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drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency

 
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joninc
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

i am doing some drum recording today for fun and have been using a few close mics and a stereo pair of coles for the room. I placed them in Blumlein about 7 feet in front of the kit and listened blending them in and out of the mix with the close mics.

Without the room mics, the mix is thick and punchy but the with room mics they are phasing with the close mics and thinning out the low end. so i have been experimenting with moving them a foot forward and a foot back and listening to play back....

it's getting better a bit closer - maybe like 4.5 feet away from the kit.

do you have tricks for maintaining phase on your room mics?

are there any rules of thumb or is it directly related to the dimensions of the room and placement of the drums within it?

i have been fairly half hazard about it their placement over the years and have found that if you are using something midrangey like a 57 or m160 then you aren't really capturing a lot of low end in the room mics so it's less of a noticeable problem.

but what if you wanted to get the low end from the room mics?

I've also noticed that if you place them 25 feet away, they usually don't make the mix.

I usually don't want anything too bright on the room or it just brings out way too much cymbal splash and is abrasive.
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vvv
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

No expert here, but sometimes changing the height of the room mics can help. That said, I typically use stereo overheads, but mono room mics. And when I do use stereo room mic's, I prefer spaced pair, sometimes toeing 'em a bit.

Also, if I may, I believe by "half hazard" you meant "haphazard".
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A.David.MacKinnon
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:40 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

How big is the room? How far from are the room mics from the wall behind them? What kind of treatment is happening on that walls?
Your problems might have as much to do with the rear lobe of the Coles picking up the sound bouncing off the back wall as it has to do with phase issues related to the distance between the mics and the kit. Try putting a baffle behind the Coles and see what that does.
In general I find the coles too beefy for my room mic duties. I'm usually recording drums plus a bunch of other instruments in the same room though and usually need my rooms lighter in the low end department. With ribbons I usually end up rolling out some of the sub frequencies to keep the low end uncluttered. If I was just tracking drums that might be a whole different story but I'd guess that I'd still be rolling some lows out.
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drumsound
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

This may sound rudimentary, but did you try reversing the polarity of the room mics? I check EVERYTHING to my overheads while monooring in MONO.
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Nick Sevilla
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:54 am    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

Questions to ponder:

What is the goal of the recording?

How much drumkit serves the song best?

Are the room mics necessary?

Are the close mics necessary?

-----

Now, technically:

Yes, you need to place your room mics in a place where they complement the kit the way you want. Obviously, you have not found the spot yet, so keep moving them around.

If you want better low end coherency, then you need to know your room dimensions, and the first 3 room modes, to find the nodes and peaks up to 250Hz.

This is easy to do, but takes more time than just moving the mics about until you find a balance, medium place between a node and a peak, where the low end does not get messed up.

Also, you need to play with the HEIGHT of the mics, not just the distance from the kit.

I have found that to get more bottom end, you have to be closer to the floor than you might think.

Cheers
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digitaldrummer
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

This

Nick Sevilla wrote:

Also, you need to play with the HEIGHT of the mics, not just the distance from the kit.

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vvv
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:43 am    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

vvv wrote:
No expert here, but sometimes changing the height of the room mics can help.


But what about this?* Twisted Evil


(*I'm just funnin' as I was also reading this thread.)
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roscoenyc
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:32 am    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

Try messing with The Rule of 3

whatever distance your over head mic is from the snare try positioning your room mic 3 times that distance from the snare or multiples of 3 times that distance.
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losthighway
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

Lots of smart advice already happening here. Two other things:

- 9 times out of 10 I find you don't really need a ton of extra low end resonance, the sense of space comes more from the attack of the drums- mostly mids with as much treble as the swishy damn hi-hats can tolerate. I usually violently high pass my room mics, and then more gently low pass as well, or even just a wide bell cutting the top frequencies by 5-6 db.

- Steve Albini has mentioned delaying his room mics a very small amount to get all of the phase of the room mic out of the way of the other drum mics. In his place that means setting up a delay to 100% wet with a very short time of milliseconds and no repeats. In my studio it means zooming in on the drum tracks and manually nudging the room mic over and then listening. It always weirds me out a little bit, but it definitely reveals something of the "classic Albini sound". I've probably rejected this approach more times than I've stuck to it, but I usually try it and sometimes it sounds awesome.

-Bonus third thing- if you're looking for a slightly more "produced", "artificial" drum sound sometimes playing with a gate on the room mic triggered by the snare or toms can do neat stuff. I usually gravitate towards my Drawmer, or really anything that can reduce volume without fully turning it off when the gate is closed. A -15db closed gate sounds more natural to me opening up then a -inf one. Also you can play with setting up a dummy track of the snare that's only keying the room, and then moving it around so that it's coming at the gate earlier or later to fiddle with the latency of your gate's reaction time. This like many tricks is not always a winner and you can kind of get lost in it, but it's paid off for me at times. Usually in a more aggressive rock type setting where the room mic is really grainy and smashed by a compressor.
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drumsound
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

losthighway wrote:
Lots of smart advice already happening here. Two other things:



- Steve Albini has mentioned delaying his room mics a very small amount to get all of the phase of the room mic out of the way of the other drum mics. In his place that means setting up a delay to 100% wet with a very short time of milliseconds and no repeats. In my studio it means zooming in on the drum tracks and manually nudging the room mic over and then listening. It always weirds me out a little bit, but it definitely reveals something of the "classic Albini sound". I've probably rejected this approach more times than I've stuck to it, but I usually try it and sometimes it sounds awesome.



When I've heard Steve talk about delaying the room mics it isn't about phase relationships, but trying to simulate what the drummer experiences. He explained that what he's going for is the sound going from the drum to the wall opposite the drummer and reflecting back to the drummer's ears. So that is why he puts those mics on a short delay. Its an interesting concept, though sounds nothing like what a drummer hears behind the drumset.
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roscoenyc
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

Some placement tricks for the room mic to try. Operative word "try"

1. Keep them low to the ground

2. Another one I really like if possible is to put the room mic behind the drums. That's the way a whole lot of the energy coming off of the heads is really going. If you go into a place and they have a lively booth or closet off of the tracking room try putting the drummer with his back to that booth and mic-ing the booth.
I've had great results in studios that had a bathroom off of the tracking room. Setting the drummer up with his back facing the bathroom and mic-ing that room.
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MoreSpaceEcho
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

drumsound wrote:
This may sound rudimentary, but did you try reversing the polarity of the room mics?


important!

roscoenyc wrote:
Keep them low to the ground


i put them on the floor, ~6 ft in front of the kit. there's never a shortage of low end. flipping phase....one way will sound 'normal', the other will sound 'crazy subby'. i go with 'normal'.
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cgarges
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: drum room mic placement and low end phase coherency Reply with quote

Are you physically listening to the drummer play in the room and placing your mics based on where you ears are? I do this all the time. I find that often in bigger rooms, the best sound is closer than you might think. In my room at Old House Studio, there are usually a couple of spots away from the kit where the low end fills out nicely and it's just kind of a matter of deciding which will work better for a given project. And like Tony said, play with the polarity of the mics, especially if you're wanting to not cancel low end. Sometimes the difference is pretty dramatic.

Chris Garges
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