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Some questions

Discussion in 'Recording' started by thewaiting28, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. thewaiting28

    thewaiting28 Guest

    Hi all. I'm new.

    I'm apart of a two-person band (we're looking to expand in the future, but we're good for now). My friend and I can both play guitar, piano, bass, drums, and we can both sing.

    Out of the two of us, I'm the one that takes the lead when it comes to recording. I've got a Dell XPS M1330 laptop that I prefer to use for recording, I have a small 8-input mixer and a fairly nice condenser microphone, and a small set (3) of standard performance mics (although we have more available to us where we record our drum layers). Also, since we are financially limited, we are using Audacity, a shareware Audio creating program (but I've been looking at purchasing Adobe Audition 3.0)

    I've got a couple issues that have plagued us since we started writing and recording about 6 years ago.

    1 - Drums
    Due to logistical issues, we have to take down our drumset every time we finish recording drums, which means next time we record drums (a month or two later whenever we start on a new song), we have to mic it back up, adjust levels, and fiddle around with it, but it's very, very difficult and time consuming to get just the right sound.

    My question is, without using complex effects and editing, how can I get a decent sound from a drum set? Such as Mic placement, high/low balance adjustment, so on and so forth. For recording drums we have up to 8 standard mics available for use.

    2. Electric Guitar
    Any time we go to record several distortion guitar layers, after we get through the 3rd or 4th layer, there tends to be a lot of what sounds like static. If I turn everything down at once, the static either dramatically reduces or disappears completely. It sounds like we're trying to push too much sound through one recording at once, so I just suck it up and turn everything down and lose that dramatic, "in-your-face" sound that I'm looking for.

    This is also a problem while recording vocals over electric guitar. Nothing blends together just right.

    We generally record distortion guitar with a small Fender amp mic'ed with two standard microphones. This generally gives a solid, well-built sound on it's own (for what I'm used to anyway) until you allow all the recorded layers to play together.

    Here is a clip of a demo we did a year or two ago, if you don't hear anything, listen to it over headphones. That static sound is what I'm referring to.

    http://www.thewaiting28.com/interv-clip.mp3

    What am I missing? (or doing wrong?)

    I guess I'm a little more ignorant then I thought I was.
    Anyways, thank you for your help.
     
  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome.

    1) This is complex question. Basically I would first make sure the drums are tuned correctly and the that they sound good in the room your recording in. This may require adding some sound damping to the drums and room. I have rigid fiberglass gobos

    http://www.realtraps.com/products.htm#GOBOTRAPS

    That I move around to tune the room. I often also use drum dampener rings:

    http://www.activemusician.com/item--MC.MF101600

    It takes time and experimenting to get it right, but once you do document it. Video tape the set up or make detailed notes. That way the next time you will be faster. I usually keep a notebook going for each session to record mic placements and routing.

    The rule of thumb is to make it sound good in the room first, and then worry about the mic placement. Typically I use 3 or 4 mics on drums. Two decent overheads (I now have earthworks QTC50’s which I am in love with) one on the snare (often a SM57) and one on the kick (RE20, D112, ATM25). Sometime I will but 2 on the kick and 2 on the snare. Watch the phase! Think about the direction the sound wave is moving when the mic ‘sees’ it. Remember in the mix you will be summing all of the mics together, so phase problems may cut frequency holes in your 2 track mixdown.

    2) Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but it sounds like your saying the amp hiss builds up across the summed tracks? Do you have a noisy amp? Fenders are terrible for grounding issues, they hum.

    Hope this helps!
    Best of luck.
     
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Adding to what Link posted, I maust ask: Why are you using 2 mics on the Fender amp? It's not that you can't, but depending upon their placement, you can cause more problems than you realize. This is due to "phase relationships", just like mic'ing drums. Fewer can be better, especially when you're just starting out. And as the guitar tracks are "stacked", these problems are exaggerated. Especially if the sounds are similar.
     
  4. thewaiting28

    thewaiting28 Guest

    Thank you guys very much for your advice. To give you guys a little better understanding of what's going on, I edited my post above to include a link to an audio file which you can clearly hear the static noise I was talking about
     
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    That "static" that you describe sounds like digital distortion to me. Which means you're pushing the DA converters too hard. Of course turning the guitars down will solve this. How do you get your soundmore "in your face"? Turn up your monitors.

    Every time you add a guitar track you are going to add volume, so take it into consideration.

    As far as Audacity is concerned, it's fine for stereo editing but not so good for multitracking. I would download Kristal Audio Engine. It's also freeware but also allows for realtime use of VST effects of which there are tons of free downloads.
     
  6. thewaiting28

    thewaiting28 Guest

    moonbaby, I know what you're talking about, I hate my amp but it's all i have at the current time (hopefully not for long)
     
  7. thewaiting28

    thewaiting28 Guest

    hueseph, thank you for your advice. I've never heard of Kristal Audio Engine before, but I will definitely look into it
     

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