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  #1  
Old 10-15-2018, 10:25 PM
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Default Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

I think I hit on a semi fix for something that's been the bane of my existence ever since I started trying to record drums in my little low ceiling-ed basement studio. But first you have to endure a little of my amateur engineering journey.

I've been at it about a year now, recording drums in my funky little studio with some pretty fine equipment and I'm finally getting fairly happy with the results. My criteria is to get the best possible sound in my little space with zero processing, nada. Which translates to finding the best mic and the best position (height, width, angle) and gain setting for that mic.

Oddly enough, some of my gain settings are on zero, but that's what gives me the cleanest signal. Whatever! I do need to pan to achieve the right stereo image, but that's it, no EQ, compression, reverb, nothing. All gains at unity, not even mixed there. It's all mic positioning. I did run all channels through a master channel so I can bring the entire kit volume down with one fader. In case I get a stray spike, I just lower the volume a smidge until it doesn't spike.

When I started, about a year ago, my cymbals would always sound less than, until I EQ'd them. Dull. Un-natural. No shimmer. I'm a firm believer in mic positioning and mic gain to get the sound. Garbage in garbage out. I tried probably 100 different micing approaches in the last year, maybe more. Different heights and angles, different mics. With 8 mics, there's so many possibilities in the 5 x 7 foot area that my drums take up.

A big step forward is when I added an under snare mic. It's a 57 but even though it's right under the snare, I point it at my BD batter head. It adds a nice attack to the bass drum in addition to bringing the snares out in the mix. (I can hear the pros laughing) As far as the journey itself, for 1 guy, it's a lot of running around, positioning mics, recording, listening back, critiquing, making adjustments, recording, listening back, critiquing, making adjustments...all day long.

FWIW, aiming the 2 equidistant pencil OH's at the snare wasn't my favorite. I have one right above my ride cymbal looking straight down at my ride cymbal and the other is pointing semi down on the other side. Not pointed at the snare. It's seems to give me a wider stereo image. Anyway...

Onto my latest discovery, snare buzz. Bane of my recording existence. My 10" tom, the way I tune, just sends my snare wires a-buzzin, like bees by the dozen. It was just much too much. Overpowering.

I might have stumbled onto a pretty good fix. I like tight snare wires, like high tuned military drums. Gunshots that are there and gone, CRACK. I loosened the wires to the lowest tension that I could live with, played the tom, and the snare buzz went down like 80%. This I can live with. A little buzz means real drums. I tightened them back up, hello buZZZZZZ.

That's it,

Your friend,

Larry

Bye :)
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

You need to delve into the realm of dynamics processors. Try a noise gate on the snare, that should alleviate a lot coming from the snare that doesn't get over a certain threshold. There are stories that gates were set so high, ghost notes never get picked up.

So, on your journey, I think you will eventually start getting into dynamic processing. It's just a matter of time. Prepare yourself ;)
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

It is a pain in the arse. After seeing the Rogers snare mechanism I was wondering if you could add a bracket to offset snare cord so alter than angle so it more under the strainer? Make snare wires lie flatter with less torque if that makes sense?
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Cool to hear you're having some progress with home recording.

It's taking a while with me, no secrets there, but if finances were even just a little bit better I'd just go to other people's studios just as much.

There will never be just one way to record drums. It will always change from session to session and we learn to know our own room and gear over time to be more efficient and also know what's possible to do indie those perimeters.

Snare buzz isn't always a bad thing, but traditionally a piece of cloth some foam between the drums or even a bit of tape on the snare side will have an effect. It depends, though. It is after all a part of the sound of a drum kit.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
You need to delve into the realm of dynamics processors. Try a noise gate on the snare, that should alleviate a lot coming from the snare that doesn't get over a certain threshold. There are stories that gates were set so high, ghost notes never get picked up.

So, on your journey, I think you will eventually start getting into dynamic processing. It's just a matter of time. Prepare yourself ;)
Ok if you say so. Right now I'm going for the best raw sound I can get. I don't want to even think about gates yet. I don't feel I need them. I'm admittingly going for the most open, natural, sustaining, alive sounding, non muffled tone (except on the BD, I had to do something there). I will post a recording in this thread. I'm very interested to hear everyone's thoughts and what it's lacking.

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It is a pain in the arse. After seeing the Rogers snare mechanism I was wondering if you could add a bracket to offset snare cord so alter than angle so it more under the strainer? Make snare wires lie flatter with less torque if that makes sense?
Art there's a lot to that. I was never happy with the way the snare wires pressed against the bottom hoop. There's got to be a more precise way.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
Cool to hear you're having some progress with home recording.

It's taking a while with me, no secrets there, but if finances were even just a little bit better I'd just go to other people's studios just as much.

