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Hi-hat bleed (not samplers) is killing the drummer profession in the studio

Hi I work in a recording studio. Each time I record and mix a drum, I find myself spending more brain energy figuring out hout to make the drums sound as good as a sampler track without having too much hi-hat in the mix. This is sad. Drummers sound better and play better then computers, but the hi-hat bleed issue makes many producers and engineers think twice about going through the trouble of recording drums for a project. Sometimes the recorded drums dont sound as good as the drum machine track in the mix, the reason being hi-hat bleed in the snare drum. If we lived in a world without hi-hat bleed, I guess drummers would be working more in studio gigs. Does what I say make sense?

Comments

anonymous Tue, 11/13/2012 - 00:42
It may be an issue of the way that you're approaching how to mic up the drumkit. Close mics are best thought of as fill-ins, a way of changing the balance of the drum sound being picked up by the main microphones which record the whole drumkit. Spill, in that sense is what you're recording, the close mics just give you a bit of level control, a way of making something a bit louder in the mix to taste. Look into the Glyn Johns method.

You could also use some sophisticated audio-repair software to wipe the hihats out of the snare mic.

Also, do bear in mind that an acoustic-labyrinth cardioid microphone uses a pretty fudgey system to achieve a polar response, so the sound quality that you will get from a sound emanating to the rear of, for example, an SM58 will be pretty ropy. In some respects I'd rather get a bit more spill by using an omni, and achieve separation by putting the mic really close to the skin. The off-axis sound will be much nicer in quality.

You should also get the drummer to put the hihats, and also the other cymbals, up as high as possible. A foot and a half between the snare and hihats really helps. The choice of hihat cymbal is fairly important, too. A good, thin jazz set, such as Zildjian Ks is advisable for studio use. A good drummer will be able to tone down the level of the hihat playing if you ask them, too.

If you're really, really bothered, and want total separation, I guess you could switch the hihat for a rubber-coated trigger, pintech do some good ones. Most drummers would not be too happy about that, though.

BobRogers Tue, 11/13/2012 - 04:18
I agree with the comments above about equipment, mic placement, etc. But there is a more central problem of frame of reference.

zblip2, post: 396015 wrote: ... Each time I record and mix a drum, I find myself spending more brain energy figuring out hout to make the drums sound as good as a sampler track without having too much hi-hat in the mix. This is sad. Drummers sound better and play better then computers, but ...
(emphasis added)

So which is it? Is the sound in your head a collection of samples or is it a live kit? I think there are a lot of people out there who cut their teeth on modern music production for whom the reference standards for recorded drums are samples. Samples are what a drum set should sound like to them. But...real drums don't sound like that. And (while there are lots of tricks like parallel compression to give live drums more punch) sometimes you can do more harm than good trying to make a real kit sound like a collection of samples.

If samples are the sound in your head, the sound that you want, there is no shame in using techniques like replacement to give you the feel that you want. As you say, recording live drums is a lot of work if it's not really the sound you are looking for.

The aesthetic for live drums is different. You need to listen to older recordings, listen to live drums. Practice recording the whole kit with one or two mics. Again, if it's not what you want there is no rule that says you have to go with this sound.

Kurt Foster Tue, 11/13/2012 - 05:45
what Bob said. here's the deal. samples are recorded one hit at a time. live drums have the cymbals and hat going all the time. there will be blood (spill). compression only makes spill worse. i love live drums and there's nothing better than a great drummer but you have to understand there's something wrong with a person who wants to spend a large portion of their lives hitting things. these are damaged people, these drummers. the fact that they are damaged is proven by their willingness to hang around with musicians.

the best studio drummers learn to dig into the snare and toms while playing the cymbals softer. they "mix" themselves. they set the toms flat and low for a better stick attack, put the cymbals up way high to minimize spill as much as possible and place the hat as far as possible from the snare and the kick to minimize spill. a drummer like this can be gated or downward expanded and compressed for more punch with less spill issues.

