Yet another thread on drums. <hi-hats>

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will.record.for.food
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Yet another thread on drums. <hi-hats>

Post by will.record.for.food » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:13 am

It seems every time I track drums...I have way WAY too much hi hat on tape. Is this a common problem? Its not one of those things I have seen common questions about. Does anybody have any suggestions/techniques they employ to help reduce hi hat vol?

This is basically what I usually work with.

-2 Superlux LDC overheads about 6-7 feet off the ground, parallel to the ground (not angled)...one about where the snare/kick/hi tom meet, and one about where the lo-tom and kick meet.
-1 Audix i5 on the snare....mounted by a mic clip on the kick shell, pointed at the outside rim (at about 3 o'clock from the drummers point of view)
-1 AKG c451 on snare bottom/inside rim of kick...also mounted to the kick right next to the snare mount. Pointed in odd directions
-1 superlux kick mic on ouside head (not batter head)...sometimes very close to the head (there is no hole on my kit) or a few feet back, both with a few blankets draped on top..

It seems that alot of my hat cuts through from the i5. Ive tried many positions, and even tried the trick where you put a pipe insulator on the top of the snare mic.

Like I said, this is how I usually track....I do have some other mics that I can use... a MXL v57m (LDC), one wierd small fat-crayola-sized hi-hat-labeled Superlux SDC, and 5 or 6 not so great dynamics (2 old shure Unidyne III's and a few more superlux "tom" mics)


Any suggestions??

Ive got 8 ins to work with, so I can add mics as needed, but dont want to go overboard.

I know they are not the same at all, but would it be better to use the MXL and 451 as ovrheads?

Any help/tips would be very much appreciated!
Last edited by will.record.for.food on Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yet another thread on drums. <hi-hats>

Post by nipsy » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:50 am

will.record.for.food wrote:It seems every time I track drums...

Any suggestions??

Ive got 8 ins to work with, so I can add mics as needed, but dont want to go overboard....

Seems like you already are overboard, take the size of your room into consideration.....try addition thru subtraction (less mics...)

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Post by thethingwiththestuff » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:52 am

is there a wall right next to the hats? is it a concrete/cinderblock room? are they way to close to the snare? are they simply too loud?

time to think beyond the mics.

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Post by TA » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:06 am

Did you try positioning the snare mic so the off axis point is in line with your HH.

From the drummers view-- snare to the left > HH to the left of the snare; sneak the mic in between at about 9 o`clock.....At the 3 o`clock position the axis point of the mic is probably picking up a lot of that hat.

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Post by drumsound » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:18 am

I like the room comments. If there are hard surfaces near the hats you might want to tame them with blankets or gobos. You might want to consider getting a light set of hats that just plain aren't as loud as heavy hats. Look for older Zildjians as they used to make thinner cymbals than most new models (even with the same name). You could also raise the hats a bit. Are you working with one artist or are there many different players coming through your room? This will also effect things greatly.

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Post by will.record.for.food » Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:01 pm

Ill play with it tonight, and see what I come up with...I suck at drums, but for my purposes, it will work.

Ill start with a mono 1 kick, 1 ovr,

then 2 ovr, 1 kick...

Ill take pictures and everything...nobody here might care, but it will be good for me at least.
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Post by digitaldrummer » Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:10 pm

I would also look at bleed through your snare mic. I usually position the top snare mic at about 10 or 11 o'clock (from seated drummer's perspective) and the bottom snare about the same. If still a problem, you could try cutting a chunk of foam (or whatever--I think I saw a mousepad used here too...) and put it around the mic to give you even more isolation.

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Post by aeijtzsche » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:15 pm

This may seem odd, but I hated and couldn't control the dominant hi-hat sound all over my recordings...until I put a mic on the hats. For some reason, focusing the sound to a more specific place seems to psychoacoustically bring down the overall volume.

Now, I do drums live straight to a final stereo mix, so I don't know if this is practical for somebody printing a lot of tracks to be mixed later. Just sharing my experience.

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Post by surf's up » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:35 pm

It seems like a common problem to me.

