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Anyone dispensing w/ stereo for tracking?

Member for

20 years 10 months
I'm thinking my life would be much easier (and cheaper) if I didn't bother with recording stereo pairs of anything, even overheads. I'm working with 1/2" 8 track, so preserving tracks before I have to bounce is of interest to me, but I could see for rock and pop stereo micing could be unnecessary.

The big thing that I do use in stereo is drum overheads, but with more minimalist mic techniques, that isn't a necessity, and you can get a bit of left-right dimension with slight panning of a few mics. I'll do stereo for other things when called for (prominent acoustic guitar for example), but for straight rock I really don't do real stereo for tracking. And most of the "stereo" field in rock is in the panning, which often results in ridiculouly wide sounding drum kits (those overheads) on home stereo systems.

An added benefit for a cheapskate like me is stereo pairs of everything ceases to be an issue, just get one each of some great mics and some single channel pres and work it. Also, no trying to evenly ride two faders on an analog board!

Anyone with me here? Or is stereo micing a big part of how you work?

Bear

Comments

Member for

20 years 8 months

Jon Best Tue, 01/08/2002 - 05:59
I mic in stereo when I'm going for a specific sound, most often with overheads- but on a 1/2" 8 track, I'd be more likely to do a 2-4 mic thing and bus it to stereo for the drums anyway. Other than overheads, I don't often do stereo on much. When I do, it's things like groups of singers, where stereo is kind of a downmix anyway.

Member for

20 years 9 months

Bob Olhsson Tue, 01/08/2002 - 06:12
To me the main appeal of 16 track over 8 was that I could even think about tracking a few things in stereo. With analog tape, breaking mikes out on to separate tracks never sounds as solid as mixing them together in the first place so even after we went 16 track, I almost never recorded anything besides drums, strings and horns in stereo. Even then I did stereo drums and kick on three tracks.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 01/08/2002 - 06:30
I've actually stopped stereo mic-ing drums (overheads) for a while....I've found it easier to get the sound I want with just 3 mics. a large diaphragm condenser on OH, a small dia. cond. to the side of the snare/hats, and a kick drum mic. if you extreme pan the OH and snare/hat mic, you can get wild stereo field stuff going, usually with 4th room mic, you can get good results. depends on your room tho.

anyhoo, mic-ing/recording drums is fun again for me. I used to stress about getting perfect, close mic'd sounds and shit, but was just making too much work for myself. it pays to experiment.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 01/08/2002 - 13:56
Bear, here's what I do (most of this is from Mercenary Audio/Fletcher's site):

OH mic: Oktava Mk319
snare/hats: Oktava MC012 w/ hyper-card. capsule
kick: AT pro 25

if those aren't bottom feeders, then I don't know what is. anyhoo, the OH is high up and generally over the drummer's right shoulder/low tom area. the snare/hats mic is about 6-8 inches away & pointing to the left side of the snare and just a few inches under the lip of the hats. the kick is close mic'd inside the shell, a few inches away from the head. as far as the room mic goes, whatever I got handy is fine, usually my other Oktava MC012 with the omni capsule on the other side of the room.

it's far from slick or graceful. but it takes very little time and I like more of a room sound anyways. hope that helps...

Member for

20 years 9 months

Bob Olhsson Thu, 01/10/2002 - 11:50
Originally posted by Bear's Gone Fission:
... So I guess you do (did?) your submix when tracking,
Bear


We didn't think of it as submixing but yes, we put more than one mike and even reverb on the same track. We also rode the gain on live vocals. The idea was to KNOW exactly where you were at while tracking and for anybody who was overdubbing to be playing or singing to something approximating the finished product.

Otherwise you need to do a mix in order to figure out if an overdub is going to work.

Member for

20 years 9 months

Bob Olhsson Fri, 01/11/2002 - 18:18
In my experience a bad decision is a thousand times better than no decision.

Once a commitment has been made, you need to figure out how to MAKE it work. If you save making everything work for the mix, you've just punted on using the most powerful tools of all which are arrangement and performance.

Member for

20 years 5 months

rivers Fri, 01/11/2002 - 20:51
"In my experience a bad decision is a thousand times better than no decision.

Once a commitment has been made, you need to figure out how to MAKE it work. If you save making everything work for the mix, you've just punted on using the most powerful tools of all which are arrangement and performance".

Bob I've been admiring your posts from afar but that qoute sounds like should go into the "Ten Commandments" of recording.
Thanks
Jimrivers

Member for

19 years 11 months

Ted Nightshade Fri, 01/11/2002 - 21:21
Amazing how some arrangements just are heaven-sent for recording and others are just a headache. With my own music an arrangement for live and for recording are two different things- and the one for recording is not more complex, but simpler, so it can all fit on the tape! (or virtual equivalent!) Only so many ways the poor li'l speakers can jump at once....
All about a hole for everything and everything in it's hole.
Ted

Member for

20 years 5 months

Jon Atack Sat, 01/12/2002 - 11:10
(Great posts, Bob)

Personally, I like to use stereo tracks or pairs of tracks for many things: Acoustic git, drum overhead mics, drum room mics, toms, snare top+bottom, kick inside+outside, electric gits close+room, bass DI+mic, stereo strings, stereo percussion, string bass plucked+frets, stereo piano...to name a few simplified examples. I'll readily admit to using 12-14 tracks for a rock drum kit recording, though it does depend on the musical context.

Jon

Member for

20 years 5 months

Jon Atack Sat, 01/12/2002 - 23:22
Regarding miking a drum kit with 3 or 4 mics...while that can work for certain contexts (off the top of my head...jazz, roots blues, bluegrass, big beat, lo-fi a la Beck, garage, some R&B), it still isn't what I see happening the most often for rock drums.

Some of you might find this interesting...A couple months back, I had the chance to play around for an hour in the studio with a copy of the original tracks of a well-known rap/metal song that was a major hit in the US in late 2000/early 2001. Though it was tracked to PT, the track count remained a reasonable 24 tracks, although the drums were definitely not done with 3 mics.

Here was the track listing:

Kick inside
Kick outside
Snare top
Hat
Toms L
Toms R
OH L
OH R
Room L (the room mics brought all the real
Room R power to the drum kit BTW)
Bass G (miked amp)
E Guitar L
E Guitar R
E Guitar2 L
E Guitar2 R
E Guitar FX 1
E Guitar FX 2
E Guitar wah
E Guitar echo (effect was tracked during the take)
V Lead
V Lead double
V Distorted Lead
V Whispered Lead
V Screamed Lead

FWIW...though it did have that PT sound, esp. in the guitar tracks, the recording and performances were well-done. Just putting up the faders was enough to hear a decent rough mix.

Jon
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