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

Discussion in 'Hi-Hats' started by zblip2, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Montreal
    Please let's not let this thread become personnal. I'ts fun to share our views and, if some have different views than ours, well, it's a free world... With all due respect though, Kurt, you seam to be unhappy about certain aspects of the business. Maybe, If I can give advice (I'm going on 50 after all) is maybe not become too "emotionally involved" about other colleagues/musicians flaws... If you see others shortcomings like this, it meens you have the same attitude towards your own shortcomings. Learn to give yourself and others a break. Everybody, even the less talented/gifted are trying to do there best and to pursue a dream. Sometimes you find not so good musicians, that do something that has great artistic value, and some other times, you will here seasoned pros that are producing the most boring music possible. If a drummer bashes on his drum with passion, he may not be a Steve Gadd, but it doesn't men his approach is pointless. What is our role as recording "engineer"? Well, on paper it is to operate the technical part of capturing the music. I think it is the role of the Producer to deal with the artist's capability to make something worth while in the studio. One situation you would want to avoid, is getting blamed for a not so great end result when it isn't your fault. Maybe the trick is to lift the necessary flags during the recording process to warn everybody that something isn't sounding up to standards and that corrective measures should be applied to avoid producing crap.
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.

    not if the drummer places the hi hat so close to the snare that a baffle wouldn't fit which is the scenario we are considering. i'm talking about drummers who have the hat cymbals overlapping the snare so the don't have to move their hands very far. these are ususally the same guys who tilt the toms way up and place the ride above the floor toms too...

    look at how Ringo's drums are set up, look at how Hal Blaine sets up, look at how Steve Gadd sets up .... i could go on and on. of course if someone uses only E Drums and sound replacments they wouldn't understand this.

    well that's the understatement of the century. i have long been very dissatisfied with the current crop of "talent' out there. not to say there aren't some bright spots but for the most part the golden age of recording and music in general has passed imo. FWIW i am approaching 60.

    all this discussion about how to make an acceptable recording from flawed tracks is bullsh*t. what we are discussing here is no better than pitch correcting a singer who can't sing. pure manipulation by the producer and engineer. now that's what i call
    "arrogant". get some talent in the live room for cripes sake!

    309368_268329229943885_329702121_n.jpg

    ummm... we need to do that over.

    why?

    because you went out of pitch.

    in what part?

    the part where your lips moved.
     
  3. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

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    Very well said!

    Someone who's in the business for so long should know that it's not about the gear, it's about what you do with it. I don't care if it's recorded on 2" tape, on 3.5" hard drive or on a damn tin foil. I don't give a f* if the hi hat bleeds into the snare, if there's a sample on it or if you use a 3000$ mic on the splash cymbal – if it transports emotion and makes me feel good it's perfect!

    Comments like yours just show that you are frustrated that musicians can now make good recordings by themselves without having to pay someone who thinks they are total idiots and he is the big recording engineer who knows it all.
    And comparing yourself to someone like George Martin is very big-headed. Maybe your records sound like the best recordings ever done. But since I have never heard any of them I really can't tell...

    Now let's get on with the original topic. Sorry for the little take-over.
     
  4. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    Well, the chief point in this case is that close mic-ing drums with separation usually requires some physical separation in order to cut down spill, particularly in the case of cardioid mics with vents in the back and a bottom hihat cymbal 2 inches from it!

    The best way to solve a problem is to work out not to have that problem, treat or eliminate the causes, not the symptoms.



    So, you can not have, or mitigate the problem of mix-crippling hihat spill by using any of the following, and some may, for whatever reason, not be on the menu or applicable to that situation:

    #1: Don't rely on separation / close mics (my first choice anyway, for reasons of phase / comb filter / realistic sound quality, but relies upon a drummer who plays with a balanced sound, and also a big enough room to get separation from the instruments, or a bunch of iso booths / other rooms) One can also locate the snare drum microphone to the side of the snare shell, there's quite a few options to get the mic further away from the hihat.

    #2: Get the drummer to change how they're playing.

