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  #1  
Old 07-31-2013, 07:05 PM
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Default From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

OK, this is not a definitive guide, nor is it directed at those with vast experience of performing through larger systems. It's primarily aimed at drummers who usually play without being mic'd, or normally play through a small band controlled PA, but occasionally get to perform through a bigger system - often controlled by random engineers of varying skill level & with no band connection. I'll list some primary points, then I hope to cover the rest with answers to your questions.

My PA & lighting gig this last weekend has inspired this thread, because I was exposed to just about every variety of kit & drummer you can imagine. I ran sound for 16 bands & 5 solo performers across 3 days. From acoustic folk sets to AC/DC tribute & everything in between.

For the techy guys amongst you, I was running a 7.4K FOH - 2K monitors rig, & driving a A&H 16:4:2 desk.

1/ Listen to your drums! We all like to tune our drums so they sound good to us, Some who are experienced performers also bias their tuning so the drums sound good acoustically to the audience, but when we're talking significant enforcement, it's all about how the drums sound to the mic's. Overheads are your friends here, as they pick up the general resolved sound of the kit except for bass drum, but in many stage settings, they only get you so far, especially if substantial drum monitoring is supplied. The bulk of your tom tone, & all of your bass drum tone, will be captured with close mic's.

Toms & snare: When preparing your kit, start off by tuning to the sounds you usually like to hear, then place your ear in roughly the same position as a mic will occupy, & strike the drum (take care not to hit too hard & damage your hearing!!!). This will give you some idea of what the mic will hear. I bet you're hearing dominant overtones - right? If so, this is what the mic will pick up most. To reduce those overtones, first try detuning one lug on the batter head. Although this may deaden the sound somewhat, it will allow your drum's fundamental to dominate, & that makes it close mic/PA friendly. If that isn't working, then consider some dampening such as moon gel. This will help you get a better sound in most situations where the engineer isn't wonderful, or doesn't have the time to play with mic placement. If the engineer is stellar, you can always remove the dampening and/or bring that one tension screw back in line.

Bass drum: Assume that the engineer will have a burning desire to mic your drum internally. Either fit a reso head with a port hole (I suggest no bigger than 5" diameter), or if this is to be a regular occurrence, & you want to maintain your full reso head, consider fitting an internal micing system. You might strike it lucky & actually come across an engineer who is switched on & has bother the gear & knowledge to effectively mic a full reso head bass drum. If that's the case = yipeee, but we're planning for the typical situation here :(

Dampening: If you usually have absolutely nothing in your drum, then I suggest you place a piece of high density foam at the bottom of your drum as a minimum. It doesn't need to touch the heads, it's just there to soak up those nasty little "baseball" frequencies that many drums have.

2/ Your setup. Think in terms of making room for mic's. Especially consider how close your cymbals are to your toms. Not only do you need to make room for the mic's, you need to consider bleed, especially cymbals bleeding into tom mic's. Raise your cymbals up if they're close, & remember to practice occasionally with your setup in this condition. Many applications will use clip on mic's. This means that drums with single flanged hoops or wooden hoops will cause a problem. Not too much issue with a snare drum, as most will have at least one spare stand to mic that, but sometimes not all of your kit. Remember, we're planning for the "less than ideal" scenario. Clip on mic's are used increasingly to save on riser space as much as anything else.

This brings me to kit size. Unless you're able to make advanced arrangements, don't be taking that 12 piece kit unless it's a dedicated metal fest or similar where such kits are expected. Even two bass drums is enough to throw a curved ball without advance notice.

Bring spares!!! Same advice for any gig, but a spare snare, pedal, & any other smaller items you think may break or be lost.

Your playing. At sound check, do exactly as the engineer requests & nothing more. This is not a toms solo opportunity! Deliberate & fairly slow drum strikes are usually best. Do not try to dial back on your usual playing volume in the hope that this will raise you in the mix once the band kicks off. How you hit will dictate how your drums sound, & that in turn will dictate how your sound is treated FOH.

Expect monitoring to be shit. If it's good, then great, but don't plan on it. be aware of your dynamics. Just because you can't hear yourself properly, doesn't mean to say that you're not coming across FOH, so don't start hitting harder. If you do that, the engineer will only turn you down, & you'll end up one very tired drummer for zero gain. Remember, once you start playing, you have absolutely no control of your place in the mix, so just play with the dynamics you would usually apply.

