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Home Studio for drums, let's talk gear. Condenser Microphones
Old 17th March 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Home Studio for drums, let's talk gear.

Hey guys

This is my first post here (I'm a newbie to recording) so go easy!

I'm looking to start my own home studio for recording and mastering drum tracks. I want to record for as many people as I can as much as I can (Depending on how it turns out) I have done some research already as to what gear I'd be needing but am still undecided on a few things.

I need to get an interface, all the mics (i'm thinking 8) cables, stands and monitors. I'm looking for the best bang for buck and setting my budget at around $3000. (I've got a computer/drums already)

I'm going to buy most of my things on ebay as they are the best price I can find (I live in Australia, probably 90% of the stuff i'll be getting from US).

So, where i'm at so far.

The Interface - I've looked at either the M-Audio profire 2626 and a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 as the most likely to purchase.
The profire can be had for $530 and the Saffire at $830 (B-stock) I wonder if anyone has compared the two, do you think the $300-$400 increase is worth it to get the saffire? The liquid channels look pretty worth it. Putting the overhead mics in those pre amps would give me the ability to get some pretty varied drum sounds. Which seems good if i'm recording for different sounding bands/artists too. And the other preamps quality I would assume to be superior to m-audios as well..
In your opinion is it worth it, Or better spend on mics/elsewhere?

Mics:
Snare - SM 57 - $100 (Another for bottom, undecided)
Bass - AKG D112 - $150
Overheads - 2x Oktava mk 012 $450 (Or around $800 with the jolly mod. These have been compared to Neumanns when modded)
Toms - 3x Sennheiser e604 - $350
Hi hat- (Undecided) $200-300 for a good condenser?

What do you guys think of the Oktava mics for overheads? I'm new to this as I said, but I've been told not to get cheap on overheads because they make up a lot of the final sound. (If you had to put it in a %, how much do you think it plays in the overall sound?)
So i'm thinking maybe I should pay a bit more and get the jolly modded mics, you think it's worth it?

Also, if I get a good small diaphram consender I can use it for the hi-hat or swap it around and use it for the bottom of the snare. So looking something that could work for both if needed in different applications

Cables: $200? Planet waves look good?? Lifetime warranty..

Stands: $150? Where I need them, overheads, bass and hi hat. rest have clips.

Monitors: $300-400 Not really sure about monitors yet.. Advice?

So to sum up.

$830 on interface, $1300 on mics, maybe up to $1700 if I choose better mics.. The rest, $600 or so.
So the budget looks around the 3k mark, potentially a bit more which is okay.

So what do you guys think?
Interface?
Should more money be spent on mics than the interface, or vice versa?
Pay more for the better oktavas? Better mics in general?
Monitors?

I know this is a lot of information and I thank everyone that managed to get this far to give me a hand.
Old 17th March 2012
  #2
Gear Nut
 

I actually use the AkG c1000 on the high hat, only around , £80 don't know what that is in dollars mind, but it sounds awesome. Both those interfaces are good! Just make sure you have enough mic pre's, this might been buying a load separately depending what's on your interface

Also don't forget you DAW, if you haven't got one already, that can you set you back Alot of money
Old 17th March 2012
  #3
Gear Addict
It's a cliché here on gear slutz but figure in treatment, especially in a smaller room. Without bass traps/broadband absorption in a small room your bass end will most likely need a lot of work. A good room through a cheaper mic will almost always sound better than a bad room through a more expensive mic. "Superchunks" are your friend.

Quote:
The Interface - I've looked at either the M-Audio profire 2626 and a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 as the most likely to purchase <snip>
I can't offer much of an opinion here other than Onyx pres are supposed to be good but the Mackie Blackbird has driver issues. This would be ideal if it worked!

