1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Recording Drums WITHOUT good pre-amps!?!?!?!

Discussion in 'Drums' started by KTek, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. KTek

    KTek Guest

    ok, i'm very limited, but my band is trying to make a demo. i have a the M-AUDIO Delta 10/10LT interface, and Logic is my platform.

    my selection of mic's are:
    3 sm 57's, the Audix Drum mic 6 pack(2 condensors overheads, 3 tom mics, one kick) i also have a regular seinnheisor vocal mic.

    i'm running into the mic pre's of a Yamaha 16/4 mixer and out the channel-inserts into the RCA in's of the interface. They are pre-amp ic inputs, but not good one's.

    So are there any tricks or plugins or cost effecient equipment that anyone knows of, that would improve the sound for drums, bass, guitar(electric AND acoustic)??? is there anything in the chain i should be doing for good practice here??

    particularly, i want that full, punchy, warm analog sound for the drums, and just for it all to blend nicely for an easier time mixing and for the mastering engineer (when we get to that point)

    any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!

    thank you all by the way, who have responded with your knowledge in my past posts, i've gotten more great tips from you on this board than anyone i know in person!!! :cool:
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    fat drums BIG sound

    good question! I too have a small board. And Audix DP5 set of mics, Mogami cables and I have a tube pre-amp that I use (mindprint). Im NOT sure how you would get a fat ass sound (analog) without a tube some where in the signal process. Can anyone else recommend a kick ass pre amp for drums?
    Better yet, which piece of modern digital or analog equipment is the BE ALL, End all for getting a HUGH fat ass drum sound.
    The drummer in the band Machine Head has the PHatest sound I have heard as of lately.
    Best regards
    Stuart in PA
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Short answer, no. The problem isn't what cheap pres aren't doing to the signal but instead what they are doing to it..

    There isn't one piece of gear that makes audio sound better, equipment (plug ins included) they only make it different ... it all degrades the signal to some degree. There is no such thing as a "good-u-lator". The better stuff will degrade the sound less than the cheap stuff, that's all.

    If you use a crap mic into a crap pre (I'm not saying your mics are crap btw) you get crap sound ... By working with how the instrument sounds (tuning etc) you will get less of a crap sound ... working on correct placments and mic choice will help eliminate more of the "crap factor". A good pre (and other quality front end gear) will help even more.

    Even a good mic and pre (and other quality front end gear) will not help if your instument sounds bad nor will they make up for poor mic choice or placement .. It all works together.
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    ohhh, mmmm, well

    well without factoring in all the crap. Can anyone suggest a tool for improving normal sounding tracks to above average results. :D
  5. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Right-o Kurt!

    Tuning the drums properly is the only way in hell that you'll even have a chance at a "kick-ass" drum sound. The quality of the source is WAY more important than the mic/mic pre/whatever selection.

    You can certainly get a "respectable" recording of your drum set with what you have.

    Two things:

    1. Don't overdrive the Yamaha's mic pre's too much. They are most likely a TL071 IC which is literally a $0.25 chip. They do not like to be overdriven and will sound more like frying bacon than cool-edgy, if you do.

    2. Phase correction is everything when you have multiple mics on a drum set. After you track the drums, zoom in on a snare drum hit and shift all the other mics (waveforms) so that they line up as close as posible. This trick will instantly give you a punchier sound. You will most likely have to invert some waveforms also. Do this before alignment.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Re: ohhh, mmmm, well

    Please read my first post again! "There is no such thing as a good-u-lator", means that when you add more processing, it does not improve the quality .. it only modifies the signal .. at the price of further degradation. Each step of added processing (eq, compression, gating, effects) will take away quality, not add more. This includes digital processing as well as analog. There is no process that adds quality. The person who discovers one will become a very rich individual.

    The best route to quality is to do as little damage as possible when recording .. After it's recorded, if it sucks .. there's no improving it.

    I know that's not the answer you want ... sorry!
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Hello Kurt, I really was only using the "crap factor" piece because that $*^t had me laughing like hell. Sorry dude---I really enjoy reading your post (all 5668 of them). And no, that still is not really what i wanted to hear.
    But I do understand you correctly. I get great sounds as it is, just looking to add a "that fuckin rules factor"
  8. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Ok I have an answer.

    Buy 2 Distressors and put EVERYTHING thru them on Nuke mode.

    This is one way to take advantage of crap sounds.

    Theoretically Kurt is correct but.. The one and only time I used a Fairchild 660 I swear the output sounded better than the input.
    I guess this is why they run 20k+

  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests


    O.K. theory is one thing. Maybe if we skip the theory. And yes I do understand that anything that effects the signal changes it, But that is what I am trying to do. Kind of like playing my bass through a pair of headphones. Then "changing" the audio signal by running through my SVT pre-amp, then going in on my T.C. elec. chorus pedal then to my Avalon U5 THEN to the 1500Watt Ampeg power amp.
    See, I totally changed the sound. But, now it doesnt sound like my bass does naturally. I play a Spector, it has great sound. But by going through my Sans Amp DI, and the on board pre-amp and all the other stuff I just listed, it "changes" the sound. I like this change. Im not looking to relearn theory. Merly looking for great "real world" ideas, suggestions, ect, ect...
  10. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Re: ohhh, mmmm, well

    Ya I can. It is called experience and skill and it can be used to get above average results even if using crap gear...
  11. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

  12. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Re: ohhh, mmmm, well

    Absolutely! An engineer who has taken the time to learn from his mistakes and develop his ears and knowledge.