Communication. Hopefully, a good engineer will seek you out & discuss your band's needs in advance. Assuming that's not the case, try to catch the engineer at a time when he seems to be less busy, & politely put any specific requests you may have to him/her. Use your common sense. If the event is mainly jazz & acoustic, there's no point in pushing your distaste for a "weighty" sound. Similarly, there's no point in asking for a heavy bass drum presence at a rock festival. If possible, try to listen to the act/acts before you. if you notice something in their mix that you would like to change, then highlight that gracefully.

Keep monitoring requests to a minimum. Choose an important band, maybe two (e.g. guitar & vocals) elements as your guide. Unless the monitoring is large, don't bother asking for drums in your monitor. Keep all request points to a minimum. Prioritise key points. Hit the engineer with 6 points solely related to your drum sound and/or monitoring needs, & he'll switch off :)

There you go - long enough for an OP, so I'm hoping you have questions, & I also hope this may be of small assistance to some.

Cheers, Andy.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Great post Andy. Definitely a lot of things to think about for those of us used to playing smaller gigs.

So my question is about snare shell material. Did you notice a signifigant difference between say steel shell snares and maple snares? I recently switched to a maple snare and I am curious if it will make a difference in the (hopefully) larger venues we are (hopefully) going to be playing soon (hopefully).
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Just to add to the 'monitoring' section:

Engineers can only put up your monitors so loud. Monitor speakers are the main culprit of feedback, so a high stage volume gives you very high chance of feedback - especially from monitors that are close to microphones or if certain types of microphones are used (beware friends carrying omnidirectionals!). I played a gig a few months ago with an inexperienced singer who was constantly asking for more in his monitors and the engineer eventually got so fed up with the requests (after telling him that he couldn't put it any louder) that he deliberately created feedback by following the request through. Obviously, this engineer had a less-than-professional attitude but if you depend on a high stage volume or need heavy monitoring, a basic in-ear system is definitely a good call - especially if you are performing any vocal duties. If you are running in-ears, check there is a limiter in place otherwise there is a chance that you could damage your hearing very quickly.

Secondly, being able to play to any single other instrument is near-enough essential. If the engineer can only give you the guitar and a vocals (due to desk limitations) you have to be able to follow that, even if your preference is to hear the bass. I play bass too and have been in situations at rehearsals where I'm learning a new song and the drummer is also new. In that situation, he couldn't follow any instrument except the bass and was coming down hard on me for not having been able to learn the songs (even though I had two days to learn a set). Very annoying and creates a lot of friction. My preference is to follow the rhythm guitar and a vocalist but I can follow anything if necessary - as long as it's consistently in the mix. If you really struggle to follow certain instruments or have a very strong preference, then try to speak to the engineer beforehand to establish what it is you need. It's no good asking mid-set for an instrument that can't be provided (even though this is less of a problem than it used to be) or for more of an instrument that is likely to feed back (vocals and guitar are classics for this).

In my experience, it's always worth asking for a bit of the bass drum. This is the hardest single part of your kit to hear acoustically. You should be able to hear everything else acoustically and if you can't, you're either in a ridiculously loud band (get out now) or not listening hard enough.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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Originally Posted by eclipseownzu View Post
Great post Andy. Definitely a lot of things to think about for those of us used to playing smaller gigs.

So my question is about snare shell material. Did you notice a signifigant difference between say steel shell snares and maple snares? I recently switched to a maple snare and I am curious if it will make a difference in the (hopefully) larger venues we are (hopefully) going to be playing soon (hopefully).
In terms of how it will translate through a PA, there's no difference at all. In terms of how the different shell sound sits within your overall kit vibe, then that's for you to decide. If the engineer is good, he'll capture the sound of your drums quite faithfully. Regrettably, unless at a high level, & with the benefit of lengthy sound check, in most situations, subtle nuances are mostly lost.

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Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Just to add to the 'monitoring' section:

Engineers can only put up your monitors so loud.
Excellent detail Duncan :) Monitor volume is especially critical when looking to engage as much overheads as possible. I'm personally a big fan of driving most of the top end drum sound (on a good well set up kit) from the overheads. I even use over the shoulder placement techniques sometimes towards that goal. High drum monitor volumes really cut down on overhead headroom, & that's why I suggest a minimum approach to monitoring requests.

