Recording drums in sections?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by analogboy, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. analogboy

    analogboy Guest

    I am running a digi 003 with a MBP and basically wanted to get some techniques on recording drums in sections, then putting them together for a final mix. I can play drums, but to play a song from start to finish to a click track would be nearly impossible. I am going to be playing the drums, as well as using the computer, so I guess you could say I am flying solo on this one. I'm going to be using 10 mics on my kit and thought that maybe if I made 2 groups of 10 tracks and recorded back and forth between them, I could then bounce all the separated tracks to make complete tracks with with no seams in them. I know this sounds a bit confusing, but is there an easy way to do this that I may not have thought of. Thanks
  2. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    If you mean recording the drums w/o having a scratch guitar, piano, vocal, whatever track as a go by, yeah I think that would be tough. Although, if you've rehearsed the song enough, you should be able to play the drum part all the way thru by itself.

    I usually record an acoustic guitar part and scratch vocal to a clik track so that I can feel where the changes, accents and dynamics are in the song, then add the drums. I've even added the drums individually when I only had a couple of mics. That is something I wouldn't suggest! It's hard to get it to feel natural since all 4 limbs play off of one another's timing.

    Alternatively, I've used a rhythm track from my inexpensive keyboard as a groove, then laid down all the other instruments, then added the real drums (with the fake drums muted). whatever works.

    In the DAW I use, I can record several takes and then comp them together on a seperate track to get the final take. I found this hard to do with drums. Lining up the attacks so the beats fall right was tedious to say the least. Better to just rehearse it until you can nail it it one complete take.

    good luck.
  3. This is an excellent idea, even if you want to get so crazy as to record a few measures at a time. If you're consistent with dynamics and your drums hold tuning moderately well, it should yield good results.

    I have a hard time performing expressively when I'm recording, so this is the only way I do good drum takes anymore.
  4. analogboy

    analogboy Guest

    Thanks for the replies. This is going to sound silly, but I get so nervous when I am near the end of a good take when recording. So I could only imagine how bad it would be if I was near the end of a song saying to myself "don't screw up, don't screw up", then making a small error, and having to start over. Thats why I want to record in sections, to take some of the pressure off.
  5. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest


    What fun would it be if you could record the "perfect take" every time out. :lol:

    Hint: 5th of whiskey. You'll nail it every time (at least until you listen to it the next morning). On second thought, bad idea; believe me! :roll:

    The more you hit that wall the farther that wall gets from the beginning. I have that same problem with guitar solos. sometimes I get so frustrated I want to heave the guitar across the room. :evil:

    But I persist and persevere, and it makes me a better guitarist for it.

    It's ok to be imperfect. Of all the musicians I worked with thru the years, the best were the ones who could trip, roll over their shoulder, and come up walking without missing a step. IOW, learn how to turn your misses into makes thru creative improvisation. If you want perfection use softdrums and quantize them.
  6. analogboy

    analogboy Guest

    Thanks AwedOne

    Your post reminds me of a video I watched of metallica in the studio. There philosophy was basically to look at the recording process in its simplicity, which is capturing moments of music on tape. That way they didn't worry about pressure from the label or from fans and what not. They just simply played music.
  7. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    Perfection is in the ear of the beholder, in the case of recording. I've recorded drum takes where I knew I made some minor flub, or my timing felt off coming out of a fill or something. Most times, when I listen back, its not even noticeable. Sometimes, a "mistake" (as long as the mistake is in time...just remember where the one is!) ends up becoming a "trademark fill" in the finished song, which I then try to replicate when we play live. Andy
  8. That's exactly right. I was just listening to the Layla CD and on one cut of "Little Wing" Jim Gordon does a fill that you know is off.

    Emotional content is more important than technically being perfect.

    The emotion of his drumming out shines his over playing and little timming mistakes. Some times timing mistakes sound like phrasing.....

    When you do a fill that's a little off it makes it real and more like pharsing, which is the most important thing to me. That's why I hate guitar players or horn players that blow through scales.

    As long as you come back on the one all is OK, up to a certain point.
  9. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    Well imagine this (if you do pro audio you dont have to):

    You record your kick, snare, toms, and cymbols all to separate tracks. You find that your drummer 'flubbed' a kick note on a tricky part of the bridge. Since you recorded the kick on a separate track and collected samples of his kick, you can take a perfect kick hit and replace the flubbed one in the bridge. Likewise, you can collect samples from his toms and snare and do the same. Before you know it, playing all the way through perfectly is no longer a problem.

    It's ok to cheat, even the pros do it.
  10. separation

    separation Guest

    I can see "adding" a kick or snare pop to a separate channel but getting rid of something is a whole different set of problems. How would you get the hit out of the overheads properly. Granted if you use the overhead mics for just cymbals and such then maybe that would work but if you like the sounds of the toms and kick in the OH's then you would have a problem if the drum error was severe enough. At least that is what I've found. I've added quite a few parts to drum performances but I've never even thought to take out the hits and replace them with other hits. It seems like there would be problems with that. I would love to hear more if you have some information.


  11. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I believe Metallica's St. Anger was recorded in a similar fashion - half the reason why it sounds like poop. They recorded a riff with drums, then recorded a riff, then recorded a riff, then finally pasted together what sounded good.

    I think it's a cool idea. Some say they didn't execute it very well though.
  12. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    Well my idea would work seamlessly with the kick and snare. I would approach micing the toms and cymbals in a different fashion. If you can, mic all the toms individually, and have the overheads as two separate stereo tracks, one in the mix and one for hit repairs. Use crossfades to keep the 'added hits' from sounding like they dont belong.

    Obviously you can save every horrible take but if it's an amazing take except for a tiny little nuance than this works ok.

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