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  #1  
Old 01-27-2017, 10:39 PM
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Default What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

For the few days I've had my complete and new drum studio setup, I've been bombarded with problems, finding solutions, "no shit....are you kidding me moments", aggravation, good things, bad things and discovering this is going to be a long and winding road as I can't devote all my time to it.

In fact, after only a few days, I could write pages and pages in regards to it. I've been recording drums for maybe four months or so using a simple PreSonus Audiobox with just two condensers mostly and this was pretty much plug and play.

But now, with 10 mics and the new PreSonus AR16, it's a whole new ballgame.

A few observations:

#1 An absolute need for the most isolating headphones I can find.

#2 Discovering my drum area is too bright and needs to be dampened.

#3 The overheads really like that snare drum.

#4 The kick drum needs a port to stick that damn mic into.

#5 Using mic clips, whereas the mics are over the 8" and 10" toms is too invasive. Need to get stands for those to make head room.

#6 What you hear might not be exactly what you get.

#7 When you think the EQ on a channel sounds good, try again.

#8 Clipping is not always obvious.

#9 Buy quality, heavy stands with counterweights for the overhead mics.

#10 Never trust how the result sounds when playing back through Studio One and then exporting the stems. There's a "VERY" fine line between far too quiet and clipping.

I'll post the other 200 or so as time passes. LOL!
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:58 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

Couple notes from my own failings.

Ear-buds under industrial over-ear protection is a cheap and effective solution to the isolation problem.

There's no need to port the BD if your overheads are a bit behind the kit (so that they pick up the batter/beater)

The Snare volume issue (for me) was resolved by not making every backbeat an ear-shattering, full-volume, neanderthal rimshot. On my whiteboard, I have written "Stop hitting the snare so F'ing hard each and every time"

EQ is a last step. In the absence of other instruments, you should only need EQ to make up for deficiencies in your mics, positioning, room, etc.

Phase.... Phase is a killer. The more mics you have, the more work it will be to get everything coherent.

Can you post some of your results? Even a money beat?
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

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Can you post some of your results? Even a money beat?
Thanks for the reply. I'll put up a few things later next week. I'll try the overheads behind the set as suggested.

I think insulating the ceiling might help quite a bit along with some carpet on the back wall and at least one on the side walls. The drums are in an unfinished part of the basement and it's very "live" in there. I'd like to do a pro job finishing that room properly but really don't have the time.
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

#1 An absolute need for the most isolating headphones I can find.


I find the Vic Firth Isolating headphones about as good as they come-equal to the hearing protection "cans" I use at work (they cut round 23-25db I think?).

You won't want to do your final mixing with them but for "just monitoring" levels and overall sound quality they may suffice.

I am on my second pair, as the old style "telephone cord" (spiral) shorted out on the first pair. The newer models use a straight cord.

They run around $60 if I recall correctly...
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Old 01-28-2017, 12:08 AM
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I think insulating the ceiling might help quite a bit along with some carpet on the back wall and at least one on the side walls.
In my man-cave, the previous owner put 1x4 slats up over joists with recessed lighting in the basement ceiling. So it's a finished look, but with gaps in between so you an following plumbing/electrical if you have a flashlight. The down side is that each and every one has least six F'ing nails in it so it's a PITA to run anything new. He could have just as easily run two boards, hinges, and a sliding latch and it would have been ingenious.


Anywho.. By pure coincidence, it makes my ceiling acoustically dead... Which is awesome because it's a 7' ceiling. I got really lucky.






And this one is for making me feel jealous of your new gear....


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Old 01-28-2017, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

Just bought the Vic Firth headphones from Sweetwater. $64.99, no tax, free shipping.
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Old 01-28-2017, 02:22 AM
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Hey MoreBeer, you should go over to Gearslutz.com and cruise the Studio Building/Acoustics forum. Lots of info and advice over there.

If you don't want to treat your entire ceiling, you should at least put a 6'×6' cloud over your kit, especially since your recording in there. Pretty simple to make- just a 1×6 wood frame with fabric on the face and 6" of rockwool inside the frame. A lot of guys make the same type of panels as the cloud design and put 2 or 3 on the back wall behind the kit and maybe one on both side walls on either side of the kit. The wall panels are usually made in a 2'×4' size, as that's the size of rockwool batts or sheets of Owens Corning 703 rigid fiberglass. A couple of panels around the kit and a cloud above will deaden and warm up the room a bit and help get rid of first reflections, flutter echo and comb filtering.
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Old 01-28-2017, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

KamaK....you know I'm liking that beer fridge. Getting me thirsty and I already had more than my fair share for today. Time for a few more!

Anyhow, was down the basement the past 3 hours or so fiddling around with the new gear and this is what I like the most about the AR16...so far.

