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DRUM recording techniques

Discussion in 'Drums' started by gtarist3587, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. gtarist3587

    gtarist3587 Guest

    Alright so here's my deal....i'm thinking for good sounding kick drum...should i go with a boost of highs in eq and cut in lows and a thin Q sound to get a good punch in bass drum which doesn't rival bass guitar in the mix or should i try cloning the bass drum track eqing one copy really high mid and high for punch and the other copy low end for depth? which technique will sound better ? also no matter what kind of mic placement i use on the bass drum i find it hard to get any kind of attack on it...all i hear is thud thud thud could i be my drummers bass drum head sucks? cuz thats what i'm thinking it doesn't sound like it has any balls live so why would it recorded? .......another thing if anyone could clear up what "phase cancellation " is for me and how to deal with it i'd be much obliged thanks
  2. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    Dec 11, 2004

    Just a few questions for you first, what kind of mic are you using, what kind of preamp are you going into, are you compressing, is there a resenant head, if yes is there a hole in the head, what are you recording on to? And the most important sound of all is, what kind of music is it for and what kind of sound do you want. Give an example. Also what are you using to eq?

  3. Barkingdogstudios

    Barkingdogstudios Active Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    My understanding is that the rule of thumb is if you're going to boost the kick at a given frequency, do not boost the bass guitar at the same frequency (or frequencies). To get some attack on the kick you can put some narrow-q boost at about 3500 Hz. If you can, just listen to the kick and move where the boost is until you can hear it through the mix at low volumes. The other option is to have the drummer use the "hard" side of the kick beater and mic not only from inside the drum but also on the "strike" side pointing the mic right at where the beater hits the head (phase reversed for this mic, of course).

    To bobbo's point, mic choice makes a huge difference. I use an EV RE20 and recorderman's sub mic. The RE20 is about halfway inside the front of the drum (head removed or mostly cut out) pointed about two inches to the side of where the beater hits the skin from the other side. I don't use much of the bottom end of this track but I do use it for attack and punch. I blend in the sub mic for the "oomph".
  4. gtarist3587

    gtarist3587 Guest

    i am using the shure 6 peice mic pac PG model mics .....a dm24 mixer and i'm only using "preset" compressors built into my mixer....i'm recording a pop punk band and i kind of want a tight punchy bass drum with decent attack....i don't need super attack like metal bands just a good sounding punch.....i don't know what "narrow" Q means there is a Q dial on my mixer should i push it all the way left or right for a "narrow" Q setting?
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Does your mixer have graphic display of the EQ? If so turn the "Q" (bandwidth) control and watch the notch or boost on the screen ... when it gets narrow, that's a narrow "Q" ....

    Two things stick out in your post ... first, how hard is the drummer striking the kick drum ... if the attack is weak, it's going to sound wimpy. Second, do not use compression on the kick if you are having trouble getting attack out of the drum ... Compression can dull the attack ... I almost never compress drums, parallel or otherwise ... If the drums are well recorded in the first place, I don't think it's necessary.
  6. gtarist3587

    gtarist3587 Guest

    I'll have to check that out next session about the Q display sounds like it makes sense however. The drummer hits fairly solid and i'll take off the compression.....so whats the overall verdict from those who read this...should i go with one bass drum track with narrow q and more highs than lows or two tracks one highs one lows?
  7. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    From your description, the problems all stem from the drum, and very possibly the drummer's technique [or lack thereof].

    To get a good 'tik' on kick I've found it best to have the beater side head a bit loose so you can really feel the beater sinking into the head... then tuning the outter head so you get the balls of the note of the drum.

    Mic'ing... well I'm a huge fan of Sennheiser MD-421's inside the drum and the Soundelux U-195 outside... engage the "fat" switch and the "lo cut" switch simultaneously and tune the drum so you get all the balls and "punch" you're trying to achieve along with the presence of the 'tik'.

    If the drummer doesn't pull the beater back after each hit you're going to have problems as it will choke the note of the drum [the technique thing to which I alluded earlier]

    You should be able to get an absolutely killer kick drum sound with no EQ what-so-ever... but if you are going to use EQ make sure that it's a very high headroom equalizer that has the ability to deliver all the balls you're trying to achieve... most cheap desk [Soundcraft/Allen & Heath, etc.] can't deliver the 'current on demand' to form a proper kick drum sound, their equalizers actually doing more harm than good for the overall sound of the drum.

    Best of luck with it.

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