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hi hat bleed through snare mic... help!
Old 7th September 2004
  #1
Gear Head
 

hi hat bleed through snare mic... help!

WHen I record snare drums, I usually use an SM57 on the snare. When a drummer hits the snare hard and consistent, and has his hi hat well above the snare, I really like the resulting sound. I can usually compress the snare quite a bit before the hi hat bleed overpowers. Inconsistent drummers who like to have their hi hats two inches above the snare are another thing though. Here is my question...

If you have to use a lot of compression to get the snare to sound good and consistent, what are the best ways to keep the hi hat bleed from taking over the sound?
Old 7th September 2004
  #2
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stealthbalance's Avatar
 

an expander / gate is the ticket for me - however if i am recording a tracking date , i sometimes setup a little isolation gobo so to speak between the hi hat and the sn mic. you kinda have to rig it up , but it can dramatically help with isolation and still not ruin the sn sound at all. but if its already recorded , just try a gate on it, and maybe use something like a drawmer with freq rolloffs on the key input to help to set it up right.

s
Old 7th September 2004
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
excellrec's Avatar
 

i am curious as to where you actually place such a gobo (and what you use as a gobo) so that it doesnt get in the way of anything.
Old 7th September 2004
  #4
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doorknocker's Avatar
Although the SM57 will always have its place, I got great results with a Beyer M201 on snare. It's a hypercardioid pattern that really helps taming the hi-hat spill i.e makes it workable. It's a darker sound that can be treated in the mix if necessary without the annoying harshness you often get with a 57.

Andi
Old 7th September 2004
  #5
Gear Addict
 
AAsa's Avatar
tiny little gobo..

I use a 1/2 inch thick piece of styrofoam ( about 4' x 5') I cut a hole init and push the 57 thru.
You can rotate the foam or put the hole off center, so that the business end of the 57 is in the shadow of the foam...blocking the glare of the hat.

seems to help and you can usually keep it out of the way of bam bam.

Unfortunately, as you know, some guys wack that hat so hard it's the loudist piece of the kit ugh!
wimpy little pity-pat snare.....clang clang clang!

A
Old 7th September 2004
  #6
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Fletcher's Avatar
Andi, a 57 is also a hypercardioid pattern... and if I remember correctly, it's actually a bit tighter pattern than that of the 201 [though 201's do often sound great on snare drums... very often better than 57's]

Ann, FWIW, I almost never compress a snare drum, even when the drummer has consistency "issues"... occassionally I will slap a DBX-160 VU on a snare to try to even out the level of the hits a bit, but more as a limiter than as a compressor.

A couple of things I've found to work fairly well... sample on great sounding hit from the drummer and add that sample to the drummer's performance... yeah, you'll have to pull it down [or mute it] during any kind of snare fills or it'll end up with that horrid 80's 'machine gun' thing... but it will add a measure of consistancy to the track without being too obvious or making the sound overly processed sounding.

Another way of dealing with it is through mic positioning... if you know you're dealing with a hypercardioid mic then putting the H/H into the 'null' of the pattern of the mic ain't rocket surgery...

I've seen the "snare mic gobo" thing done a few times... have even tried it myself a few times, and frankly I have never had a positive result from it. I have mostly done it with either a fairly thick block between the H/H and the head of the mic... [though I've seen it done with cardboard too... which didn't work worth a damn IMNTLBFHO]... the comb-filtering from the reflections off the "gobo" were [again, IMNTLBFHO] more egregious than the 'bleed'... but as always... YMMV.

Peace.
Old 7th September 2004
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
Andi, a 57 is also a hypercardioid pattern...
The standard SM57 is cardioid while the Beta 57 is hyper/super cardioid but as was mentioned, I too prefer the M201 for snare tone and cutting hihat spill if positioned correctly.
Old 7th September 2004
  #8
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Ya know, the Shure Brothers say it's a cardioid pattern in the literature, but I've found a spike coming off the back on more than a few... but it could just be me...
Old 7th September 2004
  #9
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Ruudman's Avatar
 

If you use some kind of sub-compression, maybe you can leave the main track uncompressed..?

- Even, and not pumping the hh into the snare track.