BTW, on bass drum monitoring, I come prepared with my own P&D BCII tactile monitoring throne. Best thing out there, but I don't expect everyone to rush out & snag one of those ;)
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

You go for the 'wish I was female' approach to bass drum monitoring? Good call. If I played at a higher level, I'd be considering it!
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Sorry but for most situations where the sound guy either gets a cut of the door money, if playing a bar or is definitely getting paid well, they'd better do EXACTLY as I ask in terms of monitor mix. I'm not going to walk on eggshells for a guy who ends up getting paid as much or more than me to fiddle with a mixing board and place mics (which usually I have to re-position being that I have 20 year of live and studio experience).

I'm very cordial and friendly with most sound guys. It's only when they give me an attitude or clearly don't know what they're doing when I get annoyed. In my experience, about 50% of the live sound "engineers" really have a handle on how to properly mic and mix a band. I think it's a two-way street. Sound guys need to listen to experienced musicians, just as we should listen to their ideas. That's how a really good experience is hatched for the audience.

As far as monitor mix, I don't usually need any drums in it because I know what I'm playing. I like a lot of vocals, for cues, some bass and a little guitar.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

So if you asked for a monitor mix that's going to feedback and that's exactly what you're given, who gets the blame?
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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You go for the 'wish I was female' approach to bass drum monitoring? Good call. If I played at a higher level, I'd be considering it!
as you know Duncan, I don't play at a "higher level", but I do a fair few larger gigs each year, & it's a useful tool on loud stages.

As for the female bit, frankly, we all have intimate bits in close proximity to said potential pleasure centre, but tactile monitoring really doesn't deliver as you would expect. Weird to conceive I know, but after a very short adjustment time, you really do "hear" through your body, & in surprising detail too :)

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Sorry but for most situations where the sound guy either gets a cut of the door money, if playing a bar or is definitely getting paid well, they'd better do EXACTLY as I ask in terms of monitor mix.
Ian, I'm with you on this, but this thread isn't really focussed on crappy sound engineers. I'm gearing this more towards those seeking to prepare for live sound reinforcement, & basing some advice on expecting less than ideal circumstances.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Kinda thought my OP might have promoted a few more questions :(
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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Kinda thought my OP might have promoted a few more questions :(
Aww, haha

I'm starting to get more calls to play live and almost always its through a PA with a designated sound guy. Your OP helped fill in some holes in my mind about the whole process (what I should except, what excepted of me).

Its still difficult to reconcile my disposition for wide open drums and an unported kick, with the need to have a kit that is easy to interface with close micing through a PA. It a strange sense of conformity that I feel. Almost like I'm letting sound men as a collective union dictate the way I outfit my drums.

But alas, if I have to listen to another sound man tell me that I need more impact, less resonance, a hole, a pillow, in my kick, I'll crack. So I might as well do it so they get off my case, haha.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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...Its still difficult to reconcile my disposition for wide open drums and an unported kick, with the need to have a kit that is easy to interface with close micing through a PA. It a strange sense of conformity that I feel. Almost like I'm letting sound men as a collective union dictate the way I outfit my drums.

But alas, if I have to listen to another sound man tell me that I need more impact, less resonance, a hole, a pillow, in my kick, I'll crack. So I might as well do it so they get off my case, haha.
I agree and to be honest, it's just easier to give in and do it (cut the hole and put in the muffling.) LOL
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

It all makes me glad I'm not playing loud gigs any more. The worst is bad monitoring. Why bother playing at all if the music sounds unbalanced and unpleasant? I guess some people thrive on the chaos of it all. I'd rather play somewhere small where what I'm hearing is closer to what's actually being played.

If I somehow found myself in a situation where I had to play out seriously I'd be on a technical learning curve trying to organise in-ear monitors with limiters, along with a "tactile" throne (giddyup horsie!). It seems like the most civilised approach.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

You had me scared. I thought you meant preparing to see Larry in PA, Pennsylvania. There is no preparation for that.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

great tips Keep it Simple. I found some good advice in there. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

One addition, a problem I run into way too often when wearing my soundguy hat:

BRING YOUR OWN DANG CARPET.

It's an important part of your kit, don't expect someone to have one there for you. Certainly many stages/drum risers happen to be permanently carpeted, but most aren't. Go down to an office supply and by a 4'x6' carpet. Low pile, rubber backed. That's all you need. Just enough for your kick, hat, and most of your throne to sit on so they don't slide apart.