    #3: Move the offending spilling cymbals further away, it's good practise to spread the kit out. A good drummer shouldn't have a problem with this, sticks give a drummer a significant reach. Too many drummers set the kit up bunched up as though they were playing it with their bare hands, and haven't worked on transitioning played notes around the space in an agile and accurate way.

    #4: Use a quieter hihat / louder snare / different sticks etc etc. You can even get snare drums which don't have a shell, so you can stuff a microphone right inside it, although a drum skin does little to block out a hihiat cymbal, but suffice to say that the snare is plenty loud in there. You could get the drummer to use a hot-rod in the strong hand in an extreme case.

    #5: Use some sort of post-processing trick such as expansion, gating, side-chain multiband companding, noise-reduction / retouching software etc to tune out the offending spill.

    #6: Don't use a conventional hihat at all

    #7: Don't use that particular drummer

    #8: Don't use a drummer at all, use a percussion section

    #9: Use a sequencer / loops etc.
    ___

    Ultimately, in a conventional setup, a drummer will usually play the tempo with their strongest hand, and the snare with the weakest hand. If they haven't developed proper co-ordination and technique, the hihats will be very loud, and the snare drum will be relatively weak. A great drummer will be able to fade out the hihats to nothing over 8 bars without the snare drum changing in volume. It's a lot harder than it sounds. It's the sort of exercise that an experienced teacher will get you to do. If the drums sound badly balanced in the room, it won't be easy to fix in post.

    Playing drums really, really well is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.

    _____

    I'd also say, regarding the mix issue, provisionally, don't put so much compression on the snare drum...
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    if you don't think it about the gear ... well i don't know what to say to that. it is VERY much about the gear. only bedroom engineers maintain that opinion.

    1) most recordings i have heard from musicians who "self record" are dismal. 2) i never took a cent from someone who didn't have any business in the studio. 3) not in my dreams do i compare my self to Sir George. that was a reference to what a professional recording producer did over 50 years ago.


    here's a link to just one record i did. this was recorded in 3 - 6 hour days (including load in and set ups. first day rhythm tracks (live) and guitar / hammond overdubs. day two Jackie sang. day three we mixed.

    sorry for the limited clips but that is all the producer and the record company will allow to be posted on the inter net.
     
  6. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Nov 11, 2012
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    Montreal
    Nice authentic sound Kurt, you captured the live "club" feeling, but with better verbs. Good stuff!
     
  7. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Montreal
    Gear... What to think of it...

    My colleague (boss actually) came back from Warner Studios where he mixed a symphonic score out of there 2 000 000$ (no joke) Neve automated board. It sounded obviously pretty good. But he is in the process of remixing everything at the home base studio, inside a pro tools rig. Why? cause he knows the room and knows the speakers, and he's got something he didn't have at Warner: time.

    Gear... I know you guys realize that in any good quality DAW, there is more firepower than any pre 1990 studio,.. I have at home for my personal use, a 500$ program (Sonar) loaded up with features anybody would have killed for less then a decade ago,... Seriously, if there is something that is not lacking these days to do good recording, it is gear. The thing is, it is now so easy to have giant sounding tracks, that the trend (apart from the dance techno crowd) is to go counter courant, and make stuff the actually doesn't sound produced. It is the fruit of a generation which were kids in the 80's when everything was super produced, and in reaction to this they thrive for offbeat, more lifesize, often lo-fi stuff. I respect that in a way. It is the way of the arts to always move away from the conventional. I must admit, that some of the new stuff out there is courageous. There is A LOT of not so good stuff also mind you. But one thing is sure, we couldn't go on anymore listening to the same music all the time and find that music isn't as good as it was before. There are still gems to be found. You just gotta look and stay open. I try, but it is difficult as I get older, to reconfigure the parameters on which I'm used to sense that I "dig" something. It is really hard. When you have learned to love music as a teenager 30 years there is you find out that there isn't much left of these musical genres in today's fashion. It is a good thing, imagine if groups were still writing stuff like the group Boston, or "Madame Blue" .. we'd all be brain dead.
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    If they were still producing recordings like that, we would have a lot more people purchasing records. Simply because, all that stuff had a melody. I can't find a melody in most everything today. I don't care if that's the children that want to be independent. It's crappy music. It's crap production. And there's still plenty of Baby Boomers, that would still like to hear some quality rock 'n roll with some substance. Granted, they're not all rushing out to the venues like they used to. And that's another reason why we have the Internet today. Just not the same kind of windfall greed profits like there used to be. So, fewer people are pursuing that business plan. That doesn't mean there isn't money to be made. But there certainly is less money to be made. No different than the original musician and value concept of years gone by. Very few parents wanted their kids to become musicians because you can't make a living. And, as an engineer with a studio, you're likely going to make even less? So some guys want to get rich and other guys are just happy to pay the bills.