Mics:
Snare - SM 57 - $100 (Another for bottom, undecided) M201 is better especially in terms of HH rejection
Bass - AKG D112 - $150 - I much prefer the E602 which is cheaper too
Overheads - 2x Oktava mk 012 $450 (Or around $800 with the jolly mod. These have been compared to Neumanns when modded) - I am sure these will work fine but I prefer LDCs can you get 2 KSM32s for $800 AUS?
Toms - 3x Sennheiser e604 - $350 - I really don't like the clip-ons... CAD M179s all the way!
Hi hat- (Undecided) $200-300 for a good condenser? Are you sure you need one? I use an AT4041 but just to really separate the HH in the stereo field more than for its sound.

Outside Kick mic (Subkick) and room mics are considerably more important than a separate HH mic IMO.

Have you miced kits before? To get consistently good results requires experience in multi-mic setups. If not think about cutting your teeth with the Glyn Johns method or 2 OHs equidistant from snare and Kick with a Kick mic and work your way to adding mics as your funds/experience allow. You'll end up finding setups that work for you.

Sorry if this isn't necessarily what you wanted to hear...

Tony
Old 17th March 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
olliejohn's Avatar
 

If you've got a good pair of overheads, you really don't need a hi hat mic. Joly modded MK012s would easily get a great hat sound (and I imagine unmodded probably would too, but if you get the Jolys, you won't have to upgrade for a VERY long time). There have been a few threads recently about hat mics, and based on those threads it would appear that VERY few people are actually using them. I'm not saying they're useless, but I would say that on a budget as small as yours, I wouldn't prioritise them. I'd take that money and put it towards either room treatment, or to get some better monitors ($400 won't go very far).
Old 17th March 2012
  #5
Gear Head
 
Duesenbert's Avatar
 

What's your room sound like? A great-sounding room goes a long way in making recording things like drums a lot easier. Are you looking to record only yourself for other people? If so, you can get a few good mics to start and then begin to work out the sounds with what you have, adding, moving, swapping mics as you go.
I'd get something a little less pre-EQ'd for the kick though. IME the D112 sounds really great on about one in twenty kick drums. I'd go for something you can sculpt a little more, like an RE320 if you can afford it.
And don't undercut your monitoring setup. You can't fix problems you can't hear.
Hope this helps - best of luck!
Old 17th March 2012
  #6
ANSWERBOT 5000 scanning for input:..........."I'm starting a home studio" question #9,563,287 (drums specific)....question located, generating answer......:

ANY studio intended to record acoustic instruments needs to have as highest priority an at least acoustically neutral, but preferably an acoustically flattering space to track in. Why? Because you can never separate the sound of the space from the sound that gets into the microphones. Drums are particularly vulnerable to this as they are very room dependent (among other factors) for their overall sound. Therefore, if you seriously intend to get good sounding drums recorded in your own space then that space has to be right for the job. If you can't get that going then it will matter very little what kind of gear you have because you'll always be capturing a source that sounds bad.

Is your space right for the job? How do you know?

On the topic of gear specifically:

ALL tracking, is a matter of knowing the basics of setting up appropriate microphones for the job, properly dialing in the gain at the preamps and making test recordings to hear how things sound upon playback and then moving the mics, or making different mic selections or source adjustments accordingly until you get the sound you want from the source that you want. That's the basic process and that part isn't subjective (except the specifics of sound you're looking for). Which specific pieces of input gear you use beyond consideration of their technical capabilities is TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE. There is no absolute consensus. So in short, it's a very simple thing to just get started. The mics you have in mind will work fine as a start.

