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Thread: Recording our first major record. Help w/ ringing drums, mics, and placement.

  1. #1
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    Recording our first major record. Help w/ ringing drums, mics, and placement.

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    I don't know weather or not to post this here or in the "Recording Techniques" forum. Anyway...

    Here is my problem. We have recorded demos upon demos using our Roland JV 2408CD for tracking the drums to a click track with a scratch guitar track for the drummer. Then we burn that to CD-R and import it into Logic Audio Platinum over out our recording/editing suite where we can add all the Bass (recorded D.I.), guitar (either D.I. with a Line 6 POD or the Line out of a Marshall head), and vocals recorded mostly on our Rode NTK vocal mike.

    Well I am "satisfied" with the sound all except for the drums. I have two AKG C451B small diaphrams which we use for overheads. I have Shure SM57s on the snare and toms. I have a Shure small diap. cond. mic on the hi-hats, and an AKG kick drum mic. So my problem is NOT the mics. They might not be $100,000 Hollywood mics, but they are fine. Ok. So my next thought was... oh it is the heads. They are way over a year old... so I went out an bought $120 worth of brand new ambasador coated heads for all the toms (top and bottom) and the snare.

    I am no genius at tunning drums. I have read literally scores of books on the subject... but I can never find a straight answer on how to get a good sound out of drums. I mean, I can't expect too much... we are recording in a basement 25 ft. x 20 ft. It is not IDEAL drum tracking ambience. But what can I do to get a better sound?

    I have the following problem(s)...

    - The click track/guitar scratch track that is in the drummer's headphones is leaking out into the AKG C451B overheads BIG-TIME (despite the fact that they are $250 Sony 750 closed in headphones.

    - The toms sound like paper when you hit them.

    - EVERYTHING is leaking into everything. The overheads are picking up more snare than the damn snare mic is.

    Well that about sums up the HUGE problems I am having. I mean, don't get me wrong. The tracks we have recorded sound like fucking Led Zepplin tracks. Huge drums! The cymbals are shimmering through... but I always thought the Led Zeppelin tracks sound like they were recorded in a basement... and we are.. well... recording in a fucking basement. Any tipps on controlling all the rininging toms (without bullshit kleenex taped everywhere) and stuff?

    The best advice I have heard so far is... "Since you are recording without a front kick drum head... after miking the kick throw a heavy blanket over it." That will definitely help stop the bleeding, but what else can I do???
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    Can you post a sample of your recording online?


    The number one issue with drums, is always tuning. It doesn't matter what kind of mic's that you have, a drumkit that isn't tuned properly, is going to sound like crap.

    What size drums are these?
    What kind of resonant (bottom) heads are on them?

    Give us some idea as to the kind of drumsound that you are trying to achieve.

    All you've given us, is the idea that you are gwetting a big bombastic drumsound, but you want a dead drumsound.... yet then you say you don't want to tape crap on the heads....which will give you the dead sound.

    So, name a few songs with a similar drumsound to what you are after.



    Tim

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    I have 10", 12" (mounted toms) and 16" floor tom. They have coated ambasador batter (top) heads, and ambasador clear bottom heads. The drums are relatively cheap CB-700 drums. Not the "bottom of the line" bad but definitely not million dollar quality. The snare is a brass shallow snare with an ambassador coated head and it has around 20 snare wires underneath. The cymbals are all nice AAX and some Zildjan K series.

    Now about the room (since this seems to be a damn hot topic). The room is around 20 ft x 15 ft (estimate). The walls are solid untreated concrete blocks. And we built a fourth wall which is slanted at a 20 degree angle towards the floor, and at a 12 degree angle against the far wall. We did this to insulate the room from outside sounds, and to prevent parallel wall flutter echos etc. The cieleing is relatively high, and has supportive studs (2"x16") running all along it. So the cieling and the floor is parallel however the cieling is ribbed the whole way long with these studds (if that helps???).

    We built a raised false wooden floor to prevent any water levels (incase of a flood, this IS a basement we are talking abou here). And this floor is covered with carpet. We hung two quilts directly behind the drum kit). The drum kit is positioned in the far left corner at an angle facing the corner where the angled wall meets the existing concrete wall. And there is a stair-case in the middle of the room leading back up to the house.

    Ok... I have never been in a "real recording studio" that has a nice live drum room. I have no idea if these condiditions are HORRIBLE or if they are middle of the road, or if they are slightly more towards the ideal side of things. (???)

