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5 Channel Drum Tracking
Old 15th July 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

5 Channel Drum Tracking

I am looking for some advice as to how to capture a rock drum sound with just five microphones. Here is what I have to work with:

Ludwig Classic Maple kit
26x14 kick
18x16 floor
14x8 snare

Shure Microphones
Beta 52A
SM57
SM7b
KSM313 (x2)
KSM353
KSM44A
KSM32

Chandler Preamps
TG-2 (x4)
REDD.47 (x1)
Going into Lynx E44

Other Outboard Gear
Distressor
Tubetech CL-1B
Pultec EQP-1S3

It seems obvious to use the Beta 52A on kick, SM57 on snare, and SM7b on floor tom. But I am a little unsure of how to flesh out the rest of the session.

What would you use the REDD.47 preamp on?
How would you use the outboard gear?
Mono vs. stereo overheads?
Room mic vs. front of kit mic?

Looking for some creative approaches. Thanks in advance!
Old 15th July 2019
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I'm pretty minimalist. I start with kick, snare, and mono overhead and then add a mic or two if something's under-represented. With your gear, my first try would probably be Beta 57, 57, KSM44. I've never used either of those preamps, but I'm sure they're great.
Old 15th July 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Here's an idea. I do it all the time, so it might work well for you. Especially with your mic selection.

Start with the overheads. I would try the KSM44 in cardioid along with the KSM32, which is cardioid only.. Hopefully these will be close in sound. You should also try the pair of 313s. See which ones sound better for your situation.

Now for the important part. Draw an imaginary line through the center of the top snare head and the beater head of the kick drum. You want to line your overheads along this axis. Why? Because it's really the only way to get a solid center image of the kick AND snare. Of course you can also use a mono OH, but you really owe it to yourself to try this out at least once. You can move the mics forward or backward along this axis. Spread or narrow them to change the stereo image and even raiser or lower the sides to pick up more or less of what you want. For instance you could bring the floor tom side down a bit and raise the side that's closest to the hihat. I've been doing this for a while and I don't even bother to mic toms anymore. However, you can add something for the floor if you like.

For the snare, Try the KSM353 and instead of pointing one side towards the top head. Point the top of the mic at the shell so the sides are facing up/down. What this will do is pick up both the top and bottom of the snare and combine them so you won't have any phasing issues.

I could go into this in depth, but it would be easier for you to watch this George Massenburg video. He covers the OH setup and using a ribbon on the snare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZOVZQgXl9k

You could also use the 44 on the snare in place of a ribbon, if you want to experiment.

You should also check out the SM7b on Kick. You've got lots of options.

Let us know how it turns out.
Old 15th July 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Very cool ideas, thanks! Great video with Massenburg. I may try that snare trick...

I was thinking maybe using the KSM44A as a mono overhead, and then the KSM353 as a center of kit mic... placed somewhere between the kick beater and the snare bottom. I know the KSM313 has two different voices, which may suit better than the KSM353, but KSM353 seems a bit beefier (which I like on kick).

I would also appreciate hearing people's experiences between ribbons vs. condensers for overheads and rooms, especially in a mono context.

Keep 'em coming!
Old 15th July 2019
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trmckenz View Post
I would also appreciate hearing people's experiences between ribbons vs. condensers for overheads and rooms, especially in a mono context.
I've done a bunch of tracking of live bands in a really small room and have used both mono condensers and ribbons as overheads, mainly because of the figure-8 pattern.
Old 15th July 2019
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I've done a bunch of tracking of live bands in a really small room and have used both mono condensers and ribbons as overheads, mainly because of the figure-8 pattern.
Has either overhead microphone type given you superior results? What is your rationale between the two?
Old 15th July 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trmckenz View Post
I am looking for some advice as to how to capture a rock drum sound with just five microphones. Here is what I have to work with:
Ludwig Classic Maple kit
26x14 kick
18x16 floor
14x8 snare
no mounted toms?
Quote:
Shure Microphones
Beta 52A
SM57
SM7b
KSM313 (x2)
KSM353
KSM44A
KSM32
Wow, are you a Shure endorser? Have a family connection? Or just a big Shure fan?
Quote:
It seems obvious to use the Beta 52A on kick, SM57 on snare, and SM7b on floor tom. But I am a little unsure of how to flesh out the rest of the session.
KSM 44 for overhead would be one idea. One of those ribbons would be another. With a figure 8 ribbon, you might need a high ceiling or some absorption above the mic. As jammiedodger666 said, the 44 on snare is also a good bet. I would try it Outside kick as well. SM7can work on snare. LDCs on floor tom is a "sound" - which you may like.

