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Mono drums... no more?
Old 12th March 2003
  #1
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Mono drums... no more?

Back in the day, most recordings had the drums recorded on just one track = a single overhead, almost always a LD condenser (often Neumann). They would either be dropped dead center in a mix, or panned hard to one side... occasionally at quarter/mid positions.

What happened to that idea?

You don't hear it anymore, but it can sound GREAT.

On some material of my own that I've been cooking up lately, I recorded the drums with a single LD condenser overhead (CAD VX-2 or U87, occasionally 4060). I have to say, it really opens up the mixing plain to tons more opportunites. Everything seems to stand out more on its own, because it has the space, and the drums still sound awesome, they're just not sprawled out all over the sonic landscape. Maybe that's why it sounds so cool. Anyway, I'm really digging working this way. Not to mention how much easier and faster it is to place a single good mic somehwere important.
Old 12th March 2003
  #2
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toledo3's Avatar
 

I always setup stereo overheads, but most the time only end up using a mic I put above the drummers head, a kick, and a strobocon tuner mic I put out in the room.

I was listening to Sly and The Family Stone , and unplugging the left side, then the right side. It is amazing how the drums are all the way, hard right or left on various tunes, but all the percussion is on the other side, to create a balance.
Old 12th March 2003
  #3
I think the Chilli Peppers go for mono drums..
Old 12th March 2003
  #4
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toledo3's Avatar
 

U2 does that as well.
Old 12th March 2003
  #5
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robot gigante's Avatar
Does anyone do the drums hard left, percussion hard right thing anymore? I know it's always kick and snare dead center to get the most volume for the two, but I like percussion too.

I think I'll have to try this out next week, I've been wanting to for a while anyway. Maybe mono kit left and pandiero, congas, tamb, shakers ect right... just for fun.
Old 13th March 2003
  #6
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

i takes a special tune for me to like mono drums, they just sound all cluster****ed when in mono.
Old 13th March 2003
  #7
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Jon Brion sometimes does the hard panning of the drum kit. Check out some Aimee Mann records. Sometimes it's a little disconcerting at first, but I think he chooses his spots wisely.
Old 13th March 2003
  #8
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
There's an album from the band 'Hum' called "You'd Prefer an Astronaught" and the whole thing is mostly mono. The guitars are panned out a bit but the drums are in mono. Do the sum and diff and all you'll get is some guitar and maybe some 'verb.
Old 13th March 2003
  #9
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malice's Avatar
 

I do that as well, Fletcher has done a great article at mercenary about 3 mic setups usable in mono

malice
Old 14th March 2003
  #10
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
The only 'problem' with the 3-mic setup is that it might not work with a lot of modern music. They won't have enough muscle to cut through the wall of guitars and whatever else you end up with. Still, if the drummer is a solid hitter and the music is sparse enough it'll work great.
Old 14th March 2003
  #11
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How do you figure you would have a problem cutting through? I think the key is to set up for both methods at the same time, in case you find that there's not enough hat, or whateva
Old 14th March 2003
  #12
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Well, try to make semi-ambiant drums cut through 6 tracks of gained out guitars, the bass of doom and a banshee that thinks it's a singer. I've tried. It ain't too easy. And I never have too little hat. I wish I could make the hats leave the room that the drums are in. Yeah, I'm one of those guys who never puts up a hat mic unless I have to, because I'm either forced at gunpoint or the hats are so far off-axis from the overheads that I need a mic just for clarity.
Old 14th March 2003
  #13
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Well, ok. We don't really disagree. I just didn't realize the full extent of the horror of your day to day recording sessions!
Old 14th March 2003
  #14
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Hat mics. are for reggae. Wide panned drums are annoying in big living rooms but sound quite nice in tennis courts. Mono drums are the reason for rhythm, everyone gets to hear it. I always leave the outsides for ambience, effects, psychos etc... To make "Spaciousness" you have to have some kind of reference of where the initial sound is as compared to where the ambience is coming from. If your first racktom is in LA and your floortom is in NY your ambience runs out of land and has to live inside the kit. If you have to mix stereo, think near mono, Put the kik in kansas, the snare in texas, the hat in oklahoma and float it from the mix, the oh in colorado and tennessee, the toms in nebraska, illinois and indiana, if you have gong you can put it mexico or canada, this leaves you space to party in ny and la. If you do this everyone will thank you and you may even recieve a nobel for finding the prevention for whiplash.
Old 14th March 2003
  #15
I left my ride mic, IN SAAAAAAN FRAAAAAN CIIIIIIIIIIISO!

Old 14th March 2003
  #16
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Thread Starter
What if you suck at geography?
Old 14th March 2003
  #17
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You know, I kind of let up on you Jay, b/c I didn't want you to think I was being too down on you or anything, but...

What is it that you feel is more ambient? The fact that you don't have specific tom mics? I make pretty dense recordings and have not had a probem with mono overhead, snare and kick being the only things mic-ed. I'll go ahead and mic up the other stuff too, to play it safe, but hardly ever use it. Now, I am pretty liberal with eq and compression, so maybe we just have diferrent outlooks on it.
Old 14th March 2003
  #18
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heylow's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Interesting thread.............


Now, may I ask, what some of you guys are digging for mono OH techniques?

Its funny....whenever I mix, I tend to not pan drums out much and sometimes have to endure comments from folks who automatically hard left and right OH and tom mics. I have to wonder if I'd like mono drums better......panning drums way out sounds f'ed up to me....I have never stood out in front of a kit and heard a floor tom practically behind me!


