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polishing kick drum turds
Old 12th July 2007
  #1
polishing kick drum turds

Well, I’ve got some really poorly recorded kick drums with very little attack and generally a very loose, tubby low-end. I’ve been compressing and EQing (and limiting and max-bassing, and etc, etc) and having little success. What are your ideas for getting good, tight kicks (at least passable) from crappy source?
Old 12th July 2007
  #2
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el cochino's Avatar
 

Replace with samples
Old 12th July 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
Drumagog!
Old 12th July 2007
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by el cochino View Post
Replace with samples
Done some of this, but to be honest, I really am not nuts about the idea. The tracking gets close, but for some material, never perfect. I also just don’t like the idea much – kinda seems like cheating, and the drummers almost always hate the idea. That’s not to say I won’t do it, I’d rather do everything I possibly can to the original material before reverting to samples.
Old 12th July 2007
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Dude, I've polished some kick drum turds. Some of what worked for me has been carving out a chunk of the mids, like in the 400Hz area with a moderate Q. F*cking with the mids is huge, in my opinion. Once you get the curve set, you can sweep it around and it can get prety drastic. Maybe try emphasizing the highs, as well, to offset the tubbiness. And depending on the music you can probably get away with notching some bass down. Then again, maybe you can be a renengade and be the dude that starts putting mids back in kick drums...

If you want to get weird, you can try a multi-band compressor to tame the flubby lows and keep it tight like that. The bitch with that is the potential for pumping. Whatever. It might work. People abuse and misuse everything all the time and sometimes it makes your pants get happy. Other times, not so much.

Or say hell with it and sample replace everything. Good luck.

Last edited by Byrne; 12th July 2007 at 05:39 PM.. Reason: I forgot that I like mids.
Old 12th July 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Dude

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadmeat View Post
Done some of this, but to be honest, I really am not nuts about the idea. The tracking gets close, but for some material, never perfect. I also just don’t like the idea much – kinda seems like cheating, and the drummers almost always hate the idea. That’s not to say I won’t do it, I’d rather do everything I possibly can to the original material before reverting to samples.
Old 12th July 2007
  #7
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bobwarren's Avatar
 

Unless you know beforehand that you'll be sound replacing, I think it is paramount that you get the sound rght before proceeding any further into the recording process. Most guys don't have the budget to allow for the Steely Dan appraoch of spending a week tweaking hi-hats, but it doesn't take long to find a workable sound.
Old 12th July 2007
  #8
Gear Addict
 
GravityRobert's Avatar
 

Remove any crap under 70hz +/-, scoop the mids, shelf the highs some of the low mids you're gonna use
Old 12th July 2007
  #9
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lemix's Avatar
I'd say Drumagog as well..
I play drums too and know exactly how the player feels about "cheating"
Mind you..once the song is mixed..he'll love you for it ! Just never let him hear the raw, soloed kick alone
Another thing you could try beside the above mentioned EQ/compress suggestions is..SPL Transient Designer. That's your friend for missing attacks and boominess.

best of luck,
a
Old 12th July 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
Compress it first. Bear in mind it may accentuate the flubbiness. Don't worry about this too much yet. Longer attack quicker release. Next, try EQ'ing the kick track to your liking maybe getting rid of some flubbiness at 150-250 with hi Q settings and of course the typical 400-500 area cut and a boost in the 3k area for some attack. It may take several different EQ plugs worth of cutting the same area......whatever works. Then, buss it out to an Aux track and apply some transient shaping tools. Something to bring out the attack and nothing else. Sony makes the Transient Designer and other companies have equivalent plugs. Then blend it in with the existing track and run them together to taste. When dealing with the first track bear in mind your Aux track is going to create most of the attack so don't overdo it with the 3k boost.
Old 12th July 2007
  #11
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BradM's Avatar
A Transient Designer might get you some of the way there. It always feels like cheating when I use that box, but damn does it make life easy.

Brad
Old 12th July 2007
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemix View Post
I'd say Drumagog as well..
I play drums too and know exactly how the player feels about "cheating"
Mind you..once the song is mixed..he'll love you for it ! Just never let him hear the raw, soloed kick alone
Another thing you could try beside the above mentioned EQ/compress suggestions is..SPL Transient Designer. That's your friend for missing attacks and boominess.

best of luck,
a
Yea - heard a lot about this unit, but have yet to try one out. This is a box in my future....
Old 12th July 2007
  #13
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DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadmeat View Post
Done some of this, but to be honest, I really am not nuts about the idea. The tracking gets close, but for some material, never perfect. I also just don’t like the idea much – kinda seems like cheating, and the drummers almost always hate the idea. That’s not to say I won’t do it, I’d rather do everything I possibly can to the original material before reverting to samples.
If that is your stance, then I guess your only choice is to retrack. I guess it depends on your situation, but in an environment where you are charging by the hour, spending additional time because of your bad choice of mic placement only serves to penalize your client. Personally I'd use Drumagog and be done with it in less than a minute. Best of luck!
Old 12th July 2007
  #14
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Kris's Avatar
In the worst case scenario, Drumagog is key...

