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How to get that AC/DC drumsound! Condenser Microphones
Old 20th November 2018
  #1
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
How to get that AC/DC drumsound!

Time to get som nice hardrockin drums!

In the coming weekend I will be working with a sessiondrummer and recording drums for a hardrock project with songs that sounds a lot like old AC/DC stuff (like the Back in Black-sound). I will record it in a great sounding room (a little damped) and I’m sitting right now with some planning for usage of mics and pres etc.
I thought it would be fun to see how you guys would plan this recording with all the stuff that’s available in the studio.
The drumkit will be either a Sonor, Gretsch or Pearl, we’ll see what sounds best for the songs. The setup will be kick, snare, 2-3 toms, HiHat, 2-3 cymbals, ride...pretty basic rock. Of course the drums will be setup and tuned as good as possible, so it comes down to micplacement and micpres. I also have a couple of compressors to use if needed (1176’s, LA2A’s, Transient Designer4, Dbx160x’s).

Well, what do you think…how would you come up with that Big Rocking AC/DC sound? Would you use the R84's into Aurora-pres for roomsound with a touch of Eq and 1176...would you put the U67 with BAE1073 in front of the kick or as a mono overhead...how about using the KM84 for the snare top and a 57 on the bottom...or try the Lawson in front of the kick and maybe the R101 in combination with MC930 as the OH's...well, would be cool to hear others thoughts about it!

This is what is available in the studio for this recording. Unfortunately there are a couple of stereomatched mic-pairs on service right now so I'm a little bit short of that for the moment but this is what I have to work with.

Mics:
1 x Neumann U67
1 x Neumann U87 (vintage)
1 x Lawson L47 mkII
1 x Nordic Audio Labs ”Black Pearl”
2 x Beyer Dynamic MC930
1 x Neumann KM84
2 x AEA R84 Ribbons
1 x ROYER R-101 Ribbon
1 x Sennheiser MD441
1 x Sennheiser MD421
1 x Miktek PM10
1 x Miktek PM11
1 x AKG D112
1 x Shure Beta52
1 x Shure Beta58
4 x Shure SM57

Micpres:
24 x SSL AWS948
1 x BAE 1073 (1ch with Eq)
1 x Aurora Audio GTQ2 mk3 (2ch with Eq)
1 x GML 8302 (2ch)
1 x Universal Audio 6176 (1ch with Eq/comp)
1 x Universal Audio 4110 (4ch)
1 x AMEK CIB (1ch with Eq/comp)


Cheers!
/Mike
Old 20th November 2018
  #2
Gear Nut
 
classic86's Avatar
 

LMGTFY

The very first link provides some great information
In my experience it's 95% player and kit. You have a nice collection of mics, pres and outboard, any combination of the usual suspects will give you the classic ac/dc drum sound if kit and player sound the way you want to.
Old 20th November 2018
  #3
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Sigma's Avatar
Lol make sure there aren't power chords over the 2 and 4
Old 20th November 2018
  #4
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by classic86 View Post
LMGTFY

The very first link provides some great information
In my experience it's 95% player and kit. You have a nice collection of mics, pres and outboard, any combination of the usual suspects will give you the classic ac/dc drum sound if kit and player sound the way you want to.
Great link...I'll try it out right away!
Old 20th November 2018
  #5
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
Lol make sure there aren't power chords over the 2 and 4
Powercords must be all over the place...dont they!
Old 20th November 2018
  #6
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by classic86 View Post
LMGTFY

The very first link provides some great information
In my experience it's 95% player and kit. You have a nice collection of mics, pres and outboard, any combination of the usual suspects will give you the classic ac/dc drum sound if kit and player sound the way you want to.
Truth. If I take my kit to 5 different rooms and mic it with 5 different chains by 5 different engineers... it still magically sounds like me playing my kit.

Use the drums Rudd had and get a drummer who plays like him. That's the battle, not mics.

Then, find out what chains and techniques Mutt used, and get as close to that as you can. Looks like you've got some aces gear there at your disposal.
Old 20th November 2018
  #7
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Truth. If I take my kit to 5 different rooms and mic it with 5 different chains by 5 different engineers... it still magically sounds like me playing my kit.

