recording drums, minimal inputs? help!

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by hw2nw, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    Ok guys, here's the situation...

    I have an Apple Powerbook running Pro Tools 7.0.1 with an Mbox. In a small session I will be doing a few weeks from now, I will be recording a drumset. However, the Mbox only have two inputs, so I'll have to mic carefully. Another option for me is to use my cassette 4-track to hook up a few more mics, but it may not be worth it for such a lame sound.

    Where on a standard 5-piece drumset should I place the two mics? I'm going for a clear yet full indie rock sound...I'll be doing a little bit of drum triggers in the background to help supplement. I have access to a couple decent condensers plus the standard stock of sm57s and 58s. I could just mic 2 overheads in stereo, or maybe one by the snare and one center room mic.

    Just wanted to see what your ideas were. Help me work with what I got! :dude


    Thanks guys!
     
  2. stratofied

    stratofied Member

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    If you have a decent room, I would start with a single overhead and a room mic out in front of the kit. Move the mics around and use your ear for placement. If you have a mixing board you could use it to bring in more mics.
     
  3. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    If you can make 3 inputs happen .. if the high hat is to the left of the drummer...one of the condensers on a boom over the drummers left shoulder pointing down at the center of the snare about 5 feet from it...another condenser outside and a little above the floor tom pointing at the snare exactly the same distance from it. I measure this with a tape. Listen and move this side to side a bit if necessary to get a good blend with the ride but keep it the same distance fromn the snare.... Dynamic in the kick..lots of options for different bass drum sounds depending on what you are going for....
     
  4. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    Hmmm...maybe I can use the multitrack for the bass drum, and try this plan.

    So the second mic is above the floor tom, exactly the same distance from the snare as the other condenser? That might be a great idea.

    I just want to make sure the snare cuts through well, as well as some tom attack without getting too much cymbal wash. Then again, input beggars can't be choosers.. :D
     
  5. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    I have a variety of rooms to choose from, small to large. I may end up using a medium-size church room for some killer room tones.
     
  6. krash

    krash Member

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    Put a LDC over the top of the kit, behind the drummer, kind over the drummer's right shoulder, aimed at the center of the snare drum head. Then I'd put an SM57 or something like that on the kick. You pick which side. Resonant side will get you more bottom end on a well-tuned kick. Batter side should give you more attack. You pick. With a pair of KEL HM-1's we've made some killer 2-mic drum recordings this way. Full-on indie rock, I could make albums with two drum mics and never look back.
     
  7. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    Ok, so mounting a LDC over the drummer's right shoulder, face aimed at the center of the snare? About how high and how center should it be? This sounds awesome.
     
  8. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    The second mic is outside the floor tom and above it say 8 inches looking across the top of the tom aimed at the snare...with these three inputs you have a stereo image if you want it...
     
  9. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    ok, this makes sense. Just wanted to make sure I didn't pick up too much floor tom and ride in that.
     
  10. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    we've made some decent recordings with three mics on the drums

    inside the kick

    over the snare & hi-hat

    over the ride cymbal & toms

    all SM57's

    sounded surprisingly good!


    right now we are in the studio making a CD.....ten mics on the drums!! :eek:
     
  11. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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  12. JohnnyGtar

    JohnnyGtar Member

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    EXACTLY! I play guitar and drums, and I couldn't agree more.

     
  13. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    I would submix to the Mbox, just do a good amount of testing to make sure you get everything tight from the mixing board then roll. That said, I would at least mic the bass, snare and then two overheads. I did that a few weeks ago on a demo I did and it came out pretty sweet. If you can get an 8 or more channel mixer, mic everything and then throw a few room mics out there to get the room...be careful with this though you could wash out the rest of the mix.
     
  14. wolf9309

    wolf9309 Member

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    Exactly what I would do if I could only use two inputs. Is it possible to get hold of a small mixer of some sort? Then you could combine a few mic's into one input of the mbox and get a better sound (you just need to make sure that the ones you combine to one track are mixed together pretty well before you record)
     
  15. krash

    krash Member

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    As for the placement of the LDC, you will want to experiment with it but basically I have found that about above and to the right of the drummer's right ear, about 8" to 12" or above and to the right (the drummer's right, for a right-handed drummer), works well. More "over the kit" will give a brighter, snappier sound. More "behind the drummer" will give a more ambient, bigger, fatter kind of sound. You'll have to experiment depending on the room, the kit, the mic, and your aesthetic choice. Moving the mic further from the kit will increase the amount of room sound vs. kit sound and likely reduce the apparent attack. Moving the mic closer to the kit (by moving it "over the top") will give more direct sound and more bright attack. When you are recording a drum kit with just one mic, there's a lot you can do with it. You should look at some pictures of the Beatles recording sessions with one U47 over the kit and a D12 on the kick for some hints.