you're going to run into your bashers of course. i can almost tell how good a drummer is going to be even before they play a hit, by the way there kit is set up. invariably, the basher is going to be the one who sets the ride cymbal 2 inches above the floor tom and places the hat right on top of the snare and then wails away on the brass. a lot of times these cretins have cracked cymbals.

there's not much you can do other than gating / expanding and triggering samples using radical eq to filter the trigger signal or to eq / filter all the lows and much of the mids out of the overheads getting most of the kit through the kick, snare and tom mics. in these cases i usually just turn the hat mic off and only bring up enough of these filtered eqe'd overheads to add some sheen to the cymbals. really a back ak asswrds way to do it but it is sometimes the only solution. somtimes it takes both eq filters and gating triggering replacement hits. in DAWs you can just draw out everytnig between drum hits and then trigger replacment samples.

ouzo77 Tue, 11/13/2012 - 05:59
bishopdante, post: 396083 wrote:
If you're really, really bothered, and want total separation, I guess you could switch the hihat for a rubber-coated trigger, pintech do some good ones. Most drummers would not be too happy about that, though.

I wouldn't do that. The hi-hat plays a much bigger dynamic part in a groove than the snare. So instead of using a sampled hi-hat I would add a good sample to the snare. Don't replace it completely. Mix you drums with the mic tracks as good as you can. If the hi-hat is too loud then try cutting some frequencies in the snare mic and/or turn the volume of the snare down until you have the desired hi-hat volume. Than add a nice (multi) sample to your snare (be careful with phase alignment) and bring that up until it sounds right and loud enough.
you could also make your own samples of the actual snare and add this, if you want exactly the sound of your snare.

way better than replacing the hi-hat with a rubberboard. and more likely to be accepted by any drummer.

anonymous Tue, 11/13/2012 - 06:32
ouzo77, post: 396103 wrote: I wouldn't do that.

It's a drastic idea, but if you want a certain sort of really drum-machine hihat sound, which can be buried deeper in the mix, it can be done. In actual fact, I've even seen quite a few people doing that for live shows, although in that case they usually have a real hihat as well, and use them from song to song to achieve various effects. Same with kick drum, sometimes people are looking for a triggered drum-machine sound rather than an acoustic one. In that case, you can use a trigger pad.

Wouldn't replace a real cymbal with a trigger just for the purpose of decreasing spill, that's for sure.

ouzo77 Tue, 11/13/2012 - 06:39
bishopdante, post: 396105 wrote: In actual fact, I've even seen quite a few people doing that for live shows.

I am actually doing this! :-) Though I'm playing a complete e-drum kit live, which is ok because I can set the whole kit up in about 15 minutes (when I'm in a hurry) and combined with our digital mixer with total recall we are ready to go in 30 minutes (if we have to, which sometimes is the case)

But in a studio situation I prefer an acoustic kit or at least acoustic cymbals. a real hi-hat is so much more dynamic and has many more nuances than any electronic trigger pad.

If you want that electronic/sampled sound than it's something completely different.

RemyRAD Tue, 11/13/2012 - 16:05
In response to [[url=http://[/URL]="http://recording.or…"]zblip2[/]="http://recording.or…"]zblip2[/]'s question, regarding how to get your drums to sound more like sampled drums, it's relatively easy. Problems with too much hi hat? Maybe you just need more cowbell? LOL, but seriously though, use of gates, is the first place to start. You gate your bass drum, snare drum, tom-tom's and your hi hat. And then whatever else you choose to do with your overheads? You can take those as is or, you can squash and gate the crap out of those as well. Then all of your drums will start to sound like sampled drum kits. So you're working in a studio and you didn't know this yet? So you were only doing cassette duplication until last week? I mean all those other examples of cool hybrid drum kits is certainly another way of getting that kind of sound. But I basically deal with real percussionists playing real drum sets. And a good set of traps with a good musician playing them usually results in superb recordings that brings more to life.

I personally like using my external old-fashioned analog hardware but I've done the same within Cool Edit Pro/Adobe Audition's built-in dynamics processing. But hi hats causing problems? I've never really had that problem? I think you're talking about operator error? Of course some of this might have to do with whatever kind of musical genre you are dealing with, which you didn't indicate? But what I'm talking about should span across quite a wide range of pop music drum recording. From jazz and gospel to death metal.