Use the drums Rudd had and get a drummer who plays like him. That's the battle, not mics.

Then, find out what chains and techniques Mutt used, and get as close to that as you can. Looks like you've got some aces gear there at your disposal.
Yes, of course its all about the drummer and his drumkit. This sessiondrummer is a true professional and the gear is great so you can go and do the "usual suspects" and be fine.
But as this is the gearslutz-forum I just thought it would be fun discussing the more "fine-tuning" of micing and nerding in gears...
Old 20th November 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 

i once sat down at phil rudd's drum kit during sound check: no chance of just even getting anywhere close to his sound - if he's not in jail, hire him and have him bring along his drumkit and cymbals!

although you got some nice mics and pres, they don't really matter (much)...
Old 20th November 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
Tune that snare down low, find a H910 harmoniser, find Phil.
Old 20th November 2018
  #10
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i once sat down at phill rudd's drum kit during sound check: no chance of just even getting anywhere close to his sound - if he's not in jail, hire him and have him bring along his drumkit and cymbals!

although you got some nice mics and pres, they don't really matter (much)...
Must have been nice to sit there and feel his stuff!

Of course, the gear is not the most important but it helps out sometimes!
Old 20th November 2018
  #11
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Tune that snare down low, find a H910 harmoniser, find Phil.
Thats great! Low topskin and more pitched underskin seem to be the way he tune his snare...we'll try that. Also go with the 910 in the mix...Phil is hard to find these days!
Old 20th November 2018
  #12
Great selection of mics. Shame you mostly have one of everything.
3 x 421s might have been good on toms. Also 2 x U67 or U87 for room mics.

It's definitely doable because you have great mics, but a bit of a hassle having mismatched mics on stereo duties or on three toms.
Old 20th November 2018
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
DrAudiospecific's Avatar
 

Sticks are important too. Heavy sticks might help them project on a live show, but they don't have a good tone to them when you record it. I have a set of sticks of various weights to find the right one. I think its almost as important as selecting the right vocal mic. Some producers that specialize in certain formats might think its necessary to do drum replacements (like metal) but in reality, if the drummer selects the correct stick they would have a better, solid tone than the samples could provide.

But getting back to things: I am guessing you want to know what and how to set up the microphones to record drums.
Old 20th November 2018
  #14
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Great selection of mics. Shame you mostly have one of everything.
3 x 421s might have been good on toms. Also 2 x U67 or U87 for room mics.

It's definitely doable because you have great mics, but a bit of a hassle having mismatched mics on stereo duties or on three toms.
The mics are great...mostly we dont do drumrecording in this studio, that explains all the single mics. But as I said we have two nice stereopairs on repair right now so thats probably the biggest challange in this case...its not about how you record drums or trying to get that Phil Rudd-sound, its about how you would think in this case and how you would use the stuff thats available right now and how to get close to that AC/DC sound.

I totally agree about the tom-mics...and I actually have three 421's but its only one of them that works as it should, the other two are broken and dont do justice. I dont like the 57 on toms but if we go with only two toms I think I will take the 421 for the small one and 441 on the floortom.
Old 20th November 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMike View Post
Must have been nice to sit there and feel his stuff!

Of course, the gear is not the most important but it helps out sometimes!
...the most interesting thing (besides the frightening levels in his drum wedges) was the fact that i did not achieve to provide a solid foundation for the guitarists to sit on top of: even though they were jamming, their playing was so tight that i was surfing on top of them... - phil was having a laugh at foh, then sat down at his kit again and within a bar, he reversed the balance!

yes, good gear is helpful but it doesn't come with a bias on genre: when trying to get the drum sound of rainbow, whitesnake, thin lyzzy etc. you wouldn't use different gear - or do you?

i don't swap mics when switching from allegri to dvořák...



p.s. if you ever intend selling your amek cib, i'd be interested!
Old 20th November 2018
  #16
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrAudiospecific View Post
Sticks are important too. Heavy sticks might help them project on a live show, but they don't have a good tone to them when you record it. I have a set of sticks of various weights to find the right one. I think its almost as important as selecting the right vocal mic. Some producers that specialize in certain formats might think its necessary to do drum replacements (like metal) but in reality, if the drummer selects the correct stick they would have a better, solid tone than the samples could provide.