    Paying bills makes you feel like you're making money. (We really don't believe that.)
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  9. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Nov 11, 2012
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    Montreal
    It is true, there is a lot of not so good stuff out there because anybody can make a record these days. I was interviewed in some local documentary on "Creativity" and I was asked: Where are today's Mozarts, and Beethovens, etc? The only answer I could come up with was: They still exist, they're just not doing music cause there are new, much more interesting venues for expressing creativity. They are probably, Film Makers, Writers, Physicists, Video Game creators, Wallstreet Gurus, whatever. In the days that Mozart Lived, You had few choices: Be super poor, be a Soldier, or entertain the King. To entertain the king, there was Music and Theater... Why Am I talking about that? eh... yes, context. MP3 came and Computer recording came, and video games came, and.. rock,n roll didn't die, but it faded away.
     
  10. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

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    Rock'n'Roll is still here. It has just changed over the years like everything else. Every generation has added something to it or took something from it.
    Music is evolving and that has nothing to do with good or bad. It has to do with different tastes.
    And there is great music in every era. I love the old Genesis from the 60s and 70s, and I love Whitesnake from the 80s. I also love Pearl Jam from the 90s. And now I love bands like Linkin Park or 30 Seconds To Mars. All are rock'n'roll bands that could not be more different from one another. Every band just reflects the style of its era. And with style and era changes the sound of the music.

    The Mozarts and Beethovens are still there, but you have to be looking for them. Although you probably won't find them in the charts.
    But then again, maybe I am also prejudiced and the music they play in the charts is also good and I just don't understand it. We tend to believe that the only good music is the one we grew up with. But if you keep our eyes and ears open you can still find some gems out there.
     
  11. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

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    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    To me it is not all about talent... It is about determination and motivation. Making great music is not about making money and it never just should be... Well it never should have been about money ever. Once someone is writing to make money they have lost that old feeling that made them start writing in the first place. To capture these moments of perfection are not by chance, but I believe these gifts from that place in the sky. I am not religious but I feel there is a spirit in music. If that spirit is not there in the music then it's just not the same. I wish I had it and made that kind of music. I guess we all can make music just for ourselves when it is not meant for the masses, right? I love my songs but don't expect or think anyone will. Even if my songs were the best recorded they could ever be... They still will be only for me. Sometimes I wish other people could just hear with open mind what I hear, but that is still subjective reasoning. I guess talent has a lot to do with it all, but that is not what is all about to me.

    Anyway my point is simple... Making something great can pay more than the bills!! Making something sound great is different and just as subjective. Either way I want to make something great and would love to pay someone to make it sound great!! I mean paying people money to make Justin Beiber sound great will never make his music Great!! He even might have talent right? What is talent anyway? These days... It's that crap on the TV with all these Crappy shows trying to make talented people into a money making marketing machine. Talent does not equal rawness of spirit, and to me rawness of spirit equals originality. Originality is the ability to take that basic chord progression used many times over and make it yours.

    I cannot defend any modern "Crap Music" that I have heard lately and I think mostly modern music today is not that "great". However there are a few times I am pleasantly surprised by some good song writing. Here are a couple right out the gate.

