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drum kit OHs with compressor?

hello everybody!

i was told that i'd better use compressor for Overheads when recording drum kit?

what do think of that?



Jeremy Tue, 03/13/2007 - 09:38
depends on the situation. Dont go into every recording knowing you will have to use effects and plug ins. Going crazy with effects causes MUDD! Recording become stagnent and cluttered, and have less space for the ears to appreciate note changes, harmoics, and often some really technical craftmanship. Get in touch with the music first, and hear what it wants you to do, not trying to cram it into what you want. Using a compressor is a great tool especially a multiband compressor. Ofcourse you will need your time of expirimentation to better understand what the effects do. The compressor has a way of bringing out things in a mix letting them stand more in the front of the mix, but you cant have everything sit in the front or its just a wall of noise. Start by using some light compression on things like kick drum, and snare, and see where the overheads sit in the mix.

moonbaby Tue, 03/13/2007 - 14:10
Keep in mind that when you compress cymbals, and that's what you're doing on the OH's, you are increasing the "hang time" of the cymbals' decay.
Sometimes it's a cool effect, sometimes it sucks.
This is dependent upon so many factors, like style of music, the kit, the room, the drummer, and how many beers he's had...Of course you CAN un-do compression by one method: re-do the tracks!

Member Tue, 03/13/2007 - 23:39
thanks for your comments!
i think i'd try to do both ways keeping in mind your ideas.

I was advised to use some compression on OHs to reduce "carton" sound comming from toms - i used pair of AE 5100 or pair of Rode 2000 (90-120 angle) with almost the same results - Ohs add too much "carton" to the sound of my kit.


Member Wed, 03/21/2007 - 23:50
Hello everybody!

Do you have some ideas?

Adding compressor to to OHs making things a bit better but doesnot save the sound...

I have the same story again - too much "carton" comes from overhead mics making drum kit sound "cheap" as if it is comming from small speakers - may be it's a question to my drum kit (TAMA ARTSTAR birch) or to carpeted room with pretty low ceiling.


natural Thu, 03/22/2007 - 11:13
My usual approach is that my OH are for cymbals. (as Moonbaby pointed out) So I start rolling off below 1K. This solves the 'carton' effect. (I used to call it the 'living room' effect)
Of course all the drums have individual mics and I only bring up the OH enough to hear the cymbals and provide a little 'air' to the kit.
If you don't want to (or need to if the cymbals are extra bright) roll off all of the kit below 1K, you can use a shelving EQ to just drop the mid and low end down 6db or so.
Now, if you're using the OH as sort of a room mic to capture the kit in the room, then, I say, in my experience there's no point in a room mic unless you have a great sounding room, which for a modern rockish drum kit would need to be at least 500 sq ft but preferably more and with the appropriate archetecture, wall treatment,etc. If you don't have that, then keep the kit more dead and use a high quality reverb that supports early reflections.

Oh- And NO compression on the OH. This just brings up the 'living room/Carton' effect. ( However, there is a technique where a highly compressed OH track can be ADDED to the already mixed drums to provide an extra dynamic to the sound, But I wouldn't recommend this to the novice engineer, as there are other factors that need to be considered)
Hope this helps

Groff Thu, 03/22/2007 - 12:00
Low ceiling always sucks for OH because bounced waves comes into mic in different phase than direct and that can make your drums sound cheap and crappy.

1. check all cables for correct polarity (could be electronically out of phase)
2. double check OH mic positions and distance (3:1 rule)
3. try another OH position (xy, spaced pair, recorder man's approach …)
4. apply thicker absorption material (mineral wool/fiberglass/dense foam) between OH and ceiling


drumist69 Thu, 03/22/2007 - 14:58
I would wager that the "carton" sound you speak of comes from the drums not being tuned well, with new heads. Also, the type of head can make a difference. I record drums in a small room with carpet and low ceiling. Comes out pretty nice. I mic the drums with a pair of small condensors as overheads, and an AT2020 on kick usually. I get most of the sound from the OH's, and run that through a stereo compressor, mostly about a 3:1 ratio, fast attack and release times, and threshold just depends on what sounds right at the time. Works for me in my situation. Those TAMA Artstars should sound just fine. ANDY