Quote:
What would you use the REDD.47 preamp on?
It's not that important. I like to 'reserve' my best preamps for overheads, snare and kick in that order. I notice a big difference between those and cheap preamps, I notice far less difference from one high-end pre than another. Of course in my case, all my high end preamps are tube-based so they have something in common to start.

Quote:
How would you use the outboard gear?
If I am not the drummer, I like to put a little compression on kick and snare on the way in - if I am playing and recording myself, IMO, it is often too distracting to have to keep a constant eye on not 'overdoing' the compression. YMMV

Quote:
5 Channel Drum Tracking...Going into Lynx E44
?? Where is your "fifth" microphone coming in to your DAW?
Old 15th July 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trmckenz View Post
Has either overhead microphone type given you superior results? What is your rationale between the two?
Well, one's an RCA 77 and the other's an AKG 414EB/Teflon. The choice comes down to what else is going on at the same time. Like, if there's a trumpet I'll want the 77 for that, so the 414 goes on the drums. The other consideration is crowdedness. The 77 is very heavy and needs a gigantic stand to extend it out over the drums. Sometimes there's simply not enough room.
Old 15th July 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
 

@ joeq :

No mounted tom for the tracks I'm working on. More in the vein of The Subways. Big and thunderous, looking to avoid overly-bright cymbals.
I just like Shure stuff.
I agree the best preamp should probably go on overheads (especially tube).
I have two Lynx E44 units, so 8 total analog ins. Preamps are my limiting factor here.
Good suggestions on the compression. I think I'll keep it simple, and just have a flavor mono mic to tweak. I'm most interested in hearing which mics you'd start with for overhead/room, or room/front of kit, or overhead/front of kit, etc., as well as placement.


@ Brent Hahn

Makes sense, thanks. I'd like to avoid shrill cymbal wash, so maybe ribbon.
Have you, or has anyone else, found condensers or ribbons to be more forgiving as overheads, or easier to work with later?
Old 15th July 2019
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trmckenz View Post
Have you, or has anyone else, found condensers or ribbons to be more forgiving as overheads, or easier to work with later?
Overheads -- on stuff I mix that other people have tracked, cheap(ish) condensers or good condensers through cheap preamps can break up in a way that you can't really EQ. Pretty much a non-issue with ribbons so i guess they're more forgiving in that sense
Old 16th July 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I'd be inclined to start with the 313's set up as Recorderman OH's.

Add the 57 on snare and the sm7 or 52 on kick so you can have a bit of extra definition if you need it in the mix. Tiny bit of CL-1B on kick if you like.

Throw up the 44 as a medium-distance FOK, slammed with the Distressor if you want, (although there's no real reason to do this during tracking, unless you're 100% happy it'll be exactly what you want come mix time and want the excitement during tracking).

Use the Pultech to shape kick/snr/FOK - whatever you think needs it once you've got everything up.


I like Recorderman for thumpy, thrashy kinda rock stuff, as it's focused and dry-sounding. It also gives you a bit of stereo spread, rather than tying you to 100% mono (don't pan them 100% L&R!), but has great mono compatibility if that's the way you decide to go.

Using your 5th mic as FOK rather than distant room will keep the tight, thumpy vibe going; slamming it with compression will get size and attitude along with the tightness.

