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First shot at live drums. Ideas about how to fix?
Old 27th January 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 

First shot at real, live drums. Help a brother out.

It's my first real jump into live drums after relying on programming for a long time. I'm struggling with getting a good kick sound. I'd love to get a take on what's going on here and what I should focus on.

Here is a short clip with just the kick and the whole set.

Set: Pacific Maple LX

22" kick - beta 52
6.5" maple snare - top - audix i5 bottom - sm57

OH - oktava mk012

Running through a Mackie 800r into the Audiofire 12 converters into Samplitude.

The kick to me sounds very plastic and small. I have the beta 52 inside and pointed straight down at the shell towards the floor. Evans Emad heads. New Evans heads all over.

If could give me an idea of what you think, i'd really appreciate it. I think it sounds lke ****e. Let me know what you'd do.

Thanks guys
Attached Files

drum_02.mp3 (490.6 KB, 159 views)

drum_03.mp3 (420.4 KB, 139 views)

Old 28th January 2007
  #2
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DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

I've never heard of aiming the mic at the floor, but I've only been doing this for about 5 years now. I usually use 2 mics for the kick: I aim my Audix d4 towards the beater about 1-2 feet away (wherever it sounds best). Then I build a tunnel and put a condenser behind the tunnel. Depending on where the mics end up, sometimes I have to flip the polatiry on one.
Old 28th January 2007
  #3
Gear Head
 

it's a little hard to hear what's going on in that first clip with just the kick. is the OH mixed in there? like DLD said, the positioning is kinda unusal. more than that though, it sounds to me like the drum is tuned way too high. you've got a good drum (the pacific are a steal!) with a great batter head on there so you should be able to get a good sound. there are several ways to tune a drum (depending on the sound you wanna get) but there are way more ways to mess it up.

this is what works for me most of the time on a bass drum:

both sides should be "just" taut enough to take all the wrinkles out. you could then bring up the beater side maybe a 1/8 - 1/2 turn (each lug) more if you want (only if you have reason to), but much more than that and you'll choke off the sound and lose the "bigness". definitely definitely leave the reso side as loose as you can.

drum lugs are like guitar strings in the sense that you should always tune "up" to your desired position. so if you need to loosen the lug, loosen it past where you want, then gently bring it back up. there's a common technique called "a quarter and an eighth" where you turn the lug a quarter turn loose, then an eighth of a turn tight.

of course if you're already a good drum tuner and know all this and more, and the kick sounds good (acoustically), then it's probably all about the position of the mic!
Old 28th January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Anyone else?
Old 28th January 2007
  #5
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lpkyer's Avatar
 

Point the 52 toward the beater. The rest is pretty good.
Old 28th January 2007
  #6
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True North's Avatar
 

First off there is no standard answer as everyone has their own process but I would definitely start with a vision of the type of sound you are trying to acheive and try and get the sound of your kick in the room as close to your vision as possible

You may want to try detuning your heads a little and adding some muffling inside the Kick. You will have to experiement with tuning and muffling a bit. It also sounds like you are not hitting the Kik that hard, lean into it a bit. Unfortunately a lot of the sounds you are going to get on drums are heavily reliant on who is playing them.

From strictly an engineering stand point, this is my process but YMMV.

As some have said - point the mic towards the beater.

I generally track with two mics - lately it has been a Sennheiser 602 (your 52 will do fine) and a Yamaha Subkick for out front of the kick. If you don't have a sub kik any condensor that has a good low end frequency response and can handle the SPL's.

EQ'ing for modern Kick sounds is pretty essential. The current trend includes scooping out the mids with a bump aroung 60 to 80 Hz and another around 2.5 khz to get that slap/click sound.

I like using a Multiband compressor in addition to the EQ and I will also usually heavily gate the Kick

With the mic out front I try to emphasize more of the oomph or thump. Try playing with your EQ until you get something you like and a little compression and gating to taste. Last but not least I may aslo use Drumagog and add some samples to beef things up a little. Once I have both mics and samples sounding the way I want, I than blend them to taste.

