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Recording Drums - always a challenge Ribbon Microphones
Old 16th May 2012
  #1
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Recording Drums - always a challenge

Admittedly I have not recorded a full kit very often but I have done my homework and plenty of at home mock-ups with makeshift 'faux' drum kits.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with everything except with how much kick, hat and rack tom bled into the snare mic. I used a 57 within 2" of the snare rim, slightly above, pointed to the middle of the snare. I had very little room to work with because of how his kit was set up. Maybe another mic with more rejection?

There is enough kick bleed in the snare track to affect the sound of the kick. I've tried flipping the phase on the kick or snare but that messes everything up.
If I cut the lows on the snare, the snare sounds too thin. I don't think I can gate the snare track to get rid of the kick because the kick is almost as loud as the snare.

I should mention that I am not working on a computer based DAW, but rather a multi-track digital recorder/mixer (AW4416).

thanks
jn
Old 16th May 2012
  #2
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NeoHippy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
Admittedly I have not recorded a full kit very often but I have done my homework and plenty of at home mock-ups with makeshift 'faux' drum kits.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with everything except with how much kick, hat and rack tom bled into the snare mic. I used a 57 within 2" of the snare rim, slightly above, pointed to the middle of the snare. I had very little room to work with because of how his kit was set up. Maybe another mic with more rejection?

There is enough kick bleed in the snare track to affect the sound of the kick. I've tried flipping the phase on the kick or snare but that messes everything up.
If I cut the lows on the snare, the snare sounds too thin. I don't think I can gate the snare track to get rid of the kick because the kick is almost as loud as the snare.

I should mention that I am not working on a computer based DAW, but rather a multi-track digital recorder/mixer (AW4416).

thanks
jn
hey, have you tried to EQ the snare just SLIGHTLY at the bottom end and then gate it? sometimes those 1,2,3 db made the trick so i could gate it in my recordings..
after the gate you could turn in those 1,2,3 db low end again!

if that doesnt work either, i guess you either have to record it new with an other mic(position) or polar pattern!

best wishes!
Old 16th May 2012
  #3
without hearing the track it sounds to me like you had a drummer with a bad internal balance, or something bad was going on with either the snare mic or the position. Did you compress the snare? Right now I think you have mainly worked with drum machines, you really can't think of acoustic drums in the same way. First start with the overheads not with the individual tracks, bring them up first, then the individual tracks, see how the interplay is between the overheads and the kick, then bring up the snare , how do all of these sound together? The instrument you recorded is a drumset, not the individual drums, so it's about how they worked together. Then bring up the rest of the drum channels. As far as gating the drums I never gate the kick or snare , I will either ride or mute around the toms to get rid of the tom ring. No gates
Old 16th May 2012
  #4
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Good advice there from Musiclab. Get the overheads as right as you possibly can first, then move on. If you are in a room that's not well treated, your job is more difficult by far. Even temporary, makeshift diffusion and absorption can make a difference on drums because their high transient response makes for a ton of early reflections in an untreated room, especially if it's a smaller room.

In terms of avoiding bleed, have you listened to the effect of snare mic position and angle on the bleed? Take your time with this. Likewise on EQ, compression and gating, take the time to wring it out. The individual snare and kick tracks, once optimized, might not sound so good on their own but in the mix, they work.

You can also make a kick tunnel pretty easily to help isolate the kick from the snare. I've used tables and blankets as a DIY tunnel.
Old 16th May 2012
  #5
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If I'm doing a light song where the drummer won't really be hitting the drums terribly hard, I know I can get away with a 57...

However, most of what I do is Daughtry/Nickelback pop/rock music, where the kid is trying to play just like they hear it on the record. They're wacking away at the kit...

So what does that mean? Those drums are projecting even more, therefore facilitating a mic like a 57, while having a pretty tight cardioid pattern, is still not tight enough to reject bleed from drums that are being hit that hard. I've seen 57's used as overheads. Whether the ideal choice or not, the pros I've seen use them, did so for a variety of reasons, 1 of them probably because they do pick up in a more broad pattern than their 'tight pattern' advertisements elude to.