You asked:
Quote:
...The Interface - I've looked at either the M-Audio profire 2626 and a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 as the most likely to purchase.
The profire can be had for $530 and the Saffire at $830 (B-stock) I wonder if anyone has compared the two, do you think the $300-$400 increase is worth it to get the saffire? The liquid channels look pretty worth it. Putting the overhead mics in those pre amps would give me the ability to get some pretty varied drum sounds. Which seems good if i'm recording for different sounding bands/artists too. And the other preamps quality I would assume to be superior to m-audios as well..
In your opinion is it worth it, Or better spend on mics/elsewhere?...
Doesn't matter which you get. They will both work. The liquid pres won't make or break your success in getting varied sounds, neither would any pre. Go with the most reliable interface you can afford. Then you'll at least not have the headache of technical difficulties beyond your control. IMO I'd chance the Focusrite over the M-Audio in this case. But really either will do fine. At this point you're not going to be in a position to benefit from even the best of the best because you have some basic experience hurdles to clear.

You asked:
Quote:
...So what do you guys think?
Interface?
Should more money be spent on mics than the interface, or vice versa?
Pay more for the better oktavas? Better mics in general?
Monitors?...
In general you should pay for better input gear (microphones and then preamplifiers) if the choice is between either spending more on input gear or an audio interface (in certain situations that might vary, so it's important to remember when you're thinking in general terms or under special circumstances). Monitoring is another conversation entirely.

Every decision you make about the recording of a source happens (or should happen) based on the playback you hear from your monitors, in your control/mix room. That means two things:

-Your monitoring room acoustics should ideally be perfectly neutral (practically it should be as close as possible to neutral)
-Your monitors themselves should be good enough to allow what you hear on them to translate to the widest variety of playback systems without you needing to constantly second guess.

Because the speakers themselves cannot be separated from the room (much like the source when tracking can't be) the acoustics of the listening room are critical to the ease with which you are able to know what sounds right through your monitors. So the first priority if you're actually serious about recording high quality work in your space is again room acoustics (in this case the monitoring room), then acquiring quality monitors. A lot of people (some of them professionals) waste a lot of time fighting with room acoustics and thinking they're fighting something else. If you can help it it's wise to not be one of those people from the start.
Old 17th March 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Beat Poet's Avatar
 

Forget the recording gear for now, get your room sorted first and learn to tune. Learning to tune is not all about just sitting there twiddling a key either, experiment with different heads for your kit and if/which method of dampening works best. You'll get the most out of your kit and recording gear that way!
Old 22nd March 2012
  #8
Gear Nut
 
roystone's Avatar
 

I don't know the mk 012 but good oh for 400$ you can have a pair of golden age mk2 active ribbon or cascade vinjet (i use it with b side, it's much bright).

They 'll give you also some fatness to drum sound and no harshness. And you can have also some great vocal, room, gtrs,etc... sounds with them.

For the hh if I don't use a ribbon I put now the ck1 avantone that was less than 100$ with hypercaridio cap(they have also omni and cardio capsules). It has a good rejection and sounds quite natural. But I agree a hh mic is not of first importance, it often remains muted at the end.

The avantone's ck7 multi pattern make also very correct and natural oh for around 400$, my octava cigars remains in their wood box...
condensers are usually too harsh and less natural than ribbons around drums, I have to eq them and then it sounds darker than ribbons that I don't need to eq that much...
The rest of the mic you choose are fine choices!
Old 22nd March 2012
  #9
I'd get four mics.

1 for kick (don't like the D112 much but some people will say the same about my beloved Beta 52a)
1 for Snare (57 is never a mistake here)
and 2 for overheads and spend what you can, get something you will use for a while instead of something cheap you will outgrow in a year or two.
Old 22nd March 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
mikethedrummer's Avatar
Food for thought, when I was recording out of my basement years ago it crossed my mind that it would have been much cheaper to get a vdrum kit and some decent plug ins such as Superior Drummer 2 and Steven Slate Trigger (which i currently now own.) The cost of that, while expensive, is far less than the cost of a good drum kit, good pres, and good mics. Its hard to count on bands to have good gear. Not to mention, digital drums dont have to rely on a good sounding room, which also is very expensive to own and treat.

Basically if I were to do a basement set up again I would get Vdrums, superior drummer 2, and an axe fx ultra.
Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx II Guitar Processor, Preamp, effects processor, amp modeler, guitar effects

This would leave you with an all digital set up capable of recording any style of music with top notch sounds regardless of what the band owns.