I love gating drums
Mx. Remy Ann David

zblip2 Tue, 11/13/2012 - 20:42
I'm not a pro at micing stuff, but I have a pretty good ear for mixing, I'm a musician myself. Of course we can get around the basic hi-hat blead issue, by gating etc. But I think that there is a fondamental flaw in the desing of drums in regards to recording. When we record the singer we put him in a booth. Whell, the drum is like a mini band and the snare is the signer. It is getting eaten up by the hi-hat and it's been like that for so long that people has just taken it for granted. In the best of worlds (a world without hi-hat bleed) the drums would sound a hec of a lot better. Better than a sampler cause you'd get the performance and the sound alltogether.
Even if you think you dont have a hi-hat bleed issue, you have one. You are making compromises: you are not compressing as much as you would like to, you are gating the snare (loosing a bit of the attack on the snare and gost notes maybe), you are not EQing the snare track as much as you would like in the top end, etc... All this because of hi-hat bleed.

RemyRAD Tue, 11/13/2012 - 23:04
You are simply describing improper microphone selection, placement and bad recording technique when it comes to Hi-Hat problems, affecting the recording of your snare drum. So while you say you think you know what you're doing, you obviously don't. I'm not trying to be hard on you but come on now, other engineers like myself don't have this problem or issue. Maybe you are using some kind of stupid condenser microphone on your snare drum and not a 57 or a Sennheiser 421? And yeah, then you would have that kind of problem, especially without gating your snare drum. And even though the gate may take a small slice out of the initial transient of the snare drum, the overheads make up for that. And that's the way it's done. That's how you get some beef out of the snare drum and where your hi hat will no longer be a problem. This is the way good drum recordings are done. Your drum recording is not good because of inexperience and a lack of proper basic necessary knowledge. And being a recording engineer is a little like being a brain surgeon. Not everyone is up to that task. You might have the desire? But you may not have the expertise or the talent that's really required to do a good job? Because that my friend, is a beginner issues you are having problems with. It's wanting to work for a studio, getting coffee, sweeping the floors, taking care of duplication. It's another thing being a professional who can deliver a professional product. If you haven't heard a good gated drum set, then ya haven't been listening to many good recordings. I get great drum mixes in mere minutes, not hours. That might be different if you're trying to develop some kind of new avant-garde musical style? Unfortunately I found that most avant-garde music ain't worth listening to. It's modern poop. State of the art crap. Musical nausea. So what kind of musical genre are you talking about? Good rock 'n roll I would think? No? Hip-Plop/wrap? Henry Metal or, Death Solder? Gospel? Or, a musical rendition of the evening news paper? So how do you think other people get good drum mixes and recordings? Just setting up a couple of microphones, turning up the volume controls and voilà? Sometimes, that actually works well that way, depending upon the drum kit and the musician playing them. But then sometimes you want that tight, huge, fat, punch you in the face like sound. And you get that when you gate your drums. There is no problem with lopping off that first 1 ms. You aren't losing anything but your mind I can assure you.

So a better solution may be had if you could actually include some comprehensive information as to how your drums are set up, who's drums and cymbals they are, what microphones are in use and where you have placed them? You're asking a question and then including your own reasons for the problem which you really have no understanding of what so ever. So is this a question or a comment you are making? Even that is unclear here. So how can you expect to become a better engineer if you can not properly verbalize what issues are confronting you? Most information you might think you know and might tell me, I already know to be incorrect. So don't bother telling me what the problem is because you really don't know what the problem is. I want to know what you're doing and with what so I can help you fix the issues you are having. Your information of I work for a studio says nothing. So let's get with the program and on the right track or tracks, please. I suppose you do not also understand how to utilize phase or phase inversion to your best advantage? In many situations with drum miking, phase can be utilized to cause good cancellation. Otherwise it can be completely screwed up causing all sorts of phase cancellation and comb filtering. You can get a particularly good sound by merely inverting the phase of the bass drum microphone. There will be a certain kind of cancellation effect that will bolster the thud of the bass drum and punch it out instead of making your woofers suck. Quite literally suck. Meeting the woofers are traversing in the wrong direction every time the bass drum hits. You don't put microphones under any other drums do you? Well sticking a microphone inside a bass drum is like putting your other microphones underneath the other drums. And when you put a microphone underneath the snare drum you must phase invert that microphone in comparison to the top microphone on the snare drum. And then you gate them both together. Put that on your hi hat and smoke it. Hi hat problem my ass....