2cents





ruudman
Old 7th September 2004
  #10
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

I like the 201 as well, not only because it's tight and can handle very high velocity, but because it's maybe a little darker and dishier than a 57. Not that it's dark, but it doesn't have that upper mid peak that the 57 has, which can certainly accentuate unwanted hat bleed. It's a great frequency boost for snare, but an ugly nasty harsh hihat frequency.

One thing to try is DONT compress going to tape, then on playback, gate forst before the compressor. Even set up your tracking so that chain is in place when you're actually recording so you can hear what it sounds like, even though you are only monitoring the dynamics chain and not committing it to tape.

Don't forget you can trigger the top-snare gate from the bottom snare mic, as well.

But the best sure-fire way to get rid of unwanted hat from snare mic? Tell the drummer to quit pounding the open hat like he's killing an animal! Have him play with it closed instead, or play it lighter, or find a pair of quieter sweeter hihat cymbals.
Old 7th September 2004
  #11
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drundall's Avatar
 

A sample is the most sure-fire way to combat this but occasionally a de-esser will work. The problem with just using a gate is you will hear the hat during the snare hit.Most kids today have terrible drum technique, and I'm afraid this will become more common for you in the future.
Old 7th September 2004
  #12
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Gating isn't the big fix since the hihat will still come in on the 2 and 4 w/ the snare. I usually float a sample if I didn't record the drums myself and I have no choice (I hate it but will do it). If I'm recording the drums, mic placement and making the drummer move his hi hats if needed is what's going to happen.
I've had some luck flipping the hi hat out of phase and then nudging the track and playing with the vol as long as there's not too much snare in the hat which probaly won't be a problem if the hi hat is that loud. Sometimes it takes a combo of different techniques and then sometimes floating a sample is the only thing that works.
Old 7th September 2004
  #13
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Gating isn't the big fix since the hihat will still come in on the 2 and 4 w/ the snare.
But of course the hat bleeds through on the 2 and 4, but that's been the case ever since noise-gates were invented. You still hear it on records today. Before samples and soundreplacer, how did we deal with that issue? Well, one good trick is to pan the hat center, right over and on top of the snare. That masks the hat-bleed on the 2 and 4. Also, if the overheads sound good and are placed and balanced well in the mix, it will minimize that hat "spit".

Still no substiute for a good, studio worthy drummer!
Old 7th September 2004
  #14
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lefthando's Avatar
 

This hat-in-snare-track problem always seems to be most prominent with less then stellar drummers. IMO, a good drummer can hit those hats as hard as he/she likes and it always sounds great no matter how much bleed there is.
As much as I hate to say it, with a poor drummer, the sample replacing option is the best. IMHO.
Old 7th September 2004
  #15
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mardyk's Avatar
 

When I'm tracking snare I always make sure that the null of the mic is pointing at the hihat. On a 57 that would be the rear end. I also put a little piece of auralex foam approx 8/3/2 inches with a hole in the middle over the mic. It actually works. The mic position lessens the hihat in the mic and the foam dullens what's left of it. Oh, and absolutely no compression while tracking. That just brings up the hihat. If i already have track with too much nasty hihat and above all cymbal, the thing to do is volume rides and expander. You could sidechain your expander to a clean trigged snare and then mix to taste.
Old 7th September 2004
  #16
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marchhare's Avatar
 

A trick I read in an interview w/ Macy Gray's producer:

Take a mic pop filter, cover it with a knit ski cap, clip it
to the hihat stand and position it between the snare
& the hats. Wool not being particularly resonant; no
unwanted reflections.

It's worked for me.
Old 7th September 2004
  #17
Harmon Kneenot
Guest
having the drummer move anything will **** the way the drummer plays
Old 7th September 2004
  #18
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GearHunter's Avatar
 

Quote:
having the drummer move anything will **** the way the drummer plays
I find if you work with the drummer in pre-production--and I'm talking about a drummer with little or no recording experience, you can make some positive changes. I explain that in the studio less is more, that a smaller drum kit equals a bigger sound, and there's a certain way of playing in the studio. I will even ask who he likes or what recording he likes the sound of, and will use that as an example, stating, "That's a 4-piece kit with 3 cymbals on that recording." (whether it's true or not).

We will subtract cymbals and toms, move some drums slightly to make room for mics, and the rehearse the songs with a metronome, crafting the parts and stripping out the excess. Usually the drummer adapts to the changes just fine, as long as you are diplomatic about it.

