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

Recording Drums

Discussion in 'Drums' started by longgone1, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    Coming up this weekend I have my first session with drums. I have an M-Audio Delta 44 card with a sixteen channel four bus mixer. My question is, should I record the kit with two overhead's, a snare mic, and a kick mic? or should i mic the whole kit and try to get a good sound to tape using two of the buses? Also, What would any of you suggest as the best way to position the overheads? Thanks
    Wes
     
  2. tmix

    tmix Guest

    Wes,
    There are a million ways to mic a kit, a lot depends on the kit, the room , and the type of music.
    I like to put my drums on at least 4 different tracks some times 6. I would suggest if the music is something like Jazz or Folk where the toms don't have to be overly beefy, use just 4 mics like you suggested putting the overheads directly over the drummers head about 6ft high (higher if room is tall)in a x/y configuration. You will get a very clean image.
    I could give you a better more concise answer if you give a little more details such as music style / kit arrangement / room size / mics you have available etc.
    Get back! we'll help!
     
  3. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    My room is 19 by 14 with an 8 foot ceiling. The type of music that im recording is rock so i will need the toms to be punchy. Unfortunatly at this time i hardly have a selection of drum mics, i will have 4 57's for the snare and toms, and an apex drum mic package which i will use for overheads and kick.
    Thanks
    WES
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Wes,
    If you want a "commercial" rock drum mix, it will be very difficult to make that happen with the limited mic collection and mixer/ soundcard you have at your disposal. You can get something that sounds good but it's not going to sound like most of the rock CDs out there. Having only 4 tracks in is a severe limitation. I usually use a mic on the kick, 2 on the snare, 1 for each tom, 1 on the hat and at least 2 or perhaps 3 on the overheads. These usually are routed to their own tracks for treatment post recording. To get a commercial rock drum sound with what you have available, you would most likely need to gate the toms to the recorder (not a smiled upon practice) to prevent the cymbal spill from invading the tom mics. Tom mics are usually eq'd with a lot of 5 or 6k boost and the cymbals can really play havoc with the mix. To exacerbate the situation many inexperienced drummers will set their kits up in a way that does not accommodate micing them and with the cymbals so low they spill into everything (can you say “ride cymbal 1 inch above the floor tom”?).

    My advice is to mic the kick and snare, sending them to their own tracks. Then place the overheads as Tom suggested or in a spaced configuration (left side / right side of the kit, measuring to insure that each mic is the same distance to the snare drum). Route these to the 2 remaining tracks. Fine tune these with placement and a very little amount of eq. The less eq, the better. Use you ears. Step into the control room and listen or record a bit and listen if you don’t have a separate control room. Try to pull as much of the drum kit sound as possible from the overheads. Always check for phase differences and be sure to check that the left/right imaging is correct. Make sure the snare sounds like it’s dead center. Once you have pulled as much as you can out of the overheads useing placement and eq, you may start adding the mics on the toms. Blend them in on the same tracks with the overheads and have the drummer play beats with a lot of cymbals, crashes and rides. Try to find a balance where the toms are beefed up a bit but the cymbals aren’t being brought up so much as to be objectionable. That will be about the best you can do with your present equipment roster. The good news is you have a decent room to record in. The dimensions are pretty good, although it would be nice to have a higher ceiling. You should be able to get a good sound in a room like that. Most important, have a good time. You can hear a smile on tape. Fats
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  5. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    I also have an AT 4033 that I was going to use as a room mic. If I do use it could I put it in with the L/R overhead mix without worrying about it too much?
    Thanks
     
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Yes, you could do that. Just be sure to check phase. Fats
     
  7. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    But will using the room mic enhance the sound?
    Thanks Fats.
     
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I personally don't care for room mics. It louses up phase compatibility and makes the sound less defined. I prefer to re amp drums through a PA and mic that up in mix to get room sounds. But a lot of cats use room mics, some quite successfully. It's hard to argue with success. In the end, it's a very subjective, a matter of personal taste. Fats
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    You are definately going to 'hear' the room with the 4033 added in ...i was thinking about your situation and thought i might add a few thoughts....is it possible to record 'basic' drum tracks? you could put down your snare and kick with hihat on three tracks and tehn go back and enhance with the tom work and such...ive done this and it is laborius but when theres a lack of tracks and inputs it will work...im not sure how many tracks you can get on your m-audio set up,the other suggestion is as you indicated before, mic it all get as good a mix as possible and go to two tracks...just like live....good luck
     
  10. GT40sc

    GT40sc Active Member

    Wes,

    Because you said this is your first time recording drums, you might want to try a very simple setup. Don't bother with too many microphones, and don't make any submixes before recording. Instead, use a "single microphone for each sound."