#1 It's a real hybrid interface-mixer. And yes, it actually works in that capacity as advertised. Record each channel on it's own, choose to combine two channels as a stereo channel within the mix, whatever. It's all good.

#2 The Super Channel! Now this one is a doozy. Plug in any audio device, iPod, CD player, etc. or something such as your phone via Bluetooth and stream that audio into your mix. Oh yeah...this feature rocks....its a killer.

#3 The SD Card Capture Recorder. AKA..."No Computer Required" which integrates seamlessly with the Super Channel. Depending on the levels of the input into the Super Channel, simply adjust the faders accordingly to your drums, and record stunningly great stereo from the Super Channel and the XLR's to an SD Card.

About the ONLY complaint I have is the Capture Recorder lacks a track indicator. Such as if you have recorded 10 songs to it, there isn't anything which alerts the end user of the tracks on the card to allow for easy review. Which isn't a big deal but something for them to think about going forward.

Overall, if you have a need for something like this and have $600 burning a hole in the old pocket.....buy it.
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Old 01-28-2017, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

Try the Ultraphones isolating headphones. These were recommended by a studi/session guy and they are fantastic.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

When recording, I always listen to the DAW or stereo recording output. I never monitor input directly after line checking unless there's a massive issue with latency. Just no need. I run everything dry into the DAW and commit EQ to the desk returns rather than using the input stage for EQ. Makes it much easier to commit a nice EQ if you want to - with no obligation to do so if you change your mind later.

If I'm giving somebody else a monitor mix, I might send them the input signal directly but it depends on what they want.

I'm now running a beautiful studio at work with Pro Tools 12, an Audient ASP 4816 desk and a an Avid HD I/O. My recording gear lust has never been higher. Threads like this are dangerous.
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

My new "high-tech" kick drum EQ has done wonders helping to mute the bright room I'm playing in, at least a little bit. Sounds decent in the mix using the old Batman Cape trick.

Still going to cut a port however, add a port hole ring and try that. Possibly buy another reso head with the port cut and keep my original branded head as is.

BTW, that Gator kick drum mic stand is really nice. Super heavy, sturdy and well made. If looking to upgrade, check it out for $35.

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Old 01-28-2017, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

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Hey MoreBeer, you should go over to Gearslutz.com and cruise the Studio Building/Acoustics forum. Lots of info and advice over there.

If you don't want to treat your entire ceiling, you should at least put a 6'×6' cloud over your kit, especially since your recording in there. Pretty simple to make- just a 1×6 wood frame with fabric on the face and 6" of rockwool inside the frame. A lot of guys make the same type of panels as the cloud design and put 2 or 3 on the back wall behind the kit and maybe one on both side walls on either side of the kit. The wall panels are usually made in a 2'×4' size, as that's the size of rockwool batts or sheets of Owens Corning 703 rigid fiberglass. A couple of panels around the kit and a cloud above will deaden and warm up the room a bit and help get rid of first reflections, flutter echo and comb filtering.
Thanks for the tip! I never heard of rockwool insulation and just checked it out now. Home Depot has this Roxul brand available. I can put it 6" deep between the ceiling joists above my full drum area for about $300. Then make a few panels for the walls as you suggested. Maybe in a few weeks I'll get started on that.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

Becks! Blue Moon! Can I come by?
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:31 PM
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Becks! Blue Moon! Can I come by?
Any Friday @ 6:30, though you may wanna wait another month or two for the GW to arrive.

@MB, A lot of my friends in the NorthEast swear by the rock-wool stuff. Inexpensive and easy to retrofit old construction, cuts well for fitting odd shaped places. Added bonus, mice won't nest in it, which makes it great for backwood hunting/skiing/off-grid cabins.

The down side of insulating between the joists is that you're going to have a hard time getting to anything in the event you want to examine, repair, or add a pipe/wire/etc.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for the tip! I never heard of rockwool insulation and just checked it out now. Home Depot has this Roxul brand available. I can put it 6" deep between the ceiling joists above my full drum area for about $300. Then make a few panels for the walls as you suggested. Maybe in a few weeks I'll get started on that.
Depending on how much space you have between your joists, another option which might save you some money is 2 layers of R20 pink fiberglass batts in the joist spaces. I suggested the Rockwool for the cloud as it is more dense and does a good job if you are building a cloud and doesn't need to be too thick. If you have exposed joists though, then that is the simpler option and you can use pink fiberglass if you have the space for 10-12" of it. You'll want to cover the insulation with fabric to hold it in place and also to keep fiberglass fibers from getting airborne. You might want to just do the area over your kit (6×6' or 8×8') first and see how it sounds, as you might find doing your entire ceiling too dead. It depends on the room and your preferences. If you want the room a little more dead, then do more, or the entire ceiling. If you get the room too dead then it'll suck all the life out of your drums.

