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-   -   I'm not happy with my OH's... (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/564919-im-not-happy-my-ohs.html)

effitall 29th December 2010 05:47 AM

I'm not happy with my OH's...
 
1 Attachment(s)
Smooth, rich, sparkly...That's what I'd like.

Attached is what I'm getting right now. It seems "hard" "edgey" kind of distorted even. I'm pretty cautious about levels so I don't think it's preamp distortion as I've used a few different pre's around here with similar results.

I'd like to get a few comments on the subjective quality of the sample before I get into my current signal chain.

Thanks,

James

Drumsound 29th December 2010 05:54 AM

Out of context, that sample isn't terrible. Is the room kinda bright or harsh? Sounds like some think cast cymbals, which to my ears are a little hard sounding.

AllAboutTone 29th December 2010 05:56 AM

what mics ?

Nelson89 29th December 2010 05:57 AM

I don't think it sounds that bad, but i can see what you mean by its kinda verging overloading the mic's...i'm curious as to what mic's you're actually using though.

effitall 29th December 2010 06:50 AM

Thanks for the responses. I think I'd like a couple of more takes on it before I spill the beans on the gear.

While I agree it doesn't sound "terrible" I also feel it doesn't sound "stellar" and frankly...I think that in some ways, it just sounds "wrong." It's the aural equivalent of clothes that don't fit. Sure, they cover you up...They protect you from the elements, but they certainly aren't flattering to your figure. In this case...I'm getting a sound...But it's not THE sound.

It could totally be an issue with the brass...It was a bit "hard" in the room as well. I get this similar sound with other players/cymbals as well though. In this case the crashes are a Sabian HHX stage 18" and a Sabian Hand Hammered 17" thin.

Again thanks and bear with me...I'll reveal the signal chain tomorrow as well as some variations, and perhaps expand on my thoughts and experiences.

James

BHickey 29th December 2010 07:46 AM

Well what do you want it to sound like? If you want it to be a little dryer try a new placement, or (more importantly) do something about the room. Maybe some gobos around, put something absorptive behind the kit, or try a thicker rug under the kit. I have an old concave band shell with theater curtains draped over it behind where I setup the drums in my room. While it may not be ideal for all rooms, it gives me a nice focused, balanced drums sound without being too dry.

You'll find that changing the positions or the room will likely yield better results then changing the mics or any other gear.

Jonathawkes 29th December 2010 08:43 AM

you can really hear the room in the sample. That harsh sound is coming from comb filtering caused by early reflections. Throw up a few packing blankets.

close/far 29th December 2010 08:49 AM

Don't be afraid to try underheads... depending on the room, it can work wonders.

Hammer Mark 29th December 2010 08:53 AM

I thought you had too much of the brightness of cymbals and not enough meat from the drums. Positioning better might go a long way to getting better balance.

[email protected] 29th December 2010 09:34 AM

small room
 
low ceiling? close wall? phase / comb filtering ???

back the mics off the kit widen the stereo placement
ditch the xy or ortf
just a thought

if your in a booth try xy or ortf behind the drummers head

C

effitall 29th December 2010 03:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
So let's look at the room...

We've got 11' ceilings, thick carpet throughout, and somewhere in the neighborhood of about 500 sq.ft.

It's a slightly odd shaped room...Well...Kind of...Attached is a pic.

The black areas are cut out of the room, the white would be thick carpet, the yellow is 703, the "orang-ish" color is plywood, for the drums to sit on and provide a solid surface. There's a thin sheet of carpet on top of that to provide some grip for the drum hardware.

On the 703...The corners are 4" thick, the walls beside the kit are 2".

OH's are typically an ORTF above and just behind the drummers head.

BHickey 29th December 2010 06:56 PM

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by smooth rich and sparkly. Try treating the ceilings if you haven't done so already, you might be getting an odd bounce off that. You can also try moving the drums out of the corner and more into the center of a wall or the room.

