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help! why do these drums sound like crap?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by tonybran, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. tonybran

    tonybran Guest

    hey guys, what the hell am i doing wrong.... this is a simple recording of the drums, no EQ's or compression or effects....i've been fooling around with mic placement for a few weeks now and nothing seems right, ..the skins are all fine and tuned...it just sounds ...bad, i dont know what else to say.... maybe one of your trained ears can point something out by listening to it...


    OH's ...2 x MXL 603's
    Snare... SM57 on top
    Kick..AKG D112 in resonant skin hole about 3 inches in

    drumset: tama rockstar
    bass drum= 24''
    snare= 13''
    cymbals= 13'' Sabian AAX stage hi-hats
    17'' Sabian AAX stage crash
    18'' Sabian Pro Crash
    20'' Zildjian K Custom Ride
  2. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Tune the kick drum down a little. :cool:
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Is the snare mic working? It sounds like youve got more snare from the overheads instead of from the snare mic.
  4. tonybran

    tonybran Guest

    yep its working,...the snare is one of the worst sounds im getting , it just sounds so weak .....how do the others sound (the kick, and OH's) and what can i do to improve them......also, does it sound like their's room noise and/or flutter echo or reverb???
  5. Derm

    Derm Guest

    The snare usually sounds better when mic'd underneath as well. if you do this you can mix the 2 signals to taste and remember to invert the phase on one of the mics.
  6. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    i'm not 100% sure, but i think i can hear a small and bedroom-like sound. it sounds boxy overall (dip between 200-500 hz on the kick and a little on OH's too) maybe add a little between 4k and 6k on the snaredrum
    tame down the hihats (make sure that its not spilling too much on the SD-mic.)

    i second Sebatron, the kick is not in its best tune. neither is the snare, try taking of the skins and tuning it from scratch [there was a recent topic with a link to a tuning-guide, ill try posting the link later]

    most of all, you need a better room

    (i only listened like 4 times, and swept a little eq)
  7. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    i found the link
    it could be useful:

    good luck man
  8. I have the same issues with recording drums. It just doesn't sound like it has the impact it should.

    The kick sound is missing low end fullness. I find that to be a problem with a lot of spots inside the kick (you get a good beater sound, but you don't always get the rich low end). On the other hand, moving the mike outside the kick might give you a bit more developed low end, but then you usually end up with way too much midrange sound.

    Try some parametric EQ on the kick. Start at around 70 Hz and move up until you find the fundamental of the kick and boost it pretty well. Then reduce the area in between 200 and 600 Hz a few db (4-6). See how that sounds.

    I would roll off everything below 500 Hz on the OH mikes 3-6 db. That area of the sound tends to add mud to the overall drum sound.

    The snare is missing some snap. Try boosting around 4-7 kHz (start with 3 db and boost to taste). If it doesn't sound thick enough to you, it is one of the few drums that sounds good with some boost around 200-300 Hz.

    How high are your ceilings? If they are 8 feet or less, you'll want to keep the OH mikes pretty close to the drums. Ideally, the OH mikes should be 18-24" above the drums, but if the ceilings are pretty low, you may want them to be 12" over the set. I've found that they sound better when they are directly over the drums, pointing straight down. That also usually helps the cymbals sound less "washy".
  9. mrbwnstn

    mrbwnstn Guest

    Personally I don't think your kit sounds like "crap". I mean there are obviously things that could make it sound better, but it isn't the worst thing I've ever heard. In fact I like the sound of the kit, by itself, before the drummer opens his hats and starts using his cymbals.

    I think the problem lies with your overheads. They're giving your cymbals, snare and kick a distant sound, and are taking away from your punchiness.

    But I'm sure if you take out your OH's your snare goes to sh*t right? I'd work on getting a better snare sound by adding a mic on under the snare, and blending the two. Make sure to reverse the phase on the two snare mics, otherwise you'll have a lot of cancellation and it'll probably sound hollow. A snare only mic'd on top generally sounds very flat and without body, in my experience.

    Your kick could use some beef, for my personal taste. I agree that you should tune it down, but if this is the pitch you're going for, cool. Are you pushing that D112 through a pre amp of any kind? It sounds like it could use some breathing room and warmth that a pre could add. Where is the D112 placed? Is there a hole in the front head that you're sticking it through? You might try mic'ing it outside the kick, and putting another mic on the front end to record the beater's attack. Then you can blend the two and mess with different EQ's to find a good blend between beef and attack. Again, reverse the phase on the mics if you use this method.

    That should make the initial sound of the snare and kick sound better without the help of the "room" sound you'll get from your overheads. And I didn't hear toms in the sound clip, and you didn't mention them, so I won't comment on toms.

    Like I said, I think the biggest problems with this mix are the OH's. Are your pushing the mic's hard? Where are the mic's placed? How close are they to your Cymbals?

