close sounding dry drums!

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xhavepatiencex
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close sounding dry drums!

Post by xhavepatiencex » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:10 pm

I would enjoy some overall points in getting a very dry and close sounding kit. especially with the hats and ride. I normally use modded oktava mk012s into sca c84s in XY. Unlike most people I generally suffer from not enough hats, this generally works great for more hard rock stuff, but I am looking for a tight and dry sound. Any input mic techniques would be awesome.

I record in a fairly large basement room with a large amount of acoustic treatment on the walls and above the kit, so the room itself is already rather dry.

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hat

Post by swinky » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:27 pm

For a closer hat sound , place a suitable microphone about 4 to 6 inches above the hi hat near the edge opposite where you hit it. here is a photo of a hi hat master and the suggested mike placement. This is a live gig but it's the same for the studio :
http://www.reggaenode.de/summerjam/sjam2001/sly.jpg

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Corey Y
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Post by Corey Y » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:14 pm

The position in the above picture is generally how I do it as well. Usually with a SDC, 4-6 inches away, pointed at the spot where the drummer is connecting.

I hardly ever have a problem with too much hat in the overheads as well. Most of the time if I'm using a spot mic on the hats I have it way down, cut it completely or just ride it for accenting certain parts.

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Post by klangtone » Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:40 am

You say the room is dry and in my experience that usually takes care of most of the job of getting a dry drum sound. So maybe it's not as dry as you think it is or maybe the largeness of the room is playing against you. I would put the drums in one of the corners and then close off the rest of the open space with as many large soft things (chairs, couches, mattresses) as you can. Pull them in as close to the drums as you can.

I'm also thinking that instead of using condensers, try some ribbons and/or dynamics. Dry means you're in a space where the high frequencies are being absorbed a lot. So ribbons/dynamics with slightly rolled off highs should be closer to the sound you're after.

Roy
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single oh

Post by supafuzz » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:22 am

you can use a single ribbon mic in front of the center of the kit facing down

this works for me
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Post by solo-bration » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:48 am

a good engineer told me this once:
"without wet, there is no dry".

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Post by decocco » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:30 am

Yesssss.... build a little house around the drums out of gobos. The smaller the little house is, the "drier" the drums will sound. If it's too dry, spread out the gobos more, or use less of them. If you don't have gobos, then the time has come to build them. If you build them, dry tone will come. In addition to gobos, muffle your drums with tea towels/moongels/rings/gaff tape/whatever. Also, Try using drums without the resonant heads.
-Chris D.

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decocco
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Post by decocco » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:35 am

What kind of close-mic'ing are you using? For ultimate "tightness" you will want spot mics.
-Chris D.

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Post by Electro-Voice 664 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:46 am

If the drums themselves are too lively you could try beefier heads; like pinstripes instead of Ambassadors. This may help the hats sound more lively compared to the attack of the skins.
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Post by losthighway » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:46 am

I've found I can get a drier snare drum sound by pointing my snare drum mic more across the top head than my usual diagonal-through-the-drum.

Using things put on the drums to dampen them is good- small towel on the snare, or tape a sock to the outside edge, get some moon gels.

Put a RE20 or a SM7 near or in the kick drum.

No room mic.

Overheads in cardioid with lots of dampening in the area around the kit.

Maybe a little more compression on the close mics, and very little on the overheads....

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Post by xhavepatiencex » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:47 am

decocco wrote:What kind of close-mic'ing are you using? For ultimate "tightness" you will want spot mics.
I am close micing all the other drums, as well as a room mic about 10 to 12 feet back. I have never done much spot micing of cymbals. I will try the high hat mic suggestions and see if I can get more of what I am looking for.

I do have the kit in the corner of the room, the side with the floor and ride are fairly close to a wall, while the side with hats has about 15 feet till the next wall. Maybe I will flip the kit around to see if I can get a tighter sound on the hats?

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Post by decocco » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:58 pm

being that close to a single wall is scary. Can you position the drums in the corner so that both walls are equidistant from the drums?

Spot mic'ing of cymbals will help add a lot of definition or clarity to those cymbals. It's pretty common to spot mic hats and rides. When I do this, I favor the overheads and bring up the close cymbal mic's just enough to add some extra detail.

But seriously, gobos are your best friend. You said the room is treated, but you really want to make sure there is treatment around the kit, not just in the room, so you might still need gobos. I always build some kind of gobo house around drums. If I want it really live, I might only put gobos on the left and right sides of the kit. I usually end up building some kind of gobo semi circle or rectangle around the drums, to get serious tightness/dryness. I do this in big rooms and smaller rooms.
I am close micing all the other drums, as well as a room mic about 10 to 12 feet back.
That sounds like it's a little too far away to get you any kind of dry or tight sound. Try bringing in the room mic really closely, like 2-3 ft. in front of the kit. This will still give you an overall kit/room sound, but it will be tighter/drier. When I do this I have the mic about 3 ft. off the ground, pointing towards the kick and snare drums.

Have you experimented with different types of drum heads and cymbals?
-Chris D.

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Post by lysander » Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:01 pm

Another variable I haven't seen mentioned yet is the floor -- what do you have there?

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Post by xhavepatiencex » Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:19 pm

the floor is cement, I have a drum rug though as it would be impossible to have a kit not slide around. I will try rotating the kit into the corner so both sides of the kit have walls next to them.

The treatment in the room is directly above the kit, directly behind the kit to the wall on the right of the kit. I have other treatment throughout the room but not in especially close proximity to the drums.

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Post by DGoody » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:09 am

I mainly track drums in very small, very dead rooms. Small enough where the drummer literally has to climb over drums to get out. My preference. I can slam the shit out of the drums without the artifacts of a larger room.

Even still, I often find myself building an umbrella, using large mic stands and packing blankets, or something of the sort. The only way to effectively make your drums sounds dry and tight is to build a dry and tight space. Even if you have treatment up above on the ceiling, you may need to get down to 7 feet with an umbrella. I rely heavily on my overheads for a drum kit, so if the image of the overheads is not completely dead, I can't get a suitably dead sound.

And IMHO, ribbons are not the best for this, even though people tend to recommend that often for this type of sound. Most ribbons are figure 8, and unidirectional ribbons are usually more lean on the bottom end. The figure 8 ribbons will give you an equally unforgiving snapshot of whatever is behind it, therefore ribbons tend to present a larger physical space than a cardioid mic.

Of course, this is all opinion, but I've tracked drums like this for years and I have a handle on what does and doesn't work for my purposes.

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