Now, there have been times when a guy shows up for a session with 11 cymbals and 6 toms and crap, and right there on the spot I'll start removing stuff and I have to be a hard-ass about it, and the drums will be tuned crappy, and have beat old heads, and that's when you know you're working with a total amateur. He won't be able to play with a click either, most likely, and when I'm pushing up the mics in the control-room, I'll ask him to play a nice slow steady rock beat, ala Ringo or Bonham, and he wop't be able to do that either.
Old 8th September 2004
  #19
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I have never had any success with a 'gobo' either. At the best I have cut the high-end of the HH down a little but nothing worth smiling about.
I know alot of folks use the de-esser trick, but I often seem to cut out too much snare body, depending on the snare tone I want.

Working on micing the snare from the side, just near the top has helped alot. I find that I can get just as good of a snare sound from that point and it get's the mic farther away from the hats.

HH bleed in the snare mic is a reality. It exists everytime. I read here on Gearslutz where someone solves the problem by labeling the snare mic track "Hit-Hat" and calling it good. I agree!
Working with it seems like the best policy.
Old 8th September 2004
  #20
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Overdub the hat.


Best....H
Old 8th September 2004
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney Gene
I read here on Gearslutz where someone solves the problem by labeling the snare mic track "Hit-Hat" and calling it good.
That's probably the best thing I've read on a user forum to date.
Old 8th September 2004
  #22
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adamcal's Avatar
 

Remember the Null of a mic isnt always directly behind it.
Old 8th September 2004
  #23
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BrianK's Avatar
 

Just before he/she cuts the drum track, walk into the room, grab the hi-hat stand, and walk out of the room with it....
Old 8th September 2004
  #24
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I've used a paper plate with some Sonex taped to it with a hole in the middle for the snare mic "shield". I've also seen people make a box lined with Sonex, open on the side with a V cut into it, to cover all of the hat except where the drummer hits it to keep the hat out of the room mics. It worked. Probably cut about 8-10dB of swooshing out of the room mics.

These are extreme measures for extremely bad drummers.
Old 8th September 2004
  #25
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doorknocker's Avatar
What about investing in a pair of 'recording-approved' hi-hats. If the sound is too bright and dominant to begin with there's only so much you can do.
The drummer might also -it softer because it's not his (just kidding!)

Andi
Old 8th September 2004
  #26
Lives for gear
 

This is an easy one. So you when you compress the snare, you are bringing the background level up ie hi hat. So mult the snare and have one track uncompressed and normal where the hi hat shouldn't be offensive. Then on your compression track, gate it tightly so that all you hear is a loud punchy transient. Then as others have said, to fill out the sound a bit more, add a sample of the drum recorded and edited before the session. And on the next session, make sure your snare mic is nulling the hi hat. Good luck!
Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 8th September 2004
  #27
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dhughes's Avatar
 

Originally posted by Rodney Gene
I read here on Gearslutz where someone solves the problem by labeling the snare mic track "Hit-Hat" and calling it good.

Quote:
Originally posted by denial
That's probably the best thing I've read on a user forum to date.
Word.

Fighting bleed can be a losing battle. Better to make it your friend.
Old 9th September 2004
  #28
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Yeah, I agree. I prefer to use a condenser mic on snare, and I like it in figure 8 or even omni at times - so a lot of hat bleed is inevitable. I just try to position the mic so that both the snare and the hat bleed sound as good as possible, rather than worrying too much about isolating the snare from the hat. I constantly check the snare mic in combination with the overheads or room mics too.

Often just changing the angle or position of the mic by an inch or two makes all the difference. You just have to be willing to move it around till it sounds right. I think that capturing all the complexities of the snare is the most important thing and, if you do it right, you won't need to process the snare so much which is presumably why you're wanting to isolate it in the first place. It's always struck me kind of strange that the 57 become such a popular mic for the snare, not because it sounds so great on snare, but because it rejects hat bleed well. Me, I'd rather focus on it sounding good (assuming the actual snare sounds good in the first place...)

It might also help to buy a pair of hats for your studio, which aren't too heavy and obnoxious sounding. That helps. As a last resort, I've sometimes done what Bang suggested (making a copy of the snare track and leaving one uncompressed while gating the crap out of the other one and then compressing it), and it does work.
Old 9th September 2004
  #29
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dhughes's Avatar
 

Also getting a good (in phase) OH image goes a long way into getting a good snare sound.
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