If you have a Distressor, slap it on in the nuke setting and play with the attack and release.
Old 12th July 2007
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DontLetMeDrown View Post
If that is your stance, then I guess your only choice is to retrack. I guess it depends on your situation, but in an environment where you are charging by the hour, spending additional time because of your bad choice of mic placement only serves to penalize your client. Personally I'd use Drumagog and be done with it in less than a minute. Best of luck!
Not my tracks, not recorded in my studio, not originall y engineered by me, etc. - these are imports from another studio, and they can not be redone (according to the artist).
Old 12th July 2007
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Sandersonic's Avatar
 

Reamping?

What about re-amping it through a really ballsy bass amp and then maybe using another bass cabinet as a mic?
Old 12th July 2007
  #17
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BradM's Avatar
Reamping like that will only serve to turn the kick into a flabby distorted mess. Isn't that what the original poster is trying to get away from?

I think Drumagog is really the only option that is going to give you good results. To make the artist feel like they are part of that process have them bring in a kick drum and make some samples of it together that you then can trigger with Drumagog. Then at least it will be a click played by the real drummer.

Brad
Old 12th July 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
I also just don’t like the idea much – kinda seems like cheating, and the drummers almost always hate the idea.
Cheating...what do think compression, eq, nudging, and everything else is? Reality?

IF it makes you feel better, get the drummer to record a few samples himself...it always sounds better than canned samples anyhow.

OOps missed the last post
Old 12th July 2007
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
gibsonlp75's Avatar
 

try eq'ing the kick first like previous posters have suggested, then compress it... after that eq it the same way again, not so much on the highs as it could bring them out too much... give it a shot, has worked for me on crap kicks
Old 12th July 2007
  #20
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Crash's Avatar
Buy the drummer a drum key. The best drum sounds I have ever gotten were achieved because the source sounded good and all I had to do was screw with mic position to get what I was looking for. Nothing beats a well tuned kick...snare.....tom, etc.
Old 12th July 2007
  #21
Combine the samples with the original tracks processed is what i like best in these situations.

What you hear is the original tracks but beefed up with the samples under them.
Old 12th July 2007
  #22
Gear Guru
Transient designer is a magic trick!

Also parallel processing can be a good fix. Copy the track, compress the snot out of it and EQ for attack. Then bring that up under the original which you can treat for tone and low end.

And samples aren't "cheating". A last resort, certainly. But if that's what it takes....
Old 12th July 2007
  #23
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Scott, the Transient Designer = holy #&@^ results most times, coupled with the correct EQ of course.

Drumagog is excellent, excellent stuff. As far as not triggering right, it's about as easy as it gets. If something mis-triggers you can simply cut or boost that section of the original track to get it to work right. Usually I have to do this once or twice on a pretty busy song. Straight rock / AC-DC type playing it's almost never an issue.

War
Old 12th July 2007
  #24
Gear Head
 
whitman's Avatar
 

I wish I saw this thread earlier.


I like to record sucky tracks on purpose to see how i can "polish" them.

Once I recorded a sucky CB700 kick and got a really good sound by duplicating the track...(in pro tools) and the taking the duplicated track and making a really sucky hi passed EQed kick. No low end got through at all.
It was just a click sound. The original track was my "boom" track. I put a lowpass filter on that one. Together the sound was awesome. Not as good as recording it right the first time but VERY impressive for what it was.
Old 12th July 2007
  #25
I guess you're talking about after the fact...

best idea is do the best you can with the mix for now, but definitely mic differently next time. Pointing a mic at the point where the beater hits the head gives you a much more defined sound and you can use it to add more snare or whatever (it also enhances what it's pointing at/near obviously).

If you have dumb sounding KD you can take all the character out of it with EQ so it's just a bassy wump and then it should be low enough so that you'd need to have nice speakers to hear it and the band or their friends probably don't have one! It's easy to hide real low kicks because consumers are listening on computer speakers and laptop speakers

a bad electric bass is much harder to fix
Old 12th July 2007
  #26
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amishsixstringe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6dyslexicelephnt View Post

best idea is do the best you can with the mix for now, but definitely mic differently next time. Pointing a mic at the point where the beater hits the head gives you a much more defined sound and you can use it to add more snare or whatever (it also enhances what it's pointing at/near obviously).