But getting back to things: I am guessing you want to know what and how to set up the microphones to record drums.
Definitely! The sticks make a big difference when recording drums...I usually have at least 10 different pairs to choose from if the drummer dont bring it himself.

I dont think we will work with drumsamples on this project so a great recorded drumsound must be applied in the first place. Like I said, the drummer is a top sessionguy and I think it will be very nice in the end.

He he...well, I know how to record drums, but I thought it would be fun to hear how other engineers would think in this case where you are a little bit limited in stereopair-mics for exampel.
But as we know it is even more important with how to set up your drums and how you are playing it...especially if you want to nail that Phil Rudd sound. But thats not what this project is about...I know we're not gonna get the drums to sound like Phil Rudd, but we will try to get pretty close...I'm looking forward to do it.
Old 20th November 2018
  #17
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...the most interesting thing (besides the frightening levels in his drum wedges) was the fact that i did not achieve to provide a solid foundation for the guitarists to sit on top of: even though they were jamming, their playing was so tight that i was surfing on top of them... - phil was having a laugh at foh, then sat down at his kit again and within a bar, he reversed the balance!

yes, good gear is helpful but it doesn't come with a bias on genre: when trying to get the drum sound of rainbow, whitesnake, thin lyzzy etc. you wouldn't use different gear - or do you?

i don't swap mics when switching from allegri to dvořák...



p.s. if you ever intend selling your amek cib, i'd be interested!
Its cool when these "cats" show what they are famous for. It happens all the time in the studio when you have a great performer, suddenly everything sounds perfect and wonderful, even a simple cheap drumkit will sound fantastic when a pro drummer enter and starts to play. I love it everytime it happens.

I agree...you dont change that much when you're in the same genre...then its more up to the performance from the artist and the instrument itself.

Sorry, my CIB will stay in the rack ...I hear many people think its a boring piece of gear but for me its a great workhorse...the pre fits for everything and the Eq...well, hellooo...that Eq is sooo nice, I use it almost on every vocal when mixing. So I wont sell it but of course you have to buy one...its a GREAT piece of gear!
Old 20th November 2018
  #18
I do carry a few different pairs of sticks, but in all honesty it's more about avoiding extremes. Too heavy sticks AND too thin sound less good.
Anything medium weight or slightly heavy will sound fine.

We do a lot of (professional) drum sampling. I own a Lawson L47 and we always have it as an outer kick mic about two feet in front at the height of the BD.
We always use km84 on hi-hat. 57 on snare top.
What about the two R84 as stereo overheads, and maybe the Royer 121 as a ride spot mic?
I love both U87 and U67. So I guess a mono room, ambience mic choosing one of those. Maybe the other closer to the kit, crushed with a compressor for energy?

We often used the Beta52 inside kick, but it does have 'a sound', but then so does the D112. Of those two, I prefer the Beta
Old 20th November 2018
  #19
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
Get Phil and Mutt.
Use whatever you got.
Easy.
Old 20th November 2018
  #20
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I do carry a few different pairs of sticks, but in all honesty it's more about avoiding extremes. Too heavy sticks AND too thin sound less good.
Anything medium weight or slightly heavy will sound fine.

We do a lot of (professional) drum sampling. I own a Lawson L47 and we always have it as an outer kick mic about two feet in front at the height of the BD.
We always use km84 on hi-hat. 57 on snare top.
What about the two R84 as stereo overheads, and maybe the Royer 121 as a ride spot mic?
I love both U87 and U67. So I guess a mono room, ambience mic choosing one of those. Maybe the other closer to the kit, crushed with a compressor for energy?

We often used the Beta52 inside kick, but it does have 'a sound', but then so does the D112. Of those two, I prefer the Beta
Usually the drummer brings what sounds great and often a 5A or 5B-stick works best.

Drumsampling is nice...then you know all about the details in a sound.

Yes, I am thinking about that too...use the R84 as OH and maybe get the Royer for Ride. But I love that Blumlein-thing for room and the R84 is the only mics that can do that in this case...hmm...we'll see about that.
The MC930 sound pretty nice as OH though, maybe put them in the GML or 4110 to smooth them out a bit.