Drum recording 101
Mx. Remy Ann David

zblip2 Wed, 11/14/2012 - 16:13
Thanks for trying to help. Micing drums isn't my specialty, I must admit. But I'm not a total incompetent, after all I have 20 years experience in studio, got a couple of awards for best sound, Oscar nomination etc. So all that you are talking about, I sort of already new about. I'm just talking theoretically, I don't have a particular issue with my drum micing setup, nor am I asking for help. It is just a general observation. I just think that a drum set is an imperfect concept in regards to exploiting the full sonic potential of its individual parts. I don't need you explaining to me that some of us should stick to serving coffee while others like you are professionals. It's kind of way besides the point. When I was saying "Even when you say you have no hi-hat bleed issue, you have it reality" I was not talking about "YOU", it was only to demonstrate that micing a drum forces us to make compromises in the way we would like the drums to sound during the mix. One can not compress nor EQ it as much as he would like to without, at some point, having hi-hat issues. I was just imagining a world without hi-hat bleed, and how good drums would sound... It is the reason some producers record hi-hats on a different take even it he risks messing up the playing feel. Maybe I'm wrong to think this...

Kurt Foster Wed, 11/14/2012 - 23:52
zblip2, post: 396198 wrote: Thanks for trying to help. Micing drums isn't my specialty, I must admit. But I'm not a total incompetent, after all I have 20 years experience in studio, got a couple of awards for best sound, Oscar nomination etc. So all that you are talking about, I sort of already new about. I'm just talking theoretically, I don't have a particular issue with my drum micing setup, nor am I asking for help. It is just a general observation. I just think that a drum set is an imperfect concept in regards to exploiting the full sonic potential of its individual parts. I don't need you explaining to me that some of us should stick to serving coffee while others like you are professionals. It's kind of way besides the point. When I was saying "Even when you say you have no hi-hat bleed issue, you have it reality" I was not talking about "YOU", it was only to demonstrate that micing a drum forces us to make compromises in the way we would like the drums to sound during the mix. One can not compress nor EQ it as much as he would like to without, at some point, having hi-hat issues. I was just imagining a world without hi-hat bleed, and how good drums would sound... It is the reason some producers record hi-hats on a different take even it he risks messing up the playing feel. Maybe I'm wrong to think this...

i think your last remark is the correct assumption. think of a drum set as one instrument. you should be able to record a drum set with 1 mic. after that everything is "frosting".

the way you are thinking of drums (several separate elements combined) would be the same as considering a guitar as 6 different instruments ... each string being it's own voice. this comes from working with samplers and drum machines instead of real acoustic instruments. if you are having an issue with the hat being played to loud have the drummer back off. perhaps they are playing with the hat 1/2 open? that always kills a drum track. make them close the hat. [[url=http://[/URL]="http://gimp137.trip…"]drummers[/]="http://gimp137.trip…"]drummers[/] tend to prefer the most obnoxious sounds. they must be controlled!

RemyRAD Thu, 11/15/2012 - 14:30
So you seem to be just as accomplished as I am. However your original posting came off like you are having issues and don't know how to correct for it?... It's not a problem... it's audio engineering. And, unfortunately, I generally assume that most accomplished engineers don't have problems with this. So the posting was moot. Advice or technique for those that might have an issue, was not really expressed in your post. Personally speaking, I take your a lot of this, before bed and into the wee hours of the morning when my thought process also gets rather convoluted. So I too have posted responses with technical advice for my brain switched over to a previous post from earlier combining the two in my brain at offering up something that had nothing to do with the original question. So sorry about that chief. My bad. I was just trying to express that this isn't not been an issue for me spending more than 40 years. Especially those of us that understand the true root of the term audio engineering. With Oscar nominations, you obviously understand that. Others think it's plugging in a couple of microphones and why doesn't it sound like a hit record?