    When I first started recording, I had a hard time "pre-mixing" the drum parts before recording, because I did not understand the balance I needed to hear.

    Since your Delta-44 is limited to four inputs, I would try:

    1. Kick (57 or Apex)
    2. Snare (57)
    3. Overhead (4033)
    4. Room Mic (57 or Apex)

    This way you don't have to pre-mix anything, and you can work out a good balance after recording. A clean, simple recording with good tone is much more impressive than something complex, but off-balance.

    When you gain a little experience, you will "know in your head" the individual drum tones you want, as well as how to balance toms vs cymbals in a stereo submix, etc.

    Let us know how it turns out...

    best of luck,
     
  11. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    Unfortunatly the drummer that is recording isn't the best talent that I've ever seen and I dont know if he could handle doing individual parts.
    I think I'm going to go with the four mics and see where that takes me. If I can handle more then I'll do it. Thanks for all the help guys!
    Wes
     
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Wes,
    If you just follow the instructions I gave the balances should be correct. GT40sc has a very good point. Knowing the correct balance of things, especially drums, is something that comes only with experience. But the layout I suggested takes all that into account. Get most of the sound from the overheads, beef up the toms a bit with their own mics, have the kick and snare on their own tracks and everything should be fine. It isn't rocket science ... Fats
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  13. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    Thanks Fats,
    I'll go with that approach. And I'll let you guys know how it went.
    -Wes
     
  14. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    In my experience, fewer microphones is always better, less electronics for gates etc.

    Organic "real" drums "the best sound", 2 or 3 mics, two behind the kit and one kick.

    If the drummer is talented, this is the way I mic. No head ringing, not tom ringing, no artificial sounds, just the kit the way the drummer hears it.

    I hope you consider this approach as well.
     
  15. tmix

    tmix Guest

    One other thing.
    Some times when I use a 4 mic set-up if I want to beef the toms up a little I use a few pieces of 3/8 plywood (4ft square) propped up directly behind the toms (in front of the kit obviously) angled upward (leaning against some chairs or ?)
    to add some fuller bottom tom sound (and some kick as well! )I listen through head phones and work with the angle until I hear a definite low end boost and then stop.
     
  16. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Sounds cool Tom. I'm going to try this one myself.
     
  17. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    If you want to see how a 2 microphone capture of a kit with the band playing sounds, I am uploading a sample in Audio Projects for kicks and grins.

    I am not saying it is best, but it worked well for this track.

    Link here, download the song "darkness".

    (Dead Link Removed)
     
  18. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    Hey Bill,
    I'm interested in knowing what you used to record the guitar in that song. And Thanks to everyone for all the tips that you have given me.
    Wes
     
  19. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    The drum recording went really well. I ended up using only four microphones. I ended up with the two apex mics on the overheads a 57 on the snare and a 57 on the kick. I got quite a bit of toms with the overhead pattern I used and overall the result was quite impressive. Thanks again for all the help guys.
    Wes
     
  20. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    It was wierd. We did aux out of the marshalls but if you yelled into the speakers, it was picked up into the track..a feedback loop appeared, we liked it, did not know how it happened and cut it.

    (there is a ghost in every studio and they are always my friends)

    Per guitar, (ryth/Lead) we had a double stack of kitty hawks (modded marshall like cabs with celetions wired by me), a Carvin stereo power amp running them 2 channel each, and the marshall efX unit, (got to ask ab what it is.., been a long time)

    I remember in the control room, someone yelled with no mics open and it came into the guitar tracks...thought the pickups were doing it :d: but it was the speakers feeding ambient noise back into the signal..

    Speakers were microphones......

    It did kick butt..

    I dialed it in, and dialed in the post..pretty wild eh?
     

Share This Page