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Taking the plunge.....tracking live drums

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Basher, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. Basher

    Basher Active Member

    Decided to finally utilize my Mackie board for recording, so spent the day tuning and mic'ing drums. I am sticking with a basic 4 mic setup (kick, snare, ohL,ohR), but am also close mic'ing the toms to mix them with the OH's. The OH's will be basically the room sound, natural reverb. Setup is this: Kick: Audio- Technica MB series; Snare: GLS Audio 57 copy mic. Reaalllly nice...; Toms: Audio- Technica MB series; OH's: Left; CAD Audio CM217 Condenser. Right; CAD Audio Large Diaphragm Condenser. I have the OH's measured to the center of the snare to avoid phase issues, engaged 100db cut on all channels, eq'ed to taste. The OH's are actually "waist-heads" as that is as far up as I set 'em. The left is about 18 inches off my shoulder, pointing down towards the snare (nice crack sound!). The right OH (or WH), is roughly 4 inches above the lowest floor tom, pointing towards the snare. This setup has given me an unbelievably tight, focused sound, and I love being able to use the OH's as "reverb" or room mics, and use the close tom mics to really beef up the sound. This is gonna save me a lot of time in post on the drums. I will post a sound clip once I get one down. Just wish I had a compressor and gate going in on certain tracks.........Does this setup make sense? Board is 2 channel stereo main out (USB for recording) so will have to really have these channels dialed in before tracking to get a good take. I also did the bass drum "woofer" trick and put one bass drum in front of the other, creating basically a bomb blast site! For tracking I cover the kicks with a heavy blanket. The lugs where I had to take the front and batter heads off to make the tunnel were taped off to keep from rattling. Any EQ or tracking pointers y'all may have will be much appreciated!
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Record, listen, adjust, repeat until satisfied.

    Sticking to 4-mic setup but also micing toms?

    Overheads (or whatever you call them) for room sound? I hope your room sounds good.

    100dB cut on all channels?

    I'm a bit skeptical but looking forward to hearing samples.
  3. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    The silence must be deafening
    Not from where I'm sitting
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Are you sure you don't mean that you engaged a 100hz hi pass filter ?
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    And why the heck would one put that on all channels by default, or on the kick at all?
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm not saying I know why... I was just guessing that he probably meant he was using a 100hz HPF on all mics, as opposed to attenuating all mics by -100 db. I could be wrong tho.
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I know, I was directing that question to the OP. I could have written that better.
  8. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    You would be suprised...there is one guy on YT who I shall not name with a subscription channel who subscribes to a similar logic...

    Some of the things this guy passes off on his channel to his subscribers as his "expert advice" is just laughable and defies common sense at times.

    People actually take it on as advice like sheep without listening to the consequences of what is happening to their mixes.
    kmetal likes this.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I suppose that at this point, I would recommend to the OP that he post some audio samples, and then explain what he did (or didn't do) to get the sounds.

    To the OP: There's not much we can suggest to you without hearing the tracks, particularly since some of what you mentioned in your initial post was confusing ( using incorrect terminology, conflicting info on the number of mics used, etc. ).
    You can upload samples directly to this thread by clicking on the "upload file button" just to the right of the "post reply" button at the bottom of your post window. This will open your computer's directory, and you can pick the files you want to attach to your post.
    RO's player will support mono/stereo MP3's up to 320kbps.
    Be patient with the upload. It's not immediate. It could take as long as five minutes, depending on the file size and the speed of your internet connection.
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    @Basher :
    I think your post mesmerised my friends here because of how things are named.
    I understand you are in fact using more than 4 mics if you add closed mics to the toms. I think you ment to use the 4 mics as principal source of sound and adding the toms Under it at low levels. This technic is valid, specially if your room sound good. But you can't say it's a 4mic setup unless you are in fact using just 4 mics...
    Also, you talk about overhead as room mics. Man you've got to choose, either they are over (on top) of the drum and they are called overheads or they are somewhere else in the room and therefor called room mics. This is not to say that overheads won't pick up the room sound, but they if they are closer to the kit, they will pickup more of the direct sound than the room.
    Having a second bass drum as sub is quite un-necessary if the first bass drum sound good. There is more to do with choosing heads, tuning and mic placement and phase alignment before you need to think about a complicated setup using a second bass drum.
    Recording a drum kit with a 2 tracks is quite a challange. Plan for a lot of trial and errors.
    As for EQ pointer, NONE can be given to you before we hear it. EQs are dependant of the instrument, the room, the mic and placement, the preamp and rest of the audio path.
    We will gladly guide you if you post samples ;)
  11. Basher