I don't necessarily consider this to be a free education site by posting problem oriented threads to inspire discussion. Nice for sharing some new technology and answering questions for those that have them. At which point I frequently include suggestive techniques and explanations, as audio engineers do in our professional life. So I basically misinterpreted your post. I apologize for any of my condescending commentary. No offense was intended to another professional. Though I don't usually have problems offending amateurs especially when they post questions and when I post a suggestion, they then tell me how they're going to do it their way and still wonder what the problem is. Where it becomes painfully obvious to me that you can't fix stupid. I had a great mentor for over 10 years. Two in fact. And I'm here to mentor but not necessarily to post classroom projects. So this was a missed conception on my part LOL.

I've given birth to all sorts of faux pas's
Mx. Remy Ann David

Kurt Foster Thu, 11/15/2012 - 14:51
 



REMY is well respected and for you to make her feel like she should admit a "my bad" is imo inexcusable. rude on your part to say the least.

you make a lot of assumptions most of them preclude that the way you do things is the right way and also the way everyone else does it.

1) when YOU record a singer YOU put them in a vocal booth. i don't.

2) in your world drums would sound better without hi hat spill. not in mine.

3) YOU perceive hat spill as a problem. i don't. it's what real drums sound like.

4) YOU think sampled drums sound better than real drums. i don't. and a lot of other well respected recordists concur with how I feel. i think sampled drums sound like ass most of the time. i pretty much hate electronic music, drum machines, samples in general and keyboard players who think they can do everything themselves who coupled with over zealous control freak producers have probably done more in the past 20 years to destroy the pop music idiom. Craig Anderton should die.

again i think the real issue here is you have never recorded a really good drummer on a well tuned kit in a great room. like i said before, it should only take one mic.

when you can make records like the ones that came out of STAX/ FAME/ Chess/ MOTOWN/ Armin Steiner/ WESTERN/ and the CAPITOL BUILDING, then you can pontificate on what is a good drum sound and what isn't.
Attached files

RemyRAD Thu, 11/15/2012 - 15:30
I love the dog! I love the quote "Craig Anderton should die." LMAO LOL whoops! Almost! Good thing I'm a tight ass. Oy vey that was good. It distracted me from the news talking about David " Betrayed US ".

I fully understand that film mix guys, go about their craft in quite a different way. Unlike what Kurt even had to say, I specialize in live on location recording for albums, radio and TV broadcasts. So I deal with a lot of crappy cheap drum sets and cymbals, a lousy acoustical environments. Yet what I must do, is still make it sound like a hit record regardless. And that's what us good recording music dweebs know how to do. Stuff I learned in my teens over 40 years ago. I was heavily ensconced in the broadcast industry and recording arts and sciences. Never in the film except as a location audio capture guy with a NAGRA III/IV, Sennheiser 816 shotgun (with A/B powering), Sony and Sennheiser wired and wireless lavaliers'. Not even with crystal sync but with pilot tone 90° offset from the full track gap, connected with a cable to the ARIFLEX 16/35mm movie cameras. Where are all of you guys who were mixing this were using KEPEX 1's and looping my room tone. So you are already familiar with gating and downward expansion. So I'm still unclear as to why you would have posted this particular question?

Am I missing something here?
Mx. Remy Ann David

zblip2 Thu, 11/15/2012 - 16:55
Hmm.. ok.

