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Help With Raw Drum Recordings
Old 17th May 2006
  #1
Help With Raw Drum Recordings

I've basically had no real studio experience and taught myself everything I know about recording. I've recorded mainly my own material for demos and such, and recorded a few local bands. I would say I'm fairly happy with my recordings, but they seem to lack the detail, especially the drums. I'm using a Fireface, as my main interface. I recently bought a Phoenix Audio DRS-2 and GR ME-1NV and that feeds the Fireface for the majority of the tracking (excluding whatever exceeds the three channels i.e. drums.). For mics I have an at4060, 2x 4040, 4033, SM58, 2x 421s, 2x c1000s, Audix i5, and D6. Also, my room has been treated with realtraps. Everything is tracked and mixed in the same room.

With the equipment out of the way...

I feel that my raw drum tracks sound really boring. They definitely sounded better when I added the new pres, but they still lack any sort of depth and width. They basically sound like cardboard. When I mix a song, the drums are always just a little wrong, they lack presence and detail. They sound hollow and flat. I've messed around with all sorts of placements and, certain ones do sound better then others, but they all sound like cardboard, in their unmixed state.

I started to think about how the room could be the biggest factor in all of this. I mean I know how placement is very very important to the sound, but I just don't think that, given all the places I've placed the mics, the depth-less, soulless quality I get is because of placement, right? There can't be a magic spot were all the problems in the room disappear? My room has to be the culprit. Please tell me if I'm wrong. You guys always talk about the room being the most important factor, an while I agree that's true, aren't there ways to work around that? How can I get the drums in my room to sound better in the tracking phase? How can I breath more life into them?

Maybe I'm just paranoid and raw drum tracks sort of sound that way. If anybody has raw drum tracks, they could post on here, that would be awesome. No eq, no compression, no fx, they can be leveled, though. Also, if you could, post the final mixed song so I can hear the difference. I just want to know if my room/drums/micing sound like trash

I understand that drums are very complex to record, and there are many variables, but I feel that the room is my biggest obstacle. I hope I'm proven wrong.

Thanks,
swordinhand
Old 17th May 2006
  #2
Gear Addict
 
emeline-rec's Avatar
 

how do the drums sound in the room, are they properly tuned with good skins? if the drums sound pap to start with the recorded sound won't be anybetter. with my recordings i've always found the key to a good sound is getting the drums to sound good in the room, for example if a tom sounds rubbish through a mic other than moving the mic position i'll work on the skin of the drum, re-tuning it or applying and dampening if needed.

hope this helps a bit,

Ian
Old 17th May 2006
  #3
Thanks for the quick reply. I think that the drums sound fairly good, but it's really hard to tell if the room is playing negatively on them. The kit is good, I know how to tune and the heads are fairly new. The drums are in the corner of the room, I wonder if this could be a problem?

swordinhand
Old 17th May 2006
  #4
Gear Addict
 
emeline-rec's Avatar
 

im not home for a few weeks otherwise i'd post some unmixed drums from something i've mixed. i've tracked in some pretty rubbish rooms like living rooms, garages and bed rooms all untreated and i've had some good results, depending on the sound you want if you're taking mostly close mics with overheads focusing on the cymbals you're gonna capture less room.

when using compression don't have the attack time too fast that can loose the punch of the drum leading to a flat un dynamic sound. have you tried using eq to add in the presence, like a high shelf?

ian
Old 17th May 2006
  #5
I understand that mixing is a very important part of the overall sound, but I just would like to hear some samples of unmixed and mixed. So I can hear the room and mics untreated. When you do get a chance it would be awesome if you could send those tracks.

Thanks,
swordinhand
Old 17th May 2006
  #6
T9c
Gear Maniac
 
T9c's Avatar
 

a good candidate for Drumagog?

I don't know if you're tracking to tape or to DAW, but if it's the latter, Drumagog works like a champ for replacing or adding to dull drum sounds.
Old 17th May 2006
  #7
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sword in Hand
Thanks for the quick reply. I think that the drums sound fairly good, but it's really hard to tell if the room is playing negatively on them. The kit is good, I know how to tune and the heads are fairly new. The drums are in the corner of the room, I wonder if this could be a problem?

swordinhand


I think that's your problem.


