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Getting the ride cymbal to cut through
Old 18th July 2005
  #1
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The dman's Avatar
 

Getting the ride cymbal to cut through

Through the years I've recorded many drumsets and sometimes I have a hard time getting the ride cymbal to cut through with certain sets. I realize that there are a lot of variables. (mic placement,cymbal sound, drummer etc.) and was hoping some of you could share some techniques that you use for this. I have a lenghty cd project coming up in a couple of weeks and I wanted to try something different if needed.

I'm thinking about putting a seperate mic on the ride but am concerned about phase problems. I'm assuming with this technique the ride track would be brought up and turned down when needed but how do you get around the change in sound when that track is brought up?


I guess the question should be: If you were recording a drummer and his ride didn't cut through with 2 overheads, how would you aproach getting it to cut through?

With this scenerio assume that we have to work with what we have and don't have the luxury of having a bunch of rides to pick from.

Thanks
Old 18th July 2005
  #2
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsd
Through the years I've recorded many drumsets and sometimes I have a hard time getting the ride cymbal to cut through with certain sets. I realize that there are a lot of variables. (mic placement,cymbal sound, drummer etc.) and was hoping some of you could share some techniques that you use for this. I have a lenghty cd project coming up in a couple of weeks and I wanted to try something different if needed.

I'm thinking about putting a seperate mic on the ride but am concerned about phase problems. I'm assuming with this technique the ride track would be brought up and turned down when needed but how do you get around the change in sound when that track is brought up?


I guess the question should be: If you were recording a drummer and his ride didn't cut through with 2 overheads, how would you aproach getting it to cut through?

With this scenerio assume that we have to work with what we have and don't have the luxury of having a bunch of rides to pick from.

Thanks

Getting a ride to cut through shouldn't be much of a problem, the nature of its sound should help. I would look carefully at your overhead's positions and if necessary add a spot mic on the ride, this isn't uncommon. By panning the ride away from the overhead positions and checking in mono you should be able to minimise any phase problem.

Regards


Roland
Old 18th July 2005
  #3
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Ruudman's Avatar
 

One tip if you're in a mix and can't redo placement/miking/choice of
instrument/playing style etc.. :

Make 2 mults of the nearest OH.
On the first, use hipass plus peak the centre bell freq (this will sound ugly)
On the second, insert an expander sidechained from mult 1. Tweak to taste.
Mute the first mult, bring the fader up on the second until it blends nicely alongside
the original OH's.

ruudman
Old 18th July 2005
  #4
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audioez's Avatar
 

sorry I was going in depth and the window closed, my point being.

MIC PLACEMENT

try moving the microphones under the cymbals...

A typical set up for a 4 piece kit:
KICK, SNARE, and two condensers on a stereo bar in front of the kit, under the cymbals, in between the rack and floor, and focused on the snare.

If you cannot make this set up sound slamming, then introducing more mics will not help the cause.
Old 18th July 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 

If I get tracks with a quiet ride cymbal, I just compress it a bit until the ride comes up with the other cymbals.
The compresion usually helps the overs sit better with the snare and tom close mics anyway.
Old 18th July 2005
  #6
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The dman's Avatar
 

Quote

MIC PLACEMENT

try moving the microphones under the cymbals...

A typical set up for a 4 piece kit:
KICK, SNARE, and two condensers on a stereo bar in front of the kit, under the cymbals, in between the rack and floor, and focused on the snare.




Really, so are your saying try the overheads roughly 3' to 4' from the ground aimed at the snare between the rack and floor tom? ( normaly where most drummers have their ride)

How far from the kit, a couple of feet?

What about the snare/hat side? Is that handled by the stereo pair pointing at the snare?

Thanks guys
Old 18th July 2005
  #7
Try shutting off the compressors. The cymbals will then cut through. I know it's scary to not let the comp mix for you, but give it a try!

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 18th July 2005
  #8
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My first remedy would be to try a different ride that actually cuts through the track.

later,
m
Old 18th July 2005
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chetatkinsdiet
My first remedy would be to try a different ride that actually cuts through the track.

later,
m
Ditto

+ Try plastic tipped sticks (or wood ones) see what cuts best

+ put a mic on the ride, close / near bell (AKH 451 / KM 84)

Old 18th July 2005
  #10
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~ufo~'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
I always mic the ride, eq it a little and it cut's like a knife
same here, never really got why it's common practice to close mic the hats but not the ride... I mean what, is the ride less important ?

Nearly always close mic the ride, just to add a bit of tick.

though I need it less w/ the recorderman type OH setup I've been using of late.
only left the ride mic out once so far though.

