YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
bradb
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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by bradb » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:20 am

a wealth of info, thanks everyone!

for those that only mic'ed one tom, why? and would you only mic the rack tom? is this because youre hoping to get it all with the ride-side overhead?

to further complicate things, what if for the song the 16th notes were played on the floor tom (like instead of the hats or ride) would you then mic that floor tom?

thanks

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by soundguy » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:26 am

the first thing I would do, personally, is scrap the approach you are taking of putting all this importance on the gear you have and looking for blind suggestions on to how to use it in an acoustic space that nobody online can hear to record an acoustic source which nobody has half a clue of how it is tuned, maintained, where it rattles, how it resonates and of course not a soul has half a clue as to what you are trying to do with the track but you. If you want to make the best recording that pleases you, you actually need to plug all that stuff in and listen to it, spend a day trying all sorts of different shit out and write everything down. Then for the next time you'll have a better idea of what you personally like and what you dont and how things helped you or worked against you. Until you do that you are at the mercy of random comments online. If you find that this advice isnt helpful and Im a big asshole you wouldnt be the first, in which case, use the API amps on the drums you want the most crack and accuracy out of, use the hamptone on the drums you want the most fur on and use the syteks for the drums that need to be thinnest/ dont matter as much. Some people will tell you, use the tube amp and a d112 for a giant furry kick, and they'd be right. Others will tell you use a 421 and a 512 for a faster sounding kick and they'd be right. You could also use the hamptone as a line buffer between the api and the computer for yet a different sound. This is why you have to plug everything in and listen and see what is right for both you and the sound you are trying to record. The room is ultimately going to determine your decision, but thats a different discussion... A good engineer with a plan makes a good recording, the gear is a largely irrelevant tool, you can dig a hole with all kinds of things besides a shovel if you catch my drift.

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by chetatkinsdiet » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:34 am

We all only miced on tom b/c that's what you said you had. If you have a rack tom and floor tom as well, then put a 57 on the rack tom and a 421 on the floor.

And i totally agree on the "room mics on/near the floor thing". Not sure why, but that's always what sounds best....in a regular room. Maybe a proper studio/tracking/drum room would be different, who knows. You can always put a finger in one ear and walk around and listen for a nice spot, but honestly, this doesn't ever work for me with loud sources like drums or a marshall cranked. There's just so much spl in the room.....i end up just throwing a mic up and running.

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m
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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by bradb » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:40 am

sound guy,

I wholeheartedly agree with you... of course my post has a lot of limitations. I'm just trying to get a conversation started about how to APPROACH this project. The advice that people have given me will yield a good starting point and give me things to consider that i hadn't before (floor mic). But youre right and you bring up a good point.

Your comments about the pre amps and their sounds are very helpful, this is the stuff i'm trying to get some knowledge about. I won't know for sure how i feel until after I set it up, but your post gives me a good starting point.

i especially liked this:

"use the API amps on the drums you want the most crack and accuracy out of, use the hamptone on the drums you want the most fur on and use the syteks for the drums that need to be thinnest/ dont matter as much."

thank you!

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by parlormusic » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:48 am

There's a nice drum recording article by Kevin Becka with pictures on www.mixonline.com

Check it out.
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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by drumsound » Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:37 am

parlormusic wrote:There's a nice drum recording article by Kevin Becka with pictures on www.mixonline.com

Check it out.
Did you really think that article was good or thought provoking? I thought it was basically a way too long intro for an actual article on drum recording.

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by chetatkinsdiet » Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:37 am

I could have gone into more detail on why i picked the various mic pres and mics for each drum, but I didn't know if you wanted that. Basically my choices were for the reasons that soundguy said. I think that in this situation, the API pres need to go on the kick and snare top. They just do something that rocks on close drum mics. Ideally, i'd love to use two more on the other two tom mics as well, but I think you're fine with the regular sytek channels. But, if you found them to be too sterile, you could try swapping them with the BB Sytek channels. This might add more meat to the toms, but would change the OH mics. Again, I can't possibly know without hearing that kit in that room played by that drummer. But the API on the kick and snare is pretty much a given. The tube pre on the room mics works 'cause that soft, tube sound (I'm assuming here as I've never used a Hamptone...) might be cool to tame those screechy C series AKG mics. Also, you're going to squash them to death.

