multiples of the recorderman mic setup. Don't know if that makes sense. I'll post a pic of it eventually.

As for room treatment, directly behind the drums is the control room window, which is triangular on the horizonatonal axis. Any refelctions hitting it go out to the side walls which are splayed to reflect into the room. This works very well with the snare setup right at the point of the triangle because the sound is hard coming off the glass but then immediately is dispersed fairly evenly in the room.

Ah, hell. Pics are worth a thousand wordz. I'll borrow my buddy's digital camera and come back later.
Old 31st January 2003
  #12
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

The three to one rule works in multiples of three (3x1,3x2,3x3,3x4...) also. Mysterious technique, Works big time. If it's not broken don't fix it and don't ask questions.
In small spaces the big problem is bass that has nowhere to go.
Someone said leave the door open, you can also "trap" it. Large panels that "wobble" but don't make an audible sound eat up a lot of bass. If you can incorporate reflection with this you's in bizness.
Old 31st January 2003
  #13
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Well, what would you call a small room? 10x20 is more medium I guess with 18x20 on the bigger side of medium or smaller side of large. My room here is 11x25x8 and it's ok. Not steller but workable.
Old 1st February 2003
  #14
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sonic dogg's Avatar
Yeah whut they all said....gobos and an angled piece above will help tremendously....and carefull mic placement...spend a lot of time and test track everymove....
Old 1st February 2003
  #15
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guittarzzan's Avatar
Thanks guys. I think I need a bigger house. It would be sooooo nice just to have everything set up right and not have to put up temporary crap. Maybe I shouldn't have bought the Fatso and got a house with one more bedroom instead lol.
Thanks,
Steve
Old 1st February 2003
  #16
Quote:
Originally posted by guittarzzan
Maybe I shouldn't have bought the Fatso and got a house with one more bedroom instead lol.

You're probably better with the FATSO. $2500 (give or take) would have got you about 40 square feet.
Old 14th February 2003
  #17
Gear Nut
 
drummerman15's Avatar
 

My tracking room is 11.5'x22.5'x8' with hardwood floors and I've had pretty good success leaving the doors open (one leads to a highly reflective kitchen and the other down a narrow hall with hardwoods). I've tried to kill the reflections with foam and plywood which helps, but its not as good as a nice high ceiling. I also put mics in adjacent rooms - the kitchen and the hallway, sometimes the bathroom. You can get some really interesting sounds by blending essentially 3 or more different roopm sounds. I also will squash the hell out of them with the 1176 (depress all the buttons - set a slow attack and fast release and listen for the pumping in time with the song), fold that back into the mix and it helps get the bigger sound. But I only compress like that on mixdown.
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