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from killer guitar tones to killer snare sounds

Discussion in 'Drums' started by bhuvan, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. bhuvan

    bhuvan Active Member

    i've been reading some stuff on how to mix and match and overdub to get a killer guitar tone for the track...

    what i really missed in the last session i had was the snare sound that i had in my head.. was looking for a tight, compressed, fat sounding snare, but couldn't get anywhere close to that..

    the other issue was that i tried using a rode nt2 for the kick.. the kick sounded great, but it picked up so much of the rest of the kit, that when you mix this mic in, it changes the sound of the kit a great deal.

    how much of getting that fat snare sound is recording and how much of it is mixing..?
     
  2. doulos21

    doulos21 Member

    how much of it is the killer snare to begin with? great snares sound great when simply played without micing without eqs effects etc if the snare doesnt sound like what your going for change the snares sound re tune it check the heads or borrow a snare that sounds like what your after next is a great room to record in if you dont have one then record the drums as dry as possible close miced with baffles etc remember when your mixing in overheads what is on that track is your snare sound if you want it fatter you have to work around it offten cutting the overheads at 180 an up with a steep roll off to recontour the snare sound what are you looking for what type of a snare sound? there is all kinds of killer snare sounds from deep ambence to tight piccalo and many techniques to get the desired sounds
     
  3. heyman

    heyman Guest

    Some may say it is a cop-out, but in a pinch, I would recommend Drumagog. Download the demo and try it, If you like it go out and get the full version so you can download new samples.

    We used it on kick and snare and blended it into the tracks with the original kick and snare that were good, but were lacking something.

    This way you have the feel of the drummer, because you are not touching the perfomance, only altering the sound..
     
  4. bhuvan

    bhuvan Active Member

    yeah, i think, i'll also give drumagog a shot. i'll be trying it first time though.

    doulos, the snare was a good piece to begin with. pearl, ian paice signature. but as the name suggests, the tonal quality was quite different from what i had in mind--fat, tight, compressed. and i barely tweaked it.

    this point aside, what really bothered me was how every other mic on the kit had the snare better than the snare mic itself! ok, these are the mic details:

    AKG C 1000: overheads in AB (in a way, because the separation between the two mics was much much more than 20 cm)

    Rode NT 2: kick drum. resonant head removed. blankets at the bottom. mic in the centre of the drum, half-way out, pointing at the beater.

    SM58 (57 unavailable): snare. wire mesh removed. 1.5 inches from the rim.

    SM58: choke. wire mesh removed. about 12 inches away.

    the only other spare mic: AKG C 3000B

    i tried this on the choke, but it was making it sound too harsh. so we tried a dynamic instead.

    the trouble:

    the toms can't be closed miced and we have to rely on the overheads only. the main problem in this is that the body sound of the cymbals is undesirable.

    the NT2 and overheads picked up the high-end and transient attack of the snare better than the 58 on it.

    tried putting cloth covering over the kick to cover the mic inside. also, put the mic from under a table to "shield" it from catching the highs around. -- no good!

    if the snare channel is processed in solo, when the overheads and kick mics are turned on, it starts sounding way different from where the sound was heading.

    well, a reference drum sound and song sound would be "Bloodsucking Leeches" -- Dixie Dregs. Alternative snare sound: halfway to Chris Layton's in "Telephone Song" -- Stevie Ray Vaughan.
     
  5. dustbro

    dustbro Guest


    It's all about the recording. First you need a great sounding room. Believe it or not, the room makes a huge difference in what your drums sound like. After you find the proper room for your drum, the next task is finding the right instrument! it's not unusual to go thru 20 different snares until you find the right one for the job. Here's a pic of the snare drums we tried out on one of my sessions.

