Flat Drum Sounds

Discussion in 'Drums' started by davemoore, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. davemoore

    davemoore Guest

    I just can't get a good Drumset recording. I've tried everything. I can now (after a week) get a decent drumset recording, but not near what I want. I'm getting there, but I can't get anything better than what I have. I've tried multiple mic placements, volumes, etc.

    -- note: I am a drummer by nature ;)

    I just got done tuning them all as well and it sounds great, but the room I am has solid sheet rock (actual sheets of a rock, cement based) so it's pretty reverby in my room. Here is my setup.

    (These are the only mic's I have available as well)
    Shure Drumset MicKit

    * Shure PG52 -- Bass Drum
    * Shure PG56 -- High Tom
    * Shure PG56 -- Mid Tom
    * Shure PG56 -- Floor Tom
    * Shure PG81 -- Overhead
    * Shure PG81 -- Hi-Hat
    * Shure SM58 -- Snare (I don't have 57, only 58)
    * Studio Projects B1 -- Overhead

    My High tom and Mid Tom are on separate tracks on my UB2442fx mixer, then combined into one track on my Delta 1010LT card.

    Hi-Hat mic and the Shure overhead are also combined on the Delta 1010LT card.

    So effectivly, I have each mic on a separate channel on the mixer, and using 6 inputs on my Delta 1010lt card. Then recorded with Cubase SX.

    I'll post what I have recorded to show what I've been able to produce. I'll upload a Dry track, and also a wet track with eq, effects, etc. I'll also put up what I am going for.

    My main problem is the bass sounds flat, with no real punch to it. And the whole kit sounds pretty reverby, like it was recorded with only one mic.


  2. huub

    huub Guest

    COMPRESS!!!!!and then compress some more...
    with the compressors attack time, you can give the drums more or less punch..
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    David, I can understand why your drum recordings are anything but ideal.
    The mic's you listed are not really of the highest quality. You really should only need about 3 to 4 or maybe 5 mic's at the most on your kit for a slamming sound.
    Try to get your hands on a Audix D6 or a AKG D112 (for kick)
    Also, my problem for years was that I was using pre amps that were on my mixing boards. If you can afford it try to get a (or some) outboard gear. I'm talking about pre amp's specificaly.
    The pre amp is where all the "shine is". And you want to shine as a drummer. There are many to choose from, the better ones are a nice chunk of change.
    Three things you want....(1st) good mic's (at least industry standards) they should run you anywhere from $500 to whatever you want to spend on them (the AKG and the Audix are roughly $199) then all you need is to decide on the OH you want to use as mic's for your kit
    (2nd) quality cables.....it really will choke your signal path without these
    (3rd) quality mic pre-amp's...like it or not this is the MOST important part of the signal path, using cheap pre's is a sure way to ruin the sound of even the best microphones in the world
  4. J-MADD

    J-MADD Active Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Home Page:
    In my experience the key to a full drum sound is in the preamps. When I used to record my brother's set I used to plug my mics directly into the preamps on a Korg D1200. They sounded realistic, but thin and not big like in real life. This was kinda depressing b/c it took the power out of the track. I run the same mics now through my 4 channel isa 428 and the difference is stunning. BIG. I am not endorsing any particular preamp, just a good one. Best of luck.

  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Yes J-MADD I couldn't agree more. It took me years to see how VERY important pre-amp's are for all instruments and all microphones.
    High quality ones are anywhere from $400 to $600 (per channel)
    If you divide the cost of say a 4 channel pre by 4, then a Sebatron 4000e would be roughly $425 dollars per, pre-amp. Just to get my point across.
    Not cheap, but if you want to play with the real toys, you gozzta pay like the big boys.
  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    first..a lot has to do with balance. You need to pull all the other tracks down a bit and push the kick way up. Then suck out lo-mids on the kick. Try removing at around 560hz and a tliitle bit a 200. Limit the tracks as well. Don't get too bummed..pro records have a lot going on to get in your face drum sounds.
  7. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    you can't make a ferrari with some ford pieces...

    just don't expect much from that system!
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
  9. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Nope - But you can surely make a Jaguar with Ford peices :lol: :lol: :lol:

  10. davemoore

    davemoore Guest

    ok, thanks for the update everyone, I think I'll end up getting a preamp first, then get a few good mics as well.

    Also, I tried a recording with just 5 mics.

    Two on the snare, bass, and two overheads.

    The toms sounded like they were in another room. Very thin, roomy. Barely noticeable. I tried eqing the overheads, but the whole mix sounded too bassy. Is this a problem with the mic/preamp situation, or mic placement?

  11. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Weak toms in the overheads is a sign of a weak player IMO. I'm a drummer, and I tend to whack the Snare and Hats very well. The kick gets slightly buried in the room mics, as do the Toms. My cymbal technique also needs some attention for my heavier styles, as they can wash out the whole kit at times (I've been playing for 23 years now, and STILL have a long way to go :eek: ).

    I am able to get a hair more of the "oomph" back into the Kick and Toms by using a room mic tucked as far back into a corner as it will go (opposite the drums, facing them, placed a bit low). Blend that with the Stereo Overheads (watch Phase), and add in other tight mics for added impact. I still use a good dose of tight mics on all drums. That won't change unless I change drummers (I AM the drummer).

    It really is a playing technique issue IMO. These are just engineering "fixes" to a broken performance. I suffer from this as well :( .. One day...

    A good artist will make you look like fantastic engineer with a LOT less effort. I need some good artists...

  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    sometimes I don't know why I bother...

    ...but again..nice gear is nice..and it does help. But aside from what is not inn your control, such as the drummer and his performance...YOU make the biggest diff.