Get an apogee duet as your interface and a mid range vocal mic and youre set.
Old 22nd March 2012
  #11
Here for the gear
 

As an analog antidote
I'm putting together a live rehearsal/recording space for my band, budos band that type of nonsense... anyhoo we'll all be in the same room together (10m x 4m shoe box with 15' high pitched ceiling) we're set up in a circle with drums, 2x perc, bass, guitar, keys/acc, 4x brass. I'm getting my head around the acoustics (its a good sounding room) and how to control bass overspill and have got some nice mics and outboard, mixture of old and new. Its all on a bit of a shoestring.

I've been playing around with a trap kit at home to try to hone a drum style, building on gabe roth's daptone sound. The ribbon mic by the kick/snare approach really does work but only if there are no rack toms.

Now here's my dilemma :

The drummer in the band, a skippy, light touched drum fondler who can biff with the best if the moons right, has his drums set up as follows : L-R snare 1, floor tom, hat, snare 2. crash, rack tom, kick, ride. Instead of an arc its more of a straight line back and left from rack to snare 1, with his body and kick offset to the right a touch. It allows him to put in some rippling fills but makes my job engineering a tad hard. I love the open sounds of the drum recordings on 'time out' and the bounce of tony allen's drums and the grit of the budos band.

Given all this, what mics and where?

The gabe roth method from the front won't work because of the rack tom and the floor tom and snare 2 are behind snare 1 in a line. The glynn johns stereo method is also problematic because of the reverse drum set up.

Any suggestions however off the wall are grreatly appreciated, would love to know what others would do in this situation.

Bearing in mind there'll be a 4 piece brass outfit by the ride cymbal and a perc outfit by the hat. (There will be some waist-ish high insulation panels dividing the different groups. i wanted to keep all the acoustic instruments relatively near one another and away from the amps.)

My goal is to simplify the process with the hard work being done by the musicians and cutting down on faffing in production. We are used to the room and balance ourselves well, I want to be able to honestly capture those special moments when the room comes alive.

my mic list is :
2x d190
2x d200
2x sm59
ev 257a
echolette md200
md 421n
md 407 (409)
cascade fathead ll
simon cadenza ribbon mic
d12

I'm reviewing options on condensers so opinions welcomed.

its all about the breaks
Old 22nd March 2012
  #12
Your original choice are not bad and are for the most part would work well with a experienced engineer and good acoustics.

Interface - I own the profire 2626(and apogee ensemble) and while its sounds good, I had to get it repaired. If I had to do it over with I would get a Stienberg mr816 which seems to be built better.

mics -

snare - 57, not bad but check out the beta 57 for better isolation.
toms - I own 3 heil pr28 mics and they sound worlds better than the senn. 609.
kick - I own the d112 but the heil pr48 is much better, check it out
overheads - the oktava are nice but check out a pair of used shure ksm137.
Room mics - get one or two cascade fatheads ribbon mics.

I would much rather have a room mic more than a hi-hat or under snare mic. I rarely ever like the under snare mic unless its for jazz. The hi-hat mic is alway's overkill as I have rarely ever needed more hi-hat, often the opposite was true. The overheads will pickup the hi-hat just fine.

Cables - check out canare star quad, excellent quality and sound for the money.

Acoustics - Diy research knauf acoustical board and diy bass traps/sound panels

Stands - Even though the heil pr28 and e609 have mounts, for recording I would opt to use stands for better isolation. Also check out the samson studio boom for $90 for the overheads

monitors = Get a used pair of dynaudio bm5a

cost

beta 57 used $100
heil pr48 $230 new
2 heil pr28 $400 new
2 shure ksm137 $450 used
2 Cascade fatheads $350
Stienberg mr816 $600 used
diy acoustics $250
cables $250
stands $250
dynaudio bm5a used $600

grand total $3000
Old 23rd March 2012
  #13
Gear Head
 
mjdrums's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikethedrummer View Post
I would get Vdrums, superior drummer 2, and an axe fx ultra. Get an apogee duet as your interface and a mid range vocal mic and youre set.
This is a great strategy! I use almost this exact setup to track very often. Sounds great. Cause if I could mic up drums or amps that sound as good as Superior or the Axe-FX, I'd be a moderator!

