Bass drum recording help

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Christ-Hammer

Guest
My band just got a demo out so check it out on this link
http://www.myspace.com/omenacra
The real question is, how do I get my bass drums to stick out in the recording? We track recorded and used a mixer, mixed everything down, but didn't use bass drum mics.
Anyway tell me what you thin about our new demo thanks guys :D
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
What's your mic setup for drums? I have done a lot of work with sub-mixes and fewer mics, so if I know what you have to work with I might be able to help.
 

elpol

Senior Member
My band just got a demo out so check it out on this link
http://www.myspace.com/omenacra
The real question is, how do I get my bass drums to stick out in the recording? We track recorded and used a mixer, mixed everything down, but didn't use bass drum mics.
Anyway tell me what you thin about our new demo thanks guys :D
It's not easy to add to something that is barely there. How did you mix your tune? Do you have the drums on a separate stereo mix? Can you isolate EQ to the drums only?

It doesn't sound like there's much of a kick signal there, however if you search for it on your eq, say somewhere around 100 Hz, you might be able to boost the BD. Watch out that boosting any frequencies will affect the overall sound.

Cool tune, by the way.
 
C

Christ-Hammer

Guest
Alright, so we recorded using some mics I'll have to ask my guitar player cause he is the one with all of the equipment, but I am sure they were not for bass drums and he placed them outside the port hole, we also tried them inside the bass drum yesterday but got the same result, and it went through a 4 channel mixer. We had one mic in front of the kit, one right next to the floor toms and 1 for each bass drum, yesterday we also tried taping a mic to the side of my snare cause we were out of stands, and the snare sounded much better, but we ended up not doing the track cause we couldn't fix the bass drums. Oh ya we also hung one mic from a celing fan that is sort of above my kit to act as an overhead mic and stuff sounded a little better, but the bass drums have just been giving us some trouble. Also he is using garage band, he has pro tools but he doesn't understand it yet, so could that have something to do with it? Should I invest in some shure beta 52 mics?
 
C

Christ-Hammer

Guest
By the way thanks for the feedback on our song, glad you liked it. Any feedback is welcome, but if you think it's bad at least comment constructively, thanks guys.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
Alright, so we recorded using some mics I'll have to ask my guitar player cause he is the one with all of the equipment, but I am sure they were not for bass drums and he placed them outside the port hole, we also tried them inside the bass drum yesterday but got the same result, and it went through a 4 channel mixer. We had one mic in front of the kit, one right next to the floor toms and 1 for each bass drum, yesterday we also tried taping a mic to the side of my snare cause we were out of stands, and the snare sounded much better, but we ended up not doing the track cause we couldn't fix the bass drums. Oh ya we also hung one mic from a celing fan that is sort of above my kit to act as an overhead mic and stuff sounded a little better, but the bass drums have just been giving us some trouble. Also he is using garage band, he has pro tools but he doesn't understand it yet, so could that have something to do with it? Should I invest in some shure beta 52 mics?
the important thing is did he sub mix it before it went into the computer or was each mic signal on there as seperate tracks? Because if they're seperate you can change the volume of things. Also did you record everything seperatley or live? Because a lot of bands like to do live recordings but really you get a lot more control over things if you do everything seperately. As for whether you get beta 52s, it really depends on what you're using now. If you know what they are then do tell us as obviously switching say an SM57 with a B52 will make a lot more difference then say if you already have AKG D112s on there.

How significant the lack of experience is depends on whether this is his first time using recording software. I find that once you get the hang of using it, it doesn't really matter what jump in level/type/brand of software you switch to, it's pretty easy to adjust. However if it's his first time using any then he has a big learning curve ahead of him and he should give it a bit of time, try and maybe record some stuff on his own just to get practice on how to record, mix and produce songs in a way that sounds really bitchin'.

In terms of the sound i'm hearing, one thing i'm not really getting from this recording is a lot of stereo, all the "real" instruments you recorded with mics are just dead centre. To get a good stereo sound on the drums, really you want 2 overheads, 2 mics for the kicks in this case and one for the snare (micing up the main snare is a bit of a higher priority than the side snare really) and for the floor toms they should be mixed left, since you usually want the recording to sound as if the listener is in front of the kit. Also the guitar likes to be in stereo as well. One easy idea to do is copy the guitar track twice and put them slightly out of time with each other (like a few milliseconds) with one track mixed left and the other mixed right. Then on top of that you could add 2 subtle chorus effects to each side which are slightly different in frequency and depth too. The bass and vocals should remain in the centre and the FX sound fine as they are too.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
added u on myspace btw, if you have any more questions RE recording feel free to message me. Been a while since i've had anything in my inbox that wasn't from tom or myspace uk :p
 
C

Christ-Hammer

Guest
the important thing is did he sub mix it before it went into the computer or was each mic signal on there as seperate tracks? Because if they're seperate you can change the volume of things. Also did you record everything seperatley or live? Because a lot of bands like to do live recordings but really you get a lot more control over things if you do everything seperately. As for whether you get beta 52s, it really depends on what you're using now. If you know what they are then do tell us as obviously switching say an SM57 with a B52 will make a lot more difference then say if you already have AKG D112s on there.

