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problem - excessive recorded tom tom resonance w/ recorded example

Discussion in 'Recording' started by johnny_repass, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    Ok, I've got a Ludwig Element drumset set up in a small room that I've treated with homemade rigid fiberglass panels.

    And until recently I had a pretty minimalistic mic setup: Shure Beta 52a (Kick), Shure SM57 (Snare), 2 Peluso CEMC6 pencil condensers (Overheads).

    ...But then I added Tom mics (3 Sennheiser e604's to be exact) and my already crappy recorded drum sound got 10x crappier.
    Oh, I could hear my Toms...ALL THE TIME! Anytime the beater strikes the kick drum head the toms resonate right into the e604's
    and it sounds terrible. I've tried everything, moongel, different tuning, etc... I'm not sure what to do, even clapping my hands in the
    same room causes the Toms to sing. I've even done this same handclap experiment outdoors and the toms ring out just the same.

    To demonstrate, here is a link to the recorded problem:

    kick drum causes toms to resonate by Johnny Repass on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

    What I did was start out with only the kick and overhead mics on while I kept a steady kick beat. After 4 beats I turned the 3 tom mics on.
    I alternated between tom mics on and off several times before pausing to put moongel on the toms and repeating the demonstration.

    Also, I should note that my mic placement isn't an issue and that the mics are mixed naturally. The tom mics are mixed in at roughly -7dB or so compared
    to the kick mic. Overheads are about -5dB.

    Thanks for any help anyone might offer!
  2. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    Also, as far as noise gating goes, I'd rather fix this problem at the source and then gate only what I can't fix.
  3. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    I also apologize if this is in the wrong forum. This is my first time on the site
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    This is a fairly common thing. You do realize that don't you? ALL drumkits have bleed when using multiple close mics on different drums. There's no way around them completely except for gating and the unnaturalness of a poorly adjusted or cheap gate makes them hard to accept as an alternative.

    You say that mic placement isnt an issue but you're having bleed problems that you dont want. Mic placement on a drum kit is a fine line towards high quality. You have decent mics and thus shouldnt have a problem with the overall tone of the drums. I hope you realize all the open mics on a kit are going to capture some of another drum thats being played.

    As for the SYMPATHETIC RING this is all about proper tuning. Your kick drum is tuned to a note that the toms are reacting to. Moongel and dampers will only give this a duller sound but will not get rid of this.

    I'm sure that someone who is a drummer will correct me on this, but there's a formula for damping the sympathetic overtones on a kit. I think its the minor third between the toms and a sixth between the toms and the kick. This means you tune them that far apart. Another trick is to take a lug bolt off each tom. Tune them the way you normally would and then back one lug out all the way. Heavier heads sometimes work. Damper rings work on occasion. For a snare ringing, a wallet on the head works.

    But the best method is an accurate tuning of the kit.

    You can also edit the tom mics after the track is recorded. Silence the space between the hits makes a big difference in clarity of the drum sound.
  5. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    I'm not too worried about mic bleed--its gonna happen. The sympathic ringing is really the only issue coming into play. And I understand that there is always going to be some ringing no matter what--I just want to get it down to a tolerable level. Actually, now that I think about it my toms are tuned (high to low) c, g, c or a fourth and a fifth apart and my kick sounds about a perfect 4th below my floor tom which would make for another g. That may be my problem but I like a said, even a handclap will set them singing so we'll see. From what I know about harmonics all those octaves and fifths are probably contributing to the problem at the very least though. Thanks for taking time to reply!
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I think Dave's comment on tuning to something other than fifths and octaves will help.

    Make sure you pay attention to the resonant (bottom) head - both on tuning and damping. Use gaffer tape (not duct tape) on the bottom heads if the moongel won't stick.

    How loud do you have the tom mics in the demo? If you have good overheads, you may not need much of the tom mics in the mix, so you won't be amplifying that resonance so much.