There will never be just one way to record drums. It will always change from session to session and we learn to know our own room and gear over time to be more efficient and also know what's possible to do indie those perimeters.

Snare buzz isn't always a bad thing, but traditionally a piece of cloth some foam between the drums or even a bit of tape on the snare side will have an effect. It depends, though. It is after all a part of the sound of a drum kit.
I tried blankets, foam...anything I could think of to block the tom sound from setting off the snares. It helped very little.
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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Ok if you say so. Right now I'm going for the best raw sound I can get. I don't want to even think about gates yet. I don't feel I need them. I'm admittingly going for the most open, natural, sustaining, alive sounding, non muffled tone (except on the BD, I had to do something there). I will post a recording in this thread. I'm very interested to hear everyone's thoughts and what it's lacking.
So are you doing this with close miking? Then right there, you're already not getting a natural sound. To get natural, just throw up two very good overhead mics and record yourself in stereo. Think about that Earthworks advert that used only three mics on the entire kit.
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Ah yes overhead miking! Delving into that murky fuzz pit myself ! Mic recommendations please.. Larry try some tissue between the wires and head at each end of the wires. just a smidge.
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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So are you doing this with close miking? Then right there, you're already not getting a natural sound. To get natural, just throw up two very good overhead mics and record yourself in stereo. Think about that Earthworks advert that used only three mics on the entire kit.
No close mics on toms. Except the I5 on my snare, and maybe the bass drum is considered close miced. Oh and my hi hat. Here you go Pete, I have a pair of C - 414's aimed at a pair of toms each, (4 total toms) and a pair of KM 184's aimed to cover the bronze. They all pick up everything anyway. I get the most shimmer with no EQ with these particular OH mics in my room, after I found the right position that is. I tried MD 421's but went back to the C - 414's. I have a D-6 with the capsule halfway into my ported reso head, and minimal laundry inside. C - 414's are about 4 feet above the tom heads, the KM 184's are spaced wider than the C - 414's and maybe a foot higher. They are real close to my low ceiling.

I have a Rode NT-5 on the hi hat. The close mic camp, yea, not for me at this point. It's been done to death thank you very much.

The 4 overheads in my room require the most tweaking.
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Some very nice mics there.

More concerned about the low ceiling.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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Some very nice mics there.
Uhhhh, yeah, that's a nice locker.

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More concerned about the low ceiling.
Yeah, how short are talking, here? Reflections can be a factor. I'm surprised you haven't invested in some treatment given that you haven't skimped on anything otherwise.

As far as snare buzz goes, I generally start with my wires so loose they have no effect, and then only tighten them to the point where they speak with a bit of definition when I lightly play the outside of the head near the rim. As far as my own drum go, they're not tuned in such a way that one particular drum causes excess sympathetic vibration.

Beyond that, it's not something I go and try to chase down. It's a part of the sound of real drums. I might gate it out of close mics, but I like starting with a nice live OH/Room combo for my foundation sound.
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

I run into snare buzz a lot. it seems more prevalent on deep snares tuned high. You can try to tune it out by messing with the ten inch tom but you can only go so far before you lose the intervals.

I find if I want that dry gun shot crack I'm better off selecting a 5 X 14 or a 4 X 14 cranked up. Usually the latter. Sometimes a 13 inch snare will get you there too.

Then I use my deep snares for lower tunings. You either have to be above or below the 10 inch tom in pitch. Too far below and the 12 inch starts creating buzz.

I've gone up and down an octave on toms too, but put a different snare on the stand and it starts all over again. I just keep a few snares handy and try to find one that fits the sound I'm trying to get or a least close to it,

Lately I just live with a little buzz, my playing time is limited and sometimes I just get tired of messing with it.

Medium tension of the wires seems to work more often than not. Most of my snares are DW with the three position butt so I flick that back and forth and then fine tune on the throw off. Should have been a key board player, LOL
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:49 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Larry with those mics your buzz should sound phenomenal ..ha!
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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FWIW, aiming the 2 equidistant pencil OH's at the snare wasn't my favorite. I have one right above my ride cymbal looking straight down at my ride cymbal and the other is pointing semi down on the other side. Not pointed at the snare. It's seems to give me a wider stereo image. Anyway...
A spaced pair will give you a wider stereo field, compared to other setups. And, based on how your 414s are positioned near the toms, it will probably cause less trouble w.r.t. phasing this way.

It's no wonder you're not a fan of close mics on the toms, because, unless you gate them, they'll ring out even when the toms aren't being played. Lot of styles, you don't need tom mics. But when the overall mix starts to get dense (because of aggressive guitar tones, or just lots of instruments), that's when the toms get lost, and you can start to use the presence and clarity that close mics offer. Same goes for an under snare mic (pointed at the snare wires). So don't get too dogmatic about what's "natural" -- instead think about the final mix as a whole, and base your micing decisions on that. The most natural drum sound you've ever heard -- probably has tons of processing.