Here, it's either a beta57(supercardioid) or a CAD M179 with its dial set in supercardioid. This give me a much better shot at not having a bleed nightmare when I go to mix.
Old 16th May 2012
  #6
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Old 16th May 2012
  #7
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Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by richgilb View Post
Never had this as an issue, as I start with the overheads as full kit mics, not room or cymbal mics. And so the individual drum mics are rarely used except for the bass drum mic.
Try doing a metal record like that...
Old 16th May 2012
  #8
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edva's Avatar
Beyer M260 with the built-in roll-off is good in this situation. Senni 441 also, with low cut.
Old 16th May 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
If I'm doing a light song where the drummer won't really be hitting the drums terribly hard, I know I can get away with a 57...

However, most of what I do is Daughtry/Nickelback pop/rock music, where the kid is trying to play just like they hear it on the record. They're wacking away at the kit...

So what does that mean? Those drums are projecting even more, therefore facilitating a mic like a 57, while having a pretty tight cardioid pattern, is still not tight enough to reject bleed from drums that are being hit that hard. I've seen 57's used as overheads. Whether the ideal choice or not, the pros I've seen use them, did so for a variety of reasons, 1 of them probably because they do pick up in a more broad pattern than their 'tight pattern' advertisements elude to.

Here, it's either a beta57(supercardioid) or a CAD M179 with its dial set in supercardioid. This give me a much better shot at not having a bleed nightmare when I go to mix.

Good info, I think I'll try a supercardiod next time I record drums. I'm guessing you aren't putting the rear on the hi hat then right?
Old 16th May 2012
  #10
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Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfahb44 View Post
Good info, I think I'll try a supercardiod next time I record drums. I'm guessing you aren't putting the rear on the hi hat then right?
Kinda tough to do that, but in any case, at least with the beta57, the body of the mic is what's in the way right where the rear lobe would pick up anyway, so not really an issue. It's not a side address mic that would really give you this issue. It would have to pick up through metal for this cause problems...
Old 16th May 2012
  #11
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NYCruiser's Avatar
Always a case by case dilemna. Sometimes a figure 8 mic will work on snare with the nulls pointed at the kick and hat.
Old 16th May 2012
  #12
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Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCruiser View Post
Always a case by case dilemna. Sometimes a figure 8 mic will work on snare with the nulls pointed at the kick and hat.
This works wonders!! Been trying that lately with my r92 and so far, really liking the results. I actually like the snare sound better, even though the top mic is still a beta57, but the r92 is actually mic'ing the shell.
Old 16th May 2012
  #13
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even on a tight, hard hitting metal album a little bleed can be a good thing - it keeps it a bit more organic. if you want a super polished metal sound than it's harder with lots of bleed but if you want a bit more gritty type of sound then go with it. definitely work on aiming the snare mic in the right direction - bass is omnidirectional in nature but you can still make an improvement if you can get the mics null points lined up good.

Also, try a second mic on the bottom, often you can get a good amount of rejection on that as you are pointing completely away from the kick, and then you also get the extra buzz from the snares. The bottom head can be fun to compress like crazy and then send to the reverb and blend it in with the top for a pretty cool snare sound.

also, for what its worth - educating your client on the drums is important as well. a LOT of these hard rock bands that are really polished are layering in samples with the kick and snare, maybe even replacing them.

Parting thoughts - Just remember that if something sounds "larger than life" then there is probably some sort of trick or technique that is getting that sound. An SM57 running through modest studio gear in a less than ideal room, with a drum kit typical of the average local band is not going to sound larger than life like what you hear on the radio without a heck of a lot of work to get there. Help your client understand this and then work through your options to get the best sound possible. Keep in mind that there are likely several areas for improvement here, and investing just in one area is likely to help but not solve the problem. You probably need to take a couple of steps to get where you want to be. If you aren't ready to make those investments, get the best sound you can with what you have and try layering in some nice drum samples to help get you to where you need to be for now.
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