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Great Drum Sound Discovery

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Todzilla, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    I had been tracking drums using a modified version of Recorderman's setup. And I was using good equipment, but still the drums sounded thin...

    I had a SDC Crown C700 two drumsticks' height from the snare drum going into an API pre. I had another C700 two drumstick's height over the drummer's shoulder into another API. I had an SM57 tight on the snare into a third API. I had a Neumann U-89 under the snare going into a Demeter pre (with phase reversed). Then I had a Audix vocal mic in the kick (to be triggered later). These were going into a RNC and dbx 166 compressors into a MOTU 896HD into Digital Performer.

    Sounded pretty good, in a jazzy realism way, but I couldn't hear the punch I wanted to hear...

    So, I tried something I had heard about that never made sense, but really sounded great. I took the recorded signals and ran them out of the box into the RNC compressor and squashed the hell out of the drums. I had a low compression threshold, high ratio, semi quick attack, semi quick release. I put the squashed output onto a stereo pair in DP. Now I can mix the original lightly compressed signal with the hyper squashed signal. It has a great punch to it and I'm pleased as can be.

    Why should this approach sound so much better than just tracking with more compression? The difference is qualitative, not quantitative.
  2. kats

    kats Guest

    I record drums similarily to you using RM's method with SDC's. You get a great attack sound from the SDC's which get "wishy washy" compressed. The SDC's uncompressed get a really tight dryish sound. But what I do is crush the FOK and blend in to taste. It gives you that bigger room/drum sound - you know, fills in the cracks. But if you compare the FOK to the OH's you'll notice that you lose that tight attack on the toms etc on the FOK. That's why it sounds bigger when you blend to the two. But if your already compressing the OH's your compromising the punch needlessly, since you have another track to serve the function that compression can add to the mix.
  3. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Compression ALWAYS sounds great on drums.
    It stops your ears doing too much work.

    Have you tried just compressing Kick and Snare ?
    Tight Gate first , then compress.
    Introduce it into a drum mix.
  4. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Awesome. Is there any thought to having an ultra-compression version of the lightly compressed track and blending them in the mix?

    Some folks prefer this to general compression and it seems to sound different.
  5. PhiloBeddoe

    PhiloBeddoe Guest

    Coincidentally, I was just playing with this method last night after reading it in Recording magazine.

    The pleasing effect may be that you get to keep the attack of the tracked version while adding the long decay of the super-compressed stuff to fill the gaps. You wouldn't want to track with that much compression because you would lose all your attack and there would be wierd decays going on if you were compressing each mic separately.

    Also, compressing the kit as a whole sounds more natural to me than compressing each mic individually. The smoothly compressed drum mix makes the dynamics very even.

    Really I don't know though, just guessing.
  6. Rider

    Rider Guest

    something like that. it works for guitars too, and i imagine vocals.
  7. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    This technique has been around for a while. Apparently it was a style that originated out of NYC that a lot of people were using.

    It was way cool sounding the first time I used it.
  8. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I've always gotten a kick out of the old motown trick of mult'ing, where you filter the mids and highs out on one bus and excite and compress just the lows. Then filter the lows and the highs out and excite and compress just the mids in a different bus. Then filter the lows and mids and excite and compress just the highs in another bus. Then mix with your dry tracks and bring in the filtered (multed) compressed bands until you have the most amazing drums you've ever heard. A little time consuming to setup but certainly worth the trouble in the end.

    And yes, it absolutely works wonders with acoustic guitars, especially if you add reverb into your aux channels.
  9. comp on drums

    this is a great way to salvage a sub par drum track...thanks!!!!
  10. Digger

    Digger Guest

    I was reading a technique that Michael Brauer uses and he creates 4 compression buses and uses them mixed against the uncompressed or compressed while tracking tracks. Give it a read , very interesting stuff;

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