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Anyone dispensing w/ stereo for tracking?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Bear's Gone Fission, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    I'm thinking my life would be much easier (and cheaper) if I didn't bother with recording stereo pairs of anything, even overheads. I'm working with 1/2" 8 track, so preserving tracks before I have to bounce is of interest to me, but I could see for rock and pop stereo mic'ing could be unnecessary.

    The big thing that I do use in stereo is drum overheads, but with more minimalist mic techniques, that isn't a necessity, and you can get a bit of left-right dimension with slight panning of a few mics. I'll do stereo for other things when called for (prominent acoustic guitar for example), but for straight rock I really don't do real stereo for tracking. And most of the "stereo" field in rock is in the panning, which often results in ridiculouly wide sounding drum kits (those overheads) on home stereo systems.

    An added benefit for a cheapskate like me is stereo pairs of everything ceases to be an issue, just get one each of some great mics and some single channel pres and work it. Also, no trying to evenly ride two faders on an analog board!

    Anyone with me here? Or is stereo mic'ing a big part of how you work?

  2. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    I mic in stereo when I'm going for a specific sound, most often with overheads- but on a 1/2" 8 track, I'd be more likely to do a 2-4 mic thing and bus it to stereo for the drums anyway. Other than overheads, I don't often do stereo on much. When I do, it's things like groups of singers, where stereo is kind of a downmix anyway.
  3. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    To me the main appeal of 16 track over 8 was that I could even think about tracking a few things in stereo. With analog tape, breaking mikes out on to separate tracks never sounds as solid as mixing them together in the first place so even after we went 16 track, I almost never recorded anything besides drums, strings and horns in stereo. Even then I did stereo drums and kick on three tracks.
  4. weezy christ

    weezy christ Guest

    I've actually stopped stereo mic-ing drums (overheads) for a while....I've found it easier to get the sound I want with just 3 mics. a large diaphragm condenser on OH, a small dia. cond. to the side of the snare/hats, and a kick drum mic. if you extreme pan the OH and snare/hat mic, you can get wild stereo field stuff going, usually with 4th room mic, you can get good results. depends on your room tho.

    anyhoo, mic-ing/recording drums is fun again for me. I used to stress about getting perfect, close mic'd sounds and $*^t, but was just making too much work for myself. it pays to experiment.
  5. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    16 tracks, Bob? I know what I would do with an extra 4 tracks, but an extra 8? I guess more stuff in stereo, then. :p So I guess you do (did?) your submix when tracking, where I don't often commit a submix until the bounce. I don't ever do more than 4 drum mics, anyhow, so it hasn't been a huge deal, and I often don't even have to bounce those.

    Weezy, interested in how you're messing with the 3 mic setup. I haven't done enough messing with just three yet, but I have an ambition to try the (almost) ultimate bottom feeder three mic setup next chance I get: Behringer ECM-8000 as overhead, EV 635a/PL-5 snare-ish, and a Beyer M-88 kick-ish. Thats less than $300 investment in mics and I think it could be good on a good kit. Not sure how good my new living room'll be for drums, though. And I don't know how musicians hook up in Houston yet, so it might be a while. (Part of me wants to just go ahead and buy a kit and learn to play it, but the wiser part knows I'll just suck.)

  6. weezy christ

    weezy christ Guest

    Bear, here's what I do (most of this is from Mercenary Audio/Fletcher's site):

    OH mic: Oktava Mk319
    snare/hats: Oktava MC012 w/ hyper-card. capsule
    kick: AT pro 25

    if those aren't bottom feeders, then I don't know what is. anyhoo, the OH is high up and generally over the drummer's right shoulder/low tom area. the snare/hats mic is about 6-8 inches away & pointing to the left side of the snare and just a few inches under the lip of the hats. the kick is close mic'd inside the shell, a few inches away from the head. as far as the room mic goes, whatever I got handy is fine, usually my other Oktava MC012 with the omni capsule on the other side of the room.

    it's far from slick or graceful. but it takes very little time and I like more of a room sound anyways. hope that helps...
  7. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by Bear's Gone Fission:
    ... So I guess you do (did?) your submix when tracking,

    We didn't think of it as submixing but yes, we put more than one mike and even reverb on the same track. We also rode the gain on live vocals. The idea was to KNOW exactly where you were at while tracking and for anybody who was overdubbing to be playing or singing to something approximating the finished product.

    Otherwise you need to do a mix in order to figure out if an overdub is going to work.
  8. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    I guess the difference is I'm not commited to the mix from the start, but the basics are pretty solidly delineated so I have a good guess. I'm too terified that less than 3 channels of drums will paint me into a corner if I don't have enough else of the track to be sure it'll work. A good surgical eq could probably alleviate those fears a bit, even though I would hope to not have to fix it in the mix. I guess I'll try some goof off sessions without a net just to practice. (Confirming her notions that I've lost it by practicing recording, as opposed to an instrument.)

  9. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    In my experience a bad decision is a thousand times better than no decision.

    Once a commitment has been made, you need to figure out how to MAKE it work. If you save making everything work for the mix, you've just punted on using the most powerful tools of all which are arrangement and performance.
  10. rivers

    rivers Member

    "In my experience a bad decision is a thousand times better than no decision.

    Once a commitment has been made, you need to figure out how to MAKE it work. If you save making everything work for the mix, you've just punted on using the most powerful tools of all which are arrangement and performance".

    Bob I've been admiring your posts from afar but that qoute sounds like should go into the "Ten Commandments" of recording.
  11. Amazing how some arrangements just are heaven-sent for recording and others are just a headache. With my own music an arrangement for live and for recording are two different things- and the one for recording is not more complex, but simpler, so it can all fit on the tape! (or virtual equivalent!) Only so many ways the poor li'l speakers can jump at once....
    All about a hole for everything and everything in it's hole.
  12. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    (Great posts, Bob)

    Personally, I like to use stereo tracks or pairs of tracks for many things: Acoustic git, drum overhead mics, drum room mics, toms, snare top+bottom, kick inside+outside, electric gits close+room, bass DI+mic, stereo strings, stereo percussion, string bass plucked+frets, stereo piano...to name a few simplified examples. I'll readily admit to using 12-14 tracks for a rock drum kit recording, though it does depend on the musical context.

  13. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    Regarding miking a drum kit with 3 or 4 mics...while that can work for certain contexts (off the top of my head...jazz, roots blues, bluegrass, big beat, lo-fi a la Beck, garage, some R&B), it still isn't what I see happening the most often for rock drums.

    Some of you might find this interesting...A couple months back, I had the chance to play around for an hour in the studio with a copy of the original tracks of a well-known rap/metal song that was a major hit in the US in late 2000/early 2001. Though it was tracked to PT, the track count remained a reasonable 24 tracks, although the drums were definitely not done with 3 mics.

    Here was the track listing:

    Kick inside
    Kick outside
    Snare top
    Toms L
    Toms R
    OH L
    OH R
    Room L (the room mics brought all the real
    Room R power to the drum kit BTW)
    Bass G (miked amp)
    E Guitar L
    E Guitar R
    E Guitar2 L
    E Guitar2 R
    E Guitar FX 1
    E Guitar FX 2
    E Guitar wah
    E Guitar echo (effect was tracked during the take)
    V Lead
    V Lead double
    V Distorted Lead
    V Whispered Lead
    V Screamed Lead

    FWIW...though it did have that PT sound, esp. in the guitar tracks, the recording and performances were well-done. Just putting up the faders was enough to hear a decent rough mix.


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