I also use parallel compression (one drum bus clean and the other squashed to ****). My parallel kik sends are usually fairly high. You will have to do a search under a parallel compression (or Mults as some others like to call it). It doesen't have to be this complicated but that is what I do. Many of the great bonham recordings were done with three mics and a couple extra room mics.

I hope that helps, good luck

Last edited by True North; 28th January 2007 at 04:48 PM.. Reason: see below
Old 28th January 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

The Emad sounds great to the ear. Very punchy and tons of attack. BUT, it always sounds too thin to me mic'd. Try Aquarian Superkick, either 1 or 2 ply, they both sound good with the 1 ply a bit clickier and the 2 ply a bit rounder sounding, if that makes sense. Another thing is try ditching the B52 for a Senn 602.
Old 28th January 2007
  #8
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The harder I hit the kick, the more plastic-y it sounds. I'm gonna try getting the heads to just above wrinkle and even maybe taking the front head off. Also putting a pillow in. I'm going to stick with the Beta 52 and maybe try putting a V69 me about 5 feet infront of the kick.

Thanks for your input guys. How do you think the rest of the kit sounds? Anything I should focus on?
Old 28th January 2007
  #9
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True North's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bang View Post
Another thing is try ditching the B52 for a Senn 602.
ooopps! that is what I meant to say, I use the Senn E602 not the 604 which is mainly for toms and snare heh
Old 28th January 2007
  #10
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lpkyer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
taking the front head off. Also putting a pillow in.
yes do that right away !
Old 28th January 2007
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
The harder I hit the kick, the more plastic-y it sounds.
what kind of material are you striking the kick head with? plastic, wood, felt? I personally almost only use felt though depending on the sound you're going for you could use the others. I'd say though that if if sounds "plastic-y" that you're gonna wanna be sure to use felt. it'll give you the roundest warmest sound.

I don't think you need to put a pillow in there if you're using any of the rings on the Emad. the whole idea behind the emad is that you can vary the amount of muffling from the outside w/o having to take off either head which is a pain in the ass. hence "Externally Mounted Adjustable Damping". with that said however, if the pillow gets you closer to the sound you're looking for, go for it!

I can see what Bang is saying too. the superkick II is a warm, round sounding head. it's a deep sound with a less defined attack. I haven't tried a superkick I but as a 1 ply version of the superkick II I'm sure it sounds good. might be a good compromise between the EMAD and a superkick II? lots of people get good results with an EMAD though so try to get there with that head before running out to buy something different.

let us know how it goes! curious to hear how it sounds with all our input.
Old 28th January 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, I'm using the felt beater. I'm using the Emad with the rings - the heaviest ring. It's kinda why I'm a little baffled.

I wouldn't accuse it of being warm and round.
Old 28th January 2007
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Analogue Vanity's Avatar
 

try backing the mic out so the diaphragm is just inside the res head and point it right at the beater. This will give you attack and res from behind (kinda like a boundry mic idea) If you still get that wierd plastic sound (I also have had this from time to time) simply angle the mic 5 degrees to one side or the other or move an inch or so within the res head hole. Audix D6 also gives a nice eq sound with stronger bottom end and less metal sound. lastly make sure the drum is tuned up correctly. If it sounds like crap when you put your ear next to it (wear plugs), the miced version can't ever sound that great.
Old 29th January 2007
  #14
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It sounds great unmiked. I've tried positioning the mic all over including just inside the reso hole with similar results.

Could it be that the mic may be malfuntioning? It would be strange to me that if a mic would be crapping out that the only symptom would be crappy sound without crackle or humming or something. I just had an ADK Hamburg crap out and it sounded like all hell had broken loose in there - humming, crackling.
Old 29th January 2007
  #15
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

If you like the sound of it in the room, try micing it from further back, like 6 or 7 feet, about 2 feet off the ground. You'll get the whole drumset, but with the emphasis on the kick. Mix that with the oher mics.

