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Somewhat a newb to recording...Doing drums...

Discussion in 'Drums' started by hxckid88, May 9, 2005.

  1. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    So, lets say for instance, you have a living room, lots of funiture, and you want(NEED) to record the drums only through one microphone, directly to your computer. I've done this before... And hell, it sounds not bad at all for a crappy home recording, sounds much better than the other local bands around here...

    What I'm trying to do is make my band's demo CD. I am also very interested in recording, and I think I have a good ear and I'd be good at it.

    Besides the fact I have no professional quality recording equipment, I am recording this demo.

    Back to my question... Recording all the tracks, the drums seem to not kick in. Well, the cymbals are too loud, and when I do a bass boost, the bass drum sounds fine, really. But the toms are hardly heard.

    How do you get the toms to sound good in a recording like this? Well to use common sense, if you only have one mic, it should probably be done digitally. This means, I need to boost SOMETHING. But what part of the track?

    I am using Audacity, and it has this bassboost feature, you put in the frequency and db value, what would be the best combonation to boost the toms, but not boost it SO much that the bass drum turns your speakers to mud. This is a hardcore band by the way.

    Yes, I do understand the fact that I am doing this the cheap way, it's not near professional quality, but like I said, it really doesnt sound that bad. It's the drums I'm having problems with. If someone could give me pointers that would be great. Thanks a bunch =D
  2. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Keep moving the mic around until you get the best sound you can, eq, and compress. Try moving it higher and lower as well (I can't believe how much vertical placement gets overlooked)
  3. Getting the drummer to not hit the cymbals as hard would be a good thing.

    Years ago, a friend of mine was in a similar situation, and got an acceptable sound by placing the single mic directly above his head, pointed almost straight down, but slightly toward the snare. I forget what mic he used, however.
  4. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Yes, I did tell him to try and hit the cymbals not as hard. I was thinkin about putting a strip of duct tape to absorb some of the vibration, but It might dull the sound too much and sound like poopoo.

    I suppose I should try other positions. I will try floor(carpeted) positions and also mid and high positions.
  5. hxckid88

    hxckid88 Active Member

    May 9, 2005
    Also, another question. In which way to you compress drums? I'm fairly new like I mentioned, and I dont understand excactly what you want for the attack, threshold etc
  6. killersoundz

    killersoundz Guest

    With one microphone theres really not a whole lot of compression you're going to want to do, it will just sound unnatural.
  7. surefire99

    surefire99 Guest

    if the cymbals are too loud try cutting the higher end frequencies.

    when i've recorded drums with one mic i've found this eqing to work well.


    its something to start with.
  8. Put a sign everywhere the drummer can look and threaten to beat him over the head with a wood kick mallet as many times as he hits the kick in that particular song that says:

    HIT THE WHITE (or clear, if that be your case) THINGS HARD AND THE SHINY THINGS SOFT

    Another thing I like to do with one mic is to put the cymbals way the hell up in the air (drummers get used to it pretty fast actually) tilted so that when they are at rest they are near vertical like ,-| . (I hope you can understand that diagram). Then I place the mic about 3 feet away even with the top of the kick. I also sometimes ask the drummer to tilt the toms a little more. And I always make sure the drummer understands my preceeding concept that is in bold up above (even if I have to beat it into him, and yes, I did that to a drummer in my previous band... it worked).
  9. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    Like everyone is saying, it is going to mostly depend on the drummer. Many of the drummers I record barely hit the toms but smash on the cymbals, which makes it tough. Tell him to hit the snare and the toms like a man, and use touch on the cymbals.

    You really need to get the best sound with mic placement that you can. Every time you go EQ'ing tracks, you are compromising the signal and it will really hurt your sound. Take the time to get that one mic in the absolute best place you can. You can also try it about 3 feet in front of the kit, at a height that gets a good balance. But be willing to try it anywhere. The closer you get it with no processing involved, the better it will sound.
  10. killersoundz

    killersoundz Guest

    Haha, you use acid/vegas/sound forge also? I use vegas (made by sonic foundry, and owned by sony now) for my mixing. It's just because I come from a video background and used it for video and its audio features are very strong. Basically the same as sound forge. The Track EQ is great.
  11. splurge

    splurge Guest

    Something else you could try, make 4 or 5 copies of your drum track . Useing eq, in the first one just try to find the kick, in the 2nd, find the snare (4 or 5k can give you some crack here) and so on.
    High and low pass filters are helpful for this.

    This way you have just a little bit more control over the different elements in the drum kit.

    Good luck

  12. sharmon

    sharmon Guest

    *Holding the vegas/acid/sound forge banner high*

    Also, just thought i could make an adition, when you are eqing, try to first cut, before you add. You will probably find that you don't need to add after that....
  13. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    or you could buy a cheap mixing board for $150 and mix the drums with that and do a stereo input through the "line-in" on your computer the line in should be a stereo input (2 channels L&R).

    then you can do eq and level with more tracks.

  14. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Splurge has a good technique for your situation. Another thing to think about would be this. As long as you can get a good signal - one that you are able to identify the transients of different elements of the drum kit you can replace these with samples by hand. I had to do that a lot when I was starting out. But I'll say two things. You learn a lot by doing this and I find that I'm still doing a bit of that today and consequently my drums sound as good as any professional CD I own in my collection. Get samples of all kinds of drums and then create a new track in whatever software you are using and copy and paste kick drum hits to match where you find the kick drum in the original track. Do the same with the snare. Get those two elements right with samples and use the original one mic track to fill out the rest. Place that mic in a position where you get the best representation of cymbals and toms, dont worry about the kick or snare. That would be how I would MacGyver this project into something usable. If you add some automated volume to the snare and kick hits after you are done it wont sound "sampled" and as robotic as a drum machine. Bottom line it's gonna take some time but it's well worth it to do it this way, trust me.

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