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

Wishy washy cymbals

Discussion in 'Rides / Cymbals' started by McCheese, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    I tracked some drums recently, and the cymbals came out really 'wishy washy' for lack of a better term. Not sure how to explain it, but it's basically the sound changing from the cymbal rocking back and forth on it's stand. I soloed one mic, and it's still there, so it's not phase, and I tried various levels of compression, expansion and a few other things to see if it would help, but to no avail. The (OH) mics were placed about 6 feet in front of the kit at about tom level (XY stereo). I tried coming in from over the kit, and it helps it a bit, but then I'm not getting enough tom in the OH. Any suggestions?
  2. jamiey

    jamiey Guest

    That's happened to me a couple times maybe. If I recall it might've been partly due to the mics I used, and/or where exactly they were pointed, but I think mainly due to the drummer being just a tad out of control.

    It may help to not aim the mics at the cymbals, if they are in the first place. I tend to aim overheads at the toms - my desperate attempt at improving the drummer who ussually never hits those toms hard enough :)

    How to fix the cymbal wobble sound if there is no going back? Hmmm... Well, I often do extremely surgical edits if something sounds very off - less and less as I work with better musicans. Like, for example, taking a similar drum passage from earlier in the song and fitting into the bad spot - hey, alot of time it DOES work seemlessly. But there is alot of chopping up and fast crossfading and paying attention not to completely screw up phase... I can only do this using Vegas, but I'm sure it's possible with other editors - but likely a butt load of alot more difficult/time-consuming, hehehe... at least for me.... Good luck with it 8)
  3. perfectwave

    perfectwave Guest

    whenever i get that wishy washy sound in my overheads, I usually raise them, seems to work. I never close mic crash cymbols, if your close micing them that's probably your problem. If you have overheads properly set up youll never need to close mic the crash cymbols
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    If by "wishy-washy" you mean that they sound like they're going through a Small Stone Phaser, that is definitely a "too close" issue.
    Perfectwave has it right. Pull 'em back and let 'em breathe, baby!
  5. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    It also could be an effect of the room too. You might experiment with some gobos to deaden early reflections. Also could you tighten the wing nuts on the cymbals down? That may result in a shorter decay but would reduce the movement of the cymbals.
  6. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Awesome guys, thanks.
  7. yan_b

    yan_b Guest

    doppler imho
  8. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Guest

    9 times out of 10 it's an issue of mic placement. Look at how the cymbals are mounted in the kit. Place your micpoint at the area where the cymbals wobble the least when struck. You can do quite superior close micing without getting a wishy uneven sound. When those cymbal mics get too high they cease to be cymbal mics and start to become room mics. You will want to keep the over heads equidistant from the snare to maintain a good punchy center. Here's a link to a Massenburg setup - http://www.massenburg.com/cgi-bin/ml/tracking_mics.html

    Take your time and good luck.
  9. Sork

    Sork Active Member

    AND make the cymbals crack easier! Not very clever! The cymbals must be allowed to move freely, not kept in place!
  10. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Are you sure it's not a phase problem?

    Bad phase can give a wishy washy kind of sound.
  11. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Yeah,that was my first thought, but the mic's were in x/y and when I soloed each mic individually it was still there.

    I think it may have been proximity to a wall combined with mics too close. I'll be giving it another go in a few weeks, and this time I'll be paying closer attention to it (it was a 'jump in and hit record' thing last time, wasn't really able to do a lot of tweaking.)
  12. DAWPRO

    DAWPRO Active Member

    If you're hearing this while you solo one overhead mic... it's being caused by early high frequency reflections.

    My guess is that the recording space for your drum kit is small with low ceilings and there is little to no acoustic treatment.

    Am I right?

    If you can't find satisfactory mic placement or record in a bigger room... then high frequency diffusion will fix this.
  13. Chance

    Chance Guest

    Sounds like a phase problem to me too. You said that when you solo it is still there. depending on your setup, it may still give that effect. Just for the sake of knowledge, try switching the phase on one of your overhead mics. If you don't have that option, you can get a mic cable that does that. Or you can make one. On one end of a mic cable, switch the wires that go to pin 2 and 3 . Or is it 1 & 3 ? Either way you have the shield (heavier sometimes braided) leave that one there and switch the other two ONLY ON ONE END of the cable
  14. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    This problem is aggravated by mic placement too close to the edge of the cymbals.As the cymbal sways, Doppler comes into play bigtime, and what you hear is that. The mic simply needs to be re-positioned so that it isn't as sensitive to that "moving target" edge.
  15. DAWPRO

    DAWPRO Active Member

    Moving the overheads higher to let the cymbals breathe works, but it can also make the drums sound more distant... which may not be the sound you're after. Another approach is to place the overheads over the bell of the crash cymbals to avoid picking up the effects of cymbal movement, but you have then shifted from mic-ing the kit to mic-ing the cymbals. That's fine if your close mics will take care of the drums, but it's a very 70's sound, and compared to today's releases... it can sound a little too tight and generally not big enough.

    If you are counting on your overheads for the bulk of your drum sound, and you want that big and fat but very close and present drum kit sound, then high or wide overhead mike placement, or "cymbal mic-ing" may not be a good solution.

    I agree with Moonbaby. Try EVERY mic placement you can to find the sound you're looking for with out the wishy-washy cymbals. Might help to have an assistant move the mics for you while you listen. The right positions are probably in there somewhere... but if it still aludes you... it's probably coming from high frequency reflections and you'll need to fix the room... not the mix.

    If you have enough mics and enough channels in your front-end, ambient mics in front of the kit can help fill in the sound of the kit and help eliminate your cymbal problem.
  16. He doesn't mean dead tight, and also, physics dictate that if you have the mass of a cymbal swaying back and forth such a large amount on such a small stress point, it will be easier for the cymbal to crack. I've had drummers that had cymbals where they swayed less than 1 inch each way off axis and produced some of the best cymbal tones I could ask for. If you are breaking cymbals, then you are hitting them too hard.
  17. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    i agree, the more a cybal swayes the farther off your mics have to be to get a level sound. not to menchion the dopler effect that recording a moving source produces.
  18. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio Active Member

    what about the room? Is it small? is it treated? is it carpeted? you may be picking up more of the reflection than the dircet sound from the cymbals......I've done a recording in a small, untreated room with carpet on the floor and low ceilings that this effect was so bad you couldn't hear the attack of the cymbal, it was just like an endless ringing with no beginning.....

    so long as we learn from our mistakes and make progress forward
  19. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    If your such a hard hitter of cymbals that they crack easily you could try those Aquarian cymbal springs. Those let you tighten the cymbals and provide shock absorption. My bands drummer hits really hard and we got him some of the Aquarian cymbal springs and that extended his cymbal life span considerably.
  20. tedcrop

    tedcrop Guest

    This usually happens in a small room. Very common cybal bounces off of the wall right back into the mics and you basically hear the cymbal again and again in the mic. If you have a small room you will need some treatment.

    Also ask the drummer not to hit the cymbals so hard and not all the time.

    In a small room dead ceiling, semi dead walls and over heads as high as possible XY works pretty good. Make the drummer go easy on the cymbals. experienced drummers usually understand recording and their surroundings and consequently their recordings sound better.

Share This Page