Discussion in 'Drums' started by ckerian, Nov 11, 2002.
How do you get a room mic in phase with the drum kit if it is a good 8 feet from the drums?
At 8ft.....phase is much more complex...lets just call it "placement"...
1. One way is to go out in the room. Walk around and listen, find spots, or the spot; where either the kick, or snare, or both sound really good. when you find these spots listen at differrent heights...lo and hi (sometimes I steal the drum throne and stand up high - I'm only 5'6"....- the bottom gets better sometimes higher up, but sometimes lower down). When you find these spots, palce your mic and go back into the control room. Adjust balance and focus on the kick/snare/ toms...do you hear the low end get thin as you add the "room" mic? if so flip phase. Better? Sometimes you do not want as much Cymbals (most of the time actually) so aiming them at the floor (45 degree angle down) to catch the toms bounce off of the floor is cool.
When listening in the room; sometimes pluging one ear can help, this lets you hear in omni...more like a mic.
2. That was the standard way. the other is this:
Use headphones. Bring the "room" mic up in
the the mix (sometimes panning the whole kit to one side and the new room mic to the other side) can help. Now you can walk around the room with the mic and in real time hear how it's interreacting.
3. After you've been doing this (#2) for awhile, you can "hear" what you want and go find it with technique #1 more than#2. I use 1,2,3,4 ect. ambient/room mics to add demension to the close mics. sometinmes close sometimes far (usually more close to the kit for me).
I still place OH's with the cans on, it's the only way I know of to really get the last inch or two and have as much control over the placement, so as to control the phasing/imaging between the two.
you get alot of exercise micing drums(walkoing back and forth between the control room and the studio), if you strive to get the most out of the mics before adding any EQ (I got by on my last time with 11 mics and 1EQ).
Put up a mono headphone mix and wear some phones while your placing the room mic. Move the mic around, when the sound is it's fullest your in phase, when it gets thin, your out of phase. Or you can listen in the control room while an assistant moves the mic for you....just a little movement of the mic can make a huge amount of difference....Fats
OK, thanks guys and let me say that your drum recording techniques with the drum sticks kicked ass.
The point which helped the most was making sure the 2 overheads were the same distance to the kick and snare which they now are. I wanted to bring a room mic into this equation using the same principles... making sure all the mics are the same distance to the kick and snare. since sound travels at X feet per second.. won't having a room mic really upset the timing of the drums arriving at the room mic and the rest of the kit mics or is that what we're after?
One more thing... should I flip the phase (using my modified mic cable) on the room mic, one of the overheads, or the kick or snare? I assume one flips polarity/phase when 2 sides of a item are mic'd.
one cool spot is really high over the snare. Listen with the cans on and all the other mics on...raise/lower this High Snare OH mic till it sounds good with the others.
And/Or stick a mic about snare hieght out in font of the kit...experiment, experiment, experiment,experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment ...whew... , experiment
Damn, one of the best threads in ages, and I can't read it properly!
What's up with this "wide screen" bizarre-ness...I have to scroll sideways to see a whole sentence. Does anyone else get that? Do I have something set wrong in my browser? (IE 6)
Sorry for the interruption...now back to our regularly scheduled program...
The problem GT40sc, is that RecorderMan entered a loooong line without any spaces. It interprets that as one long word, and can't split it into multiple line, so it just stretches the screen.
RM can go back and edit his post, inserting a space or two into his "Experiment, experiment" line and save us all some scrolling!
Please help, this post is almost unreadable.
This really is a great thread...
Thanks guys. Recordermans drum advice is what brought me here to begin with. I love these forums.
Keep an oepn mind.
Treat the tracking as you do the final mix.