    One more thing... I have a RODE NTK vocal mic... should I even bother setting it up way out in front of the kit to try and pick up a little of the room?

    We have NO high quality pre-amps. These mics are goiung straight into the factory pre's that come in the Roland VS-2408CD. I wanted Focusrtie pre's but I want a million dollars too but I ain't getting either anytime soon. With the NTK that puts my mic count at nine, but the Roland VS-2408CD only has 8 XLR inputs. There are several more 1/4" input jacks but I have no idea if it would even be worth the trouble to try and find an XLR to 1/4" adapter for the NTK. What do you guys think???

    Also... and here is the embarassing bit... I have been using some pretty cheap clip on mics for the three toms. The mic's themselves are not what I am worried about. I mean they were like $250 for a set of 4 w/the clips... it is the fact that they are so heavily clamped to the toms. The toms are mounted into the kick, and the mics are mounted to the toms... there HAS to be a huge amount of vibration going straight through this rig and causing everything to vibrate and ring like a tuning fork. Now... my only alternative would be to spend around $250-$300 more on buying 3 new Shure SM57s and new mic stands. And this does not guarantee ANYTHING. What do you gusy think? I do NOT have $300 for this. What do you suggest?

    Basically my two major concerns are over all kit ring, and paper sounding toms.

    New mics? In my room ok? NTK or no NTK? XLR to 1/4" input jack adapter? What do you guys think?

    Oh yeah, and the only effects I have are the ones that come with Logic Audio Platinum (EQs. Compressor, Reverb, etc...) No outboard gear at all.

    Really THANKS for your help!
    \\//
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    Maybe these two threads will answer most of your questions...

    Read the Drum Tuning thread first...

    Drum Tuning

    Kit Recording - 2nd Post

    The XLR to 1/4" should work for the NTK since it doesn't need phantom power. If you convert down to 1/4 inch mono, you'll loose 6db.

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    Well, you have a crappy drum set in a crappy room. Don't know how good it will ever sound. The first thing I would do however is get those mics on stands or don't use them at all. The overheads should pick up the toms enough.



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    "Well, you have a crappy drum set in a crappy room. Don't know how good it will ever sound."

    ...`preciate that man! Keep em comin`.
    \\//
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    Kilroy Was Here!

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    I think you could try with 4 mics, two overheads, snare and kick. The OH will capture the toms without any problem, you are using ambassadors, so if they´re well tunned you wont need to close mice em. How about your kick & snare how they sound without being miced. I´ve learned that if you can´t get a decent sounding kit before recording it you wont be able to fix the sound using EQ, compression or reverb. Your kit must sound fine before you place any mic close to it.

    Hope that helps

    TS

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    I would say, first of all... bleed is often inevitable, your only real choice is to live with it I'm afraid. There are strange ways to reduced bleed, sound barriers etc... but they tend in limit my playing. One of Bonhams tricks was to play the drums loud and the cymbals quieter which really works. For your toms try and tune then to perfection (i know it's easier said than done...) if you really have trouble hire someone in to tune them for your... its really worth the money. Experiment with FX on the drums, even a little reverb or chorus etc.. can give some great results...

    Finally, there is nothing wrong with duck/gaffa taping cotton wool to your heads! Often the best way to reduce ring!

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    If you are recording a major record why don't you hire someone to record the drums for you ?
    It's worth the money if you want a great product.
    You need to concentrate on the music and let someone else concentrate on the mics and room problems. The more you put on yourself the worse it gets.
    Otherwise I would go to the 4 mic setup with kik,snare and the two overheads down close to the drums, as close as you can get them without hitting them, the key is to find the right balance so you don't get too much cymbal in there.Since your room is probably less than stellar that will also help solve part of that problem. Then go buy a pair of earbuds and jam them in the drummers ears so he won't go deaf from cranking up the headphones.( ahhhh quiet bliss )
    Tune,Tune and Tune again and put a little tape on there if they are ringing like bells. Have someone else sitting behind the monitors while you place your mics so you can get what you want. Hours can be spent setting up drums!! If your the drummer you probably won't be happy with it unless it's someone who really knows what to do setting up and recording for you.
    Keep fartin around till you get it the way you want. Then for the next song you will have to change it all around again cause it doesn't quite sound the same. ( yeeehaaaw!!! )

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    Why not use the 2480 to record and mix the whole damn thing??? The 2480 does have xlr inputs with phantom power. I thought the rode ntk was a condensor mic that required phantom power, but I must be mistaken.

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