You can get whatever extra stereo width / room size you want with verb in the mix.
Old 16th July 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by trmckenz View Post
I am looking for some advice as to how to capture a rock drum sound with just five microphones. Here is what I have to work with:

Ludwig Classic Maple kit
26x14 kick
18x16 floor
14x8 snare

Shure Microphones
Beta 52A
SM57
SM7b
KSM313 (x2)
KSM353
KSM44A
KSM32

Chandler Preamps
TG-2 (x4)
REDD.47 (x1)
Going into Lynx E44

Other Outboard Gear
Distressor
Tubetech CL-1B
Pultec EQP-1S3

It seems obvious to use the Beta 52A on kick, SM57 on snare, and SM7b on floor tom. But I am a little unsure of how to flesh out the rest of the session.

What would you use the REDD.47 preamp on?
How would you use the outboard gear?
Mono vs. stereo overheads?
Room mic vs. front of kit mic?

Looking for some creative approaches. Thanks in advance!
I think I already replied to this thread with the standard: "It's the Drummer, the room and the kit (And tuning it appropriately for the song)" You don't get "drum sounds" with gear...

...All that being what it is, I can recall pointing room mics at the wall (You'll have to find a spot that works) and compressing the snot out of them. Mics set to tight cardioid, the idea being you are recording the REFLECTIONS not the original source.

I can recall a studio where the drum room opened into an Iso-room, then ANOTHER door opened into a hallway, used for gear storage. In this hallway was a wide staircase that led DOWN into a raggedy rectangle of a room...We set up a mic in the weird room and got a really good room sound.

But without knowing the drummer you're using, if room sounds are important to you, THIS is my MAIN ADVICE...

...Don't let the monkey play with his cymbals, just take em' right away no matter how much poop he throws, then KILL his high hat with a Rubber mount for it.

Then tell him to play his kick drum part ONLY (OH's and Room's being recorded as well)

Edit the kick part so it's correct and in time (If its the kind of music where that stuff matters)

Then let him play with his other toys (Still no cymbals of ANY kind, but he can hit the rubber pad to keep him walking and chewing gum at the same time) You COULD let him do high hat here as well..in a perfect world it would be fine...you make that call.

Snare and Toms, easy enough to edit that (Especially if you didn't let him smear the snare with high hat)...especially since he tracked to his own flawless timing via the kick drum (yeeah)

Then if he's been a good little chimp, let him play with his cymbals (and hat)

Do a mix of the three layers of room and OH's..do it QUICKLY (Don't get bogged down, readjusting the room balance, do it once do it quickly, never come back)

BAM! You will have room mics that amaze and delight!

Room mics are all about the player, if he can't "Play the room mics" then it's an exercise in futility.

I hate Bonham, but this is the reason so many people like his drum sound....like it...but can't IMITATE it....Bonham, heavy-handed-plodding-undanceable-buttock-bore that he was....could "Play" Room mics like no one else....All these years later, so few have figured that out.
Old 16th July 2019
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Very good ideas. I will experiment with the recordman. I also like the production technique of building drum by drum. Thank you all!
Old 16th July 2019
  #14
Gear Nut
 

There are no rules. So here are some rules:

Use close mics to get separation, impact, mix control of the relative levels of the drumset components.

Use stereo overheads to get spaciousness, a stereo field, and general glueing together of the sound.

So you are going to want to use your dynamic mics on the kick, snare, and tom. You are going to want to have a matched pair of either ribbons or condensers as overheads. If you don't have a matched pair, do what you can with what you have. If you have an extra condenser hanging around, consider using it on the hi-hat. It is important to be able to control the relative balance of the hi-hat, snare, and kick. If you have a dedicated mic on each one, it makes things a lot easier. This might turn your setup into a six mic technique. If you insist on five mics, lose the floor tom mic... just let the overheads pick up the floor tom. Otherwise, go with six mics.

A common technique for drum overheads is to use a tape measure. Make sure each overhead is the same distance from the center of the top of the snare drum. That way the overheads are in-phase with the snare drum.
Old 16th July 2019
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
... here are some rules... <><><>

Use stereo overheads to get spaciousness, a stereo field, and general glueing together of the sound.
Besides being completely subjective (and generally not to my taste), it isn't very "student-y."
Old 16th July 2019
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Besides being completely subjective (and generally not to my taste), it isn't very "student-y."