Corner bass traps will help the room out too. Superchunks are the easiest to build and most effective type of bass trap for smaller rooms. For those you will need the Rockwool to keep the size smaller so they don't eat up too much space in your drum room. Floor to ceiling is best for corner traps.

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Old 01-28-2017, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

I'm going to need to think this over a while for the easiest and quickest fix, or at least a semi-solution. After learning of the rockwool, I'll avoid fiberglass insulation. Maybe I'll just place some in the ceiling above the drums as suggested and put some between the concrete beams in the basement walls within the drum area, ceiling to floor. I'll do maybe six wall sections which are 24" wide.

I have a Superior Walls foundation (image attached) which has styrofoam backing the solid hardened concrete slabs along with thick hardened concrete beams. The hard and dense styrofoam is probably almost as reflective as concrete.

At least this isn't something permanent or labor intensive if I decide to finish off the room to where its really nice and exactly as I want. Thanks for all the help and suggestions!
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:36 AM
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Forgot to mention- make sure whatever fabric you get for covering the insulation is easy to breath through. Even fabric can be reflective to higher frequencies if air doesn't pass through it easily. Burlap is a cheap option that works well.

I also suggest filling two or three stud spaces behind the kit with insulation and see how that sounds first before filling all the stud spaces or covering the insulation with fabric. You might find insulating two or three spaces is enough absorption and will save you having to tear stuff down if you find the room too dead after having insulated too many stud spaces. Start with maybe two spaces behind the kit and one on either side of the kit on the side walls and see how that sounds before adding any more.
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

Just checked out that AR16, that's a nice outfit MoreBeer. I have been debating the notion of moving up to the 8 channel Audiobox. But for my needs it's more of a want then need, I get good result's now. I just wish I was more knowledgeable with loop's and thing's like that so I can create my own song's. My wife and I get a lot of satisfaction out of just doing covers of our favorite music. When I get off work and start my beer drinking we just start our own playlist and jam. I am looking forward to hearing your AR16. The best luck to you and your studio, recording is a great experience and for me has been very rewarding. Having somebody half way around the world comment on one of my vids is a great feeling.
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: What I've Discovered So Far With My New Drum Studio Setup

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I'm going to need to think this over a while for the easiest and quickest fix, or at least a semi-solution. After learning of the rockwool, I'll avoid fiberglass insulation. Maybe I'll just place some in the ceiling above the drums as suggested and put some between the concrete beams in the basement walls within the drum area, ceiling to floor. I'll do maybe six wall sections which are 24" wide.

I have a Superior Walls foundation (image attached) which has styrofoam backing the solid hardened concrete slabs along with thick hardened concrete beams. The hard and dense styrofoam is probably almost as reflective as concrete.

At least this isn't something permanent or labor intensive if I decide to finish off the room to where its really nice and exactly as I want. Thanks for all the help and suggestions!
Yeah fiberglass is no substitute for Roxul mineral wool insulation. It's a night and day difference. I have that in my ceiling and walls in my drum room and it made a HUGE difference even before I put the 5/8 drywall and ceiling up.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:29 PM
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. . . The wall panels are usually made in a 2'×4' size, as that's the size of rockwool batts or sheets of Owens Corning 703 rigid fiberglass. . .
If a vertical panel is constructed, how does one "suspend" the rock wool inside the frame to prevent it from slipping to the bottom of the frame?

I really want to make some but don't have the know-how to prevent the rock wool from sinking inside the frame.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:32 PM
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Yeah fiberglass is no substitute for Roxul mineral wool insulation. It's a night and day difference. I have that in my ceiling and walls in my drum room and it made a HUGE difference even before I put the 5/8 drywall and ceiling up.
Depends on the application. In some cases pink fluffy fiberglass works better. If you only have 6" or less and need lots of absorption though, then in those applications mineral wool batts, compressed mineral wool boards, or OC 703/705 rigid fiberglass are the way to go.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:44 PM
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If a vertical panel is constructed, how does one "suspend" the rock wool inside the frame to prevent it from slipping to the bottom of the frame?

I really want to make some but don't have the know-how to prevent the rock wool from sinking inside the frame.
If you size the frame so that the batt just fits snugly inside of it then sagging or compression of the batt over time will not be a factor. It's only when making traps like superchunks, which involve stacking a bunch of batts on top of one another that you have to design for compression.

Basically, just make a wood frame sized to the batt, wrap the batt in fabric, push it into the frame, and put some trim on the face of the frame to hold the batt in place an hide the folded corners of the fabric for a more pro look. You can also add strapping on the back to hold the batt in from the back and this also allows for pegs to be mounted to the back to stand the panel off the wall. An airgap behind the panel increases it's low frequency absorption performance- at least 2", 4" is better if you have the room to work with.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:19 PM
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A few observations:

#1 An absolute need for the most isolating headphones I can find.

