Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

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dardo
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Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by dardo » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:07 pm

hello fellow recordists/engineers...

my band is recording a demo with an mbox to pro tools. please keep in mind, this is not our preferred method to record but it's what we got.

we're planning on using 6-8 mics on the drums and are trying to think up a good schematic on how to accomplish this with mbox's 2 channels. our current thought is to Y the cables into 2 groups (for each mbox channel) using XLR Y splitters. i know this hurts most of you, but we are going to EQ the mics individually before we Y the cables.

so, does anybody have any advice or other opinions of how to accomplish this with the mbox? we don't have $$ to buy other sound processors, so getting something new will not help.

any input is appreciated...

FoP

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Rodgre
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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by Rodgre » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:11 pm

I'll be the first of fifty people to say "depends on the kind of drum sound you're going for"

If you're going for a close-mic'd drum kit sound and want stereo, you should use a mixer to blend all the mics down to two tracks. I'm leery of those Y-cord thingies...

Then the other option is one mic on the drums. That's the secret to many a great drum sound. A great mic in the right spot will often sound better than many close mics.

Roger

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by xonlocust » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:12 pm

that's not really going to work - (stringing multiple mics to 1 mic pre) - what you can do is get one of those little mix pads or (any cheap small mixer) and sum your 6 drum mics in the mixer - then use your main L/R outs to line in on the MBOX.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... eName=WDVW

alternatively you could just go for a mono overhead and kick mic and it'd probably be a lot better than you'd assume.

good luck!

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by andyg666 » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:15 pm

how are you going to EQ the individual mics before you combine the signals? nevermind setting levels on each individual mic, phantom power, impedence issues, phase, etc... be more specific about exactly what equipment you do have available. do you have a mixer? if you don't have a mixer, I'd suggest saving up a few hundred for a cheap-ass mixer. or borrow one. it really is worth whatever extra time and money it takes to get one. without a mixer and just running mics through an EQ and then into a y-cable, you really have no way of setting levels and getting any kids of usable mix into the mbox. if you DO have a mixer, forget the y-cables, just run the mics into your mixer and then run the stereo outs of your mixer into the mbox.

if you just want to do this the hard way and absolutely refuse to accept that you just don't have the right gear, well... i hope you end up with something that doesn't suck to holy hell. best of luck

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by jajjguy » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:21 pm

i'd bet heavily that one overhead plus front of kit mic will be way better than any live mix of multiple mics (especially if you're trying to do it all with Y cables!) unless you happen to be very experienced mixing drums live.

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by Rodgre » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:22 pm

I'll second the one mono mic on the kit and a kick mic approach.

Unless I was totally confident that I was going to get killer sounds, I don't think I'd ever try the y-cable trick. I'm way more confident that I'll be really happy with the drum sounds at mix down if I went with minimal stuff, if I only had two channels to play with.

Put it this way, if you're going to be submixing the drums by putting a lot of close mics through a mixer (if you're listening to our advice) why not save a step and let nature do the mixing for you? Find a spot where the drums sound great in the room (and make them sound great in the room - fixing in the mix is not an option) and put up a mono overhead and a kick mic, or else two overheads for stereo, placing the mics where you get the best blend of everything (good kick, good snare and a balance of everything else).

If you're unsure of what you're doing then the best thing is to do what you're sure of. If you have one or two mics on the drums, you're going to get the best sound by moving the mics around the kit, not by EQing or processing later. Get the sound down on tape so you don't have to mess with it later.

Roger

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by andyg666 » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:39 pm

yeah or fewer mics, if i may ride on the coat-tails of my posting predecessors... starting out on the tascam 4-track i can't tell you how many recordings i made with an SM-58 taped (!) to the top of the kick drum shell and an SM-57 strung through the frame that held the particle board in the ceiling. when we the band got a PA system i used to submix drums into one or two channels of the 4-track through the PA head. honestly the first time i tried to get a drum sound up using the "studio standard" 8 or 10 mics i was pretty overwhelmed and pissed off that the staff at SAE required bottom miking the snare and 2 mics on the kick drum... just cuz you have 6-8 mics available doesn't mean that 2 might not be better.

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by dardo » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:42 pm

Thanks for all the advice!

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by Rodgre » Mon Sep 27, 2004 3:00 pm

To second andyg666, I think that one mic on top of the kick shell (not taped, if you have a stand....) where the second tom would be in a two-rack tom setup, is a magical place to put a mono mic. It gives the kick a throaty, meaty tone, if maybe a little lacking in sub-frequencies, and a nice blend of snare and toms.

Roger

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Re: Recording Drums to an Mbox (any input?)

Post by lancebug » Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:19 pm

I've gotten nice sounds from 1 or 2 cad M179's a ways out from the kit. The low end response on them is so good that you can get great kick sounds without actually micing the kick itself. I might do on in front 4-5 feet and one overhead. Several of the CAD mics have good response down to 10 cycles.

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