need help improving my drum tracks

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by nosignal, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    Hi everyone, I've been noticing that my drums are tending to make my recordings noticeably sound like a demo recording. Actually I can get the kick drum to sound pretty good, but its really the snare, toms and overheads. I think my problem is that I'm getting too much reverberation from the room I'm recording in. Are there any tips I could use to help get my drums to sound, I guess, dryer? I use a shure pg drum mic kit with a mic on the kick, snare, toms, and two overheads, into my firepod.

    i hope this made sense.

    I put the recording im referring to up on my soundclick page. Its the song called "Azul" http://www.soundclick.com/ericmerrow

    thanks
     
  2. Guitarplayerdan

    Guitarplayerdan Member

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    Rookie here, but do you like the sound of the original source, like the tone of the drums before you record.
     
  3. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    yeah for the most part i get a pretty good sound, i know there is room for improvement with my drums but I'm usually satisfied with how they sound.
     
  4. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    There's no pop. . .Try some compression on the kick and snare, along with some EQ. For some reason, they don't sound lively. You might try some room ambience on the kit. Try adding a room mic to capture a little "reverb".

    Also, I'm not trying to slam what you're doing, at least you're trying to play the drums. With that said, you might try using a drummer. They've got more of a "feel" than a guitar player who's playing the drums.

    Drums, are probably the hardest instrument to get a "good" sound on. You didn't tell us what mic's you're using, what mic pre's, what system you're recording on, or anything about your A/D/A converters. Also, you didn't tell us how many mic's you're using nor which drums are being mic'd and where they're situated.

    f.w.i.w. . .I don't even remember any fills from Toms. . .maybe that's good because they didn't stand out like a sore thumb, and I did listen for 6 mintues and 20 seconds.

    Oh, you might try adding another mic on the snare. . .you know, one for the top and one for the bottom of the snare. Still, I'm not one for the closed mic sound. I think one snare mic, one kick mic, two overheads and a room mic should be enough.
     
  5. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    thanks for the comment, yeah i probably should have asked one of my friends who is a drummer to play but I kind of wanted to do it all by myself, i actually only used a two piece set, just kick, and snare, then i had a high hat and ride, and a crash. I used two overhead mics, one on the snare, and one on the kick. I then put those mics into my firepod and I recorded this with my pc desktop in cubase le.
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I just listened on my laptop. To me the cymbals sounded OK, while the snare sounds like it could benefit from some compression, gating and EQ. I could not hear the kick, which is probably only because I get no bass at all on these little speakers.

    Although you said you wanted a drier sound, I think for this kind of music sending some of each track to a reverb would help everything. JMO.
     
  7. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    i just tried adding some reverb as you guys suggested and i think that really brought it together. I'll post the newer version as soon as possible, to see what you guys think.
     
  8. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    okay i put the new version up on my soundclick page, I added some reverb to the overheads and some to the snare, compressed the kick and snare tracks, put some reverb on the guitars, and did a little panning. lets see what everyone thinks Soundclick
     
  9. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    Dude. . .your first post said that you were having trouble with your overheads and toms. . .You don't even have any toms in the MIX?

    I listend to the second take with the effects added. Sounds great.
     
  10. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    yeah im sorry about that, but what i meant to say was when i do record toms. haha my bad. thanks a bunch!
     
  11. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    No problem. . .When I listend to the first post last night, I never did hear toms, so I thought that they were way, way down in the mix and I just wasn't paying attention. No wonder I didn't hear any.

    Anyway, the new version sounds pretty good. What overheads were you using and how did you space them?
     
  12. nosignal

    nosignal Member

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    im using the pg condenser(pg81 i believe) mics i placed them right over the ride and high hats, and the high hat one picks up the crash too.
     
  13. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    Soooo. . .you're saying you place your ride cymbal to the left of your set and the crash to the right?
     
  14. vladshap

    vladshap Member

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    No, i believe he is saying, ride AND highhats. On the highhat side he has highats and crash and on the other side is the ride.
     
  15. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    Doh!
     
  16. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Look up the "recorderman" mic technique. It's good at keeping everything in phase and keeping the room out of your drum mics - which makes it really useful at home. Another approach is the Glyn Johns technique, which is similar.

    Here's how to do Glyn Johns. Place a single mic (probably small condenser like your existing OHs) 40" over the center of the snare, pointing straight down. Place a matching mic peeking just over your floor tom, aimed at the center of the snare, again 40" away. The exact distance isn't as important as making the distances equal. Spread those two mics about 75/25 L/R for your stereo field. Add close mics for kick and snare and balance to taste. Lots of hits were recorded with this technique!

    Recorderman is a little better about keeping the kick as well as the snare in phase, but it's more hassle to set up and play around. Either one should always give you at least adequate drums!
     
  17. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    That recorderman/Glynn johns technique ASSUMES a good sounding room. The idea behind this technique is to get the majority of the sound of the kit from the overheads and the result is very natural when done correctly but its not gonna work nearly as well in your typical home acoustic environment. If your experience is anything like mine you are probably dealing with subpar kits, that are not expertly tuned, and are in less than ideal sounding rooms.

    After a ton of basement drum recordings the best advice I can give you is think of your overheads as cymbal mics only and minimize the leakage from the other drums through placement and mix EQ.

    1. If phase an issue use an XY (mics crossed @ 130 degree angle 7" between the capsules) or coincident pair (capsule touching or one directly above the other @ a 90 degree angle) for your OH. Move closer to the cymbals for a wider image and less room tone.

    2. For the widest image and the least leakage from the snare, toms and room tone use a spaced pair about 2 feet above either side of the kit angled toward the cymbals. You should make sure each OH is the same distance from the snare.

    3. In the mix try rolling off EVERYTHING below ~500hz with a hipass filter on the OH. Move the cutoff point to where it makes the cymbals start to suffer and then move it down abit to where the cymbals still sound natural. Also make sure the slope (bandwidth or Q) is gentle enough that you dont have too steep a rolloff. The corner created by a steep rolloff creates an unnatural honk at the cutoff frequency. You will be amazed how much this EQ tip cleans up you drum tracks. The crack of the snare and attack of the toms comes from the OH so you really only need that and everything else can be filtered out.

    4. For the Kick try a Notch filter at ~ 4-500 hz and widen the q until the boxiness is gone. I've tried using regular bell EQ's but they usually just don't remove enough midrange. The notch filter was an ear opener.

    5. For the snare, rollof the lows below 100hz and try 75-80 for the toms. Nothing but mud there.

    6. To bring the kit together you can send all the drums to a single stereo buss and strap a compressor across it while muting the original tracks. For a more subtle effect don't mute the individual drum tracks and just blend the drum compressor buss into the mix. Add reverb to taste.
     
  18. KPO

    KPO Member

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    I work in Sonar and record the drums in a relatively small room with a low ceiling. I only use sm57's to closemike cimbals + drums and don't hear to much roomsound. I write miditracks from every part of the drumkit and match a multisample to bassdrum, snare, tom and floortom to complement the kit untill it sounds the way I want it.
     

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