Drums and moving mics between songs

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Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by dungeonsound615 » Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:40 pm

So Ive thought of this before but never really put it to use. AFter listening to some of the recordings i have done i can notice a difference in drum sounds between songs even when i leave the mics setup in the same place through out all the songs their recording.

SO this got me to thinking how many of you move your drums mics or adjust them somewhat from song to song, for a certain project your working on. Say your doing four songs for a band, do you just get good sounds from the get go and stick with it or do you have the band paly through each song before there going to record and listen to see if anything needs to be changed.

Just curious how many people jsut stick to there original setup or move mics like crazy in a project.

thanks Mike[/i]

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by Recording Engineer » Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:53 pm

Depends on what the band wants; which usually depends on the budget.

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by soundguy » Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:54 pm

depends on the project. the record Im finishing now is 11 songs and we used 7 different snare drums, so the drum micing got changed alot. Also swapped room mics alot on this one. The record I did before that was recorded entierly in 48 hours and we didnt have TIME to move drum mics once we settled on a sound. A record I did last year had drum setups on three different rooms. Its not odd to move mics around. Its also not odd to have trouble getting the same sound the next day having NOT moved mics around.

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by Shawn Simmons » Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:03 pm

Move mics, don't move mics. To echo what has already been said, it really depends on the time and budget constraints. I personally love to tailor the drum sound to the song. Different drum sounds during the course of a record help keep it fresh and interesting. And just changing out the room mics or the snare drum will often be more than enough to give you something new.
Its also not odd to have trouble getting the same sound the next day having NOT moved mics around.
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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by Slider » Tue Jan 25, 2005 8:13 pm

I just listen to the song and make changes that fit the track.
If it's really low budget I'll get a good setup that I know I can mess with a bit later when mixing. It's amazing what you can do with the rooms and compression to achieve certain sounds when mixing.
I do listen for anything that's not working throughout the tracking.
I like to simply decide (after listening) whether I (and whomever I'm working with) want a huge open kick drum or a fat low tuned snare or whatever for that track.
If I think something needs to be tuned or a mic or two (or six) need to be moved or switched out, I'll just change it and move on.

I think it's much more interesting on a rock record to change it up a bit.
No two songs on the White Album sound anything alike, that's part of it's charm for me.
At the same time "Kind of blue" is pretty consistant and works beautifully.

What I really hate is when I change something and think "I wish I had this sound on the track we recorded yesterday".
Just part of recording.

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by joel hamilton » Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:27 pm

I would rather simply overprint, and subtract during mixing. I will even print stuff that is WAY out of line with what the band sounds like, and keep it muted unless someone gets the bright idea to have "only a room mic during the verse" type of thing. I will have the usual suspects up and running on the drums, then have a few wildcard mics that may or may not get used in the mix. I also learn a lot about a mic and its good or badness in any given position when I do this. You can really find out once and for all if the 57 behind a bookcase 97 feet from the back of the kick is really worth printing ;).

I used to move mics around, time permitting, but I found that I wished I had the "other" setup, but with another flavor for certain songs, but I had already changed everything. That is when I started overprinting the drums...

I always say to people: " the car is only gonna jump the canyon once, so lets have a bunch of cameras on this one." While they sit and think what an A-wipe I am for using such a lame analogy, I set up three more room mics in varrious positions... ;)

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by heylow » Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:12 pm

Slider wrote:
What I really hate is when I change something and think "I wish I had this sound on the track we recorded yesterday".
Just part of recording.

F*#K...

The story of my life! :wink:

I've had to learn slowly that if you redid everything that you could probably do better some other day, you'd be working on one record for the rest of your life. Now I try to leave well enough alone unless it's totally unlivable. I'll even try to take the warts and find a way to make them 'style' before redoing.

On topic though....

I try to switch things up as much as possible these days for almost any instrument. I used to pick something that worked and stay there but it gets dull. For me, that was the single biggest mistake I made in doing my bands last record (right, Dave? :wink: ). Seriously...if time allows, switch it up with the attitude that nothing is precious. For something like drums, it can be something as simple as changing the way you are doing the room mics.