Remy, sorry, Kurt, sorry. All of this is going too far and it's probably my fault. I don't want to pontificate and I don't want anybody to feel bad. I just wanted to issue a statement for you guys to reflect on, to agree or disagree. Lets make peace. :) I dont like hi-hat bleed, to me, its just pollution that gets in the way of clarity, it masks the chains of the snare, it rings in the room mics etc. You don't have to agree. I won awards sure, but it was as a sound designer not as a recording engineer, although I've been doing it for as long as the other two. I've mixed 5.1 movie scores I've been around. I've been in situations where I miced drums and due to the drummer's style or what else, I had hi-hat bleed problems and I just hated it. It made no sense to me that as sophisticated our tools have become, that we were still dealing with the age old problem of hi-hat bleed. Since then it has always been a worry for me.
I'll let you in on a little secret: I've been working on an invention for the last year and a half. Its a device that cuts hi-hat bleed by about 20db in the snare track, 10db in the room mic, and 3 db in the overheads. All this without affecting the quality of the sound, nor the drummer's playing. I looked through the patents database and nothing existed that resemble my idea. I made one, tried it and found out that it worked. You know how good the snare sounds when the drummer is playing on the ride instead of the hi-hat, well with the device, the snare sounds like that or better, all the time. The drummer can play with the hi-hats half opened, it doesn't make a difference. You hear the personality of the snare, the chains, the harmonic content, the ghost notes, side sticks snap etc... When comes mixing, lift the faders, EQ as you please, no gating necessary (although you can if you want total separation), put a basic compressor on the drum bus, and voilà , perfect sounding drums. I know I'll never record a drum again without this thing, and I figure others (drummers, producers, engineers) will feel the same. The drummers who tried it liked it, one insisted on buying the prototype as ugly as it was. Everything just sounds better with it and mixing drums becomes a lot simpler. I patented the thing and am in the process of perfecting it before going into production. I hope the idea will catch on. You will probably hear about it in a couple of months. Look for "HHH".. ;)

RemyRAD Thu, 11/15/2012 - 18:42
Sounds like a cool gizmo? Hope you make some $'s? Obviously, you hate hi hat bleed. On occasion, I've just used a little duct tape or gaffers tape, on the blasted thing. But that doesn't really reduce any bleed. Takes a little zing away from something that might be too zingy. Where hi hat bleed is also not a problem for many of us. So you are now a rock 'n roll recording engineer? Sure, we can agree to disagree because we are professionals. We all have our own unique talents and techniques. We all attain great sounding stuff which also includes hi hats, without exclusionary measures.

HHH? Hi Hat Hater?

Drum recordist
Mx. Remy Ann David

zblip2 Thu, 11/15/2012 - 19:03
RemyRAD, post: 396240 wrote: Sounds like a cool gizmo? Hope you make some $'s? Obviously, you hate hi hat bleed. On occasion, I've just used a little duct tape or gaffers tape, on the blasted thing. But that doesn't really reduce any bleed. Takes a little zing away from something that might be too zingy. Where hi hat bleed is also not a problem for many of us. So you are now a rock 'n roll recording engineer? Sure, we can agree to disagree because we are professionals. We all have our own unique talents and techniques. We all attain great sounding stuff which also includes hi hats, without exclusionary measures.

HHH? Hi Hat Hater?

Drum recordist
Mx. Remy Ann David

Good one! lol I think I'll change the name to that!
We are all passionate about the work we do, the reason being we are condemned to be excellent. A mecanic repairs your car, a doctor fixes your arm, but us sound guys/gals, we can not just "sound", we have to freakin sound amazing all the time. That's not fair! But it still is the coolest job out of the three aint it?

And no, I'm not a rock'n roll recording engineer, probably why I'm not an expert at micing drums which is the reason I invented the thing. I'm basically a sound designer, I find out how to create sounds for film and TV, maybe this explains my approche I don't know...

RemyRAD Thu, 11/15/2012 - 20:24
Well I certainly think it soothes the confusion? LOL. Condemned to be excellent, I couldn't put it better myself.

I think for many of us, we approach things like recording drums in much the same way that you do as a sound designer. We are building a sonic image with a room full of tools at our disposal (if they're Chinese that is). We create and design sounds for music lovers. At least that's my approach. Frequently I have to also design my sound to match the picture. And sometimes not. Because if the picture looks crappy, I still want my sound to make the picture look good.

