The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Loud cymbal problems Dynamics Plugins
Old 17th November 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Loud cymbal problems

hey folks,

A while back I recorded a local band the I liked quite a bit. They were a really talented bunch of guys and the recordings turned out surprisingly well, especially considering it was the first time i'd ever had a whole band crammed in my little one room studio, playing everything live. Instruments hardly bled at all, which was nothing short of amazing. I did have a small problem though, with the drummer. These guys plan on coming back to do some more tracks before long, so I figured i better start thinking of solutions NOW instead of when they're all there in the room waiting for me to set up mics.

The drummer hits his cymbals hard, and frequently. They bled like CRAZY into every single other drum mic. I could turn off the overheads entirely and still hear overwhelmingly loud cymbals. In the end I think i ended up gating things here and there and turning down the high end on a lot of the drums. It turned out OK but not fantastically well and was obviously the weakest part of the recording.

What can I do to compensate for him mashing the hell out of his cymbals? I could probably just use fewer mics and position some overheads in a smart way and stick one in the kick, but that certainly isn't going to make cymbals any quieter. He also is into having big boomy toms, boomier than they are in real life, so close mics are pretty much needed. I'd ask him to raise his cymbal stands up, but he's one of those drummers that would be the first to tell you that he COULD adjust to a slightly different drum setup, but he won't do it because his current configuration is exactly perfect.

So yeah. Ideas? thanks
Old 17th November 2006
  #2
Gear addict
 

honestly theres not much that you can do.. concentrate on convincing him to go easier on the cymbals.. get the recordings from last time out.. and show him what it sounds like without the overheads on.. I've done this to a few drummers and they've been pretty suprised.. and some of them have changed for the better..

The other suggestion I have for you is to use mics with better rejection, and with a nicer of axis response.. this way you should get less bleed, and the bleed you get should sound better.. some small gobos might work.. Auralex used to (probably still do) make a pack called aural expanders (stupid name for them) which had absorbers in it that mounted on the back of mics to increase rejection, something like that might help you a bit.. Your best bet is to work on the drummer though

Edit:
I forgot to mention.. if the drums are in a bright room a bit of dampening may help!
Old 17th November 2006
  #3
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Good luck on him changing the way he playes..........

Young/new drummers tend to "ride" chinas, crashes, and open hats


I have never been able to get them to change in one session, it takes years to be a studio drummer , and most these guys are good live drummers where they can wale away and don't need to be able to play to a click track


Give them some advice, turn them on to some awesome studio drummers and have them practice to a click







For 10 years

















steve
Old 17th November 2006
  #4


Some absorbtion can help.

Mostly, you need to get hypercard tom mics or have some other way of killing the cymbals (like gates and a LPF).

Does this guy have bottom heads? Damping rings? well tuned toms?




-tINY

Old 17th November 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Can you give him his own headphone mix? If so, get some isolation headphones for him, and crank the high end, so that every time he hits a cymbal it makes him cringe. Drummers play by feel, and if they can't hear what they're doing, they hit harder. Or maybe he has heavy rock cymbals, and they're going to be loud no matter what you do. Showing him the problems you had with the mix might help, but don't get your hopes up. After all, he is a drummer. (It's a joke!)
I just sent a project out to be mixed in a big name studio, and the mixes came back with really present cymbals. It's like the famous mixer guy was only hearing the ryhthm section. Turns out, after mastering, it sounded fine, so maybe you can work with the loud cymbals and accept it as the sound of the band.
Old 17th November 2006
  #6
Well, I'm a drummer myself, for around 13 years.
And a recording engineer/producer for 5 years.
The first gigs I did playing drums, AFTER I started engineering, sucked...
Too much HH bleed into the snare, too much cymbals bleed into the toms, you got the idea...
The last 2 gigs I played and engineered, I played a lot harderd on the drums and a LOOOOOT softer on the hh and cymbals, and I was almost 100% satisfied with the results.
The only thing I can't solve is having a little bleed from the huuge crash cymbals I use into tom fills when I'm riding on the 20" crash cymbal and go for a fill...
The next thing I'll ask the cymbals factory that endorses me, is smaller, lighter, faster cymbals to do recording gigs, and BIGER, LOUDER, FATER cymbals to play live
Old 17th November 2006
  #7
Gear nut
 
earldrum's Avatar
 

Smile Cymbal playing in the studio

As a drummer and engineer, I agree that developing the chops to play the cymbals and hi hats softer and the kick & snare louder for rock (or pop, funk, etc.) drumming will improve the sound. This is something that I have been working on for 20 years now.