If you want more presence, try a lower spaced pair about two to three feet above the cymbals rather then an ORTF.

robertshaw 29th December 2010 07:12 PM

sounds fine, just take more care with getting levels and try to get a more precise stereo image. Those are not bad at all...........

effitall 29th December 2010 07:21 PM

I'm looking to get past this "amatuer" kind of sound and into something a little more "elegant" or "luxurious." Something that makes you sit back and go "ahhhh" as opposed to the teeth gritting aural assault I have happening.

Ceiling treatment is something I've considered as it is currently untreated.

When you hear someone say "sparkly" I guess that implies more presence...But I think the presence is already there...It's just a bad version of it. There's good presence...And not-so-good presence. In my opinion...I'm squarely in the not-so-good zone right now.

ionian 29th December 2010 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by effitall (Post 6159965)
I'm looking to get past this "amatuer" kind of sound and into something a little more "elegant" or "luxurious." Something that makes you sit back and go "ahhhh" as opposed to the teeth gritting aural assault I have happening.

Is it possible for you to list a recording or two that have the drum sound it is you're looking for? Maybe if you let us know what songs you're referencing as a good sound it might help in deciphering the recording chain used to get that sound.

Thanks,
Frank

jerkrecords 29th December 2010 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by effitall (Post 6159965)
I'm looking to get past this "amatuer" kind of sound and into something a little more "elegant" or "luxurious." Something that makes you sit back and go "ahhhh" as opposed to the teeth gritting aural assault I have happening.

so the first thing i notice is that the drum part is in no way elegant or luxurious. it's sloppy and brash... "teeth gritting" if you will. especially the junky sounding flying saucer attack. sounds like you did your job as the engineer (i.e. the sounds are captured fine) ... the player / the part / the cymbals are making the statement loud and clear... changing the gear used to capture it isn't where you should be looking methinks....

-pete

effitall 29th December 2010 09:23 PM

Hey Frank,

I make a distinction between "drum sound" and "tonal quality."

Drum sounds will change from project to project, song to song, year to year.

For example...The drum sound of an Americana/Indie band will differ quite drastically from that or some Norwegian black metal band. Ideally though they could be cut in the same room, on similar gear.

The above referenced clip was a pair of AT4040's into a Hamptone JFET preamp.

I've also used some KM184's with different, yet similar results. Spaced pairs, "3 Mic" style, XY, ORTF etc.

Preamps I've used include Allen&Heath board pres, The hamptone, APIs with various opamps, though I haven't tried OH's through the Neve's yet (they're a new acquisition).

In reality...I think I've just publicly reasoned out that my room is in need of help. shiee

uncle duncan 29th December 2010 09:58 PM

I tried setting up drums in the corner of my room once. Never again.

Take your floor tom and walk around the room while playing it. Perhaps you'll find a sweet spot. That's where the drums should go. In my room, (about the same size as yours) the sweet spot is more or less in the middle of the room. I've had more success with a spaced pair for OH. The mics are aimed straight down, which means they'll get less of the room reflections. I also put up room mics, which get used - or not - depending on the context of the mix.

effitall 29th December 2010 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle duncan (Post 6160545)
I tried setting up drums in the corner of my room once. Never again.

Take your floor tom and walk around the room while playing it. Perhaps you'll find a sweet spot. That's where the drums should go. In my room, (about the same size as yours) the sweet spot is more or less in the middle of the room. I've had more success with a spaced pair for OH. The mics are aimed straight down, which means they'll get less of the room reflections. I also put up room mics, which get used - or not - depending on the context of the mix.


Just to satisfy my curiosity...What was your gripe with the corner? "Never again" doesn't really explain anything. I'm guessing you had some low-frequency issues?

therealbigd 29th December 2010 10:12 PM

Before deciding how you want your overheads to sound, get the drummer to play, stand on a chair and lean over the drum kit. The sound you hear is '0'. That is what the kit sounds like. If the sound you hear is not the sound you want to hear, then it's never going to get any better, no matter what mics, pre-amps, outboard, plugins you buy.