"...won't having a room mic really upset the timing of the drums arriving at the room mic and the rest of the kit mics or is that what we're after? "
Yes, to add back in that sweet confusion. :>
Ahh timing the real question when micing drums. Room mics can add depth to your drum sound, but they also wash out the attacks, I went thru a period of figuring the delay times, then flipping the tape and delaying the room back in time with the snare mic. It even worked a couple of times. Now with protools it is much easier, but I rarely do it any more. The real nice thing about PT is you can actually see what is going on. For instance, if all mics are in correct polarity, the first attack of any drum will be a positive spike. But then the room mic's spike may cancle the trough of 1 or more close mics. Need a quick fix flip the polarity. a better fix is to move the mic. but then maybe the cymbals start to phase. Whenever you have 3 or more mics, at least 1 will be off phase from the others. (Not necessarily out of phase.) the only way to correct this for sure is with a DAW. I dont recomend it but if you really want to , you can pick either Kick or snare then move all initial attacks so they line up.
Here is a cute trick for making sure your kick is in correct polarity and each beater hit is a spike not a trough. lay a nearfield monitor on its back. place a dime on the speaker. play the Kick soloed at a low volume. If the dime just bounces, flip the polarity and watch the dime jump off the speaker onto the floor.
hmmm...sounds like a cute trick.
But If you learn to use your ears, you can place as many mics as you want, and get excellant results...nobody needed to time align tracks before daws and I haven't heard any drums recorded since daws came out that have improved the drum sounds that we get.
I personally think that room micing techniques for drums have gotten out of hand. This nonsense all started with Eddie Kramer and Led Zeppelin. If you listen to those records however, you may come to the same conclusion as I have. While the performances are way above par, the actual recordings are inadequate. That doesn't stop me from listening to them, as I have always said, "I would rather hear a great performance recorded poorly, than a great recording of a poor performance."
A lot of recordists are trying to find magic bullets to make their recordings a notch above the fray but IMO the best stuff arrives from talent and simplicity. The best drum sounds I have ever got were achieved with 3 mics, a C24 overhead, a C12a on the snare and a D112 on the kick. No phase problems. This approach requires a drummer with talent, who digs in deep on the snare and toms but knows how to lay back on the cymbals. Most drummers want to beat the crap out of the top end however. It seems the more obnoxious the sound, the more most drummers like it. For instance, snare drums that go "boink" instead of "snap" or "crack". I can't say how many times I have had drummers snivel because you can't hear every single little hit on the cymbals. Of course if you get the top end loud enough to hear every little thing, it overwhelms the rest of the mix (I call this "Buddy Rich syndrome").
If I need a room sound and I don't want to revert to an electronic or analog reverb I simply run the drum mix to a speaker in said live room, distance mic the speaker (a U87 works best) and blend it back in with the drum mix. Reverb "The Old Fashioned Way'. ……………. Fats
The kick is lower than the snare, so the 2 overhead mics can't be the same distance from both the kick and snare. If someone can explain how my last sentence has the technique wrong, please do.
Are you saying the mics should be the same distance from the snare as the kick is from the snare? That would put them way too low to use.
But I'm probably not seeing this the way it's meant.
If the left mic is 4 feet from the snare and 5 feet from the kick, make sure the right mic conforms to the same distances. This assures symmetry in the left / right balance and arrival of the sound to the mic capsules at the same time. But I have another idea, Use your ears! Just have an assistant move the room and overhead mics around while you listen in the control room to only them. Listen for L/R balance making sure the kick and snare are in the center. Then add in the individual drum mics, one at a time making sure every thing stays in phase. I used to get quite a chuckle out of engineers who would come in with their tape measures and spend hours doing all that stuff and more but still couldn't get a good sound. My experience has shown me that the fewer mic you use the better the overall sound will be. Concentrate more on performance and arrangements rather than all this other stuff. More is not better! ....... Fats
What's an assistant?
Regarding the equal distance mic'ing, I get it now. Tanx.
BTW, I do use my ears over technique, but I try to balance both.
Get one of the guys or gals in the band who are always standing around making a nusance of themselves to assist when you do this. Sorry if I sounded condescending! I have been coming down with a case of "smartass-ites" lately. I must need a break. BTW what is the name of your studio? I lived in the Bay Area until just a while ago. I am the previous owner of KFRS in Fremont. Fats
Separate names with a comma.