#2 Discovering my drum area is too bright and needs to be dampened.

#3 The overheads really like that snare drum.

#4 The kick drum needs a port to stick that damn mic into.

#5 Using mic clips, whereas the mics are over the 8" and 10" toms is too invasive. Need to get stands for those to make head room.

#6 What you hear might not be exactly what you get.

#7 When you think the EQ on a channel sounds good, try again.

#8 Clipping is not always obvious.

#9 Buy quality, heavy stands with counterweights for the overhead mics.

#10 Never trust how the result sounds when playing back through Studio One and then exporting the stems. There's a "VERY" fine line between far too quiet and clipping.

I'll post the other 200 or so as time passes. LOL!
I'll add some of my own:

#11 Having to trim all the dead parts of the tom tracks to eliminate bleed/-panning issues

#12 I have the same clip issues on my small drums

#13 Finding the right heads

#14 Trying to find where that annoying overtone comes from when I hit an open hi-hat

#15 Realising the majority of my stands are shit, even some of the new mic stands are really poorly built

#16 having to build a drum riser to isolate the kick

#17 being annoyed that I only seem to have big clangy/pingy rides

#18 having to replace my Shure 535's (for free, my friend works for Shure)

#19 not being able to get that punchy compressed sound through my Shures (even though I have a separate compressor for monitor mixes)

#20 Snares sounding completely different to what you hear when you recorded - either with headphones or not

#21 Getting the right sound for each song requires individual compression/eq etc and I just get bored
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:57 PM
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#21 Getting the right sound for each song requires individual compression/eq etc and I just get bored
I've just been trying to get a decent overall setting for each channel and go with that as often as possible. I'm in this for the fun of it and getting decent sound is good enough. Sometimes I'll record all 10 channels into one stereo channel just to make things easy. At other times I'll split it up into several and decide which mics to send to each. I never jerk around with 10 separate channels, at least yet.

On another note, making labels for my XLR's has helped. At least it makes it easy to know what friggin knob or fader to use. I have a desktop Dymo shipping label printer, typed in all the names and cut. I'd rather do this than labeling the mixer. Keeps things clean.

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Old 01-30-2017, 11:03 PM
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I go very low.
About -8db with the inputs to get -18 to -24db peaks on the tracks.
It's the only way I can get a good sound that will still be low enough if any processing is used.
I want my tracks peaking at @round -12db after I fuss with it, or if I have to give it to someone to fuss with.

Even if I don't see any clipping on the meters, I need the levels low enough or I can discern a harshness in the cymbals.

I spend most of my time moving mics and re-recording to see if it's an improvement. Whenever I use eq it feels like I'm goofing off.
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:09 PM
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I go very low.
About -8db with the inputs to get -18 to -24db peaks on the tracks.
It's the only way I can get a good sound that will still be low enough if any processing is used.
I want my tracks peaking at @round -12db after I fuss with it, or if I have to give it to someone to fuss with.

Even if I don't see any clipping on the meters, I need the levels low enough or I can discern a harshness in the cymbals.

Good point. I was recently reading an article pertaining to your advice about leaving plenty of headroom for post processing. Makes sense.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:20 AM
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FWIW, I'm really enjoying your journey. Nothing to add right now except keep it coming.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:58 AM
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I've just been trying to get a decent overall setting for each channel and go with that as often as possible. I'm in this for the fun of it and getting decent sound is good enough. Sometimes I'll record all 10 channels into one stereo channel just to make things easy. At other times I'll split it up into several and decide which mics to send to each. I never jerk around with 10 separate channels, at least yet.

On another note, making labels for my XLR's has helped. At least it makes it easy to know what friggin knob or fader to use. I have a desktop Dymo shipping label printer, typed in all the names and cut. I'd rather do this than labeling the mixer. Keeps things clean.

I've got to start doing that.

Yeah I started like that too. Then as I get more and more experienced, I try different things.

For example, creating output busses for each instrument type which makes it easier to put a nice silky reverb over the whole kit.

I've also changed mic positions as I wasn't getting enough attack. My mics now point towards the centre of the head, looks a bit odd but really makes a difference.

I also need to hit normal hits rather than rimshots for some songs. I change snare all the time, but also change tuning and damping. I find when I rim shot all the time that my steel snare records best when there is an o-ring on the batter head.

So at the moment I'm trying to record drums according to the type of song I'm making (I make very different songs) rather than trying to make my ace rock sound work with more jazzy influences.

All fun and games, I just can't find much creativity at the mo as I am quite content. I can only write good songs when I am depressed, sad and/or angry
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