John Nonjohn 29th December 2010 11:24 PM

OH sound is decent: clear and well defined. For your recording/mixing, you might try adjusting the right side up slightly for a better stereo image. Always check the phase of the OH's when tracking!

In the recording, the left side mic seems to be better placed - picks up the snare a little bit better than the right side mic. You might try using just the left side mic, as a mono OH, when it comes times to mix, and ditch the right side, altogether. Maybe stereo-ize the OH by reamping the better sounding OH!

For even better sound, for future tracking, I would strongly consider moving the riser so that it is in-line with the beveled portion of your room . . . the lower right side, in your drawing. Pull the riser out from the wall by a few feet. Experiment with exact placement of the drum set . . . the drummer's back should be to the wall!

Also, you might try different cymbols--especially for the mid-range-heavy ones . . . timbre seems slightly too brash to me; crashes sound good, though. Try moving the OH mics a couple of feet higher, and track with a wide-spaced-pair, instead of ORTF. Moving the OH's up might kill some of the brash, mid-range cymbol sound, and get a better balance with the [better sounding] crash cymbols.

Mics/Preamps/Converters sound good to me! If you can, try an OH mic that will de-emphasize the mid-range - maybe something like Coles 4038!

NoisyNarrowBand 29th December 2010 11:37 PM

mics and pre's are not the issue here. 11 feet is not high, try treating the ceiling. I have ceilings of similar height and had nasty reflections in the 5k area. treating the ceiling with as selfbuild diffuser made of sheetwood drilled with holes, covered with 703 on the back side and irregular sized foampads from instrument boxes on the front helped a great lot.

another possibility is to mic every cymbal. add a mono overhead, preferably a lcd (4050 in my case) or ribbon and blend to taste. I do that regularly and it helps a great bit in a less than optimal room.

uncle duncan 30th December 2010 01:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by effitall (Post 6160600)
Just to satisfy my curiosity...What was your gripe with the corner? "Never again" doesn't really explain anything. I'm guessing you had some low-frequency issues?

The issue was the hi-hat. Because the kit was so close to the walls, the hi-hat was everywhere, sounding phasey. When the kit is away from the walls, out in the middle of the room, the room reflections are much less apparent.

Drumsound 30th December 2010 01:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by effitall (Post 6159965)

Ceiling treatment is something I've considered as it is currently untreated.

I made a really simple cloud for my 14ft angled ceiling. Three 8ft 1x4" boards (one cut in half) screwed together with L brackets to make a box. Staple in some fabric of choice. Hooks on the corners, and some in the ceiling, some chain and...Bingo Bango Bongo, cloud. It focused the room nicely.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w...llercloud2.jpg

Ron Vogel 30th December 2010 03:08 AM

Treating the ceiling is obvious...but the carpet concerns me too. HF absorbtion could lead a drummer to overcompensate the cymbals when playing. You also may want to try padding those mics. I have a 4050 that gets spitty with loud sources, but smoothes out when I pad it...even on vocals.

Mr. Light 30th December 2010 03:39 AM

I hear what you're saying about your OH sound but I don't really think it sounds terrible, maybe just not what you're going for.

Your room almost sounds like it's TOO dead but you still hear a lot of it in the example (especially mud). To properly treat a room you need to clear up the low frequencies along with the high (much harder).

I'd guess the mics are too far away.....maybe I'm crazy tho. In this mix it sounds like your mics are a mile away. If you want them to pick up your cymbals, put them right over your cymbals. Overhead spaced pair, 2 1/2 ' or so above the crash (s) works best for me in most scenarios. I usually lowpass everything below 200hz to get rid of mud, something I hear a bit of in your example, (those frequencies should be abundant in the close mics) and give a high shelf boost in the 10k range. I usually compress a little too but depends on what I'm going for.

From just listening though, I'd guess that your mic placement is what's inhibiting you.

Aisle 6 30th December 2010 03:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron Vogel (Post 6161663)
Treating the ceiling is obvious...but the carpet concerns me too. HF absorbtion could lead a drummer to overcompensate the cymbals when playing.