My take on this subject is that most alternative, punk, screamo styles of music require this "loud" "bashing" style of drumming. This is not a good or bad thing it is a fact that we have to deal with. The classic 70's & 80's rock drumming techniques do not apply to this sound. I was told on a recording session in 1987, play the hi hat & cymbals quieter and play the snare & kick like you are "beating your redheaded step child!" That was not easy for me on that session - and it will not be easy to change a drummer's playing style in one recording session.

So, the folowing is what I have done on some recent punk & screamo sessions to compensate for the loud, young, rock drummer of today.

Recording:

1) Try to find a Overhead Mic position that gets a balance sound of the kit when centered. I use an XY coincident mic'ing technique placed over the drummers head from behind (this works for me, you may have a different preference). I have contributed this mic setup (in photo form) to a thread yesterday:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/6803-pictures-miced-up-drum-kits-studio.html

2) Give the drummer a solid Overhead Mic Mix (i.e., let him hear the cymbals & drums from this perspective). This helps me considerably (as said before) to balance my playing to the microphones. It is my experience that young drummers will not change their playing style much if the session is a punk or screamo style because this is how they play it live.

Mixing:

1) Edit out (all other sounds) or gate the tom mics. I find editing sounds (destructive editing) can be made to be more natural sounding then gating, but I have done it both ways.

2) Compress the Overhead Mics with a good compressor (plugin like RennComp or Vintage Warmer or both)

3) Pull back the OH faders and raise the Kick and snare faders to taste.

4) Center the drums in the mix (i.e., a small panning on the OH (i.e., 2 & 10 o'clock)

The bottomline is that you have to work with the musicians you have and understand the style of music that is being played. Please note that the above may not work for an acoustic jazz session or for an A/C, POP session which may not use a drummer at all! I always try to find a solution that works for the music.

I hope this help you find a solution - go make some great music!
Old 17th November 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 

you didn't mention what kind of cymbals he has. some cymbals (zildjian Z's, for instance) are extremely loud and are much better suited for live use......while some cymbals (Zildjian A's and K's) are softer in nature and tend to come across better in the studio.

here's a couple suggestions, assuming getting him to change his playing habits doesn't work:

1. change the cymbals to lighter ones
2. change his sticks to thinner ones
3. raise/move the cymbals so that he has to reach for them--if he has to reach for them, he won't be able to bash away comfortably, which typically leads to more controlled cymbal playing.
4. move the overheads so they don't pick up as much cymbals
5. use mics with better rejection (or better sounding bleed) for your close mics.

the cymbal-heavy headphone mix is a GREAT idea as well.


cheers and good luck,
wade
Old 17th November 2006
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Wow, thanks for all the responses!

There's an extremely slim chance that I'll be able to get the guy to switch cymbals, switch sticks, or move his cymbals. Because, you know, he's right ( ). Ever had a drummer who has way more opinion on how you should be making the recordings sound than the rest of the band combined? He's one of those. I've never seen a band roll their eyes so many times in my life...

What always struck me as weird is that he actually plays incredibly well. He's trained in jazz. He just beats the hell out of his kit, at least when he's playing with this band (sure, i understand that NOT doing that probably is part of playing well...) The band isn't even the metal or screamy band you might expect... they sound like the Strokes, just with more 60s influence. He plays cool, complicated-yet-appropriate drums parts.. and mashes everything really hard. They play live a billion times a month and practice constantly, so maybe he's used to having to struggle to hear himself.

I guess the best course of action is probably going to be to really really concentrate on placing my mics in spots that will throw out some unwanted sound, and (gasp!) talk to the guy about trying to play a little softer on the cymbals while still keeping his energy level as ridiculously high as it is normally. Maybe even let their guitar player, who i talk to pretty often, know beforehand what the problem was and see if he could work on talking to the guy a few months in advance.

Thanks again!

