Drum riser in a recording environment?

JClutchD

Senior Member
Have you ever used one?

My band and I are recording our first LP in a month with a very good engineer so I'm looking for ways to get the best drum sound I can. I've got a good kit and they're tuned nicely, giving me a very open sound and I want that to be apparent on our record, so I'm looking at different mic'ing techniques (Glynn Johns technique) or other tricks that can really help me achieve that.

I have the option to either record at his studio, which has laminate flooring, or at our jam spot, which is carpeted. I'm leaning more towards recording at our jam room at the moment. Last time I recorded on laminate floors, the cymbals were so damn loud in that room that they bled in to all of the mics. Only thing is, the walls at our jam room are covered with carpet so the room doesn't produce any natural reverb, which is why I'm thinking of building a drum riser to help make the drums sing a bit more.

What do you guys think? Has anyone ever tried this?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Never needed a drum riser for recording. Risers are to be seen (or even heard) on stage as opposed to having any material effect on a miced drum sound.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
A simple platfrom will yield a better kick sound than a solid floor, but a stage riser certainly isn't necessary just for tracking.

Bermuda
 

JClutchD

Senior Member
A simple platfrom will yield a better kick sound than a solid floor, but a stage riser certainly isn't necessary just for tracking.

Bermuda
Right! I think "platform" is a better word to describe what I'm talking about here. Not really looking to build a foot high "riser" per se. I'm just looking to build some sort of platform so the drums aren't on the floor.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Anything off the floor will create a resonant cavity underneath it. This may or may not be an asset to the sound you are after. But if it's not, it will be really difficult to get rid of it.

If it's a real studio you shouldn't need isolation. Most times while studios have hard floors, the drums are put on an area of carpet. Both to keep them from moving around and to control the floor reflections. The hard floors elsewhere in a good live room are for just that, to make it live sounding. Over damped rooms with foam and carpet on the walls were the rage in the 80's when folks were taping whole boxes of Kleenex to heads and otherwise doing their best to simulate the sound of cardboard boxes. Properly designed live rooms with balanced sound made a comeback when folks listened to those recordings and things like Zeppelin where the drums sound huge and like real drums. And the same with other instruments. If you are in a small room or drum booth, then it's harder to get a large live sound and more likely the room will be more damped and the engineers rely on artificial reverb.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Right! I think "platform" is a better word to describe what I'm talking about here. Not really looking to build a foot high "riser" per se. I'm just looking to build some sort of platform so the drums aren't on the floor.
Not sure how much difference it'll really make. You have carpet all over the walls and floor, surely that'll negate the slight difference in sound you're gonna get from a platform?

Personally, I'd be recording in the room that's geared up for it.
 

JClutchD

Senior Member
Anything off the floor will create a resonant cavity underneath it. This may or may not be an asset to the sound you are after. But if it's not, it will be really difficult to get rid of it.

If it's a real studio you shouldn't need isolation. Most times while studios have hard floors, the drums are put on an area of carpet. Both to keep them from moving around and to control the floor reflections. The hard floors elsewhere in a good live room are for just that, to make it live sounding. Over damped rooms with foam and carpet on the walls were the rage in the 80's when folks were taping whole boxes of Kleenex to heads and otherwise doing their best to simulate the sound of cardboard boxes. Properly designed live rooms with balanced sound made a comeback when folks listened to those recordings and things like Zeppelin where the drums sound huge and like real drums. And the same with other instruments. If you are in a small room or drum booth, then it's harder to get a large live sound and more likely the room will be more damped and the engineers rely on artificial reverb.
Yeah, I'm afraid of having too much resonance if I do go with a riser. I've read that some people have filled them up with everything from tires to sand to get rid of the resonance.

As far as it being a "real" studio, I don't think that it is. He said he tracks the drums in his exercise room. That's why I'm considering having him bring his equipement to our jam room, he recorded another band there and the recording turned out great. Different genre of music, but it sounds really good. I'm considering just going over to check out the room at his studio to compare it to our jam room and take it from there.

Not sure how much difference it'll really make. You have carpet all over the walls and floor, surely that'll negate the slight difference in sound you're gonna get from a platform?

Personally, I'd be recording in the room that's geared up for it.
You're right, I really don't know how much of a difference a platform will make in our jam room. I just want my drums to sound huge :( they deserve it!

why are you thinking about any of the engineering aspects? if he's good then just trust in him. tell him the sound you are looking for and he'll get you there.
Why wouldn't I think of any of the engineering aspects? We found a good engineer that is willing to work with us to get the sound we want, so I'm looking for ideas to achieve the best possible drum sound I can. The better the drums sound beforehand, the less he'll have to tinker to get it to sound good.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I just want my drums to sound huge :( they deserve it!
To do that you need a good well balanced large space and someone who knows it well enough to put room mics in the right places. A good engineer can carefully close mic with the right tools, and do various tricks like parallel compression to make up for a small space but to do When The Levee Breaks, you kind of need the castle.
 

JClutchD

Senior Member
To do that you need a good well balanced large space and someone who knows it well enough to put room mics in the right places. A good engineer can carefully close mic with the right tools, and do various tricks like parallel compression to make up for a small space but to do When The Levee Breaks, you kind of need the castle.
Makes sense! We actually have a small castle in my city...

I just looked up this "parralel compression" thing real quick, I'll mention it to him when we meet next. Thanks!
 

TNA

Senior Member
I would advice against putting them on a riser. That to me just sounds like another thing that can rattle or shake and end up on the recording. No matter how well it's built it's gonna vibrate. As for which room to record in what does the engineer say? He is the one who is mainly responsible for making your drums sound good. If he likes to track in his exercise room and knows how that room sounds, then why not trust him? If you are concerned maybe ask if you can hear some previous drum recordings he did in that room and see how you like them.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
As for which room to record in what does the engineer say? He is the one who is mainly responsible for making your drums sound good. If he likes to track in his exercise room and knows how that room sounds, then why not trust him?
Totally agree.

Personally, I've never been in the habit of second guessing them. You say he's good, so get out of his way and let him do his thing.....at least til he gets some drums sounds happening. Then see what you think. Walking into a room and telling an experienced guy how to do his job never bodes well I've found.....even more so if you're relatively new to recording yourself.

That doesn't mean you can't tell him what sounds you're going for, but I doubt I'd start demanding Glynn Johns methods in modern recording studios.....at least not if you need to get it done with limited time and money. It's his job to get you the sound you want.....let him do it. Your job is to play the drums.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Minimal mic'ing techniques like the Glyn Johns or Recorderman methods also require a decent sounding space. I've done it at home but I put a lot of work into treating the small space including tuning a reflection phase grating diffusor to the modes at the back wall. Since this pic, I've add some more absorbtion to the ceiling and behind the kit. Also, you want to have relatively high ceilings as the reflections coming back down get into the mics. Particularly if you use figure 8 mics like ribbons which I like the sound of for those minimal micing set ups.

Drums_sm.jpg
 
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