    Once you find the right drum, you then have to find the right microphone combination to caputure all of the energy and properly represent the transient of this drum. Everyone has their favorites, and mine are a 57 on top and a 441 on bottom.
    Then you have to match those microphones with mic pre's and compressors. Again, it's not uncommon to go thru 4 or 5 mic pre's till you find the right one for the job. They all react differently to the sonic characteristics of a drum. I'll usually reach for an API or Neve pre for snares. They keep the sound aggressive and thick. and then once you find that, then you look for the right compressor. 99% of the time I'll use the SSL channel strip compressor for percussion. It just has that certain snappy sound that I like. Especially the E series consoles.
    Then when you go to mix, you can add samples to re-enforce your sounds... and maybe run it thru the SPL transient designer to tweak it out some more.
    HOpe this helps.
     
  6. bhuvan

    bhuvan Active Member

    hey dustbro .. thanks for all that valuable advice..

    literally speaking, to get a killer tone, one actually has to go through hardware like that and have all those perfect conditions of a good studio.

    unfortunately, mine is more like a home studio. the room is far from perfect or live. the only mics available are the ones i've mentioned. and the audio goes through an Aardvark Q10 to the PC that runs logic.

    so my thing right now is -- how close or far can i get to that quality with correct micing, correct choice of instrument, good tuning etc and some plug-ins?
     
  7. oakman

    oakman Guest

    I don't have tons of studio experience with drums, but back when I was mixing concerts, the way the drummer wacked the snare drum made a big difference too. Sometimes you have to be a constant irritation to a drummer to get him to play with good consistancy.
     
  8. grega60438

    grega60438 Guest

    I do not have tons of experience, but I am working on improving all the time.
    Drums are very subjective. So this is my opinion.
    I have used the Q10 so my experience may be interesting to you.

    I did the individual mic for each item for awhile, and usually thought it sounded dull. I researched and tried many different ways and I found that personally I preferred more of a room sound.

    Very room dependent room sound:
    Both of these methods require a decent room size and decent room qualities. The room I used is 18x24 with 5/8's absorbtion.
    The floor is concrete. The the drum set is on heavy duty weight lifter rubber mats which decreases ringing.

    I used large condensors(Rode NTK and the Neumann U89) as overheads spread 5 feet apart and about 6 feet off the ground. The overheads are pointed at opposite ends. The Rode I have pointed at the opposite end floor toms and the Neumann 89 pointed at the opposite end snare. A Shure 52 in the kick.
    I found this method does very well with the cymbals, but requires extra work and some EQ tricks on the snare and toms. So to solve that issue add a 57 on the snare and large condensor on the toms.
    Tip: Use a speaker as a second microphone for the kick.
    Limiting also really improved my sound.

    Peace!
    Greg Alcorn
    Alcorn Studios
     
  9. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    Recording drums is an art form that I will always have respect for. I've been working on getting my technique for 2.5 years now, and I am getting closer and closer everyday. It is obvious that with neve 1073's or api pres, and every mic known to mankind in a perfect sounding room drums are gonna sound good. But how can you make it sound "good enough" in a not perfect room, with a small mike selection, and crappy preamps? It CAN be done. First of all, learn proper mike placement, this is gonna be your first issue. For kick drum, experiment with the resonant head on and off (i prefer it off for that flat, punchy sound) also, try different drum heads. I really like pinstripes on toms, remo coated ambassador on snare, and an aquarian super kick II on kick. I use octava mk012's on TOMS. They sound great, one of the most underrated TOM mics out there. I like them as overheads, but I think they are a little too harsh. Speaking of harsh, c1000s are IMO terrible overhead mics. I prefer the warmer washy sound of 414s on OH. But in lieu of that, try groove tube gt55s or studio project c3's on OH. they sound great too. make sure you mike the snare VERY close, and get the angle right so you get as much highhat rejection as possible, so when you go to eq the high end of the snare, you aren't battling the highhat bleed.

    lastly, a good starting point is recorderman's drum miking setup. i started with this method, and tweaked it until i got my sounds the way i like them. it's all about personal preference. I've recorded drums in our garage in a 12x14 soundproof room and gotten good sounds. good drums, good ears, and a decent imagination and you will have a nice drum sound in no time.
     

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