Edit: Forgot to menion; The "give him headphones and crank the high end" idea is fantastic

Last edited by notbillcosby; 17th November 2006 at 04:44 PM.. Reason: forgot something
Old 17th November 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Tom H's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrface2112 View Post
move the overheads so they don't pick up as much cymbals
This is the key... try to position them as "underheads" from the floor up, can sound very smooth at times.
Old 17th November 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
firby's Avatar
 

what is the monitoring like ? You should give a guy that is problematic the best mix possible so that he can hear what he is doing to the song. If there is too much high end then be sure that he is not playiing with nylon tipped sticks. If you give him a good mix on your best headphones more or less how you are going to hear I do think he will play different. If you cant get anything else happening record him in a room with a really high ceiling and mike him from far away.

If he is using 5Bs then ask him to switch to lighter sticks.
Old 17th November 2006
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Edit everything that's getting the bleed. If it still bleeds, sample replace and leave only the real oh.
Old 17th November 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by notbillcosby View Post
Wow, thanks for all the responses!

There's an extremely slim chance that I'll be able to get the guy to switch cymbals, switch sticks, or move his cymbals. Because, you know, he's right ( ). Ever had a drummer who has way more opinion on how you should be making the recordings sound than the rest of the band combined? He's one of those. I've never seen a band roll their eyes so many times in my life...

What always struck me as weird is that he actually plays incredibly well. He's trained in jazz. He just beats the hell out of his kit, at least when he's playing with this band (sure, i understand that NOT doing that probably is part of playing well...) The band isn't even the metal or screamy band you might expect... they sound like the Strokes, just with more 60s influence. He plays cool, complicated-yet-appropriate drums parts.. and mashes everything really hard. They play live a billion times a month and practice constantly, so maybe he's used to having to struggle to hear himself.
Where they satisfied with the results of the record? Did they think the cymbals were too loud? If so, it's your job to tell the drummer exactly what he has to do to get the results he wants. He's always right? F*CK HIM. Tell him to play the cymbals softer, raise them up higher away from the drums, buy/borrow some thinner cymbals for the sessions, etc.. Explain to him that playing live/practicing is different from recording in a studio. He may have to do things differently to get the results he wants. If you explain this to him ahead of time, you might find that he'll be more willing to adjust.

Other things to check are your room. Maybe get some dampening/absorption going on. Mic placement would be one thing, but honestly, if you're getting THAT much cymbal bleed out of EVERY mic (I assume you're using cardioid dynamics on the drums themselves and you're not pointing the snare mic at the hat instead of the snare,) then something else has to give.

Here's a surefire solution. Get the drummer to play single hits on his bass drum, snare, and toms. Use those samples to reinforce the hits that are all ready there (key terminology to use with a drummer who may not "be down" for things he doesn't understand) using drumagog or sound replacer (or just do it manually.) This has saved many a recording. If the drummer "isn't down with that," then either try to rationalize with him, or just don't tell him in the first place. Sometimes people just don't know what's best for them (some people also play their cymbals too damn loud.)
Old 17th November 2006
  #14
Gear nut
 
earldrum's Avatar
 

Smile Light vs. Heavy Cymbals

Hi Wade:

You said: "You didn't mention what kind of cymbals he has. some cymbals (zildjian Z's, for instance) are extremely loud and are much better suited for live use......while some cymbals (Zildjian A's and K's) are softer in nature and tend to come across better in the studio."

I agree with you that cymbal type will also effect the sound. My only caution is allowing heavy/hard hitting players play thin/lighter cymbals in their heavy playing style. My experience is that they will break your cymbals! That is why if they are using my studio kit - I recommend they use their own cymbals (which are usually heavy/loud type) or I allow them to play a set of larger/heavier cymbals that are appropreiate for that type of player.
Old 17th November 2006
  #15
Gear Nut
 
gamrecords's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommylicious View Post
This is the key... try to position them as "underheads" from the floor up, can sound very smooth at times.
Yha, Tommy is right and this is the key...
by micing underneath the cymbals over the toms, you will get all the cymbals you need. So don't mic the cymbals. This works for many sessions and also for drummers who may be inexperienced in the studio. You can even have the mics up, just don't use them. Also, my $0.3, use only 4 mics. Kick, snare and 2 small condensors in between the toms. This will get your toms and cymbals while recording live in a small room, and it won't be splashy.

michael
Old 17th November 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
Yeah, try micing from the FLOOR upwards. This will also put more of the other drums in there and less cymbals. You can also try micing from the sides of the kit about 3 feet off the ground...or on the same horizon as the edge of the cymbals..around 4-5 feet off the ground pointing at the drums. Oh, try some ribbon mics if you have access.
Old 17th November 2006
  #17
Gear maniac
 
madcowvt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Can you give him his own headphone mix?