Maybe the humor went past you?
Old 16th July 2019
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
Maybe the humor went past you?
Maybe. Which kind of laughing am I supposed to be doing -- with or at?
Old 17th July 2019
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
There are no rules. So here are some rules:

Use close mics to get separation, impact, mix control of the relative levels of the drumset components.

Use stereo overheads to get spaciousness, a stereo field, and general glueing together of the sound.

So you are going to want to use your dynamic mics on the kick, snare, and tom. You are going to want to have a matched pair of either ribbons or condensers as overheads. If you don't have a matched pair, do what you can with what you have. If you have an extra condenser hanging around, consider using it on the hi-hat. It is important to be able to control the relative balance of the hi-hat, snare, and kick. If you have a dedicated mic on each one, it makes things a lot easier. This might turn your setup into a six mic technique. If you insist on five mics, lose the floor tom mic... just let the overheads pick up the floor tom. Otherwise, go with six mics.

A common technique for drum overheads is to use a tape measure. Make sure each overhead is the same distance from the center of the top of the snare drum. That way the overheads are in-phase with the snare drum.
So much wrong with this advice. But I read you were trying to be humorous.

Using a tape measure to get the snare centered is going to push your kick drum off to the side, which will smear everything. As I mentioned above, if you want to get the kick AND snare centered, there is only one way to do it, and it doesn't really involve tape measures.

Also... Using tape to get the snare centered has isn't going to put the overheads "in phase" with the snare. It's just going to center it, which will screw up the center image of your kick.

It's so easy to get it right. That's why I added the link to George Massenburg. My favorite part is when he comments on people who set their overheads the way you suggest. "I wonder what the **** they're listening to?" paraphrased.

Having a mic on the hihat is a huge waste. Maybe in a live situation if it isn't coming out, but it's much better to have a competent drummer who know's how to play the kit.

As for using close mics to get impact... You can get a little of the snap of the head by close miking, but the impact comes from a little distance.

Such a disconnect between your handle and your advice.
Old 17th July 2019
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
I think I already replied to this thread with the standard: "It's the Drummer, the room and the kit (And tuning it appropriately for the song)" You don't get "drum sounds" with gear...

...All that being what it is, I can recall pointing room mics at the wall (You'll have to find a spot that works) and compressing the snot out of them. Mics set to tight cardioid, the idea being you are recording the REFLECTIONS not the original source.

I can recall a studio where the drum room opened into an Iso-room, then ANOTHER door opened into a hallway, used for gear storage. In this hallway was a wide staircase that led DOWN into a raggedy rectangle of a room...We set up a mic in the weird room and got a really good room sound.

But without knowing the drummer you're using, if room sounds are important to you, THIS is my MAIN ADVICE...

...Don't let the monkey play with his cymbals, just take em' right away no matter how much poop he throws, then KILL his high hat with a Rubber mount for it.

Then tell him to play his kick drum part ONLY (OH's and Room's being recorded as well)

Edit the kick part so it's correct and in time (If its the kind of music where that stuff matters)

Then let him play with his other toys (Still no cymbals of ANY kind, but he can hit the rubber pad to keep him walking and chewing gum at the same time) You COULD let him do high hat here as well..in a perfect world it would be fine...you make that call.

Snare and Toms, easy enough to edit that (Especially if you didn't let him smear the snare with high hat)...especially since he tracked to his own flawless timing via the kick drum (yeeah)

Then if he's been a good little chimp, let him play with his cymbals (and hat)

Do a mix of the three layers of room and OH's..do it QUICKLY (Don't get bogged down, readjusting the room balance, do it once do it quickly, never come back)

BAM! You will have room mics that amaze and delight!

Room mics are all about the player, if he can't "Play the room mics" then it's an exercise in futility.

I hate Bonham, but this is the reason so many people like his drum sound....like it...but can't IMITATE it....Bonham, heavy-handed-plodding-undanceable-buttock-bore that he was....could "Play" Room mics like no one else....All these years later, so few have figured that out.
Whatever happened to just capturing someone playing the drums. I pity you for having to work with crap drummers, but if you're going to do this, you might as well just program the drums. Bonham's drum sound was more of Glyn John's setup.
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