Agreed that treating a low ceiling is a must. Since there's usually no way to raise the ceiling, you should treat the crap out of it -- Auralex foam is your friend here. Maybe even try to shape the ceiling so it has some gentle peaks and valleys, rather than being flat. The goal is to make that ceiling pretty much disappear. You can get more usable ambience from a distant room mic, if desired.
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Old 10-16-2018, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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Uhhhh,
Yeah, how short are talking, here? Reflections can be a factor. I'm surprised you haven't invested in some treatment given that you haven't skimped on anything otherwise.
Oh yea, I did treat the space to the best of my abilities. My studio is a 12' x 20' rectangle with 6 ' 9" ceilings. The drums are on the far 12' wall from the entrance. All the cinderblock walls and raftered insulated ceilings have 4' x 8' sheets of 1/2" sound deadening boards (sold at home depot) covering them. The concrete floor is moisture barriered, padded and carpeted with a medium pile carpet. I rounded the hard 90 degree corners where the walls meet the ceiling with get this, pool noodles ha ha.

There are a lot of irregularly shaped objects in the room. Shelves, amps hanging guitars, my computer workstation ect...There's no reflections with the clap test, it's mostly soft surfaces with a minimum of reflective surfaces by comparison.

The drums are on a 4" tall carpeted plywood riser. So the ceiling is only like 6'5" over the drums. There's a full sized blanket hanging on the wall behind the throne, and there's a 5 x 7 piece of foam rubber on the ceiling directly over the drums (and mics) as well. So the room has pretty much been eliminated from the equation, except for the low ceiling, which is 4" shorter when on the drum riser.

But yea, snare buzz is lessened with less tension. Kinda happy about that discovery.
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Old 10-16-2018, 04:18 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

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I run into snare buzz a lot. it seems more prevalent on deep snares tuned high. You can try to tune it out by messing with the ten inch tom but you can only go so far before you lose the intervals.

I find if I want that dry gun shot crack I'm better off selecting a 5 X 14 or a 4 X 14 cranked up. Usually the latter. Sometimes a 13 inch snare will get you there too.

Then I use my deep snares for lower tunings. You either have to be above or below the 10 inch tom in pitch. Too far below and the 12 inch starts creating buzz.

I've gone up and down an octave on toms too, but put a different snare on the stand and it starts all over again. I just keep a few snares handy and try to find one that fits the sound I'm trying to get or a least close to it,

Lately I just live with a little buzz, my playing time is limited and sometimes I just get tired of messing with it.

Medium tension of the wires seems to work more often than not. Most of my snares are DW with the three position butt so I flick that back and forth and then fine tune on the throw off. Should have been a key board player, LOL
Good food for thought. I'm hopelessly addicted to 6.5" depth and above for my snares. I like the body it imparts. The crack has to be balanced out to my ear. The buzz is under control now, thankfully. I don't mind snare buzz live, but snare buzz and recording is a thorn in my side.

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Originally Posted by paradiddle pete View Post
Larry with those mics your buzz should sound phenomenal ..ha!
Oh man it's the most quality sounding snare buzz in Pennsylvania :)

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
A spaced pair will give you a wider stereo field, compared to other setups. And, based on how your 414s are positioned near the toms, it will probably cause less trouble w.r.t. phasing this way.

It's no wonder you're not a fan of close mics on the toms, because, unless you gate them, they'll ring out even when the toms aren't being played. Lot of styles, you don't need tom mics. But when the overall mix starts to get dense (because of aggressive guitar tones, or just lots of instruments), that's when the toms get lost, and you can start to use the presence and clarity that close mics offer. Same goes for an under snare mic (pointed at the snare wires). So don't get too dogmatic about what's "natural" -- instead think about the final mix as a whole, and base your micing decisions on that. The most natural drum sound you've ever heard -- probably has tons of processing.

Agreed that treating a low ceiling is a must. Since there's usually no way to raise the ceiling, you should treat the crap out of it -- Auralex foam is your friend here. Maybe even try to shape the ceiling so it has some gentle peaks and valleys, rather than being flat. The goal is to make that ceiling pretty much disappear. You can get more usable ambience from a distant room mic, if desired.
A lot of good info there too, thanks. It's nice to see my findings confirmed about the spaced pair. The foam over the drums...it isn't flat, it's got the hills and valleys. There are mic cables permanently strung across the ceiling...anything to break up 20' of flat ceiling. It's not completely flat. There's uneven seams, not too bad. I did that in 2005, and I did a bad job. But the uneven-ness works in my favor :) It's definitely a funky little space. Like me, very imperfect.

