Trying to save time recording drums...

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Paanther00, May 31, 2004.

  1. Paanther00

    Paanther00 Guest

    OK so last time my band recorded I learned a couple things about members of my band and their playing... My biggest problem was mixing the drum tracks...

    Now Im still a young engineer and I learn a lot after every session gets to mix down... The number one problem I had was the cymbals were louder than the toms on the tom mics... As you can guess the cymbals were triggering the gates and causing me to shave my head so I couldnt pull anymore hair out... My other problem were the drums themselves... Ive found from talking with other engineers and drummers that have recorded in higher end studios that the ring of the drum is very important... But how much ring is too much or is there such a thing???

    So this time we record I think Ive figured out the plan... Im going to have my drummer record with two overheads and trigger the rest of the kit... Later on replace the clicks of the triggers with a sample of his real drum kit so there is no bleed through on anything...

    Has anyone tried this and found good/bad results??

    P.S. Heres a copy of that recording...
  2. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    if the cymbals are louder than the toms... in the tom mics: your tom mics are either not positioned correctly, not cardiod or hyper-cardiod, or the cymbals are way too close.

    Listening to the track, it doesn't sound that bad. Kick is a bit clicky and lacking thump. Tom's sound fine. Cymbals really aren't that overpowering, just fairly present in the mix. I can't really hear the bass guitar at all. The guitars sound pretty nice actually. maybe shed some harsh mids.

    If you really think the cymbals sound too loud, turn down the overheads a bit.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    This is a common problem ... You will notice that most pro studio drummers , guys like Steve Gadd, usually set up their kits in a way that facillitates good recordings ... the hi hat is usually placed as far as possible from the snare ... toms are set flat to make them easy to mic, cymbals are set high and away from the drums... the drummers dig into the snare and toms and (most important) don't beat the sh*t out of the brass ...

    Good gates can help ... The only ones I have ever found that worked right were Drawmer DS 202's or DS404's ... these have cool detector filters which can be dialed in to prevent false triggers.

    Another way to deal with it (and what I do these days) is to record in DAW and after the tracking is done, go into the edit window and draw out all the noise leaving only the tom hits ...

    In regards to the tom ring I have found that during recording, the bigger the drums sound the better ... there is no such thing as too big.. Let the toms ring as much as possible. It will get masked in the mix anyway ...

    Kurt Foster
  4. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Don't beat yourself up over this man. The drums are arguably the most difficult of all instruments to record.
    Get your drummer in on his own.... or maybe with the bass player and spend a day or two experimenting with mic/pre selection, mic positioning, drum setup and tuning (drum tuning is VERY important. Great sounding drums equals good recordings).
    If you don't have top quality gates, then DON'T USE THEM!! Treat the kit as a single instrument, and not the individual drums. Bleed can be your friend.
    When it comes to mixing, start with the overheads. You should have a top-heavy mix of the whole kit through these. Then bring in the other mics one by one untill they are adding punch to each drum.

    Remember that top quality gear, drums, player and room is required to get a GREAT drum recording. But with practice and experience, you CAN get an adequate result with low-end equipment. And NOTHING beats practice and experience.

    Hope this helps.

  5. dale116dot7

    dale116dot7 Guest

    I usually like to have a tighter kit to record with than for playing live. Especially a tighter snare. I've had to deal with a 'boing' sort of snare sound - no snare all ring - and it's horrible. Now I know. The other thing is I like to be able to leave all the mics on - no gating - because I find even when gated, the imaging of the kit shifts around as the gates open and close. Depends on the sound you're going for though. My girlfriend plays drums so I will sometimes get her to set up the kit and I'll work on micing and recording it just for practice. Tuning makes a huge difference too.
  6. Paanther00

    Paanther00 Guest

    Rad... Thanks for the help guys... Ill post a mix when were done tracking
  7. EricK

    EricK Guest

    The above techniques will improve your recording immensly. They can't be stressed enough.

    You might also try micing the toms with an EV 308/408/468. These are little egg shaped hyper-cardioid mics. They have great rejection and can be squeezed into those tight spaces.

