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Need tips for getting a full, "big drums" sound

Hello. I'm new here and this is my first post. I'd like to know how to get the largest, fullest sound I can get out of my drum kit. Right now, my kit's in a finished basement and the ceiling is 6' 8" high and the room is 12' x 16'. My 4-track and my cheap Radio Shack mics make my drums sound like they're made of paper plates, but they're all I have. I understand that it will cost lots of money to get the sound I want and that there are many different factors for drum recording, such as mics, mic placement, the environment, the drums/heads, the console/mixer, the recorder, the media type, the effects processors, the monitors, the blah blah blah. , but I'd like to be able to capture the full sound of my drums, and it would help to know if it will cost as much as a new Lexus to do it. I'm not saying that I want to get an arena rock sound per se, but I would like to get as accurate a recording as possible without having to declare bankruptcy. I am sorry if this has already been discussed before and/or if I am posting this topic in the wrong thread, but I honestly do not know if this is a mastering issue, if it should be taken care of during the initial recording, or what. A little help, please?


Member Wed, 07/19/2006 - 00:55
I didnt look through the whole post but here is exactly what you're looking for:

***you'll need a multi track digital recording system and a decent computer equiped with a decen audio interface using atleast 5-10 mics/channels.***

but if you dont have that you might want to get "that" 'cuz thats where it all starts sounding like it should.

then go here:

(i would only use it on kick, and toms but thats cuz my snare is amazing sounding and fake cymbols = ewwww)

but it is easily the cheapest way to make your drums sound "perfect".

Member Wed, 05/24/2006 - 11:21
therecordingart wrote: One neat little trick to play with is to send the recorded drums through a PA system and record that...then blend the recording of the PA with your actual drum recording.

have you tried this? did it work? The only time i've ever heard of this was in the mixerman diaries, and it was talked about in a way that made it seem like a joke. just curious if this has ever actually worked for you. i've had success doing something similar with keyboard/synth parts, but when i tried doing this with drums it didn't really do anything for me.

the best drum sounds i've got had everything to do with the room sound and decent mics. i use basically the same miking technique, but with a nice room it really rounds out the sound.


therecordingart Wed, 05/24/2006 - 12:22
The first time I tried it I was mic'ing my monitors in my control room. I compressed the hell out of the drums and put a thick but short reverb on them. I mic'd my control room with the MS technique and cranked my monitors. I tucked this recording behind my original drum tracks and ended up getting a a nice result once I took the compression and verb off of the original tracks.

The other time I did it was with my buddies PA in my garage. That turned out even better for the grungy "indie" sound that they wanted.

therecordingart Wed, 05/24/2006 - 14:22
It's a great trick.

I guess it is all in the context of the song. The more tricks and oddities done with the gear you have can make up for the lack of quality in that gear. BUT that only goes so far.

I have a pretty small setup, but now it is all mid to higher end stuff. I actually like my older recordings that were done with low end consumer stuff. The reason being is that I tried new things and would do oddball stuff that added character as opposed to now I try to shoot for a solid/polished sound. I'm still not getting that, but I'm trying for it.

ouzo77 Wed, 05/24/2006 - 16:00
pr0gr4m wrote: Electronic music contingent signing in...

Sound replace the recorded drums with some great samples.

i wouldn't replace them completely, but adding good samples to your actual drum sound can get you a great, contemporary punchy sound.

listen to linkin park's "live in texas". though i don't know for sure, i'd bet there's a sample added to the snare. great live recording. especially the drums are cool.

BobRogers Fri, 05/12/2006 - 12:35
Do some searches and you'll find lots of info. The long answer is that you need a much better room and lots of better mics and pres to get a great sound. However, you can get started pretty cheaply. Start by learning to get a good close-mic sound on the kick and snare. You can take the room out of the equation as much as possible for this. Get an SM57 for the snare. There are a lot of other choices for the kick, but if you are really short of money just use another 57. It will come in handy later. Play with tuning the drums, adjusting the snares, positioning the mics. It's a good start for very few bucks.

Member Fri, 07/14/2006 - 20:32
another point of view

I've been partial to recording drums since I started recording many years ago. Here's what I would try. Set the kit up so it is facing caddy-corner into the room. Then take your best pair of mics (same brand and model#, cardioid pattern) and place them about six feet in front of the drums about six inches apart at the height of your ears. Set the gains to the same level and record. Then, listen to what you have and move the mics(if you have to) to get the best sound. Then, once you have that, play add whatever mics you need to get what you want. You will probably only have to add one or two, if any.
Here are the main points:
1) Good drums tuned correctly
2) Skilled player
3) Good room for drums

If you have all of that, even a cheap pair of mics should sound passable.

Davedog Sat, 05/13/2006 - 02:30
Pres=preamps....drums in picture = North Drums, Seattle Washington.

If they arent North then they are a knckoff of the design and the molds.

It wont cost you as much as a Lexus. The point is to be knowledgeable about your intent...Have a game plan to an end. Make decisions regarding the direction you want to go in a recording process within the boundarys of a particular place or environment. Making choices in the gear you purchase with the firm knowledge of what you can expect out of certain pieces in a recording chain ,will keep the overhead to at least a predictable level. Know what does what and why and then move forward to the place you perceive to be in your sights.

Member Thu, 07/20/2006 - 22:41

If you aren't wanting to spend the money on good mics, what I would recommend is just getting a decent module like an Alesis D5 and getting some pintech triggers for your drums, and then just using a couple decent overheads for the cymbals. You can get some decent overhead packs for around 300 bucks at Guitar Center or from Musicians Friend. It's nice to be able to have the actual miked sound of your kit, but if you don't have a very good kit, and don't have very good mics, chances are that you'll never get a good sound. Triggers are probably your best bet.

ouzo77 Thu, 05/25/2006 - 11:10
scotthc wrote: Is there a particularly good VST instrument/sample group? I'm looking at BFD's package. Thanks

bfd sounds good, check also ni's battery 2 and drumkit from hell.

but if you're not replacing completely, you don't really need a big sample library with tons of multi samples.
when you're adding a sound to your live recorded snare or bassdrum, even a non-multisample with good punch is enough to pump up your sound. you can even take a synthesized sound. but it depends on what sound you like and how much of your sample or actual recording you blend together.
the best way would be to just take your recorded snare track and get it sounding as good as possible, then blend in the sample until you have the desired punch. this way you get the natural sound and dynamics of the real drums with the punch of the sample.

works great for me.

pantonality Thu, 05/25/2006 - 14:34
When I upgraded to Gigastudio 3 included was some of the Larry Seyer Acoustic Drums, enough to make a workable set. That's a beautiful sample set, very well done. I don't know how they compare to BFD or DFH, so if anyone's heard LSAD vs. those others I'd like know about it. I haven't bought the full LSAD because it is kinda pricey.