    You need to understand that the greatest thing you can do with your time as you learn this craft is to experiment. Try things, not because of someone else's idea, but your own. The right equipment is useless in the wrong hands, but a good engineer can make good recordings with mediocre equipment - not that I include myself in that category at all - listen to Kurt, he's been doing this for many years!

    When you can hear the difference between cheap stuff and good stuff is the right time to buy the good stuff - otherwise your equipment will exceed your ears and end up frustrating you further.

    Before they had power tools, builders still built homes. It took a bit longer and required more know-how, but they did it through time and patience. McDonalds doesn't serve gourmet food, and short cuts are sometimes for the short-sighted. Instead, be long-term minded by investing in yourself and honing your abilities.

    Now, I've personally found using a Fatso in parallel bus compression to be great at fattening up my drum tracks. I've also gotten fatter kick and snare tracks by using a Neve 1272 type preamp, and being really careful about where I place my mics.
  13. anonymous

    anonymous Guests


    a fatso & a neve 1272 type preamp for fat kick...
    Thanks, this is what I was looking for all along. Not just a mic a cable and a record button.
  14. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    It's been an eye opener reading this post, as I have always been under the impression that pro gear (preamps, compressors, eq) helps smooth, add punch and fatten sounds; to give it that 'right or polished' sound.
    Does that mean that my tfpro P3 preamp (£100) and Edirol DA2496 soundcard are just degrading my sound, from a 'near perfect' sound source (presuming the source is good)?

    Is the 70's smooth creamy sound therefore a degradation in the sound or just a coloured/different sound ? Because if it's degradation I still love it !

    Just curious thoughts !
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    It does. But...... There is also much more to it then just great pro gear. Each piece of great pro gear is just one piece of the puzzle, or one link in the chain. The other links need to be just as great and strong.

    And I'm not sure that I would say the tfpro P3 preamp and Edirol DA2496 soundcard qualify as pro gear that gives punch, fatten sounds or gives a polished sound.
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yes, you are correct! The pres and other gear used then did degrade the audio ... to a point where there was a call in the industry for more transparent and colorless tools, ushering in the advant of companies like Millennia and Earthworks, who all developed and marketed pres and compressors that are more transparent. Instead of "warm" "fat" and "punchy" , in the 70's the buzz words were, "clean", "transparent" and "colorless". The marketing methods are the same, only the words have changed.

    All electronic equipment degrades the audio to a degree ... the better stuff does less harm or adds a pleasing distortion / coloration.

    I have used gear that to my ear sounded as if it was improving the sound .. and even though it sounds as if this is the case, it really isn't.. it just sounds like it is.
  17. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    Sorry my typing went a bit funny, I should have said:

    Because if it's degradation I still love it !

    Kurt, just a question if you don't mind as you have the expertise:
    Where would my system/setup benefit from improvement, upgrading to get the best possible sound improvement ?

    My setup is as follows:

    small bedroom for studio
    Carillon p4 1 gig ram
    Cubase SX
    Edirol DA2496 soundcard
    Tfpro p3 preamp
    Groove Tube GT67 mic
    Alesis M1 active Mk2
    Yamaha Guitar
    Rickenbacker Bass
    Evolution Midi controller keyboard

    Music likes: David Bowie, Pink Flord, Prog Rock

  18. [qIs the 70's smooth creamy sound therefore a degradation in the sound or just a coloured/different sound ? Because if it's degradation I still love it !uote]

    Hec yea analog tape, transformers, discreet cicuitry all added warmth and lots of colourfull distortion, plus alot of people don't realize just how much 1176 type compression they are hearing in great 70's recordings not to mention alot of very skillfull engineering. But all this talk is completely besides the point, a good engineer never ever blames his gear, a good engineer with a trained ear can make a cheap 4 track cassette recorder sound killer, vs a newbie can have Power station at his disposal and come away with amateurish sounding demos. It's 85% engineer and 15%equipment.[/quote]
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The Alesis M1 active Mk2 and the Tfpro p3 preamp are the two weakest limks IMO ..

    A good pre amp can make the most difference in audio quality. There is not much that would be an improvments until you are ready to spend some dough however.

    Your play back system will allow to hear what your are doing. Good monitors are essential.

    You said nothing about the room as to it's size or treatments. Small rooms require a lot of absorption and bass trapping and if the room iis too small, it is my opinion that no amount of treatments will improve it enough to do serious reference listening or mixing in.
  20. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    The room I use is my home office 8x6 feet where I work (technical/art illlustration) so it's not designed for music, and there's nothing much I can do about it for now, but I would like to make the best of it. There are lots of shelves around the room , two desks, filing cab and drawing table. A little bit hopless really for mixing but I was wondering if a top quality pair of headphones would also help with mixing ?
    What about the soundcard and what preamp would you recommend ?
    Would a D.I. be sufficient for guitars & vocals rather than a preamp.
    Sorry but I'm not clear on the difference between D.I's & pre's !


Share This Page