IMO, +1 for buying a license of pro tools too
Old 23rd March 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
JulianFernandez's Avatar
 

The whole "learn to tune first" argument is invalid imo ´cause learning to tune takes YEARS! Even the masters keep trying new stuff and changing the way the do things... No point in waiting that to happen; start the journey and enjoy it. Keep playing, recording, tuning, doing some more recording, and eventually you´ll get it...

Peace.
Old 23rd March 2012
  #15
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturticles View Post
I'm looking to start my own home studio for recording and mastering drum tracks. I want to record for as many people as I can as much as I can
Wow - are you looking to do this as a hobby? ...or are you looking to do this as a way to make some money?

If you're looking to do it as a hobby... get what you're going to get and have some fun while you learn more about the craft.

If you're looking to do this as a way to make some money -- don't. You'll get eaten alive. Get some experience [preferably in other peoples recording studios], and build yourself a client base. "If you build it they will come" only works in Kevin Kostner movies... I can't even begin to tell you how many studios I've seen fail that have approached the idea with far bigger budgets and far more experience than you have... seriously - don't plan on earning with this!!

If you're doing it for friends / to have some fun... that sounds great!! You should realize that you most likely be recording some seriously ****ty drummers most of the time [as the good ones get paid a whole lot of money and generally end up working in the best studios in the area]... but hey, you've gotta start somewhere.

For $3k you're not going to get very far in terms of "high quality" microphones / pre-amps etc... but you'll get to a point of "entry level acceptability" without a whole lot of struggle... and should have a good time with it for the first few gigs.

Best of luck with all you do!!

Peace
Old 23rd March 2012
  #16
Sturticles, to clarify, are you intending on being an "online session drummer", or are you looking to record other drummers in your studio?

I have done the online session thing, here is my typical recording rig recently:

Drums:
Primary kit is a large DW Performance Series set, with all available tom sizes.
I have lots of extra pieces, such as snares, toms, kicks etc if I need a different vibe. Cymbals are a broad range, Zildjian, Paiste, Sabian, Turkish etc.

Mics:
I vary mic choice depending on the musical genre, etc.
Kick: Audix D6, AKG D112, EV RE20, Heil PR40 or combinations of them
Snare: Shure SM57 or Heil PR20 top, PR20 bottom
Hat: CAD e70
Toms: Beyer Opus 88
OH's: Shure SM27 or Neumann KM184
Room(s): changes all the time, some LDC's

For high end sessions this is tracked through a friend's BAE 1073's and API 3124's, but for everyday stuff I track through a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56.

The room sound cannot be overstated. I've tracked with this rig in crappy rooms and the result was absolutely terrible, even though the gear is well regarded stuff. The drums need to sound *awesome* on their own in your room before you worry about anything else. Check out the Pensado's place episode with Eric Valentine and the "drumbrella". I'm going to do something like that soon.

FWIW,
I also use DDrum triggers with a Roland TD-6V brain with Toontrack Superior 2.0. I also have a Hart Dynamics e-kit, and frankly the sounds are very hard to beat if you are doing mainstream genres like rock/pop/country etc.

If you want to compete with existing services, you're going to need to invest more than 3K IMHO. There are top tier drummers with tons of credits doing stuff like this for fairly low rates, for example: Studio

Fletcher is right, don't try to rely on this for income starting from scratch or you will indeed get eaten alive. Have fun with it but don't make your expectations too great until you have a client base.

Cheers
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