Sometimes you can buy used ones from places that rent door mats to commercial establishments.

I'll admit, I see this mostly from guys who seldom venture out their pre-carpeted garages, but still. It's amazing how much time is wasted while someone goes on the carpet scavenger hunt. It's time I could have spent well-micing their kit.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt Hathaway View Post
One addition, a problem I run into way too often when wearing my soundguy hat:

BRING YOUR OWN DANG CARPET.

It's an important part of your kit, don't expect someone to have one there for you. Certainly many stages/drum risers happen to be permanently carpeted, but most aren't. Go down to an office supply and by a 4'x6' carpet. Low pile, rubber backed. That's all you need. Just enough for your kick, hat, and most of your throne to sit on so they don't slide apart.

Sometimes you can buy used ones from places that rent door mats to commercial establishments.

I'll admit, I see this mostly from guys who seldom venture out their pre-carpeted garages, but still. It's amazing how much time is wasted while someone goes on the carpet scavenger hunt. It's time I could have spent well-micing their kit.
I actually hate the sound of my drums on thicker carpet, other than really super thin office-type stuff, but it still absorbs a lot of tone. Drums have rubber feet for a reason. I don't play like an ogre, so if I choose to use my kit on a wood floor, it doesn't scoot around.
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Old 08-02-2013, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Andy, great advice. My next gig is a somewhat rare (for me) big stage, big PA outdoor affair so this thread was especially of interest to me.

One question for you about bass drum micing: you seem not to prefer bass drums being mic'd from the inside. You also commented before about not liking the mic being placed right up to the bass reso. What is your favorite method? Guru videos always have great BD sound, so you definitely know what you are doing. Would you please share your method? Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

KIS, thanks for a great thread.

Building off Taye-Dyed, my next gig is also an outdoor one.

What are your thoughts on indoor vs outdoor settings? Are there many differences in how the sound guy will handle indoor vs outdoor, and what should we have in mind as we prep our kits for one or the other? Or does close micing negate the atmospheric and acoustic differences between the two?
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Taye-Dyed View Post
Andy, great advice. My next gig is a somewhat rare (for me) big stage, big PA outdoor affair so this thread was especially of interest to me.

One question for you about bass drum micing: you seem not to prefer bass drums being mic'd from the inside. You also commented before about not liking the mic being placed right up to the bass reso. What is your favorite method? Guru videos always have great BD sound, so you definitely know what you are doing. Would you please share your method? Thanks.
Ah, comparing what I like to do with what I'm sometimes forced to do :( As you probably already know, official Guru videos are completely unprocessed. We have the time & the luxury to set up mic's correctly and record in a good sounding room. Nothing fancy, just good ground floor level stuff. In such a situation, I prefer to mic the bass drum from about 18" in front of the reso when doing a 3 mic capture, & I add a mic to the batter head when going for a full close mic vibe.

Live is utterly different. When we're in control of the PA, I like to mimic that mic'ing method by using a subkick on the reso & a D112 on the batter. No muffling outside of the slim ring on an Emad (single ply) batter, or nothing at all (depending on the kit & required gig vibe) When turning up for larger gigs with FOH run by others, unless I know the sound company/engineer, I come prepared as per the advice in my OP on this thread.

This thread is all about turning up prepared for the worst. Most of the drum preparation I suggest can be undone/reversed in moments if you find yourself in the hands of a capable tech.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirai View Post
KIS, thanks for a great thread.

Building off Taye-Dyed, my next gig is also an outdoor one.

What are your thoughts on indoor vs outdoor settings? Are there many differences in how the sound guy will handle indoor vs outdoor, and what should we have in mind as we prep our kits for one or the other? Or does close micing negate the atmospheric and acoustic differences between the two?
Close mic's pretty much trump room/stage sound differences except for the extremes, if the sound engineer drives your sound mostly from the close mic's. However, if the engineer uses overheads as much as possible (count me in that club :) ), then the stage sound/room makes a bigger difference.