    I listened to this whole album and thought it was good. When I came to the last song I was really surprised at how great it really was. The Black Keys are getting more and more commercialized as far as the business is concerned. I feel that this track is not commercial and overproduced. Really this track makes me feel an emotion. That's what music is all about, and if this does not a make you feel anything... well then I am sorry.



    Also, Death Cab for Cutie might not be your cup of tea. However, there are these tracks that artists lay down in one day that just come to them quickly. No mixing really or any effects, but just straight song. That's what this one is to me and it's modern music that "I" think does not suck. Not many out there today on the mainstream that even come so close. Don't worry it has no hihats... LOL



    On the topic of this thread... If you want a good sounding hihat player then call up Stewart Copeland... It worked for Peter Gabriel! I think when you start getting into the drum sampling of things out there, then you start to be overly critical of natural drumming sounds. Perfection is another word to me for unsatisfied. Hi hat sounds and bleeding between mics is the least of my worries in the current state of modern music. But Stewart Copeland never sounded bad playing his Hihat!

     
  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    i think dan aurbech and chris walla are pretty talented in the current breed. and peter gabriel, undoubtedly talented. they are also surrounded by a team of discriminate, talented people, who know how to make songs that will be popular in the mass market.

    Dude, "brothers" is the the black keys weakest album. it's still good, but listen to thick freakness or rubber factory. that's raw energy, that's them sounding how they wanted too. that's also why nobody knew about them until they had the major labels telling them, using way better equipment, and hiring a professional engineer.

    it's what you want, i'd let someone tell me what's gonna be a hit and hire the best of this and that, if i was gonna sell millions of tickets and hear my song every 15 secs on tv. good choice. now they are rich enough to make any kinda recording they want on they're own time.

    those dudes are very very good players, i saw them in central park n.y when on the brothers tour, they rocked the sh=t man, and only played a few of the new songs.

    i worked on a session last weekend, where the band was smart enough (and had the budget) to hire a professional drummer. this dude banged out 16 keeper drum tracks in a day and a half, including setup time. he didn't have any parts prior to coming in, he was told what to play, and learned on the spot. they actually saved money, and got a better end product, than having a non pro come do a million takes all week, and then have us comp it.

    i'm nuetral. i see both points of veiw. if your goal is to just capture your band, or make a demo, or an album to sell at gigs (<---what's that!??), cool come on down you get the best recording, of you best performance possible, and probably learn some things about your song-writing structure, and playing technique, as well. happy all around.

    if you want the best possible end product of your song, or idea, well you gonna be put in touch w/ the best people possible to do that. pro musicians, an arranger, a producer, ect, ect.

    look i'm not claiming do be anything great, but i'm learning from a dude who 'made it', as well as a very talented guy who just hasn't had the lucky 'hit'. there are clear differences in the working methods, one is set in his ways of the heyday of the record company (unlimited time,talent, and huge budgets) the other understands when it is appropriate, to use that method, and when it isn't. guess who get's more work, and has more, happy customers, over the past 15 yrs.

    there's no right or wrong. when your being flown around the world working w/ the whos who, making millions, it's a big reality check, when your not 'the flavors of the era' anymore. financial irresponsibility was his folly. he sick sick of the state of the 'biz' in the late 90's, and the 18 hour days, so he retired, sold his studio, and the millions of dollars in gear he doesn't stop talking about. then blew all his money, and had to go back to work in the everyday world of professional engineering. i can see where it would be hard to let go of that working method because it works, if your lucky/and skilled enough to achieve that.

    there will always be a place for that, mbox, or not, there's will always be a demand for the current 'best'. there has and always will be crappy bands, it's just easier to here them. i mean how many f'd-up nosensical phys-hellic crap was around in the 'golden age' of rock? as many as there are people in their basement autotuning and triggering drummagogg of pillows. it's all what your goal is.

    i think the difference in the era's is that pop-music back in the day was, meant to have artistic substance, as well as make money. the majority of today's pop only employs one of them. gotta just dig thru alot more crap these days.