    What are you using for heads? I generally like thicker, deader heads for recording - again, this includes the resonant head.
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I don't know which Element configuration you've got, but according to my drum guru 10" toms are the worst for this. I have noticed they need more attention as well. In one case where the drummer could not find a tuning to eliminate the 10 ringing with every kick and snare - we (I) took it off the kit. It was polluting every mic with it's constant GUnnnnng.
  8. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    Yeah, that 10" tom is the most problematic in general. I'll probably take it off eventually, move the 12" over and add a new tom between it and the 16" floor tom. But I suspect my problem is a combination of tuning, heads, and room.
  9. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    Heads are stock heads. Remo I think. I'll probably replace everything with Evans in a few weeks or so.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    We used to deal with that with plenty of gaffer or duct tape. And I regularly utilize noise gates on toms, snare and kick but not overheads. Those drums need to be tuned better and properly damped.

    BTW, it sure doesn't sound like your microphones are placed properly to begin with. So why are you telling me not to worry about something I'm hearing? Why do you think God created noise gates? It's certainly not to shut your wife or girlfriend up. It's created for those kinds of situations you are experiencing. The way to deal with the problem is to understand why these devices have been in control rooms since the early 1970s. Though I didn't hear this problem on Buddy Rich's drum set when I heard him when I was 14. But then again, he wasn't using anything as gross as a 10 inch tom-tom.

    KEPEX or not to KEPEX... that is the question.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    My placement of the tom mics is pretty typical, the diaphragms are just slightly over the rims, not pointed at the center of the head but more downward. I could probably get better rejection out of the kick mic and maybe let the tom mics breath a little more but thats about it. Yeah, I plan on gating but I'm aiming to get the best raw tracks my space will allow first and then gate what I have to.
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    One of the reasons I frequently invert the phase of the bass drum is to take advantage of certain cancellation of frequencies from other surrounding drums. When you have your microphones placed properly, much of this can be dealt with in a more musical sounding way. So you leave your overheads on and everything else on compressor/limiter's with gates. You get a completely bad ass sound that's incredibly tight and accentuated by the meat of the drums tonality while capturing most of your initial transient attacks from the overhead. And that's a slick drum recording. Now sometimes because of too much broadband wash, some of those gates will need to be keyed via sidechain equalizer to only be within the bandpass of the instrument fundamental frequency. So it's detector would be more frequency weighted. And with what one can do in software, you are far less restricted than I was in the old analog days which I still enjoy. All those gates are so easy to set up as you utilize the compressor graphical user interface. Then you write your noise gate and save it as a preset. It takes a bit of finagling but the audible benefits are awesome. And don't get me wrong, I'm not always gating tom-toms which is largely dependent on the placement of the overheads and the surrounding acoustics. I don't always gate snare drum and bass drum but mostly I do. And it's rare that I don't invert bass drum phase. Try all of this stuff, you'll like it. It's fun and awesome sounding to tweak a kit just right. And after you get that sound, you can then go crazy with all sorts of effects that will play out much more effectively.

    Now I want to go records and drums
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  13. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    Hmm, I'd not considered inverting the bass drum. Thanks for the tip, I def try that. I had considered making the gates dependent on frequency like you said so thats another thing to try. Yes its super fun tweaking the kit, I mean it would be nice to have a perfect room and perfect kit but fighting with a $500 kit has certainly been more educational. Thanks for everyones great replys so far I'm certainly learning.
  14. johnny_repass

    johnny_repass Active Member

    Whats a good room size in terms of cubic feet for recording drums anyway? My current setup is in a space of about 1100 cubic ft. I built/hung 14 rigid fiberglass panels (2" & 4" thick) to tame the sound as much as possible but I'm guessing drums in a room that small is probably a losing battle as far as ever getting really good sound.
  15. vtr

    vtr Active Member

    Try mounting the toms on their own stands so they are not directly coupled to the bass drum.

    Also, is the door to the drum room open or closed?

    Oh, and your tom mic placement is based purely on rejection, not sound quality?

    Bet its truly horrible, just mute it. Problem solved.

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