I don't very often grab at the suck control. (From the Gary Larson cartoon)
Mx. Remy Ann David

zblip2 Fri, 11/16/2012 - 15:45
Kurt Foster, post: 396269 wrote: well now that you've peaked our interest, what is this invention? i am curious.

I wrote a whole description and was about to post it but at the last second I changed my mind. facepalm
I'm sorry, I can't tell you more about it. If we were friends I would even show you a picture of it, but posting this on a public site gives me the spooks. My patent is in process and if something goes wrong with the patents office and I describe the principles of my device publicly I could regret it. As soon as the patent is locked and approved I'll be glad to share the idea with everybody. This is probably the only marketable Idea I will ever have, I must protect it. I'm sure you understand. The thing works, and what I wish is that one day, using it will be as common as putting a sm57 on the snare drum. If this day comes, I will have made enough money to take a permanent vacation.smoke

Kurt Foster Fri, 11/16/2012 - 16:24
i have seen people do a lot of things to try to cut spill on drums.

i even saw one guy cut the bottoms out of paper cups and tape them on 421's. lol .

that was about the stupidest thing ever. didn't do sh*t to tame the spill. the guy thought it made an improvement but i didn't hear it. in fact i think it made it worse. people can convince themselves of just about anything.

most cardioid mics work picking up sound from the rear and pushing it through a labyrinth or chamber making it out of phase and canceling it out. if you block the sound from the rear, your cardioid mic suddenly becomes omni ... which is exactly what you DON'T want. this is why people who cup a 58 and then whine about feedback are idiots.

there were a lot of really smart physicists who worked on mic designs for bell labs / rca / emi / bbc back in the early 20th century. i am skeptical that they left any stones unturned in regard to this.

best of luck with your invention.

RemyRAD Fri, 11/16/2012 - 20:50
And maybe not? Because folks like myself, wouldn't necessarily be interested. But today, it's a world of quantity versus quality. So ya might do rather well? I hope you do. Anything from keeping people making the same mistakes recording drums, as you have. And it will be a hit. Rich guys will all want them. Beginners will need them. And that's a good-sized demographic group to make a few bucks with. Just not sure why you had so many problems recording Hi-hat?

Anyone need a civil defense bomb shelter?
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sat, 11/17/2012 - 00:15
Great! Looking forward to what you come up with. We all love better mousetraps, bass traps. Every acoustical gizmo has its place. I'm for whatever makes a good recording.

Completely isolated socks. Yeah, I can find a whole bunch of lefts that don't match a whole bunch of rights.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Beat Poet Tue, 11/20/2012 - 08:20
bishopdante, post: 396083 wrote: You should also get the drummer to put the hihats, and also the other cymbals, up as high as possible. A foot and a half between the snare and hihats really helps. The choice of hihat cymbal is fairly important, too. A good, thin jazz set, such as Zildjian Ks is advisable for studio use. A good drummer will be able to tone down the level of the hihat playing if you ask them, too.

It's also good to move the hat out wide, away from the snare. Countless times back in the day I got back on my kit after someone else had played it and the tube of the hi-hat stand has been up against the snare. The first time I went in the studio, the producer saw my setup and said "great, your hat's up and away from the snare!". Having the hat up and out of the way also gives the drummer more room to execute that other excellent studio tip - beating the snare hard!

anonymous Tue, 11/20/2012 - 08:50
Kurt Foster, post: 396284 wrote: there were a lot of really smart physicists who worked on mic designs for bell labs / rca / emi / bbc back in the early 20th century. i am skeptical that they left any stones unturned in regard to this.

They were developing microphone systems with certain generic applications in mind. Also, you have to bear in mind that in those days the use of multitracks and close mics wasn't being considered. Also, the hihat was about 3 inches tall in the 1920s, it was only foot-operated, rather than played with the stick as well. I wouldn't say that microphones have diversity of design at the moment, very few people are actually working on different systems for achieving directionality. In fact, in the 1930s, the use of various systems combining an omni with a fig8 in various configurations was much more developed than it is today. These days we mostly see acoustic-labyrinth cardioids and hypercardioids, which I personally don't enjoy the sound of. Comb filtering.