I agree. My room had carpet and untreated ceilings. I treated the ceilings first and although that helped with the imaging, the tone was brutal. I ripped up the carpet and put in a floating timber floor with a rug under the kit. works a treat. You still need to find the sweet spot for the kit and pay attention to wall reflections particularly from the h/hat position. Baffling off the hats side a little can work wonders, particularly when a drummer is beating the hats to death.

suedesound 30th December 2010 04:39 AM

suprised nobody mentioned trying m160's if you have them available, they work great for smaller rooms.

if you can move the kit out more centered in the room it would help. i worked at a studio for a few years that had a built in riser apx 3' high right about where your drums are along with some absorption etc around it, larger but very similar design and the drums were probably close to 11' from the ceiling. although always useable i never liked my oh and room mic sound until i tried putting the kit on the floor in the center(ish). not that the sound was bad before (good sounding deadish room with ceiling treatment) but the sound improved to my ears quite a bit doing that.

also maybe just the cymbals themselves is your issue.

btw i like these kind of threads, everyone has good advice and there's no bickering.

ionian 30th December 2010 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by suedesound (Post 6161922)
btw i like these kind of threads, everyone has good advice and there's no bickering.

THAT is a miracle! And miracles are the way things ought to be...


Frank

effitall 30th December 2010 08:31 PM

I agree with the overall tone of the thread. It's been much more constructive than many.

A couple of thoughts on that...

There was a lack of the nearly religious association with any kind of recording medium or gear. Also...Nobody was aggressive towards or defensive about the views presented. It has been more of an analytical instead of dogmatic discussion

Anyway....Moving on...

I played a little bit on the kit yesterday. Mind you...I'm not a drummer and as such I don't hit the things as hard as a normal drummer would. I noticed that I didn't get that "slightly distorted" sound on the crashes in particular. With Ron Vogel's comments about his 4050 getting "spitty" under pressure...I'm wondering if the 4040 is just running out of "gas" and crapping out (despite an advertised 155db SPL with it's -10db pad engaged....Hmmm...Don't recall a mention of THD at the SPL level gooof).

With the ORTF setup still in place...I stuck a sheet of 4" packing foam on top of the mics to "simulate" ceiling treatment (not exactly right I know...But it gives me an idea.) I tracked a bit with and without the foam on top.

The difference between foam on and off was pretty amazing. Foam on was darker...But with the foam off, not only did the sound get brighter and crisper, but the location of the hats shifted...Dramatically. From audience perspective, the hats sounded squarely to the right with the foam on. Taking the foam off...The hats shifted to the center. I'm still trying to process that one, but it does make me feel that ceiling treatment could for sure help is "locking" the pieces of the kit into place.

I played around a bit with a spaced pair as well. Over the years I've gone through various phases of spaced pair, ORTF, XY, and even the "3 mic" approach directly over snare and to the side over the floor tom.

XY never seems to cut it and the 3-mic thing primarily seems to work with smaller setups (kick,snare, rack and floor).

Spaced pair has always given me fits getting the snare/kick "centered" which implies that I need to take greater care with positioning. However I've gotten some pretty good sounding tracks that way in the past.

ORTF has kind of been my default the past bit as it just seems to hit a good balance and is super easy to setup.



Sooo...I think I've got a few issues to sort out.

I think the AT's might be crapping out. I don't recall hearing as much of that "stressed to the limits" sound with the 184s...But they bring their own problems to the party.

I definitely need to look at further room treatment. I've been cautious about deadening things too much with having the carpet everywhere...But if I heavily compress the OH's with super-fast attack, they sound much more like a room mic than an OH. It looks like I might be getting too much of the room in the OH's (as a few have mentioned in this thread). I can't do much about the carpet right now...But I have taken note of it and will see what I can do in the future.

Moving the drums around the room might provide for a better overall drum sound. I can experiment with that. Based on the room layout, any suggestions? One thing that's not shown on the above room layout is a big eff'n pole in the middle of the room. That said, I can probably move the kit 4-5 feet straight out from the corner.

I appreciate the input of everyone.

James