How significant the lack of experience is depends on whether this is his first time using recording software. I find that once you get the hang of using it, it doesn't really matter what jump in level/type/brand of software you switch to, it's pretty easy to adjust. However if it's his first time using any then he has a big learning curve ahead of him and he should give it a bit of time, try and maybe record some stuff on his own just to get practice on how to record, mix and produce songs in a way that sounds really bitchin'.

In terms of the sound i'm hearing, one thing i'm not really getting from this recording is a lot of stereo, all the "real" instruments you recorded with mics are just dead centre. To get a good stereo sound on the drums, really you want 2 overheads, 2 mics for the kicks in this case and one for the snare (micing up the main snare is a bit of a higher priority than the side snare really) and for the floor toms they should be mixed left, since you usually want the recording to sound as if the listener is in front of the kit. Also the guitar likes to be in stereo as well. One easy idea to do is copy the guitar track twice and put them slightly out of time with each other (like a few milliseconds) with one track mixed left and the other mixed right. Then on top of that you could add 2 subtle chorus effects to each side which are slightly different in frequency and depth too. The bass and vocals should remain in the centre and the FX sound fine as they are too.
I'm not completely sure what sub mixing is, but I am pretty sure thats what he did because if he ups the volume on the 1 track that has drums on it, it increases the volume of the drums altogether. So when you say stereo, do you just mean panning the mics to different sides? He is also not using actual bass drum mics, I think they are condenser mics.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
I'm not completely sure what sub mixing is, but I am pretty sure thats what he did because if he ups the volume on the 1 track that has drums on it, it increases the volume of the drums altogether. So when you say stereo, do you just mean panning the mics to different sides? He is also not using actual bass drum mics, I think they are condenser mics.
Sub mixing is where you put all or some of the drum mics in an analogue mixer, with only one main output and then plug that into 2 channels (or a stereo channel) of your audio interface or soundcard (at least i HOPE it's 2 channels otherwise we might have a problem with this whole "stereo" thing)

What i say by "stereo" is having 2 overhead microphones in what is known as an "X/Y" configuration which means that they're both in the same position in the middle above the kit but one is pointed towards the left and the other is pointed towards the right, then pan these out left and right respectively, if we're looking from the front of the kit. Sounds pretty good i think. The snare and kick mics should remain dead centre, with any tom mics being panned out in the same sense as the overheads, their panning depending on their physical position in the kit.

Okay well condenser microphones can be very good for bass drum. However, large diaphragm condensers (like the ones you see all the singers using in studios) are better at picking up the low frequencies than small, pencil condensers. Generally, however, the effect is not as bad as dynamic mics as overall, condensers tend to have a pretty flat frequency response (which is good). Do you know what sort of condenser it is then? Large or small basically.

If your mics ARE all good, then i think the problem is pretty simple really. I had the same thing too. You simply didn't mix your kicks high enough. The trouble with mixing is that when you do the drums they might sound fine then but then when you add all the other instruments in you find that the cymbals are too loud or you can't hear the kick. What i tend to do when soundchecking is do a little recording, play all the drums and cymbals one by one and have a visual check to make sure that the waveform i'm getting for the kick on the software goes all the way up to 0db when i'm playing the loudest, same as the snare. Then i'll put everything down by 0.5db to avoid any distortion.
 
C

Christ-Hammer

Guest
I talked to him and he said that they were condensers and he didn't know the brand, but he said they were cheap and I am pretty sure they are large. so I think I understand what you mean with stereo now, we only used 1 overhead, and we are using a 4 channel, do we need something bigger like an 8 or 16 or should I just invest in some Shure mics? Also when recording guitar is it better to go through the pedal directly into the computer we are using to record or is it better to use a mic on the amp cause my guitar player wants to do it with a mic for a unique sound, but as you can hear on our recording, the guitar quality sounds tacky. Also what is the best way to do keys cause my keyboard player just wrote all of his parts on a midi writer and overlayed them on the song. Lastly vocals, I think they sound horrible on the recording and I was wondering if there is a better way to do vocals than going straight into the computer. Thanks a lot man.
 
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