Specific devices which become part of the drumkit, one could certainly improve matters in ways that weren't considered by microphone designers in the 20s and 30s. I've certainly seen people building massive great baffles to go between the hihat and snare, which will do something to cut out direct-path spill, although I'd hate to play drums with a huge foam-covered board stuck in the middle of the kit. It's a bit of an 80s approach in my opinion, disco producers were very fond of that sort of thing. TBH none of the drum mic techniques I favour involve reliance on separation or a discrete approach to close mics.

Audiofreek Tue, 11/20/2012 - 15:30
Kurt Foster, post: 396102 wrote: what Bob said. here's the deal. samples are recorded one hit at a time. live drums have the cymbals and hat going all the time. there will be blood (spill). compression only makes spill worse. i love live drums and there's nothing better than a great drummer but you have to understand there's something wrong with a person who wants to spend a large portion of their lives hitting things. these are damaged people, these drummers. the fact that they are damaged is proven by their willingness to hang around with musicians.

the best studio drummers learn to dig into the snare and toms while playing the cymbals softer. they "mix" themselves. they set the toms flat and low for a better stick attack, put the cymbals up way high to minimize spill as much as possible and place the hat as far as possible from the snare and the kick to minimize spill. a drummer like this can be gated or downward expanded and compressed for more punch with less spill issues.

you're going to run into your bashers of course. i can almost tell how good a drummer is going to be even before they play a hit, by the way there kit is set up. invariably, the basher is going to be the one who sets the ride cymbal 2 inches above the floor tom and places the hat right on top of the snare and then wails away on the brass. a lot of times these cretins have cracked cymbals.

there's not much you can do other than gating / expanding and triggering samples using radical eq to filter the trigger signal or to eq / filter all the lows and much of the mids out of the overheads getting most of the kit through the kick, snare and tom mics. in these cases i usually just turn the hat mic off and only bring up enough of these filtered eqe'd overheads to add some sheen to the cymbals. really a back ak asswrds way to do it but it is sometimes the only solution. somtimes it takes both eq filters and gating triggering replacement hits. in DAWs you can just draw out everytnig between drum hits and then trigger replacment samples.

This quote should be the forward for any "how to play studio drums" tutorial.

Kurt Foster Tue, 11/20/2012 - 15:39
bishopdante, post: 396433 wrote: They were developing microphone systems with certain generic applications in mind. Also, you have to bear in mind that in those days the use of multitracks and close mics wasn't being considered. Also, the hihat was about 3 inches tall in the 1920s, it was only foot-operated, rather than played with the stick as well. I wouldn't say that microphones have diversity of design at the moment, very few people are actually working on different systems for achieving directionality. In fact, in the 1930s, the use of various systems combining an omni with a fig8 in various configurations was much more developed than it is today. These days we mostly see acoustic-labyrinth cardioids and hypercardioids, which I personally don't enjoy the sound of. Comb filtering.

Specific devices which become part of the drumkit, one could certainly improve matters in ways that weren't considered by microphone designers in the 20s and 30s. I've certainly seen people building massive great baffles to go between the hihat and snare, which will do something to cut out direct-path spill, although I'd hate to play drums with a huge foam-covered board stuck in the middle of the kit. It's a bit of an 80s approach in my opinion, disco producers were very fond of that sort of thing. TBH none of the drum mic techniques I favour involve reliance on separation or a discrete approach to close mics.

i was not speaking to mics specifically designed for recording hi hats but rather mic design in general. not much as changed since then, only variations of the theme. the comment was intended to elude to the idea that the OP most likely hadn't come up with an original concept. if he ever posts his solution i would bet it's not anything some of us hadn't tried previously.

as i have said twice already, one mic on a drum set is enough if the room is good and the drummer knows how to play. my favorite approach is 2 overheads, kick & snare to 4 tracks (a hangover from the 16 track days). hat is optional and often not even used in the final mix.

the real problem is most young musicians do not know how to set up, tune or play drums correctly.