€0,02
Old 18th July 2005
  #11
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drundall's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsd
Through the years I've recorded many drumsets and sometimes I have a hard time getting the ride cymbal to cut through with certain sets. I realize that there are a lot of variables. (mic placement,cymbal sound, drummer etc.) and was hoping some of you could share some techniques that you use for this. I have a lenghty cd project coming up in a couple of weeks and I wanted to try something different if needed.

I'm thinking about putting a seperate mic on the ride but am concerned about phase problems. I'm assuming with this technique the ride track would be brought up and turned down when needed but how do you get around the change in sound when that track is brought up?


I guess the question should be: If you were recording a drummer and his ride didn't cut through with 2 overheads, how would you aproach getting it to cut through?

With this scenerio assume that we have to work with what we have and don't have the luxury of having a bunch of rides to pick from.

Thanks

Mic it!
Old 18th July 2005
  #12
I just recently started micing the ride for that reason (even with GREAT players, in a great room, with Zildjian A customs). Different overhead (i.e. closer) placement will help the ride, but then that isn't always the best thing for cymbals or high hat, because if your overheads are close enough to have a 'direct' sound, you'll be picking up a lot more of the actual shells. I like spaced pair overheads, just close enough to let only a small amount of room into the mics, but far enough away so you don't experience that 'swishy' sound in the mics. In your DAW, trim around the ride so the mic is only open when the ride is being played. FWIW, the high hat always comes through the overheads fine, micing it is useless IME.
Old 18th July 2005
  #13
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audioez's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsd
Really, so are your saying try the overheads roughly 3' to 4' from the ground aimed at the snare between the rack and floor tom? ( normaly where most drummers have their ride)

What about the snare/hat side? Is that handled by the stereo pair pointing at the snare?
No, I'm just not into "HiHat" mics per say, that's all. Im my experiences the hit hat comes through even without a mic, that's all.
Old 18th July 2005
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
All of the above suggestions are good. I like the "pick the right cymbal" one the best but that's just me.

Another approach is what Steve Gadd does...raise the ride cymbal. I don't like to play that way so I let the drummer decided if he can deal with having the cymbal higher, if not I'll try anything...
Old 18th July 2005
  #15
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
Another approach is what Steve Gadd does...raise the ride cymbal. I don't like to play that way so I let the drummer decided if he can deal with having the cymbal higher, if not I'll try anything...
No doubt, moving the cymbal up and getting it closer to the microphone is paramount. So is picking the right cymbal for the song and most importantly getting louder cymbals like chinas and crashes out of the mics line of sight. Failing that, I'll stick a pencil mic on or under the ride (depending on what needs to be rejected and where it can be physically placed) and EQ it to work but that's kind of a worst case scenario.

I've never understood how bands can come in to make a record and have either crappy gear or a lack of choices. I have a bag of cymbals that I bring with me if I'm producing an record and it inlcudes a couple of old K rides and some crashes. You'd think that most drummers know other drummers and could borrow good cymbals from their friends for a few days...
Old 18th July 2005
  #16
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Wow, aren't you getting picky Jay...next thing you'll want them to change heads and put on fresh guitar strings too. Sheesh...
Next thing you're going to want them to actually tune them too.
I mean...can't you just fix all that stuff in the mix?

later,
m
Old 18th July 2005
  #17
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The dman's Avatar
 

Quote:
I mean...can't you just fix all that stuff in the mix?
Wait, I thought the guitar players sisters boyfriend was gonna mix it in his bedroom.



Lots of good replys. I seem to deal with some drummers who have their cymbals placed in goofy spots. I usually move them some if there is a blatant problem as long as the drummer can deal with it. I always feel like I'm infringing on the drummers space but what you gonna do?

Is it that drummers who mainly play live are dealing with a more omnidirectional sound depending on the room and placement is not as crucial from their perspective?

Obviously we're not talking Steve Gadd here
Old 18th July 2005
  #18
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7 Hz's Avatar
Ok, what about this one:

Ask the drummer to hit the ride harder!

Yeh yeh, thats the anoying answer, but it's true!

Put one good mic 6 or so feet from the kit, a bit above the kick drum level, and pointing at the snare / hihat. Ask the drummer to play. Listen to the balance, then work with the drummer to get everything sounding balanced. Mute the loud things, and get the drummer to hit the quiet things harder. Good drummers should be able to 'get' this quickly, and 30 minutes of experimentation (tuning of the kit sound down one mic in the room) before you go nuts micing up every splash cymbal will be worth it.
Old 19th July 2005
  #19
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chetatkinsdiet
Wow, aren't you getting picky Jay...next thing you'll want them to change heads and put on fresh guitar strings too. Sheesh...
Next thing you're going to want them to actually tune them too.
I mean...can't you just fix all that stuff in the mix?
Ummm...lemme think...