    Basher Active Member

    Yeah I did make that confusing, huh? Was tryin to convey my message quickly and get some quick tips I guess, but here is the real deal. For the individual channels, I used the 100hz HPF on all channels at first, to check which tracks needed it and which did not. I actually only used it on the kick to get rid of rumble and the snare so it was drier and had more body. With all THAT being said, all my multitrack attempts failed, so it was all for nought. Instead, I ended up using 2 CAD CM217's as drums mics, run through my Scarlett 2i2 2- channel interface. I couldn't find ANY drivers online for the Mackie Profx 22 I was trying to use, so had to improvise. Laugh if you will, but this sucker is clean and has great preamps on it. Not real bright sound, but that's OK. Gave me a nice blend of the overall kit. Now here's where you guys REALLY beat me up. Mic positioning. I put the left mic at shoulder level approx. 18 inches away. I put the second mic roughly 6 inches above the floor toms. shooting towards the snare. I measured the distance to make sure the mics were centered to the center of the snare. No phase issues. I'm not even gonna tell you what I used for a DAW til after you hear it (if it sounds decent enough). I'm looking for drum track critique mainly. The guitars in this one are horrid and we are re-tracking them this weekend. Thanks for all your replies. I take this recording deal pretty seriously and just want to sound good! (Don't we all?)


    Attached Files:

  12. Basher

    Basher Active Member

    I forgot also, these are dry tracks straight into the DAW. No processing yet, if at all.
  13. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    IMO It sounds very muffled...there is no "Air" to it whatsoever, and the mix is dominated by frequencies around the 140 -150hz mark.

    I know its raw as you say there is no processing, but even the drum tracks sound a little muffled...your overheads mics should at least be giving you some room sound to the mix but I'm not hearing it. The drum tracks are dominating everything else in the mix...the vocal track is sitting too far back instead of sounding like its in the same room.

    You really need to get some balance between the low end and the top end which gives you the air and shimmer it lacks...and I'd be looking around the area from 2khz up to get some of that air in the track and let it breathe a little so it doesn't sound like the mix is suffocating.

    An increase around the 5k mark will give your vocal track more prescence, and should give you more attack on drum tracks, particularly your toms and kick.

    With the vocal track IMO a little boost at 3k can help with clarity...I would cut at around 6k and boost around 8k->10k...this will help bring the vocals more up front.

    Below shows your track on a Spectrum Meter...see what I mean about 140 - 150hz dominating the mix?...@140 - 150Hz you are @-24db and everything @2Khz and above is sitting at roughly around -65db.

    Spectrum snip.JPG

    IMHO of course ;)
  14. Basher

    Basher Active Member

    Well that graph is certainly telling. Thank you for your research and mix opinions regarding the track. I checked my software's analyzer with this track to compare to yours and the results were almost identical, so that should be a reliable tool for me to use in future recordings. I'm gonna try your recommendations with a remix. I was hoping to get good mixes at home just for a decent demo we can shop around until we can come up with the scratch to get the recording done professionally. And I'll definitely be more aware of the room sound, the balance of highs, mids, lows, effects, whatever. Biggest problem is we have a small room so am limited. One question though. Would it work or be worth the effort to add a bigger room sound to tracks by playing them through a PA speaker in a livelier room and recording THAT to add air to tracks and mix them in with the original track for flavor? Thanks very much all of you for your posts and tips!
  15. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Just a quick add to what Sean mentioned; When using impulse responses you'll need a reverb convolution program to load the impulse responses into ... Something like Pristine Space, for example.
  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Besides the aforementioned mud, I didn't see anything about checking the phase. Phase continuity is the arguably most important part of setup after proper tuning.

    For big reverb in small rooms just open the door to an adjacent room 1/3 of the way and put a mic outside the door facing the wall a few inches away. Your essentially micing the wall reflections and the result will be a much larger sound.

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