    I'd try dropping the level while you record the OH's. They sound like they are being pushed really hard, and end up sounding like you're playing in a garage. Experiment with the distance they are to the cymbals. It sounds like you have them back quite a bit and are not getting a very direct sound from your crash and high hats. Maybe placing them closer would get a more direct sound. Do those MXL mic's have any cardioid altering capabilities? If not, try just using the mics to add taste to the mix instead of volume.

    If you can snag a better room mic try placing it back from the kit about 8 - 10 feet (if you have that much room to play with) as your "room" sound, and try getting a more direct sound out of your cymbals using your MXL's.

    Hope that helps!
  10. tonybran

    tonybran Guest

    thanks alot everyone , as always i appreciate the loads of input..

    i'm gonna try experimenting a little more, seems to be the consensus that another mic on the bottom of the snare could help, so i'm gonna try that out....i'm also gonna fool around the tunings a bit, especially the kick, tune it lower.....and lastly, bring my OH's a little lower to hopefully reduce that washy sound....

    also, i didnt mention this before.... the room i'm recording in is 36' feet long, 30' wide, so its relatively big , but the ceiling is only 7' high so i put up a lot of moving blankets around the set to kill flutter echo and reverb.....

    but i'm gonna fool around a bit , take everyones useful tips, and post a new clip in a week or so
  11. mrbwnstn

    mrbwnstn Guest

    My studio has a relativly low ceiling also (8 feet) and I got a lot of crazy reflection going right back into my overheads. I didn't want to kill my sound with foam, but I didn't want direct reflection back into the mics. I bought some Auralex Minidefusors and put 12 of those right above where my kit sits. It has done wonders! The sound is dispersed in different directions instead of right back at the mic. Something to think about.
  12. tonybran

    tonybran Guest

    mrbwnstn- did you use the T'fusors or the MiniDefusors, and also.....if the mic isnt picking it up anyway, why not use foam?
  13. p0llen_p0ny

    p0llen_p0ny Guest

    Try placing each of the o/h mics at the left & right hand boundaries of the kit (where the kit ends on the left and right sides). Align them so they are essentially at a right-angle to the floor (ie. pointing at the floor). I know this sounds rather unorthodox and looks pretty weird but I've had some excellent results with this technique. I normally place them 18-24" above the kit. If it sounds a bit too spatial for your taste move them a little closer to the center of the kit... but not too much.

    Tune the kick down a little and make sure the mic is placed a little away from the center of the drum. The center tends to be a dead spot. The snare sounds ok. Try placing it nearly level with the plane of the top head (less angle) and the diaphragm about half an inch inside the rim.

    This works for me. But it all depends on taste.

    Good luck!
  14. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. If this is a drum track for a song, try posting a recording of your mix, rather than just one element of the mix that you feel is a problem. What if the song's begging for this drum sound but some other instrument is actually the problem?

    But then again, maybe it really is the drums.... What do I know? Just an idea.
  15. mrbwnstn

    mrbwnstn Guest

    I used the Mini Defusors, mainly because that's all I could get my hands on. I'd probably use the T'fusors if I could afford them right now.

    You could deadin your room, or above your kit, if you like. However, your kit sounds the way it does partially because of the room. Have you ever heard a kit in a totally dead room? They sound like garbage. They're flat and dull and seem quieter. Part of what you hear when you listen to an insturment is the sound of the room's natural timber. So in my opinion I like to use as much of the natural room sound without getting in the way of my mix. (although it depends on the type of music I'm recording, and how nice your room is) I don't want the room to color my sound, but at the same time I don't want to reduce the natural "good" (for lack of a better word) sound either. So defusors are great because they spread the sound out. They keep it from returning directly to the source, but don't cancel the sound.

    However, your room may be big enough that you don't need to bother with them at that spot, so this may all be in vain. ;) I'd say do whatever you think sounds best, and what you can afford.
  16. rc86mike

    rc86mike Guest

    I've heard worse drums. I'm sure with some EQing and what not you could make it pretty good. Someone said to mic the snare on top and bottom which is always a favorite of mine to do.

    This might be a no brainer but have you checked to make sure your Overheads aren't creating phase problems? Switch between mono and stereo listening to make sure your phase is fine. Other than that everyone has said pretty much everything else.
  17. tonybran

    tonybran Guest

    well i got my bass drum to sound a little deeper and my snare a little fuller by adding another sm57 to the bottom....but my the damn OH's seem to be my biggest problem still.....the hit hats sound very tinny and washy, especially when played open......could it be placement or should i invest in something better than MXL603's as OH's?
  18. rc86mike

    rc86mike Guest

    It might be the microphone(s) *shrugs* I've read good and weak reviews of it. As I recall they're around 80 bucks a piece so if you invested in some Sennheiser small condensers and put those on top of the kit it would probably get better. Although the description still makes me think of when I had some phasing issues with my OH's in a session about a month and a half ago.
  19. tonybran

    tonybran Guest

    on ProTools, you can inverse the phase after recording, so i tried inverting the phase of one of the OH's and no good, same crap....
  20. DaperDan

    DaperDan Guest

    why do you need to do this?

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