This works great actually. I got a similiar idea from: http://www.martyfireball.f2s.com/noi...01_ozdrums.htm

Thanks to Glenn "OZ" Fricker for the write up @ http://www.ilovemetal.co.uk/


Mic the hi hat and crank them in just his headphones. It hurts the old ears and makes them play more consistant and softer
Lots of good tips from this guy for drummers in general.
Old 17th November 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Crash's Avatar
Sometime flipping phase on the overheads can help a bit.

There are also these doodads, though I don't know if they work but might be worth checking into.

http://www.auralex.com/gallery/images/xp_3lr.jpg
Old 17th November 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earldrum View Post
My only caution is allowing heavy/hard hitting players play thin/lighter cymbals in their heavy playing style. My experience is that they will break your cymbals!
if a drummer's technique is so bad that i'm gonna worry about them breaking cymbals, i do the same thing as you--they can beat the crap out of their own damn cymbals and we'll deal with the mess with creative positioning.........or they can record somewhere else. heh

or they're more than welcome to have me lay down the drum tracks for em, b/c i know how to not abuse cymbals.

seriously, though, if it's a younger band i'll try to teach them something--b/c there's a chance something might stick. but if it's some old gnarled grizzled dude who's set in his ways and is trying to tell me how to record him (like the guy in this thread seems to be).......he's on his own and the band's just gonna have to live with how it sounds.

and like some folks mentioned above, in this sort of case, yeah, i tend to scrap the concept of "overheads" and go for "sides" or "in front of's" (whichever works better) and just spot mic the ride and hat. with some drummers, often one mic 6ft out and 3ft off the ground gets a massive enough drum sound that i don't need overheads.


cheers,
wade
Old 18th November 2006
  #20
Gear Nut
 

The guy is 24. Not old and grizzly at all, just headstrong. Very headstrong.

Yeah, i definitely had the mics up in an XY position before, which isn't at all how i mic my OWN kit for my solo stuff... i should maybe stick closer to home next time. And yes, i could totally get by without using overheads and still hear everythign fine, but that's the problem. I couldn't turn up the snare without turning up the hi hat. i couldn't turn up the toms witout turning up 4 crash cymbals. I thought about micing toms from the bottom, but i've had really bad luck with that in the past... plus, then they'd be pointing through the drum at the crash cymbals which i thought might be just as much of a problem. I'll admit- I didn't experiment much on this guy as we had like 8 hours to do 8 songs, including set up and tear down time.

They turned out ok... the band was fairly cool with the final product, but i wasn't. Listening back, my raw mixed-as-i-went mixes that i sent with them for the car ride home turned out cooler than the ones i spent time working on later and trying to get the cymbal bleed out of and all that. By the time i was done working on them they'd lost a lot of the live feel and felt kinda cardboardy, if that makes any sense. It was one of those things that i'd worked on for so long that i couldn't tell if they sounded good anymore or not. In retrospect, they sound decent but not how i'd have liked it to sound.
Old 18th November 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
 
stealthbalance's Avatar
 

at the mix stage , if im faced with drums with way too much cymbals and i cant get the real room ambience to pump without it getting shill and crazy , i tend to break out the d-ssers and or ultra tight q eq's and sliver frequencies out totally or close to it.
d-ssers across the drum ambience tracks can really help a lot for me.
as for tracking , im always on the hunt for rich sounding cymbals that are quieter.
also , if you are going for a certain cym/kit balance in one set of o/h mics ..cool i guess ...but digging cymbals out of tracks that are mainly drums ...or cymbals that are miced too far away can be a real challenge. i like cymbals to be mostly cymbals - why not just add maybe an x/y pairs more over and above the drummer and facing the kit mainly? i usually put a ringo style mic over the kit that is helpful in addition to my o/h's. my 2 cents.
s
Old 18th November 2006
  #22
Gear Nut
 

d-sser/de-sser/de-esser/whatever on drums... good idea, i hadn't thought about that. I DID try plenty of crap wtih the EQ though, whew.

Also, please define "ringo style mic" for me. I've never heard anything about overheads for ringo, just that they miced his cymbals from the side...
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Dragonfly / Drums
42
RichT / So much gear, so little time
20
zkaudio / So much gear, so little time
2
vudoo / So much gear, so little time
7
Ahellam / So much gear, so little time
14

Forum Jump
Forum Jump