recording drums

Discussion in 'Drums' started by igotnosmoke, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. igotnosmoke

    igotnosmoke Active Member

    May 19, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    For my bands demo im recording drums by using a mixture of mics and the roland TD6 module....the reason why i turned to this approach is because the acoustics are very bad and the module works wonders in this kind of situation.

    mics are used for the cymbols & hihat where as the TD6 module is used for the snare bass and toms.

    My problem is that the natural sound of the drums can be heard through the condensor mics (im using 2 Shure PG81's). And if i turn up the module track the cymbols cant be heard enough.

    Anyone have any ideas about where the best placement of the mics should be? they currently stand about 130cm above the kit (one on each side of the kit).

    Secondly any techniques to remove the natural sound of the drums that leak through the condensor microphones... how would u adjust a noise gate so that it eliminates the bass/tom/snare freq's whilst still maintaining the highs?

    Thanks for your help :)
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The best you can do is to close mic the cymbals and hat ... The closer you can get the mics to the cymbals ... the more isolation you will achive..
  3. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    There's a couple things you can do...

    First, ask the drummer to hit the cymbals harder. If that doesn't work, you can try to think of the overheads as getting the sound of the entire kit, and not just the cymbals, and use the individual tom mics just to make the drums sound a little sweeter. Trying to keep the toms and snare out of the overheads completely is a losing battle.

    Hope this helps!

  4. soundlevelz

    soundlevelz Guest

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'natural drum sound' as the TD6 is a drum machine! You don't say whether you're planning on recording your band in 'one take' or recording a click track then layering drums, bass, guitars, vox etc a la multitrack recording stylee.

    If the latter then, to avoid mic spill I'd be inclined to DI the TD6 drum kit into your desk, get a basic mix with the hi-hat and cymbals then have your drummer play wearing headphones. As previously suggested close mic the symbols and hi-hats but watch that their not too close or you'll get a "huff" sound as air pressure hits the mic diaphragm, which can sound horrible! Cymbals usually sit at the top of the drum mix cut EQ at around 2-3 Khz and below to kill off any residual 'pad noise' if the drummer is using the TD6 pads.

    Judicial use of a noise gate should also help out here but do this AFTER recording the symbols. Remember a little spill is not fatal as you'll be bringing bass, toms, snare and cymbals together in your final mix. Too much separation can sound rather unnatural in the final mix which is why some engineers (self included) like to add in a couple of overhead mics as well as close mic'ing indvidual drums and cymbals.
  5. soundlevelz

    soundlevelz Guest

    PS On noise gates... (if you must use them)

    You'll need a fast attack time for percussive sounds. Start with an attack time of around 5-10ms to let the iniitial transient through. Slowly increase the decay time until the track sounds right. A good trick is to aim for the decay time to be a little shorter than the time between the beats of each drum. Try ratios from 4:1 to 8:1.

    You'll also need to pay close attention to the threshold level as drummers don't always paly their drums at the same volume. You can sort this out with compression but now you're starting to crush the dynamic range and 'life' out of a drum kit... OK if you're into Euro-Rock like the "Final Countdown" Uuurgh!!

    Even with a well set up noise gate spill from other instruments / toms etc can cause false triggering of a noise gate. There's a technique called frequency conscious gating which can get you round this problem. A bass drum produces lower frequencies than a tom (no really!) and you can leverage this to help dictate the gate's action.

    Basically how you do this is to set up an equaliser in the gate's sidechain and tune it to the frequency range you want to exclude/trigger. This works really well for percussive instruments as their frequency tends to be fixed. Check out the archives to see if you can find more info on this subject!
  6. igotnosmoke

    igotnosmoke Active Member

    May 19, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    Cheers thanks for the advice guys :)
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