Techniques?rollz


heylow
Old 18th March 2003
  #19
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by G-man
You know, I kind of let up on you Jay, b/c I didn't want you to think I was being too down on you or anything, but...

What is it that you feel is more ambient? The fact that you don't have specific tom mics? I make pretty dense recordings and have not had a probem with mono overhead, snare and kick being the only things mic-ed. I'll go ahead and mic up the other stuff too, to play it safe, but hardly ever use it. Now, I am pretty liberal with eq and compression, so maybe we just have diferrent outlooks on it.
No, when I do the ambient thing it's just that. Nothing is close miked. With a wall of gained out guitars the kick and snare won't have enough muscle to cut through and compete unless you make the guitars thin and wirey like a Zep album. While that works it isn't exactly 'modern' sounding and might result in unhappy clients. The last time I did an ambient setup I put close mics on the kick and snare because I had tracks to burn. In the mix I ended up using quite a bit of the kick mic because it was getting lost without it.

My usual ambient setup is a mono overhead, front of kit mic and something off to the side of the floor tom all equal distance (or close to it) from the snare. It usually works well with some compression but I've found that massive amounts of EQ makes it fall apart. Still, you won't get the whack and thump that a close miked kick and snare will give you. OTOH, you won't be able to make it sound like Phil Collins when you mix. I see that as a good thing.
Old 18th March 2003
  #20
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I keep wanting to do the "drums all to one side thing" but have yet to find a song where it really works... I had one nailed ( or so I thought) 3 months ago, but the artist was too freaked to let it go..

As far as Hat mics, I never am able to let myself not mic the hats. Then when it comes to mix time, I very carefully find the spot where the Hats channel is just below being audible so that I can tell myself that it was nessacary.. sad huh? The only problem I have with not micing it is that I sometimes do some real wacky stuff at mix, last week I ended up making the kit sound very 808ish, and I there is no way I could have messed the hats up that much without a dedicated channel.. ( wait, maybe that is an argument to not have it.. )
Old 18th March 2003
  #21
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Steve, go buy a Sly and The Family Stone greatest hits.

Sure the Beatles did hard panned drums, but Sly did it in a way that could still be "modern". Really, check it out. It's like he has two seperate mixes sometimes, one for the left, one for the right.

I mean, the songs will sound so different by just muting one channel, but almost like he really worked on what each channel alone sounds like. I actually think that during the process he would mute either side and make sure that listening to just that side would yeild some surprises.
Old 18th March 2003
  #22
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Farm sounds's Avatar
 

Pretty much all my projects have just stereo drums on 2 tracks. But when I mix, I don't hard pan L/R, cause it seems like it takes away from the slam factor. They don't hit as hard.

I am a fan of Sly Stone, great panning on his tunes. "Sing a simple song" is great. It's kinda strange at first hearing things in one ear and not the other...but it's cool, and that's what counts in my book.Those songs are so warm w/ analog fuzziness it makes me smile. Like sitting next to a fire on a cold winter day.

I was thinking about feeding my stereo tracks into a m3000 or a quantec, and then panning the returns hard L/R. That might give me some spread.
Old 19th March 2003
  #23
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Nutmeg II.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Farm sounds
I was thinking about feeding my stereo tracks into a m3000 or a quantec, and then panning the returns hard L/R. That might give me some spread.
That reminds me of The RHCP "Uplift Mofo Party Plan".
Drums hard left and reverb or room onthe right.
I think it was the room mic nuked, but I have to find that CD and listen.
Old 19th March 2003
  #24
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Curious G's Avatar
 

Listen to Steve Earle's Transcendental Blues for some nice examples of drums left/squashed room mic soft and panned right. It rocks very nicely and gives the backing vocals and acoustic guitar a place to live.
Old 21st March 2003
  #25
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I have spent the last 20 years mixing live and have been in the studio mixing for just one year now and I have tried quite a few times to use only a few mics as many folks on these threads have recommended. It has never worked yet....I end up micing a 4pc kit with 8 mics and panning accordingly.
Old 25th March 2003
  #26
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John Cafarella's Avatar
 

I like to use minimal mics on drums. I agree with Jay in that it's hard to get the kick slamming without a dedicated mic.

I find what really helps making the drums BIG is sidechain compression. I set up a aux bus to a compressor, and absolutely slam the **** out of it, then bring it up under the uncompressed tracks. I don't necessarily send all drum mics to the bus either.

John Cafarella
Old 25th March 2003
  #27
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by John Cafarella
I like to use minimal mics on drums. I agree with Jay in that it's hard to get the kick slamming without a dedicated mic.
But, the kick doesn't always need to slam either.
Old 25th March 2003
  #28
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Curious G's Avatar
 

I seem to remember Fletcher writing that the 3 mic set up requires great drums with a damn good player in a really nice sounding room... I can usually muster only 2 out of 3 on this score so I almost always use a 7 or 8 mic set up plus room mic(s).
Old 25th March 2003
  #29
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

I have recently had an extremely ecstatic "one mic on the drums" success. Twenty eight inch calfskin kick helps. a stereo pair on some other instruments picked up some nice bleed, and wow- three dimensions, and it sounds stereo as could be. I wouldn't believe the drums were in mono to listen to them.

God I love bleed. God bleeds freedom, and he bleeds it for YOU!
Old 25th March 2003
  #30
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
I left my ride mic, IN SAAAAAAN FRAAAAAN CIIIIIIIIIIISO!

So is that in Mono, or hard panned?
lol

Roland
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