    dr. g, if you like the keys, you should check out, the growlers
     
  13. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Location:
    Montreal
    Two very interesting posts. Is it tougher today to land a hit record then it was back in the days? My answer would be: about the same. Funny, as everybody is saying that today's music is crappy, it would then be easier than ever to rise on top of the crap and get noticed yes? No. A hit record is a rare gem and new trends aren't defined until some one brilliant or lucky enough creates one out of the blue. What defines the trend of the music we are hearing everywhere? Record Company Politics? Social trends and sociological movements? Artists that open new doors? All of the above? Why is it that Adele became a super star without playing the sex doll routine? (yes she's fat, and yes she still is sexy-useless comment btw).. Why did Arcade Fire became a mega band though they don't sound particularly well? Everything is still up for grabs yet the odds of finding the right songs and sound and create a blend that will ignite the industry is near impossible. This thread has gone a very long way don't you think? It doesn't have anything to do with the beginning...
     
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

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    Blacksburg, VA
    You have to define "hit" here. If that means wide national awareness and water cooler conversations in every office in the US, then it's much harder. Back in the day there were only a few companies that could offer national (US) distribution. A small shop like Sun or Stax could not compete on a national basis. But they could sell acts to the "majors" after they had been tested regionally. At that point there was a distribution system that could go national (without a lot of competition.)

    Back in the day things were not market tested to within an inch of their life and companies didn't have formulas for making money.Some young guys in suits told the old guys in suits to give this group a chance and they gambled a few thousand bucks. (A few hundreds of thousands in today's money.)

    Nothing is like that these days. Clear channel can carry a song. But they have a formula. It works for them, provides steady profits, and they are not deviating from it one bit. They can't "make " a hit. But they don't want to. They just want to make the cash flow.

    Now the good news is with the new Sun records, Mr. Sam doesn't have to hump boxes of 45s around the country in the trunk of his car. With the new Sun record a couple of kid who have never shaved can get more hits on YouTube than guys who have been busting their humps for years. Do those kids have a "hit?" You tell me.
     
  15. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Interesting. Things have changed even more than I though it seems... And BTW, I'm not even in the music business, I'm just a sound designer/violinist/mixer for TV/adds/film whatever and I write a jingle from time to time.. I'm here having esoteric conversations about the music industry... I don't know zilch about the music industry lol! Mind you it is still interesting :)
     
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Pacific NW
    I was going to answer to this at the first but I got busy making a record.......Theres bleed on the snare from the hi-hats and visaversa. I chose my mics so that the bleed from each sounded like it was supposed to be part of the sound of the drums. If I want to get rid of this I will have to edit the tracks and gate the remaining signals. And it will work very well. I will only do this if it needs to be done. It will only need to be done if I havent done my diligence in micing the kit. This includes the mic selections and placements. The choice of amplification for these mics, EQ and compression going in if wanted or deemed necessary, small secret techniques to cut down on the bleed (hehheh)....even to the choices of the hihat metalurgy and the type of snare heads and the tuning......in short, have I done my engineering homework adequately.

    Probably.

    But I'll take a hihathater when you get em done just to have one!
     
  17. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    Hourray!! My very first client! :)))))) The first ones I make are going off to promotion (Magazines, David Letterman's band (not done yet) etc) As soon as this is covered, you can have one half price if you are still interested cause you were the very first to show interest in buying one :))))))
     
  18. zblip2

    zblip2 Active Member

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    I'm starting to like "hi-hat hater" more and more... its funny.
     
  19. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

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    Sep 26, 2005
    So what exactly did HHH stand for originally? Was it an acronym or are those your actual initials? As in, Herbert Has a Holiday? Hacking Horrible Hangups? Happy Holiday Happenings? Having Heard Happiness? Half Happening Hacks? Hi Ho Harrumph? Come on now... give it up. I won't be able to sleep until I know. LOL

    It's OK... I'm enjoying the holiday weekend. Going to hear some friends rock out tonight and then I was asked to come down to sing for a karaoke DJ. I do a great Michael Jackson, in spite of having a much larger nose LMAO.

    He's actually still alive after having a face transplant from a female cadaver Caucasian.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    having heard happiness? lol
     
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