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How to beef up drums....

Discussion in 'Drums' started by ThirdBird, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    ... without rerecording them.

    I recorded drums for a hardrock/funk kind of song, something similar to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I used one kick and one overhead to mic the kit. I wanted kind of an older sound, kind of like Ringo. While good in theory, it hasn't been good in practice.

    The drums sounded weak and thin. To compensate, I tried just cloning the overhead track and adding Digitalfishphones's Dominion as a fake type of pre-amp. I also used a bit of compression from Digitalfishphones's blockfish. The results were alright, the drums sounded better, but now the cymbals sound harsh like a bad mp3.

    Is there any other way to make the drums sound bigger without rerecording them?
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Well Ringo never sounded "big." To some of us, this is not a bug, it's a feature. If I was recording two of the best vocalists in pop music history, wouldn't hire any musician that sounded "big".

    Assuming that you aren't recording two of the best vocalists in pop music history .... Here are a couple of things to try. First, concentrate on the kick. Gate it, compress it, Eq, replace it if necessary. (I've used a kick mic and a single overhead many times for live sound. Even if the overall sound sucks a loud kick can move them onto the dance floor. You'd be surprise how few people care about that fancy stick work.) Next, take the OH track and rerecord it through a gate to another track. Strip out everything but the hard snare hits. Compress, eq, replace, etc. Then add back the OH track.

    This probably won't work. But it's worth a rainy afternoon's work to try. Maybe someone else has better suggestions.
  3. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    The kick recorded well actually.... I guess I forgot to mention that. The overhead is the problem.

    I also forgot to say that when I doubled the overhead, I panned them hard left and hard right.

    I will definitely check out maybe completey eqing the general cymbal frequencies out, and just having the thud of the drums on the 2nd track.

    I guess I can always just try and lower the highs as it is now.

    Thank you Bob Rogers, you have always given me helpful advice.
  4. TheBear

    TheBear Guest

    just cloning the track and panning them left and right wont do anything...not true stereo. all ur doing is making that track louder

    maybe if you make one track fractions of second later than the other you might get somethin a bit better...maybe not. it might make it slightly off time. but hey...its worth a shot.

    and rolling off the high freq's on the OH will probably make it a lil less harsh.

    just mess around my friend.
  5. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    what exactly isn't sounding "big", the toms, the snare, the kick? try adding verb to give it that sound as if it were in a "big room"

    take a parametric eq and put it on the over head, and turn it up around 200hz, that'll help bring out the low mids, and then look around for anything else you can boost that'll make it sound big, and as far as that "fish thing" you ran your cymbals through, get rid of that, if its making your cymbals sound worse then its not benefiting your sound. and look at performance, were the drums played "big"?

    also check the phase between your kick drum mic and overhead mic, that might be causing some phasing problems causing your drums to not sound full. and don't forget your room sound, and the sound of the drums. haha, sorry got carried away.

    hopefully somethin i said will help you get them drums bigger.
  6. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Not necessarily in a big room, I just mean more in your face. I don't think reverb is what I am really looking for. The drums were definitely played big, that is one thing I can pride myself on.

    I definitely need to and will play around with the eq, but alas I am going away until Tuesday.

    The 'Dominion' is a transient shaper that can also act like a pre-amp. Maybe I can lessen that effect or get rid of it all together.

    Would a multiband compressor be of any use? Or would it be like trying dig a whole with a hammer?

    Thank you for your comments!
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I like the LA2 on drums.

    You could try taking a copy of the kick, run the copy through a compressor. Squash the hell out it. You might even add some EQ, radical EQ is ok on the compressed track.
    Then pull the fader on the squashed kick down, until it just starts to thicken the orginal kick up.

    As for the overhead, you can try the same thing, but it may not work.

    As for stereo:
    Take a copy of the OH, delay the copy by 10-40ms. Pan the copy left and the orignal right. Use gentle eq on each OH track. If you boost 1db at 10k on the right, then cut 1db at 10k on the left. Think ying yang.
    Use the EQ to pull the drums around left and right.

    Or if you have a MS encoding plug that works on a mono track you could try that.

    Have fun.
  8. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Link, those are some great ideas!

    I will definitely check out the LA2.

    I never thought of fading in the compressed track for the kick. Would you pan them any differently?

    I will also try your yin/yang idea, just like your picture. This seems like it might spread out the peaks of cymbal hits so it isn't too harsh.

    Maybe I will also try fading in a compressed overhead track only in the 200-500 range, combining your idea with one from the overhead post.

    Golly gee, thanks!
  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    You could pan the kick differently, but I have never done that...yet :) I would think it would do funny things to the image of the kick though...

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