On your samples, it sounds like something is seriously out of phase. Try flipping the phase on the mics, one at a time.

And point the mic at the head, start right at the beater, then move back, and off to the side to get a tone you like.

1st thing is to get something good from the kick mic, by itself. Next, bring in the other mics one at a time, making sure the phase is good (flip polarity, move mics an inch or two, etc).

Good luck!
Old 29th January 2007
  #16
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Crap. I was afraid of that.

What stands out as being out of phase? I have to admit that the practice of getting good phase coherance is very mysterious and hard to approach for me. It makes it very hard as a one man band type operation.

In my experience, whenever I have flipped phase, the mic just sounds tiny - like all the low end and life has been drained. Maybe that's the idea. But I've tried and rarely kept them flipped. I guess I need to bone-up more on phase coherancy and how to acheive it.
Old 29th January 2007
  #17
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

It just sounds "phasey" to me. It's one of those things that you can hear, but it's a little hard to explain.

It may be just because the kick mic isn't pointing at the head, most cardioid mics use some combination of phase cancellation to get their pickup pattern, so if the source is outside the normal pickup area, it'll have that phasey sound, too.

Try solo'ing the kick mic. If it sounds ok (it might not), then add one other mic, and see if the kick sounds better or worse. More bottom or less. Adjust that second mic's position/polarity until it sounds better together than just the kick mic by itself.

I just was thinking about it, and if the kick mic is pointing at the shell, and you're about the same distance from the head and the shell, then that may be causing comb-filtering which could cause the phasey sound.
Old 29th January 2007
  #18
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ah ha. That makes sense. I forget who suggested the "point the mic at the shell" idea but people seemed really high on the idea. I guess that was a bust.

I'll try it right at the batter. Would you suggest half-way between the beater and reso heads?

That phase stuff is a freakin' mystery to me.

Thanks for the help, John.
Old 29th January 2007
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
The harder I hit the kick, the more plastic-y it sounds. I'm gonna try getting the heads to just above wrinkle and even maybe taking the front head off. Also putting a pillow in. I'm going to stick with the Beta 52 and maybe try putting a V69 me about 5 feet infront of the kick.

Thanks for your input guys. How do you think the rest of the kit sounds? Anything I should focus on?
I always find those damn evans heads to sound plastic pizza boxes. Put some remos and do the muffling your self
Old 29th January 2007
  #20
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redddog View Post
ah ha. That makes sense. I forget who suggested the "point the mic at the shell" idea but people seemed really high on the idea. I guess that was a bust.

I'll try it right at the batter. Would you suggest half-way between the beater and reso heads?

That phase stuff is a freakin' mystery to me.

Thanks for the help, John.
I find, when starting with a new drumkit, for instance, I like to put my mics in the most obvious, logical places, then adjust from there. Doing thing slike pointing the mic at the shell may work in some circumstances with certain mics, but those things are less likely to get you the sound you want than using the mic in the obvious fashion.

I'm all for unique sounds and experimentation, but I think you have to have a starting point from which to work.

This is a good article about comb-filtering and phase issues. Pretty simplified, but has everything you need to know, really...

http://www.moultonlabs.com/index.php...rity_reversal/

Have fun!
Old 31st January 2007
  #21
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just spent last night trying different stuff. Pointing the beta 52 at the beater didn't do much. In fact I think it made it worse.
Old 31st January 2007
  #22
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Worse how?

Here's my recipe for a 'rock' kick:

-Take off the resonant head
-Loosen the beater head until it starts to wrinkle, then tighten it just enough so it's not wrinkly.
-put a pillow or blanket up against the head, to get it tight
-put the mic right at the beater
-if you want more click, use a harder beater (wood, plastic) or tape a quarter the beater head, right where the beater hits.
That should get you a nice tight, deep rock kick


If you want a more traditional kick, like a jazz kick, the rules are pretty much completely different...
Old 31st January 2007
  #23
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Thanks John. I totally appreciate your help and will try that tonight.