    I've recorded Ringo Starr on several occasions in a small room with just two nice pre's and a mackie for the rest. It slammed. Not as much as if I'd been at SoundCiity on the 8028 (big room too there)..but I can make almost any drums sound punchy and fat ..with almost any gear. I listened to your samples...the kick is w-a-y under represented...to start. Break your own rules. Listen to what's there and what isn't...LISTEN to the hoobastank sample you posted..LOUD kick..mids sucked..etc. Gear is great..but engineering skills are greater.


    p.s. forgive the name drop..but I am trying to help..and this internet preponderance of focusing sooo much on the tools drives me (and others) buts sometime.

    But I do agree..a 1073 on drums does help big time (it's just that you can make good sounding stuff without...even with what you already have)
  13. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Holy CRAP you are my hero! Wow.... :shock: That must've been quite the experience.

    In another note, could the "flat, hollow sounding recording" be because of phase issues? I noticed that once I learned how to set up mics in phase it made all the difference in the world. (Thanks to your overhead mic method no less)
  14. mikezfx

    mikezfx Guest

    davemoore -

    listened to your samples - you can get where you want to be totally with mic placement i think.

    the main part of the sound youre going for is kick drum driven

    here's what id do:

    1.) Put the B1 on the kick, since its the biggest part of your desired sound. Put the pad on the B1 so as to not hurt the mic with SPL. You will probably need to experiment with placement and the amount of muffling in the kick drum to get close to that sound. Compress after recording.

    2.) Put the 58 on the snare.
    3.)Put the two PG81's in an XY pattern right over your head (like less than a foot above), With their main task being to get the toms and the whole kit sound.
    4.) Take one of the PG56's and stick it on the hi hat. You may not need it.

    That's all you need for now to get the best sound out of your equipment. SMACK the toms, easy on the brass.

    RecorderMan has posted in the past a similar technique for recording drums that I use all of the time now. Less mics is better than more more mics. Try a search for RecordMan and Overheads and it should pull it up. Ill try to find it as well.

    Good luck. Don't be discouraged, drums for that style of music are really tough.
  15. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    The famous "Recorderman Mic Technique" was popularized by this RecorderMan himself. Search the name in the forum and find the thread describing how to do it. Or maybe someone here has the link.

    Get your mics in a good spot, then later EQ them till they sound good. Maybe try putting junk up on the walls to catch any nasty reflections you might be getting. If you can trick your mics and pres into sounding good with the gear you have now, then your recordings will sound AMAZING once you can afford some good gear.
  16. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    thanks..but really I'm just one of hundreds (if not thousands?) of shmucks as good as and better than me. I did not drop RS name to be "cool"..I just want to stan out from the pack long enough for you to listen a little..and save you some money.

    Don't ever lock down on any one technique..it is usually always different depending on the song and arrangement..one parts of the kit are emphasized, etc. Or not...there are no rules but one...make it sound great.

    The balance thing is a good issue though. Think of it this way..you have maybe two tracks supporting the low end..Kick and Bass - forgetting for a moment that it may be two or more mics on kick and DI & amp on bass..etc. Against that look how many tracks/sources are in the mid-range: GTrs, Vocs, Snare, Hat, Keys, Toms, ect, etc. Couple that withn the fact that we as humans are the most sensitive to midrange. Now, how many of you have your faders (within reason) pretty close to each other in level? Try this for an experiment. Put your Kick and Your Bass up only @ around 0 and balance them against each other. Now bring in everything else, but keep everything else at around -5 to -10 of where the Kick/Bass are..notice how east it is now to have a phat punchy mix! Carve some lo-mid from the kick. Add some parallel compression to the drums..or slap some compresses on the insert (slow or mid attack fast release to let the attack through).

  17. davemoore

    davemoore Guest

    Thanks! You've all been a great help, and really I'm probably beating a dead horse here, and I understand your grief with always having to repeat the same things.

    I've searched around and couldn't find *too* much on what I wanted. So when I asked, I was more asking if the only way to get a good recording is to get good pre's, plain and simple, OR if there was a real mic placement issue where I could get a lot better sound. Thanks for all the advice and I'll probably end up getting a 4 channel mic pre here in a month or two. One of the GOOD ones! I don't have a recording fund for nothing ;-)

    As mic placement, I'll look for that post you mentioned, and just experiment! If you ever come across another idea or suggestion, don't be shy to shoot it my way! I'd rather get advice from the pro's, THEN try to experiment with it myself, then just stick with what I know.

  18. gomp

    gomp Guest

    I think Reggie meant this one:
    Takes a while to read it, but it's worth the time!! I learnes a lot from it.
    Good luck,
  19. KyroJoe

    KyroJoe Guest


    Try renting these Audio Technica Mics from a local
    music store before you buy 'em...

    see http://www.audio-technica.com

    ATM63HE on the snare (Top & Bottom)
    AE2500 on the kick
    AE3000 on the Toms
    AE5100 on the HH & OHs

    Put up some heavy moving blankets hanging from the
    ceiling around the kit.
    Vary the distance from the kit to your taste for your room.

    Kyro Studios
  20. StevePin

    StevePin Guest

    What a bullsh!t about hi end preamp and industy standard mic's. I heard absolute sensational drumsounds from portastudio cassette recordings.
    It's all about a combination of things; drummer himself, sound of the kit, sound of the room, mic placement, processing in the mixdown etc.
    According to your wet recording, too much overhead (roomsound) in the mixdown. Lower these faders or cut mid and low's. Try more compression/expansion and equalising on indivdual tracks!
    Happy experimenting!!!
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