With full open air, the engineer will be pushing more air from the subs than a comparable size indoor event. There'll be no shortage of "weight" to your sound if you need it. Transmitting subtle parts outdoor can be tricky, especially if it's windy, or a very long throw with ground stacks. You may find yourself very lucky & there's a line array system at the gig. Not only does this make getting a good sound to every part of the audience much easier, frankly, any engineer driving such a system is likely to really know their craft.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Man, I should have read that before my first gig last week. Sounded fine during soundcheck, but when we started playing, after the first song all I could hear was my drumming. (I know nothing about playing live, didn't even know as a drummer you had a monitor sound... if I'd known I would have asked the sound guy to switch the damned thing off)
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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I prefer to mic the bass drum from about 18" in front of the reso when doing a 3 mic capture, & I add a mic to the batter head when going for a full close mic vibe.
Thanks for sharing your bass micing methods. Experimenting with my Beta 52A for recording, I can't get a loud and full signal unless it is almost touching the reso. I will play with my gain settings a bit.

Most of my gigs are unmic'd, so if I am going to be mic'd, I tune down my bass batter quarter of a turn at each lug, tune my toms batters and resos to the same pitch. I also replace the Ambassador on my snare with an Aquarian Focus-X which provides a great "recorded" sound.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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Thanks for sharing your bass micing methods. Experimenting with my Beta 52A for recording, I can't get a loud and full signal unless it is almost touching the reso. I will play with my gain settings a bit.
I think gain settings are the key there. In our Guru recordings (2 x overheads & bass drum), we're picking up the bass drum batter head quite well with the overheads, but those videos are not attempting to capture the optimum sound, they're attempting to capture a combination of the sound in the room, & from the driver's seat. The emphasis is on presenting a real world representation of the drum sound. The bass drum mic is just picking up the low end from the reso head that the overheads miss out on. If we were mic'ing for the most "impressive" sound, we'd certainly have the bass drum mic much closer.
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

By the way, just a reminder that micing techniques that work wonders in the controlled environment of a studio often suck when used for live sound reinforcement.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

I found it to be quite good, sensible advice, and it reflects my experience with interacting with sound engineers (as well as people who just happen to think they know how to use a PA).

Ian - I don't know what magical stands you have that don't slide around on wooden floors, but I am interested for you to share what they are with us :P. Also, bassdrums, slave pedals and hihat stands are also notorious for sliding around, regardless of how careful you are with them. So to suggest that people who have these problems 'play like a ogre' is just ignorant.

With regards to the carpet issue, I completely agree. Have your own piece marked to suit your kit with tape. Experiment with different types - if you can find someone who does carpet installations they can probably give you off-cuts for free. Thick, long piles are generally not the best choice, usually a short, rigid pile with a good thick backing gives the most penetration for spiked spurs and stands, and the most friction for rubber feet.

Wherever your drums go, the carpet should go with it. You can then lay it down and have a floor plan of exactly how much room you will take up. The only problem you might run into is if changeover times make it difficult to get your carpet off the ground between band changeovers. I have accidentally left my carpet at gigs about 2 - 3 times :(.

Oh, and don't be afraid to have things you want done, but don't be an arrogant, precious princess about it. Don't forget the sound guy has probably been there setting up for 8 hours before the first band has even taken to the stage, so he isn't going to want to be whinged at if things aren't perfect. Be polite and personable, make sure you introduce yourself. Ask in advance (if you get the chance) how many mics he has and if they are clip ons. Be prepared to make adjustments on the fly if you have to - and deal with it.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
It all makes me glad I'm not playing loud gigs any more. The worst is bad monitoring. Why bother playing at all if the music sounds unbalanced and unpleasant? I guess some people thrive on the chaos of it all. I'd rather play somewhere small where what I'm hearing is closer to what's actually being played.

If I somehow found myself in a situation where I had to play out seriously I'd be on a technical learning curve trying to organise in-ear monitors with limiters, along with a "tactile" throne (giddyup horsie!). It seems like the most civilised approach.
Same here.

I really enjoy doing jazz gigs and blues gigs much more than the rock stuff I did a few years ago. No more sharing kits, "sound guys" threatening to cut my reso head, etc.

The only place I have to deal with micing issues and IEMs is at church. I actually recently gave in and installed a ported reso on that kick. We're hoping that will solve some of the "kick being to boomy" issues. I think part of that issue may be that stupid plexiglass shield reflecting sound.



KIS, have you ran into issues with a sound shield causing unwanted sound bouncing back to the kit mics? It may help the other mics but the kit sounds so loud behind that thing.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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Kinda thought my OP might have promoted a few more questions :(
If you haven't received more questions, that's only because you covered it all really well! Thanks for going to the effort of composing such a long and detailed post. Very helpful!