Just so I don't keep having to ask and dragging up this topic, What would you consider to be your rules for traditional kick, like Jazz.

It was worse in that it was even more plastic sounding. Like I was playing a tupperware bass drum with a stick.
Old 31st January 2007
  #24
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firby's Avatar
 

That kick sounds weak. I use a beta 52 at home and never have this.

Stick it in the kick angle it right toward where the beater meets the head. Don't eq anything just gain it and don't clip the signal. Don't compress it don't do anything to it on the way to tape.

Does it still sound like that ?

Check the mic and check the channel on the mixer. Change one or both, try again.

Don't put too much muffle on the bass drum ! The emad is enough. be sure the kick does not have any wrinkles.

If you have too take the kick out of the setup and sit it down and tune it by thumping around it with a drumstick.

Do each side, get them in tune. The resonant side should be a teensy weensy bit lower pitched than the beater side.

Stick it back on and kaplow!
Old 31st January 2007
  #25
Gear Nut
 

The overhead sounds okay. The snare could use a boost at around 1kHz, and maybe throw a highpass filter on it and lower a shelf about 2-4db.

The kick needs work. Take that 52, get it about 2 inches off the inside of the beater head, pointed at a spot about 1-2" from where the beater impacts. Try the tape-a-quarter-to-the-head trick mentioned above if you want more click. You can also boost 3.5kHz by 9db if you want to get some click and some upper body into it.

I record my Yamaha kick with a D112 inside on the beater, with the resonant head on the drum. Lately I've been experimenting with putting a large diaphragm condensor on the beater side about 8" away (I used a cheapie, don't worry). It sounds like a cannon. A cannon of doom.
Old 31st January 2007
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
madcowvt's Avatar
Not sure why that is happening but I know what works for me.

Like said above about the head and tuning 1st. Its very important to make sure the front head is not resonating with too much overtone. You may be able to tweak that with a gate after but get it good to begin with.

If your going for a rock/metal/hardcore kick sound to me Its easier to have more attack then needed first. Its easier to get rid of it with a little eq then boosting the hell outa it after.

The emad works well. Make sure there is somthing again touching the front head inside to calm down the overtones (unless you want that).
Place the mic 1/2 way inside, dead center pointing right at the beater/s.
If you want less attack(click) pull it back a few inches at a time. This will give you more "Drum".

As said above, solo the kick and see how it sounds. Record a little and check again. If it is ballpark then add in the overheads. For me, while tracking, 99% of the time I will get the overhead levels and then turn them waaaay down in protools so they are not killing the guy with the headphones on.

It may be that you are hearing everything as a whole and it sounds strange to you also. The whole kit will sound very raw and odd to someone thats not used to it. Dont get me wrong, it should sound like a drum kit but not anything like a record yet
Of course the kick will be in the overheads etc. so then the whole trick of making it sound like one instrument comes in.

It doesnt hurt to record the kit, play it back with the kick soloed and fool around with some eq and such to see if it will be ballpark either.

EDIT: Just listed to the posted .mp3 and I have to say that is an odd sound? Are you sure the kick isnt really too dampened? There is no body at all?
Old 1st February 2007
  #27
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rikvee's Avatar
 

One way to a great kickdrum sound

Hello reddog, this works for me:


- take off the front skin ( for access, and to reduce resonance)

- use a pillow or blankets weighed down up against the inside of the skin

- position mic about 4'' away and aimed at beater

- suck out mids centered around 400 Hz

- more highs: go to flat plastic beater/clickpad, for less highs: round felt beater/ aim mic away from centre

- more lows: pull mic back or add 2nd mic 12" to 18" away, for less lows: change mic to non-hyped type (421, M88)

- most importantly, listen to result via good speakers, this method reallly works for the sound picked up by the mic, acoustically this may not be what drummers are used to, but once recorded it works really really well!


Greetings from Western Australia, great music AND sunshine....
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