If you have dumb sounding KD you can take all the character out of it with EQ so it's just a bassy wump and then it should be low enough so that you'd need to have nice speakers to hear it and the band or their friends probably don't have one! It's easy to hide real low kicks because consumers are listening on computer speakers and laptop speakers

a bad electric bass is much harder to fix
I don't get what you're talking about adding snare with a well placed kick mic. Also, it was mentioned that he didn't record the tracks. He's mixing another studio's work. So, the bad sound is not his fault. Also, just mixing it so low that you can't hear it is probably not the best idea. If it was recorded, it was probably meant to be heard. What if a bad vocal sound was given to him? Should he just put that way down so it can't be heard too? My normal thought is to make the drum present on both consumer laptop speakers as well as hi fi woofer systems.

I wasn't trying to **** all over you or anything, but I'm not sure I agree with any of what you said, and giving misinformation out on a board and treating it like it's general knowledge or fact is just not cool.

Neil
Old 13th July 2007
  #27
I was talking about fixing the kick drum sound in the first place which would be useful information to someone who clicked on a post called "polishing kick drum turds"

I usually record the drum set at my house which has a huge kick drum...Gretsch 16x22. If you don't record with mics set up properly, there aren't that many things you can do to fix it later AND have it sound great. My kick drum when miked the typical way (one KD mic on the outside head) will just sound so deep and won't be audible in a useful way on laptop speakers. You can't really add attack or click to a bassy wump like that. To fix this problem I use an sm57 pointing at where the beater hits the head. I have to be careful - I get a much more useable kick sound that is audible on cheapo stereos, but since the mic can be pointing at the beater from any direction, it picks up other stuff, like especially if the mic is coming in from the drummers right side it will pick up the bottom of the snare (which I find useful in making the kit sound fuller).

If you didn't understand, please allow me to clarify. There is no right way to mic a drum kit... how could you call it misinformation. Was I off-topic? Yes. So so very sorry
Old 13th July 2007
  #28
Transient Designer is a great place to start.

If you're comresssing instead, use a slow attack with a medium release, you don't want to let the compressor open with a fast release and bring up the tail.

You may need a little HPF. I agree with the 400 cut, especially with a narrow Q. If your can use an inductor based cut, that can really be amazing. Defintion and low end punct often comes from mids and highs. Some times a boost in the 1-1.5k range helps. More often I find 6k shelving to be my choice.


However, the single biggest way to radically improve a drum sound is to find the mics that are out of phase an causing comb filtering.

How does the kick sound solo'd? In some ways that's irrelevant becuase of masking later on in the mix, but if it sounds good solo'd, that's probably an indication that it's not a bad kick drum recording.

Try wokring with jsut kick, snare an overheads first. Leave all the other mics out. If it's still flabby, severly high pass your overheads - that may kill your snare, but if it fixes the kick you've found your problem. This can be caused by mic choice, position, EQ and improper compression. The same issue may happen with room mics.

If high passing a non-kick mic solves the kick problem, but kills the snare or toms, there's a simple solution (conceptually) that takes a little tweaking through out the mix to get just right.

(desginers, pay attention here, there's a product in this idea)

Put a compressor on the overheads or the rooms, or both, whichever is causing a problem. Set that compressor to follow it's key input. Assuming that you're in a DAW, assign that input to look at a buss, say buss 1. Then send the kick to that buss, either as a mult with the stereo buss or through an Aux. Now every time the kick hits it will duck the offending mics. Use the fastest possibl attack and play with the release. The longer it is, the better the kcik will sound, but the more you'll kill the snare, so play with it until you get a balance you like.

I do this with toms and room mics sometimes too. Ducking the rooms can really make a tom pop.

The ideal way to do this would be to use a multi-and compressor and trigger just the low band, or the other bands less. However, I have yet to see a multi-band compressor with a triggerable key input, and certainly not a separate trigger for each track.
Old 13th July 2007
  #29
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goldenlotus's Avatar
 

Surprised that no one's mentioned this yet... use a gate. A gate can really add a lot of punch to a flabby kick. Works for me anyways.
Old 13th July 2007
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

API 560
Transient designer
Distressor.

If that toolkit can't fix it, nothing will. At that point, choose a sample that has what you're missing and blend that in to make up for what's not in the track.
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