I read that Tony Platt had used a KM86 for the snare top on Rudds snare and a 57 for the bottom and the U47 for the kick...just sold my KM86 but wonder if the KM84 can be a substitute. I think I will try to get the kicksound with the L47...but its probably a good way to even put a Beta52 or D112 inside it to have alternatives in the mix depending on what the song needs.
It will definitely be a mono amb mic that I can push in the mix, maybe with a little bit of saturation and a lot of compression...could work with the U87.
Old 20th November 2018
  #21
Gear Nut
 
MacMike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
Get Phil and Mutt.
Use whatever you got.
Easy.
He he...Hell Yeah, how hard can it be!
Old 20th November 2018
  #22
We use km84 on snare top, but it’s better if it’s medium hit, not hard hit.
Old 20th November 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMike View Post
He he...Hell Yeah, how hard can it be!
To be fair, I know the thrill of nailing a familiar tone, so I‘ll wish you much success anyway.
Old 21st November 2018
  #24
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bambamboom's Avatar
As was mentioned earlier, the song production has a ton of impact on the drum sound that you will achieve, regardless of mic selection. Leaving ample space for Kick and Snare in the parts that are played will make all the difference.

Smack everything liberally with saturation (tape emulation, multiband saturator etc) so that your transients are knocked down but the perceived volume is high. This will make a big difference with how well the kit (especially snare) punches through.

Really experiment, particularly with the snare tuning and muffling and with the snare mic placement. With some tweaking of these 3 elements you can usually arrive at something pretty great. Exhaust this before you touch an EQ.

Good luck!
Old 21st November 2018
  #25
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TurboJets's Avatar
The last paragraph in the section title "That Guitar Sound"

Classic Tracks: AC/DC 'Back In Black' |
Old 21st November 2018
  #26
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMike View Post
Yes, of course its all about the drummer and his drumkit. This sessiondrummer is a true professional and the gear is great so you can go and do the "usual suspects" and be fine.
But as this is the gearslutz-forum I just thought it would be fun discussing the more "fine-tuning" of micing and nerding in gears...
True. Once the basic sound is there to capture, so much fun to be had in tweaking the gears.
Old 21st November 2018
  #27
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
The last paragraph in the section title "That Guitar Sound"

Classic Tracks: AC/DC 'Back In Black' |
Interesting that Young used a wireless, and that affected the sound quite a bit. Skafish recorded our second album at Pumpkin in Chicago back in '83, and I was asking Gary Loizzo about how he engineered Styx guitar sounds. He noted the use of wireless, and said that it had become an important aspect of their tone.
Old 21st November 2018
  #28
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FireMoon's Avatar
I'd begin the session by having a single Beta 58 over the top of the kit and just listen to the channel flat, no compression etc whilst having the drummer play through a couple of the songs. That will tell you pretty much all you need to know about how it's going to work when you start adding other mics.
Old 21st November 2018
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
Lol make sure there aren't power chords over the 2 and 4
SO TRUE!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMike View Post
Powercords must be all over the place...dont they!
Part of the brilliance is how the guitar is totally out of the way of the back beat, especially on Back in Black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Tune that snare down low, find a H910 harmoniser, find Phil.
Phil used a larger stick in his left hand, and played it backward to add to the thickness.

---

On the list I'd try:
the Beyers on OH
441 on snare (Maybe KM84)
Beta 52 BD in
Lawson BD out
421 rack tom
U87 floor tom (maybe the D112)
U67 about 4-5 feet out, snare height at the drummers 10 O'clock pointing at the snare shell
R84 Blumlein Room
one of the Miktek on Hats. I really like dynamics on hats.

The GTQ2 is cool on BD and SD, maybe the other Neve on outside BD.
Universal 4110 on OH and Stereo room
6176 on the mono room U67 (tube on tube on tube)
GML on the toms?
SSl for the hat.
Old 21st November 2018
  #30
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Sigma's Avatar
Yeah man when someone comes in with dbled gtrs that play constantly..and have a counter line and keyboards then say can I get a big fat snare .....I put on back in black and go.."like this?" and then explain why they cant
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