NO!!!

If you don't have enough time now to get it right, when are you going to find the time to 'fix' it later?

Old 19th July 2005
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsd
Lots of good replys. I seem to deal with some drummers who have their cymbals placed in goofy spots. I usually move them some if there is a blatant problem as long as the drummer can deal with it. I always feel like I'm infringing on the drummers space but what you gonna do?
If the kit is trashed and overall placement is impossible and minimal miking isn't working then so much for tact. Tell them that the kit is unrecordable and they need to correct it. If they won't do that, then the kit is gonna sound like poo. Or you can try sound replacer...

Quote:
Is it that drummers who mainly play live are dealing with a more omnidirectional sound depending on the room and placement is not as crucial from their perspective?
Well if you think about it most drummers play mostly live. I'd say it comes from a lack of education and the "you've got a DAW and all these mics, you balance me" vibe. Some of them don't really realize that while there are some similarites, the studio vs. live environment is a totally different animal and needs to be treated as such for the best results.
Old 19th July 2005
  #21
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Yeah, it's no different than any other instrument. Hi hats and crashes too loud...ride too soft.
Guitar players want to bring their entire live rig. The best is when they have the inline tuners and won't take them out of the chain to record.
Singers....no singers these days know how to work a mic. Watch any old footage of singer from the pre 70 era and they all back off the mic when loud and eat it when whispering. Most guys these days learn to sing by watching rappers on MTV who hold the back of the mic causing all kinds of problems and make the mic sound terrible.
I'm on a rant now and am sounding old...gotta go.
m
Old 19th July 2005
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chetatkinsdiet
Most guys these days learn to sing by watching rappers on MTV who hold the back of the mic causing all kinds of problems and make the mic sound terrible.
m
thats not true....but i understand your ranting...

for ride cymbals...i always spot mike it...just in case..is not cutting on the OH's.
but sometimes i dont have the luxury of an xtra mike to spot the ride cymbal...so definitely always set your oh's properly...drummer,sticks,type ride cymbals,engineers,choice of mics all have a play inthis...
Old 19th July 2005
  #23
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superburtm's Avatar
 

A drummer with good dynamics is a good place to start.. and then mic choice and placement is also important
Old 19th July 2005
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
cfjis's Avatar
 

try some Paiste 2002's... great rides... cut through well.
Old 19th July 2005
  #25
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

signs of a badass drummer (beyond the obvious):


left hand equally as smooth as right. right hand equally as quiet as left.

stays fluid when playing softly.

right foot doesn't land heavy when crashing into the chorus.

loud hihat ticks don't necessarily correspond with kick and/or snare.

left foot ALWAYS dancing, even if hihat stays closed. hihat dancing on ride cymbal sections. hihat not necessarily dancing on every quarter or eighth.

even the straighter grooves have a subliminal swing.

occasional tasty crash with the snare.

crashes sound like controlled explosions, cymbals ring out for days.

visually hypnotic, liquid arms move like magic squid tentacles.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 19th July 2005
  #26
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

mic the damn thing and quit thinking too much about "rules"... and fwiw, my spaced OH the ride side is much lower than my hat site, and notedly.... every drummer wants to use the ride i have aquired many years ago which does not need a mic of its own.
Old 19th July 2005
  #27
Gear Nut
 

Something that has worked for me when the ride is set up low: mic the floor tom with a condenser and position it so that it picks up lots-o-ride too. I think the mic actually gets a nice reflection of the ride off the tom's head.

ubik, I've noticed those same signs. What always amazes me is how a great drummer can make h.h. eighth notes, kick on 1&3, and snare on backbeats sound soooooooo hip, just by the feel on the hats, usually.
Old 19th July 2005
  #28
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The dman's Avatar
 

Quote:
mic the damn thing and quit thinking too much about "rules"...
I hear you, it's easy to get bogged down with rules when the truth of the matter is a lot of recording techniques we're discovered by not following the rules.
Old 19th July 2005
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Zeppelin4Life's Avatar
 

if the drummer is easy to deal with, try nylon tipped sticks for a take. love it or hate it, it will definetly be a different sound and will cut easier. Im really surprised nobody mentioned this. so simple.

being a drummer myself, nylon tipped ends are fine. but some guys hate them. typically jazzers who are into that organic cymbal sound. if thats the case adjust cymbals and overheads occordingly. I doubt EQ will help, since that would bring everything up. but hey, give it a try.
Old 19th July 2005
  #30
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~ufo~'s Avatar
nylon tips??

I even have a pair of iron tipped orchestral drum sticks.

not for every man though, but can be real cool

carry on
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