Using limiters on drums


I own a few cheap Behringer compressors that I plan on using to track drums during the recording of my bands demo. I have tried several times to get anything decent sounding, when tracking the toms and snare. Poor results. Is it better to limit these instead of trying to compress them?
I assume, at least I can get the toms and snare to have dynamics, instead of getting squashed, compressing them with the Behringer.
Are there any disadvantages of using the limiters on my cheap outboard?
Indeed. No sense in trashing a good take with less than stellar compressor. Just track with a lot of headroom.
I second....or third....what these guys say. Why do you feel a need to track with compressors/limiters? Just turn your levels way down and track clean. Then,, if you feel you need to compress while mixing, you have that option.
I dont think its possible to compress while mixing since the whole kit will be on just two tracks of the tape. Everything panned to suit.
Its getting recorded on an analogue eight track.
I dont think its possible to compress while mixing since the whole kit will be on just two tracks of the tape. Everything panned to suit.
Its getting recorded on an analogue eight track.
Ah, that's a different story. Well, then now you have to ask yourself if you want to use a shitty compressor or no compressor at all. And forget what I said about turning way down, I didn;t realize you were recording to tape.

Also, are you sure that the "poor results" you're getting have anything to do with needing to compress and/or limit??? All the compression in the world isn't going to save a poor sounding track.
You can throw as much shit as you want at a crappy sounding kit. At the end of the day nothing saves a drumset that sounds like ass.
I dont think its possible to compress while mixing since the whole kit will be on just two tracks of the tape. Everything panned to suit.
Its getting recorded on an analogue eight track.

You can apply compression or limiting to the stereo pair of drum tracks when you mix...if needed.

If you are getting poor results when tracking the snare and toms...why do you think limiting during tracking will improve things? You've already tried compression and it didn't improve limiting will not make much difference either, IMO.

I think you need to step back and ask yourself why it's tracking poorly, and then address those issues.
Most of the top studios seem to use really expensive outboard to cut great sounding drums, I just thought thats what youre supposed to do to try and emulate the best engineers around.
Its peaks I suppose I want to avoid, just like the best outboard seems to do, maybe a levelling of everything on the kit, just like you would hear on any good recording of a band. have to ask yourself what is wrong with the drum sound.

If it's purely a peak problem, just turn down the gain on the mics...but if the drums just sound bad...leveling/compressing will not make them sound better.
You have to always look to the source first...then the playing...the room...the mics...the pres....
...and then maybe(?) you might consider compression.

What is it about the drums that sounds bad to you? can't focus on JUST the have to think of the whole mix. Sometimes when you isolate stuff it sounds odd..even bad....but when you listen to the mix, things fit together well.
This is why you want to leave things like EQ and compression for the mix that you can make the right decisions.
If this is your first attempt at tracking will just have to work though everything and see how it sounds in the mix. You might have to go back and re-track the drums a couple of times until you find the right approach...but that's normal when first starting out. You have to learn how things will sound in the mix so that you know how they should sound when tracking...though if it sounds pretty good during tracking, you can be sure it will be at least "workable" during the mix.
So...if the drums suck during tracking, figure out why.
If drum dynamics is what you are looking for, you have to look no further then the drummer. Nothing you will ever do to achieve "dynamics" will be better than a good drummer. Like every think else, it starts with the source. I usually don't compress anything on drums on the way in. If the drummer is just a banger dynamics may be hard to come by, or at least limited, and you might just need to use pads on the mics.
It seems you're trying to run before you walk.

Most of the top studios also record great sounding drums, tuned meticulously, in a great sounding room, with good mics placed strategically after much time taken to find the best mic placement. As home-recorders, we might not all have access to the great room and great mics, but we can certainly make sure our instruments sound as good as they can and we can take as much time as we need to experiment with instrument placement in the room, and mic placement on the instrument. That's way more important that any post-production you're ever going to do.

If you're doing something without knowing WHY you're doing it, you're probably just creating other problems that you'll have to do deal with. "Most of the top studios do it" and "peaks I suppose I want to avoid", suggests to me that you're not really sure why you want to do something.

Like Miroslav asked, what is it about the drum sound you think needs improving? Don't just do something because you read somewhere that "top studios" do it.
Don't just do something because you read somewhere that "top studios" do it.
And even where "the top studios do it" it won't be every one of them. And for further consideration, it's worth asking why some studios do things and why some don't. But the bottom line is that it's not really important. What is important is you liking what you record and not listening through someone else's ears because they happen to be part of top studios.
I am doing the same thing. My interface doesn't have pads on every channel and sometimes the drums just peak too much, so I got a 500 rack and filled it with DBX 500A compressor/limiters and set the compression ratio to infinity to use them as limiters. This is working great because the Rupert Neve R10 rack gives me two outputs for each channel. I got rid of the dual output snake/connector box that I had (to send the signals into another control room so I could record from either room) because of signal loss. I am planning on running a snake from the second output of each channel to the other room and that should be a better way to split the signals. I teach singing lessons and record a lot of my students' and my own bands.

I will post some recordings I've done here:
In the years since this topic started, I’ve not changed my view that compressing or treating drums before recording is a bit risky. If the mics are too hot for the interface, just make, or buy an XLR barrel with a resistive pad inside. Parts cost less than than a happy meal. Actually here you could make 3 for the price of a happy meal! 10 or even 20dB if your problem is a mega loud player with perky chosen mics. Why make it so complicated for a simple job? There’s always the chance you might not want that Phil Collins sound back in the studio?
I wonder if @frosty55 is still recording to tape? I used to do it but I couldn't compress a stereo drum track to my liking. These days I am digital and generally have 10 tracks for drums and I either compress and/or limit the kick, toms and snare only and never the cymbals or hats. Why? because it's the drums that drive my meters into the red and not cymbals. I like that natural sound of the cymbals so I leave them alone.
Nice rig voicemechanic.
I am using a Behringer 2600 compressor on my stereo drum signal. It sounds better than not using it.
Thanks Ray! \m/ That sounds like a good idea for a stereo mix!
I tried compressing the individual signals one time and it boosted all the rest of the drumkit sounds into the track that I was trying to record. lol