I tried room mics but they just sounded bad. I need to do a little more experimenting there.

I get a pretty good sound. I have no ambience though. Reverb/delay/echo to the rescue! I'll put a recording up by Friday. Without reverb, unprocessed.

I really appreciate the thoughts fellas.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Good Morning! Larry I tried a rough pilot experiment to see what would happen if I changed the angle and contact of straps to see if it lies flatter less buzz. I woke up this morning anxious to try something simple. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dRe...ature=youtu.be
Now I'm not naive enough to think I've struck gold but worthy to pursue a bit further to figure out what is happening??
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Old 10-16-2018, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Art that's brilliant. I will definitely be trying that. Awesome thinking outside the box my man. If I can get this to work...oh man that's a major advancement in the snare buzz elimination department.

I hope my results are as good as yours.

If so, I'd call that golden :)
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:25 PM
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Art that's brilliant.
Indeed! Nice job Art :) Aligning the tension from the straps makes a ton of sense. It's one of the reasons (although different) why the Rogers system works well at reducing snare buzz, & to a similar degree, the early Pearl free floaters with 16" wires on a 14" drum.

Another little studio trick that can work really well is to fit 13" wires to a 14" drum. It has it's downsides, but if buzz control is important to you, it can sometimes produce really good results.
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Old 10-16-2018, 08:10 PM
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I like the sound of your toms in that recording, Art.

Larry, can I hear some of the fruits, of your efforts? Got a recording handy?

Has anyone else here tried de-tuning the 4 lugs aside each of the snare sides? I've done that in a pinch to get rid of some excess sympathetic snare noise. Does change the tone of the drum a bit too, though.
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Old 10-16-2018, 08:55 PM
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Thanks fellas it's worked all of "one time" n=1. Hopefully others will try and report back. I used an old 7a stick (whittled on it) and some rubber cymbal stand protectors-one side is smaller diameter than other. If it works I'll have to dub it a name-Beall dowel-boring. I know the Beall rod!!! ROFL.
I think the rubber, angle, an surface area of contact area (distributing the resonance over a larger area than a smaller one) does translate a little like Rogers or floater-it lies flatter. The snare sound changed from first I think?? and has some of that even clean Rogers sound a bit-course I can't tell-listening on laptop I couldn't hear any buzz but now on headphones I still hear some dammit-just shorter sustain. It did seem to disappear when I loosened up snare it seems-snare sounded better too. I'll refine it a bit and report back-I forgot to take snares off and see what it sounded like-it should help to keep wires off reso head?? I'll try it on a different snare to see how the idea translates to other snares-it just worked out perfect with this snare with little effort. My bet it won't pan out-experience from years of being in a lab kissing a lot of frogs before the prince/princess.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:04 PM
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Has anyone else here tried de-tuning the 4 lugs aside each of the snare sides? I've done that in a pinch to get rid of some excess sympathetic snare noise. Does change the tone of the drum a bit too, though.
That's the old nut that can work, but as you point out, it has an affect which can be undesirable depending on the drum - especially the bed profile. Works very differently on beds that extend beyond the lug positions either side of the wires (a bed design that I hate with passion).
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Old 10-17-2018, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Hey Larry,

Do you prefer the AKGs or the 184s for overheads?
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Old 10-17-2018, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

GetAgrippa, I had a Pearl Export snare that was modified (I think, never seen another) with a tensioner instead of a snare butt plate. It had a small bracket at either side of the snare with a tension rod going through it into a swivel nut. The snare cord went under the tension rods doing the same thing as in your diagram. I never knew why this was, but would always do it just because it was like this when I got it. I wish I could find a pic of it. I know I have one somewhere.
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:05 AM
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That's the old nut that can work, but as you point out, it has an affect which can be undesirable depending on the drum - especially the bed profile. Works very differently on beds that extend beyond the lug positions either side of the wires (a bed design that I hate with passion).
Now that I think back on it, it's possible I got that tip from you... Would have been a while back. Much further than my 5 minute memory span will allow for.
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  #26  
Old 10-17-2018, 04:51 PM
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picautomaton picautomaton is offline
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Talking of recording and snare buzz reminds me of the Led Zep recording where you can hear Bonzo'z high hat pedal creaking. I guess if it's not too obtrusive leave it in :) or not :):)
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  #27  
Old 10-18-2018, 01:58 PM
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DaleClark DaleClark is offline
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Default Re: Snare buZZZZZZ and recording

Funny story. I was "self recording" all parts to a song I wrote years ago and I wanted that Live Neil Young sound. I recorded a track with the the floor monitor playing the mix just to capture the snare buzz in the intro and non drum sections.
Actually the track sounded good at the time (I have not listened in over 20 years)
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