Tracking drums tomorrow. Your ideas?

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thefriendswemake
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Tracking drums tomorrow. Your ideas?

Post by thefriendswemake » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:14 pm

So I'm tracking drums for my buddies EP tomorrow. The drums will be in a sound treated room, about 15 x 10 or so. The drummer is very solid and balanced. He hits the drums nice and hard but doesn't wail on the cymbals.

I'm thinking he's good enough to use Glyn John's method. It's an indie rock band, but the drummer wants some roomier drum sounds ... not huge, in your face sounds.

Please check out "Time Lapse Lifeline" for a reference of what we want: http://www.myspace.com/mariataylor

Here's my rig (some gear is rented):

Recording Gear:
Macbook Pro w/ Pro Tools LE 8
DW Fearn VT-2
Digidesign Digi 003 Rack
Presonus Digimax FS (+ 8 Channels)
Presonus HP4 Headphone Output
Buster The Jack Russell Terrier
KRK Rokit 8 V2 Studio Monitors

Microphones:
Microtec Geffel M930 (2)
Royer 121
AKG 451
Vintage EV 635A (5)
Shure SM57 (5)
Studio Projects C1
Shure Beta 52
Audix D6
MXL V63M

MY APPROACH:
Kick - Beta 52 or D6 (VT-2)
Snare - SM57 (VT-2)
Stereo "Overheads" - M930s
Hi-Hat - AKG 451 (Just because I like to pan Hi-Hats hard left, not for volume)

What would you choose for the room mic or under the snare? 653a I think ...

Thanks!

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:28 pm

Is that VT 2 thing your one good stereo pre? If so I'd put the overheads through that. I'd also check to make sure I didn't like something better than the 57 on the snare. Try a 635 for a "heart mic". You might need to flip the phase on something if you use it though.
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Post by Zeppelin4Life » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:32 pm

I would recommend the Royer 121 for the room mic, and if you get too much noise, move it around. I have had luck using the Royers for this type of thing. I mean, there is no 'one' microphone, but that has worked with me. Also, it's important (very) to not use TOO much room sound. A little will go a LONG way. As for general tips, the preamps will differ from one to the next, but the snare is probably the hardest to get 'right'. Some people like a clean and crisp, some like a more distorty ballsy one. A lot has to do with the music...best of luck, and I hope this helps. PS, dont forget to flip the phase of the snare mics :D
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Post by thefriendswemake » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:34 pm

Zeppelin4Life wrote:PS, dont forget to flip the phase of the snare mics :D
do i only have to do this if i mic the top and bottom?

i've recorded drums in the past ... but believe it or not ... never messed with the phase :(.

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Post by thefriendswemake » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:35 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:Is that VT 2 thing your one good stereo pre? If so I'd put the overheads through that. I'd also check to make sure I didn't like something better than the 57 on the snare. Try a 635 for a "heart mic". You might need to flip the phase on something if you use it though.
Yeah, that's my only good pre. I'm renting that one for the weekend to use on pretty much everything.

what's the best way to flip the phase in pro tools?

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Post by Zeppelin4Life » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:35 pm

thefriendswemake wrote:
Zeppelin4Life wrote:PS, dont forget to flip the phase of the snare mics :D
do i only have to do this if i mic the top and bottom?

i've recorded drums in the past ... but believe it or not ... never messed with the phase :(.
Well if you record one source with two mics from different direction, one of the phases of the mics has to be switched...so for example, invert the bottom one. Otherwise they will cancel each other out. (even though it has nothing to do with it, think of it like a battery.+ and -.it has to go in a straight line direction..phase is somewhat similar).


ProTools should have a way to flip phase. Honestly though, i have never done this. The classic method of doing it is to literally invert the + and - microphone pins.
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Post by Jeff White » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:56 pm

You can definitely flip the phase of a mic in Pro Tools.

Jeff
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Post by thefriendswemake » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:23 am

great info here:

You are correct that the one (I believe it's the only real-time) place Pro Tools can switch phase is through some plug-in.

Here's what you do to save some clicks.


1) Insert a really small plug-in in the appropriate place.
I'd recommend an 1-band EQ II or EQ 3
Or if you insert the "trim" plug-in, it's basically a volume slider and a phase switch.

2) Click the phase switch on whatever plug you inserted. Do nothing else inside the plug-in. This is now your "phase flip" plug-in

3) If you're on a Mac, command-click the plug-in name in the Mix Window to bypass it. The plug-in box will turn blue. Whenever you want to hear flipped phase, command-click it again to not bypass it (therefore flipping the phase)

If you suck at Pro Tools quick keys, here's a primer:
MAC
Command-Click plug-in = Bypass
Command-Control-Click plug-in = Deactivate (in case that trim plug-in just TOTALLY uses all your CPU )

WINDOWS
Control-Click plug-in = Bypass
Control-Windows-Click plug-in = Deactivate


Yes it uses up an insert spot, and there's no massive pretty-looking phase button right in the mix windows... but if you're going to be a Pro Tools user, you're going to learn how to problem solve with minimal excuses

Good luck with the mixing!

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Mono overhead.