When I record drums, I make they are DAMN good before miking them.


post a sample of just the overheads if you'd like so we can get a better feel for where you're coming from.



Room is crucial! Drum type and tunning it crucial! Good drummer is crucial!


loose any of the 3, and you're done for.


It's part of the chain.


Good luck

Jason
Old 17th May 2006
  #8
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adam_w's Avatar
hmmm... sometimes you get served up not so hot drum sounds from not so hot drummers...and while everyone is right regarding what you need for a good sound off the bat sometimes you just don't get that. So.. don't be afraid to EQ the living piss out of them, cut the cardboardiness frequencies in 3-500hz range, boost hi's/hi mids, lows, compress, make mults, treat those differently where you need to, whatever - and give it as much knob of all varieties as you need to to get them where you want them. It's just not always easy - it's just easier the better they went down. Small rooms don't always mean bad sounds, either !
Old 17th May 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
Without hearing the tracks, it's really difficult to figure out what the problem is with the tracks.
1. Drum tuning could be off. When the drums aren't tuned properly it can be real hard to get a defined sound out of them.
2. Drum ringing. Sometimes they deadened down a bit for more definition. What might sound good live doesn't always sound good in the studio.
3. Mic positions can reek havoc with drum sound and balance.

Sometimes you have to make judicious use of gating, compression, and EQ to get a really good drum sound. It takes time setting all that up.

From what I saw of your available mics, you shouldn't be having any problem with bad sounding mics.

Again, without hearing the tracks, it's impossible to diagnose the problem with just your available description.
Old 18th May 2006
  #10
Here is a sample of just my overheads unprocessed (they are panned hard left and right). The first half is a simple ride beat and the second half is a tom groove. This should give you an overall picture of the different drums and cymbals.

They were behind the drummer about six feet up simulating the human ears (I can't remember what that technique is called). The mics used were at4040s and the cables Mogami, then into a Great River ME-1NV and the other into the DRS, then into a Fireface and finally into Samplitude at 96k 24bit.

I've converted them to a 44k sample rate for the sake of downloading.

Thanks,
swordinhand
Attached Files

OVR_HD_A.WAV (5.02 MB, 1546 views)

Old 18th May 2006
  #11
Old 18th May 2006
  #12
Gear Addict
 
emeline-rec's Avatar
 

they sound alright to me.
Old 18th May 2006
  #13
Deleted c40a31f
Guest
I think they sound pretty good. Attached is a version that I did some quick and dirty EQ/compression to. Probably as much better as it is worse but it should show that your recordings have potential.

Keep up the good work!
Attached Files

OVR_HD_A_JLR1.mp3 (623.1 KB, 733 views)

Old 18th May 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Crash's Avatar
Maybe you might find something useful here to help you out:

http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/index.html
Old 18th May 2006
  #15
John thanks for the tweaks. What EQ/comp did you use on that? Hardware, Plugins? I don't need to know the exact setting. So you guys would say that my overheads sound pretty normal? In what context? Are they just ok good or above average good.

I would really like to hear some clips (before and after) from you guys.

Crash, I found that site a while ago and think it's the best drum tuning material anywhere.


Thanks for all of your help,
sword in hand
Old 22nd May 2006
  #16
Deleted c40a31f
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sword in Hand
John thanks for the tweaks. What EQ/comp did you use on that? Hardware, Plugins? I don't need to know the exact setting.
Hi,

Sorry for the delay. I just used Stieinberg's WaveLab 5 and its stock plugins (EQ-1, three of them, and Puncher)

Best of luck!
Old 7th January 2007
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
DWINC's Avatar
 

Yeah...maybe a bit late (but I am new here), but did you try out MoonGel? That stuff worked great for me when my drums were tuned but really not good sounding at all. It helped me for easy recordings! Hope this helps, even after all those months
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