Need Advice on Recording Jazz Drums

Zorin Britz

New member
Hi, I'm new to recording and I'm planning on recording drums for a small jazz combo.
The drummer would be recording to a guide track alone.
I need help whether or not my current equipment will produce a decent professional quality recording, and how to position the microphones to capture the best sound.

My equipment consists of a pair of matched Cascade Fathead II ribbon microphones, a pair of matched NT-5 Rode SDC, and a Behringer B-2 LDC.

My interface is a Roland Quad-Capture and only has two inputs.

I intend to record in a large studio with a relatively high ceiling. (about 4-5meters)

Any advice welcome!
 

RecordingMaster

A Sarcastic Statement
No close mic'ing if you want it to really capture a "jazz kit" sound. Not even close mics on the snare or kick. You want to use the most neutral mics you have without a lot of hype or scooping. Don't use roll off switches on the mics or pres and just go in au-naturelle. Try the glyn johns technique which employs a 3 mic setup - none of which are "close mic" and all of which are in phase with each other and the snare/kick. You can probably get by with not using the front (3rd) mic since you only have two inputs and the kick is never really the forefront of a jazz tune.

This may go without saying, but, tune the kit like a jazz kit. Eg: fairly high pitched toms with sustain (no moon gel or kleenex), snare is your choice but should be tuned in a way that gets a good blend of body and sizzle. Tune the kick to have more sustain than your typical rock kick and to be pitched considerably higher than your rock kick. Reason being is you want it to resonate a bit but if tuned too low it will sound like an earthquake. I recommend a 2 head setup on the kick with some slight dampening on the batter side and none on the front side. No hole on the front side so you get more rebound and sustain. Cymbals should be placed relatively low so you are getting a good balance of drum vs. cymbals in your two mics. Choose larger, lower pitched, dryer cymbals that have a good wash to them. Thin is king. Some guys dig crashes but I can't stand em in a jazz setup. Especially anything smaller than 18".

But that's just me.

Oh, and of course don't expect to fix it later if you're not getting a decent sound going in. Since you don't have close mics you won't have the flexibility to go in and zone in on major eq carving on a given drum or simply replacing it with a sample. You're going for a good overall image of the kit here. When mixing, do away with much of any compression (ok fine maybe a manley vari mu or an la-2a very slightly to give it some body and wholeness). Very broad eq strokes - cutting a little boxiness, boosting a little low end for warmth, adding a touch of sizzle to the cymbals. A little but of "mud" or "boxiness" is okay in my books on a jazz kit because you simply can get away with it. So less cutting than you'd normally do.

Good luck!
 

MarkCSmith

New member
Two mics spaced out front of the kit. Trial and error height wise to get the best sound out of the room. Then trust the drummer to get the best sound out of the kit.
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
Usually with Jazz sounding kits I put up 2 overheads and a mic out front of the kick, not up close like a rock kit but more out front and a bit higher. With the overheads make them the same distance from the snare with one above the floor tom / ride cymbal, and one above the 1st tom / crash cymbal. Diagram attached below.

With the mics you have there is not much choice, but I would try the fatheads as over heads or the NT5's depending on how the room sounds and what sound you are after, and use the B2 out front of the kick. Try flipping the phase on the kick mic to see if the kit sounds better.

Another approach would be the Glyn John's method, link here

Cheers
Alan.

3 mics methord.
drumscenter.gif
 

BrentDomann

Has a Dedicated Member.
Sounds like you have a nice room. I'd start with the Fatheads in a Blumlein configuration, placed in just the right spot in the room. Alternatively, I'd use the NT-5s in ORTF. If you don't know these configurations, a quick Google will light the way.

RecordingMaster's Glyn Johns suggestion would also work very well and I'd recommend it if hadn't have been mentioned already.
 

KineticSound

The VOICE
I agree with witzendoz above, but as you mentioned that you can only run two channels, I would endorse the first suggestion: use the matched pair above and in front of the kit and experiment. Track 30 seconds or so with a variety of mic locations (mark the stand locations with tape on the floor so you can recreate them), then listen back until you find your favorite.

If someone could loan you a preamp with a s/pdif output (ART DPS-II or similar), it would let you track the kick as well using witzendoz's layout above.
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
My answer on the Newbie thread BELOW before I found out about the 2 channel input:


Usually with Jazz sounding kits I put up 2 overheads and a mic out front of the kick, not up close like a rock kit but more out front and a bit higher. With the overheads make them the same distance from the snare with one above the floor tom / ride cymbal, and one above the 1st tom / crash cymbal. Diagram attached below.

With the mics you have there is not much choice, but I would try the fatheads as over heads or the NT5's depending on how the room sounds and what sound you are after, and use the B2 out front of the kick. Try flipping the phase on the kick mic to see if the kit sounds better.

Another approach would be the Glyn John's method, link here

Cheers
Alan.

3 mics methord.

drumscenter.gif


If I only had 2 channels I would have a single overhead and a mic out front of the kick, like early Ringo, thats a ribbon overhead:

view.jpg


Or the 1 mic method, and don't say they are not live, yes they are:

 
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