    I would not recommend triggering samples later. It certainly can be done. But, it really is easier to record the drums properly than to get samples to sound natural. If you are going to use gates, try using your triggers to 'Key" your gates. They will work much, much better. Also, if your gate has a "Depth" control or something like that, use it. It will allow you to set how much gain reduction is applied when the signal is below the threshold. Set it up so that when below the threshold, you reduce the gain by 10-15dB. That way, instead of completely muting the channel when the gate is closed, it just reduces it by 10-15dB. A lot of times, that will give you the attenuation you need while sounding much more natural.
  8. Chance

    Chance Guest

    I usually mike the kick, all the toms, snare, H-H, and 2 overheads. I will also record the clicks from d-drum triggers on kick, toms, and snare. in this way a client can choose the sound he wants. I usually mix the mic'd sound with the triggered sound. I use a cheap ol D-4 and it works great. I love the D-drum triggers. They have XLR outs and the snare trigger is really 2 triggers, one for the rim and one for the head. I just finished a project where the drummer is doing 32nd notes on the kick ( double pedal ) and the mic'd track was mush, no defined attack, and the triggers came thru like a dream. If you look at the clicks on a GUI, it looks like you deleted the space between every kick
  9. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    You'd be shocked to discover how often this happens in the rest of the music world...

    My motto is this- if the band can pull it off live, then you do what you gotta do to get it to sound good on tape.

  10. djui5

    djui5 Guest

    I disagree. There's a lot of bands that sound ok live..but suck ass in the studio. The studio is a while new environment and you can trigger and all the crap you want..but it'll never replace a great drummer.
  11. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    I think both are groups sound killer in the studio, but are awful on stage...some sound killer live, but are ... not in their environment (putting it nicely)... in the studio.

    I usually use a very simple drum mic system (kick, snare, 2 OHs) and get some good sounds - EQ can really be a friend when dealing with overly loud cymbals...Drumagog is also a good tool for fattening up snares/kicks and with the variable threshold and blend features, some great results can be achieved...typically I gate only the kick and snare, as gating OHs kinda defeats the purpose of having them, when used in this setting.

    I prefer drummers to bring their own sets, and let me work around what they have and are used to... a great sounding but unfamiliar kit can have a detrimental impact on the ultimate goal (the music)...same goes for guitars - or any instrument...familiarity of the nuances of a particular instrument often are just as valuable as the right (place your favorite thing here) or (place your favorite engineer/producer here) recorded in (place your favorite platform and signal chain here) or (insert your favorite room)...
  12. dymaxian

    dymaxian Guest

    What I meant wasn't that it'd be a slam-dunk to get a band to sound good by using triggered samples.

    I meant that if the band can make a song sound good onstage, you shouldn't feel bad about doing things like this to make their recording sound good. If the great sound comes out of the drums, so be it. If it just doesn't work out, but the triggers sound good in the mix, so be it. You do what you've gotta do.

    On my own band's recordings, triggers never worked out. So while we don't have the biggest, baddest drums around, they get the job done and they sit in the mix where I told 'em to.

  13. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    The best advice for good recordings of drums is making sure the drums sound exceptional in the room, then make sure the drummer knows how to hit. Hitting a tom or snare off center can make a great sounding drum sound like ass.
    Ring is hard to dictate I would say. I generally don't want a lot of ring or overtones but some jazzy setups have a lot more and it's appropriate. It takes a lot of experience tuning drums and playing good sounding kits to know when one sounds good. Drums are definately the hardest instrument to record and mix in my book.

  14. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    I agree with Kurt here:

    "In regards to the tom ring I have found that during recording, the bigger the drums sound the better ... there is no such thing as too big.. Let the toms ring as much as possible. It will get masked in the mix anyway ... "

    I love the rolling thunder sound on the toms. Lowering the amount of highs (EQ) in the tom mics can control the cymbal bleed very easily. There isn't much above 5k on a tom.

    Tuning is vitally important. I find that tuning lower usually is the ticket. Go around the rim and tune all the lugs to the same pitch and you will eliminate a lot of "bad" ring. It becomes more like "resonance" rather than ring, if you get my drift.

    I like the kick head to be so lose it practically flaps. And then I dampen it with a pillow & a weight.
  15. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003

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