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BRING YOUR OWN DANG CARPET.
YES! THAT IS CORRECT, SIR!!!!
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

You forgot to mention two things: take all your bottom heads off and the front reso AND bring your own gaffer tape to muffle. That'll make the process go alot quicker ;)
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

Another thing about kick mics. In or out. Pick one. But don't go halfway. I discovered this by experimentation but I would have figured it out if I put my brain in gear.

One of the things live soundpeople (good ones) hate the most is singers who "cup" the mic. That is, wrap their hand around the windscreen. All the cool cats are doing it, so they want to also. What this does is completely defeat the design of the microphone and it's directional capabilities. Meaning, more feedback at lower settings.

How a directional mic works is that there are vents in the rear of the element that take sound from the sides and back and feed it out of phase to the front. Meaning that sound from right in front is normal. But sound from the sides is cut. Less sound from the sides (where the speakers are), less feedback. Wrap your hand around the mic and you cut off those vents and turn the mic into an omnidirectional one, picking up everything more or less equally.

Now back to our kick mic. Most popular kick mics are also cardioid or directional. The ones that have tailored sound, Audix D6, Shure Beta 52, and so on, have large windscreens or vents in the body that are part of that directional design. And the tailoring of the sound is meant to be used this way.

Now poke one of these mics partway into the port on a reso head and what have you done? You've essentially cut off the front of the mic from the back of it. With the same result as a singer cupping a mic. Or if you stick it in a bit further, you've put a large flat reflective surface that's radiating noise of it's own, right were the mic is trying to isolate the sound from the front.

I just came from a show where the backline had a nice 20" Gretsch Renown that someone had put a KickPort into. And the soundguy stuck a Beta 52 right in the throat of the KickPort. The result was boomy and undefined although with the PA off and the drummers setting up, the kick sounded great.

If you put the mic inside, try to get it closer to the batter head. The middle of the drum gets boomy as well. Same thing with the also common SM91 on a blanket inside the drum. Keep it out of the middle and move it towards one head or the other for some definition.

For smaller gigs where the overheads are more in the mix instead of close mic'ing everything, try dynamics for the overheads. The balance is much more like the natural ear's response. Ribbons are becoming popular in studios and some high end live gigs for that reason. An SM57 overhead will sound more like the kit does to the drummer than the small condensers typically used to pick up cymbal sizzle. You'll get a better balance of toms to cymbals and probably find that you only need to put in a touch of close snare mic. All of which will sound more like the drum set.
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:24 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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You forgot to mention two things: take all your bottom heads off and the front reso AND bring your own gaffer tape to muffle. That'll make the process go a lot quicker ;)
Now I'm hearing something familiar! From the late 70s to the early 90s I only used the top heads (apart from snare, obviously). Gaffa tape and cloth strips for muffling. Not a single engineer ever suggested that I pull off the dampening and open up the drum sounds. I guess it would just add to their workload and they considered dead, "blank slate" drums adequate..

If a band plays loud rock and a young drummer's struggling to get their sound and tuning the way they want (issues with money, talent or patience) they can do worse than taking the cardboard box approach as a safe, if uninspired, fallback to cover until they can improve their gear and/or tuning.
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:58 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
If a band plays loud rock and a young drummer's struggling to get their sound and tuning the way they want (issues with money, talent or patience) they can do worse than taking the cardboard box approach as a safe, if uninspired, fallback to cover until they can improve their gear and/or tuning.

I guess a cardboard box could still be considered a MUSICAL instrument if used appropriately :P
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:34 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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I guess a cardboard box could still be considered a MUSICAL instrument if used appropriately :P
In Elvis Presley's case, a suitcase would do. And did it well ;)

Name that tune!
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: From the other side - how to prepare your kit (& yourself) for PA.

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I guess a cardboard box could still be considered a MUSICAL instrument if used appropriately :P
I know. It's only rock n' roll. But I like it.

:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
In Elvis Presley's case, a suitcase would do. And did it well ;)

Name that tune!
I tried Googling but mostly results were about large cardboard Elvis cutouts ... as one would.

Then came across an interesting site talking about mundane objects used in recording: http://www.drummagazine.com/plugged-...ing-tricks/P3/
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