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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by joelpatterson » Wed Jan 26, 2005 6:20 am

I feel like you want it to sound, song to song, like it all came from the same planet. So if you start drastically shifting mics around, you're not even looking at the same canyon, you're on the moons of Saturn!
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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by djdrake13 » Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:19 am

Lot of different opinions I'll offer mine

I like to mix it up. Each song is its own entity, own emotion, give it its own sound. Yea, think about if they'll match up on the album and be a cohesive product, but don't just have one set-up and leave it thru the whole tracking process. Ever listen to an album that all sounds the same.. blah! Some of the legendary albums have all these different sounds and layers that all blend together into one package.. see what I mean??
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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by tommy » Wed Jan 26, 2005 8:16 am

More often than not, my drum mic set up stays pretty consistant except when I want to go for something really specific like a Ringo thing for instance. In this case, usually all the close mics come off and the ribbon gets places somewhere overhead or something. What I do tend to change from song to song is preamp gain and compressor settings just a tad depending on the drummer of course.

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by Devlars » Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:45 am

It's all about context. I say that in the broadest, most all encompassing idea that you can possibly garner from reading that statement.

The fact that the same set up can sound different even though it has gone untouched, to the best of your knowledge, is because things such as the temperature outside and in the room, how many people are in the room, how long the equipment has been on and so many other variables can affect the "sound" enough that you'll notice, "This doesn't sound the same for some reason..."
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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by dynomike » Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:51 am

I think it depends mostly on the arrangments/instrumentation of the songs.

If the songs are played largely with the same instrumentation, similar guitar sound/panning, etc.. sure, keep the drums the same. A lot of classic rock type stuff is basically the same sounds throughout the album, and it works.

Personally, since I usually recod myself and have lots of time - I tend to tune the drums differently for each track, get a nice sound happening, and then set up mics that capture that specific sound best. I may go for stereo or mono overheads depending -- room mics, mono room, no room.. it all depends on the arrangment of the track and what sonic real estate the drums are gonna have.

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by xonlocust » Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:03 am

i usually overprint tracks as well during tracking, and once everything's going - leave it pretty much as is. i try and have it so you can have a good sounding close miced sound, a big roomy sound, a mid-compressed sound all going to tape. then as they're tracking you can mess with what works for the songs as they go since they're on headphone mixes - you can be dialing in your mix balances and stuff, see your options. then of course there are all the post options... send those tracks to aux sends and return on open channels and do that shit.

it really sucks setting all that crap up and taking all the time to get everything going, but like joel said, once the train is moving - they don't wanna stop.

the disadvantage to moving crap between songs too, is that you're creating hassles for yourself in mix. ie if you figure out somethings screwy later on and find a solution to address it for one song and it takes you a while to get it down, then that same fix is irrelevant for the next song if you're moving stuff around. that's sort of a workflow thing though, and i usually do stuff pretty quickly. i've yet to do a "leisurely" session in my life.

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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by djdrake13 » Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:32 pm

I've been pondering this thread since I first read it.

I think it does depend on context.. such as a slower song, you might want that collins/bonham sound with the overheads further back. but a quicker song, might need a nice tight sound, so you push them into the set. (don't really knock them over!!)

I disagree that most rock albums have that same sound. Maybe like Metallica. But I think most bands have a different sound on each song. But this could become a big debate.. lets start another thread??
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Re: Drums and moving mics between songs

Post by Slider » Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:03 pm

I like the idea of making somewhat of a sonic commitment for a track.
I don't like having too many options left for the mixing process.
If you make it work great in tracking from the beginning your job will be easier come mix time.
It even seems to add to the personallity of the track in the long run.
It's the same reason I wouldn't want to track 3 different sounds for each guitar overdub.
At some point you have to commit, and your overdubs will make more sense if you have some kind of sonic direction.

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