    Personally I think the two-mic mono method sounds a lot better than the "Fletcher" 3-mic method outlined above. Depends on what you are after. If you're going "3-mic" then the "Recorderman" overhead technique plus a kick mic is the way to go IMHO. However, for a rock record, I would still do the LDC over the top/back and a 57 or something like that on kick and just be done with it. Hey there are a lot of ways to record drums. With the right kit, room, player, etc., then you can get a heck of a great tone from two mics, and a lot less potential phase and balance problems vs. adding a third mic. Given your situation, I'd go 2-mic all the way! Somewhere on my computer I have a recording (live, jam, with bleed) done in my house with a drum kit and just one mic over the kit over the shoulder like I described, if I can find it I'll post up.

    Good luck!
     
  16. stephenT

    stephenT Silver Supporting Member

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    +1, a great way to record drums w/ two mics.
     
  17. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    wow, thanks for the great info! I'll definitely be giving this a try.
     
  18. guitarmook

    guitarmook Member

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    I've also had good luck with a 414, about 4 feet back from the kit, facing the kick, and height-wise about even with the top of the kick... and supplement that with a small condenser over the drummer's shoulder, 'looking' at the snare...
     
  19. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

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    Here are some tricks I've done with my MBox and 2 Drum tracks:

    #1. I got a Carvin 8 Channel Mixer. Had 8 inputs, so I had the as follows.

    1. Kick, inside, Shure PG
    2. Kick, outside, Senn e609
    3. Snare, Top, Beta57
    4. Snare, Bottom, SM57
    5. Toms, Hi
    6. Toms, Lo
    7. Shure PG Condensor, overhead L
    8. Shure PG Condensor, overhead R

    Mixed 1-2 to the "L" output of the mixer, into input 1, to isolate the Kick Track.

    Mixed 3-8 to the "R" ouput of the mixer, into input 2, to get everything else on 1 track. I made sure to have the snare ALOT louder than the rest of the kit on the mixer. Overheads were quite low...

    #2. Have a dedicated kick track on Protools, then take your "Everything else" track, and copy and paste it. Run one completely dry, and EQ it to emphasize the crack of the snare. On the copied one, add some relatively strong compression to strengthen the sustain of the drums and smooth out the attack of the cymbals, and EQ this track to make the cymbals sound nice.

    #3. When you blend it all together, you'll have 3 tracks of drums, and each one has its strengths that you can later bring out in a dense full band mix. Namely, a Kick Track, a primarily Snare track, and a Primarily Overhead-ish track.

    #4. I would NEVER mix everything down seperated as Left and Right. That gives you zero control.

    #5. Copy and paste the "Everything Else" track 2X. Pan hard left and hard right. Apply some room reverb to the L track, make it totally wet. Apply some larger room reverb to the R track. totally wet. The difference in "room sizes" of the reverb tricks you ear into thinking its listeing to a stereo mix, because the reverb fades and different rates.

    #6. EQ the everloving F*CK out of the drums at the mixing board. I know this is unorthodox, but for me, it saves me tons of time later, and gets me a ridiculously huge kick sound that has fooled many people into thinking that I recorded my drums in some huge studio with expensive mics, where I'm actually recording on some real cheap stuff, just using my ears very well.

    Hope some or all of this helps.

    Nick
     
  20. Dickie Fredericks

    Dickie Fredericks Member

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    Not sure if this was mentioned but heres what I would do.

    1) Get a mixer and mic up the kit and sum it down to the 2 outs and into the Mbox.

    or

    2) Mic up the kit and play it through a nice PA and use 2 omni's to pic up what comes out of the PA.

    Make the kit sound good through the mixer first and foremost and either way will probably get you there. I would do and have done both.

    Personally Id use the PA metheod if you have a decent sized room and a decent PA. Its worked for me on several occasions and is a trick often used in your bigger high dollar studios.

    Dickie

    If you dont have a mixer well...Try to borrow one eh?
     

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