Like you mentioned. This isn't etched in stone or anything, but just a good basic starting point. A smart thing to do before a session. Think about what you've got coming in. Think about your gear and make a decision about what you want to set up first. If something's not jiving, move it, change it....whatever.

later,
m
The only true great mic on this planet is the Shure SM-57. It is the most consistant in not totally sucking of anything ever built. All other mics are "application dependant".

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by soundguy » Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:57 am

brad-

the only thing limiting is an engineers imagination and creativity, you have a fine list of tools that anyone with the right ears would be able to make a good recording with. You really just have to listen. Id pay far more attention to tuning the drum kit, making the kit sound good and then making the room its in sound good than worrying at all about what mic to use and what to plug it into. Yes, its all levels of fun to talk about gear but in the big picture it really is quite irrelevant. You spent all that money on gear, how much did you spend on new drum heads, the right drum sticks (yes, different sticks make drums sound different) and acoustic baffles made of foam or blankets or insulation? People obsess so much about gear they often forget and uttely discount the fact that its just a tiny part of the equation. Way more important thing to focus on is WHAT you want the kit to sound like on the record, what the room you are working in actually sounds like and what you have to do to that room in order to achieve your goal. You can focus on great gear all you want, but if your room sounds not the way you want it to, you'll never get past that no matter what you plug into. A better engineer than me is going to make a more interesting recording with lesser gear every single time. Focus on making the drums sound good when you stand in front of them and then its mondo easy peasy pretty much no matter what you do after that. The only real gear tweaker thing you shoudl obsess on is making sure that all your drum mics are phase coherent,meaning that when you listen to each mic solo'd, it doesnt get smaller sounding as you un mute all the mics on the kit. Each time you add a mic, the image should get bigger sounding, not smaller. If you imagine isnt very phase coherent then you need to start moving mics until it sounds better.

If you listen to the sound coming out of the speakers instead of the sound coming off the internet, all this stuff will eventually become self evident and you'll eventually have the confidence to conquer this stuff like a superstar. The internet is just for porn.

dave
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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by bradb » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:16 pm

agreed, i've made 2 starkly different recordings of basically the same material, one with dead drum heads in a small horrible room, the second recording i did with new(er) heads, a sharper drummer, a better room, better preparation and came out with a stellar drum recording.

I often think back to the engineers of the past and imagine what cool results they'd get with the gear I have now. It's not the gear, its your ear and experience.

also, behind my question is the fact that I'm about to get rid of my mackie and buy the Sytek and the APIs.. so i was curious how they'd be used with my mics.

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:41 pm

bradb wrote:Your task:

Record a loud rock and roll drummer **ONLY DRUMS** in a high ceiling'ed loft style apartment
The first thing I would do is is warn the neighbors and make sure you have a block of time that is cool. The best way to get good drums sounds is to experiment. You will get a lot of "use mic 'a' into preamp 'b' for snare" on this thread, and that's cool. Having a starting point is good, but there are too many variables, not to mention placement, the acoustics of the room, and the player's technique.
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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by superpenguin79 » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:43 pm

I would put a mic on the kick, snare, and a couple of overheads, and then put a nice condenser out in the middle of the room in front of the kit for the room ambience. This will get you a tight sound, but have the ambience you are looking for and what not.

I would check for phase issues though like the above posts mentioned. Also, one trick with kick drums is to put the mic back 2 -4 ft on the floor and cover the kick and mic with a blanket to create what they call a drum tunnel which will give you a bit better seperation with that type of scenerio. I have seen it done both ways and would experiment.

Personally I prefer the close mic situation with well tuned drums if you are going for pop and then you can always add a little bit of reverb later for warmth...etc... goodluck
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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by chetatkinsdiet » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:46 pm

...the only trouble with that is you'll want more api gear....
later,
m
The only true great mic on this planet is the Shure SM-57. It is the most consistant in not totally sucking of anything ever built. All other mics are "application dependant".

-- Fletcher

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by bradb » Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:58 pm

thats why i'm gonna get the lunchbox ;)

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by takeout » Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:54 pm

Piccolo snare toss for distance. Proceed from there.

Seriously: fuck a piccolo. Replace that with something at least five inches deep and you could probably get away with one mic, drummer depending.

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Re: YOU'RE the engineer, what would you do?

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:23 pm

takeout wrote:Piccolo snare toss for distance. Proceed from there.

Seriously: fuck a piccolo. Replace that with something at least five inches deep and you could probably get away with one mic, drummer depending.
As a rule I don't like piccolo snares either. Then I found one that sounds really great. With the right tuning, mic choice/placement and compression it has plenty of heft and requires no eq to get a good recorded sound.
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