Post by bronsonmestizo » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:07 am

I almost always use a mono overhead. I think that's what I like about the Glynn Johns method. You can use stereo rooms to add depth, or a ribbon as the side in MS to complement your mono OH, but mono is the tits in my opinion. No matter where I pan it, or what else I use in conjunction, a single, well placed mic is always my starting point. Just my 2 cents...

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Post by cgarges » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:15 am

Zeppelin4Life wrote:Well if you record one source with two mics from different direction, one of the phases of the mics has to be switched...so for example, invert the bottom one. Otherwise they will cancel each other out. (even though it has nothing to do with it, think of it like a battery.+ and -.it has to go in a straight line direction..phase is somewhat similar).
This isn't a 100%, all the time, hard and fast rule. The distance between the two mics can affect the phase interaction, as can the differences in angles, types of mics used, and differences in the sound of the sources at both mics. A snare drum, for example, sounds completely different at the top head as it does at the bottom head and the phase relationship between mics equidistant from both the top and bottom heads on a 5" drum is different from that of an 8" drum. Most of the time, yes, the polarity needs to be reversed at one of the mics for the drum to sound it's fullest, but that's not always the case and it certainly doesn't always have to be the top mic.

Here's an example: If the two snare drum mics in "solo" (without the other mics on the kit) sound best with the bottom mic flipped (polarity-reversed), but the snare drum as whole is out of phase with the rest of the drum kit, the you need to reverse the polarity of the top mic and leave the bottom mic in positive polarity.

And then there's the issue of whether or not a mic is wired pin 2 hot or pin 3 hot at its output.

The best way to determine the correct polarity position of your signal path is to listen while flipping polarity on each of the mics. Honestly, as great as it would be if there were completely accurate rules that you could follow without ever having to listen to anything, that just isn't the case. It only takes a couple of seconds to do this. I have no idea why more people don't do it. This has also been covered extensively in a couple of good threads recently. I'll try to find them and post a link.

Here are a few:
http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=61765
http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=61740
http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=61438

As far as flipping the stuff after the fact, that's a possibility, but if you can do it right from the start, then you totally know what you're getting. If you get all your phase stuff right, you'll be amazed at how much less equalization you'll find yourself needing and if you EQ stuff that's out of phase to begin with, you're really find yourself with potential for bigger problems.

Those little phase/polarity buttons or switches on the mics pres: just flip them in and out while you're getting drum sounds. You'll hear the difference and what takes seconds up-front can save you lots of time and headache later on.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Post by Zeppelin4Life » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:31 am

Good points. Which reminds me that getting the phase right on the entire kit can sometimes be hard. Like Chris says, mess around and experiment. Everyone's techniques are different, but for me, less is more. Many mics get confusing :roll: best of luck
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Post by mscottweber » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:23 pm

Its mentioned a ton in those great threads that Chris posted, but polarity isn't just an issue on things that have two mics on them, like snare drum. It is extremely beneficial to listen to every single mic on the kit in relation to the others and check out the polarity on all of them. I just recently went back to a session that I did a year ago where I remembered the drums not sounding very good. I put the trim plug (in PT) on all of the drum tracks and messed with the polarities and it made the drums sound a million times better, as if by magic!

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Post by jesse_baccus » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:57 pm

msweber wrote:I put the trim plug (in PT) on all of the drum tracks and messed with the polarities and it made the drums sound a million times better, as if by magic!
even better than magic! PHYSICS!
getting your waveforms moving together is something i personally take great care in, especially when working in Tools, where you have sample accurate flexibility. i work a lot in heavy dense music, where the slightest phase discrepancy just deteriorates the "wall of sound." for this application, you never know what you might like!

great post by cgarges, and good links as well.

a piece of string tied to the racktom mount on the kick drum also gives a good reference to the amount of "equidistanceness" of your mics to your over all image, it still of course calls for the use of your ears and eyes to check that your angles and imaging are correct, but saves me time regularly.

i don't regularly mic the bottom snare, with the exception of the style which ms. taylor performs, because i haven't found its use to be advantageous. however, some people (e.i. some drummers, not myself) have come to love and expect it.
my biggest problem with them is the super fast reflection the snare drum gets off the floor, i find it smears the mic, and destroys the stick attack which is displaced through the drum itself. a good solution i've come across is cutting a piece of foam, auralex, whathave you, so that you can wrap it around the main stem of the snare stand, much like a skirt on a christmas tree. this allows at least the mid to hi frequencies to get a little absorption as opposed to shooting hard back off the ground; without affecting the drummer or the snare stands' stability.
if you are set on using either the D6 or beta52 on the kick- whichever you use, i would use the other one on the bottom snare. the accentuation of the bottom and transient response on those mics can bring out some nice body on the snare, and also pick up the dense pocket of sound which lays between a drummers legs (if that doesn't sound good in circumstance, you can always high-pass).

have to say i'd have to hear the room to suggest a room mic, tho.

its seems ms. taylor will be performing down the street from me april, i'll be sure to attend!
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Re: Tracking drums tomorrow. Your ideas?

Post by jesse_baccus » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:59 pm

thefriendswemake wrote:He hits the drums nice and hard but doesn't wail on the cymbals.
if you find this balance inappropriate for the material, you could try the knee-high technique.
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Post by thefriendswemake » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:31 am

clips soon :)

turned out wonderful, but i'll need some advice for mixing.

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