I would say some of the leading causes are:
-bad drumming
-bad room
-poor mic selection/placement

those first two arent gonna be that easy to deal with, but the last one can be. you could try some fancy eq or multi-band gating to get the hih hat bleed out of the snare mic, but that may be going a little overboard. just make sure the mic is angled so that it rejects as much of the hats as possible. try using a hypercard mic too.

depending on the drummer, you may also be able to move the hats up and/or away from the snare to mitigate the problem a little. but a lot of drummers probably wont go for that. or just tell them to go easy on the hats. easier said than done though.

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Post by Zygomorph » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:14 pm

aeijtzsche wrote:This may seem odd, but I hated and couldn't control the dominant hi-hat sound all over my recordings...until I put a mic on the hats. For some reason, focusing the sound to a more specific place seems to psychoacoustically bring down the overall volume.

Now, I do drums live straight to a final stereo mix, so I don't know if this is practical for somebody printing a lot of tracks to be mixed later. Just sharing my experience.
My own experience tells me that there is something to this. The leakage from the hi-hat into a snare drum mic (or any mic not so favorably placed) will most likely be some nasty off-axis colorized rendition that is unpleasant and distracting. Bringing in a close mic'ed version of the hi-hat can balance/compensate for this effect.

Ultimately, the perceived relative loudness of the hats seems to depend mostly on their timbre and how hard the drummer is hitting them. The former case (timbre) is, of course, affected by the acoustics of the space as mentioned above. Recording in a room with plaster/sheetrock walls will tend to emphasize the sizzly qualities. As with the off-axis sound, this may be something that you compensate for with a close-mic'ed (and therefore less room-colored) hi-hat sound.
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Post by will.record.for.food » Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:07 am

Well...I tried alot of things Ive never tried last night.

Firstly, Instead of my LDC Superlux overheads, I used my AKG 451 and that Superlux "hih-hat" SDC (My biggest suprise of the year!). I was astonished how full that superlux sdc sounded. The sounds and frequencies were almost Identical to the 451 with the exception of the bottom end (some a/b testing showed the superlux lacking as much punch around 80-100).

Then, Instead of the i5, I used my Marshall v57m LDC on the snare. very close...probably 2-3 inches from the rim...nestled right under the hihat at 10 o clock (thanks digital drummer and taylored audio).

For the kick, I used the superlux kick mic (I really need a better kick mic)about 4 inches from the outside head...I played with this for a while and was kind of stumped. It seemed that It would only hold its own with a polarity filp....it then sounded awesome soloed, but didnt sit well in the mix. So...I tried the snare iso trick I had heard of, and put a pipe insulator on it. This method needed no phase fip, and sat better in the mix.

I am going to attempt this (with better timing) in the net few days (I suck at drumming). I had the ovrheads a little higher than I probably needed.

I was very very suprised (not only at the superlux hat overhead) at the shimmer the SDC's gave my cymbals compared to the LDC's. I decided to make this a whole song to see how stuff would fit. Unfortunantly, It was very late and the wife was already asleep, so I couldnt crank up an amp. The guitars are direct with voxengos "boogex" applied. The Bass is also direct with a little compression...not very good either

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Post by will.record.for.food » Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:47 am

so...what do you guys think?
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Post by MikeCzech » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:44 pm

I just mentioned in another thread about a remedy I used for this recently. I recorded some 13" hats that were monsters in the left overhead, I miked the hats, as I always do, but I don't always use the track. This time I was able to use the hihat track to phase out some of the hats in the overhead. I had to zoom up closely and nudge the track until I could see the hats waves inverting eachother. I panned the hat track hard left with the overhead, and wa-la.

They became somewhat washy when hearing the two solo'd together, but with all the other mics the result was pretty smooth.

Maybe it was just luck, not sure it could work every time as effectively, but it's worth a shot if it's a constant problem.

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Post by Dave-H » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:37 am

You might move the snare Mic to the 9 o-clock position . If that doesn't help you might try a different snare mic. SM57 might do the trick. Also see if you can get by with out the bottom snare mic.
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Post by knobtwirler » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:54 pm

Well, given all your hihta concerns, I'd say it sounds pretty good! The cymbals overall sound a bit too crisp (maybe they're just too loud), but now the only thing that really bothered me was the kick drum (too pillowy and too wide of a frequency range in the low mids).

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