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Old 04-01-2011, 01:09 PM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Ride cymbal EQ

Our band did a demo recently and we have the raw, unmixed files - no levels or EQ yet.

I have a tasty Zild A medium ride and I want to get its best dark tones out. In the unEQ'd version it sounds a bit brighter than I normally hear it (I also want the snare to have a more toppy sound but that's another story).

He's a good engineer but not a drum nerd like some of us here. Does anyone know what frequencies should I be asking to be boosted or reduced to bring out the darker tones?

Ta much in advance.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Cut around 2KhZ (slightly) with a wide 'Q', roll off a bit above 16KhZ and slightly boost 500Hz. All very slight.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Thanks Duncan. By "a wide Q" do you mean like a shallow wave rather than a sharp bump? (not sure about terminology)
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:34 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Wide bandwidth. It just means you affect 'more' around that frequency rather than cutting that frequency specifically. Make sure it's fairly shallow!
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Wide bandwidth. It just means you affect 'more' around that frequency rather than cutting that frequency specifically. Make sure it's fairly shallow!
When I say that, I mean just the ride cymbal tracks. Within the mix, it would be hard to isolate that without doing too much to the rest!
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Ta again. Okay, I get that. Just that the cymbal has some charm that can come through in our little band recordings but I'm not hearing it in the initial sound dump.

Just wondering about "slight" - like 2dB or so?
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Just tickle it slightly. -2dB is usually enough to make a difference. Just go with your ears. I'm going to guess that it's a medium-heavy Zildjian A? Sticking my neck out there...

EDIT: Didn't read the original post all the way through it would appear! It was a Zildjian A. My bad.

Last edited by mediocrefunkybeat; 04-01-2011 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

What's the mic/track setup Pol? Do you have the facility to EQ the ride/cymbals with a degree of isolation, (i.e. close mic everything else)? Agree with duncan on the EQ suggestion, & yes, I'd say no more than 2db, but that depends on recording method. For future recordings, if you want to bring out some of the warmer tones from the ride cymbal. I'd suggest throwing a nice condenser underneath the cymbal & some distance away whilst still maintaining focus.
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Good guess, Duncan :) It's good to have a starting point you've given me because I don't know what the engineer would do if I just asked for him to darken up the cymbal. If he was unsure what I meant, I could imagine time being wasted without necessarily getting where I want to go.

Andy, the ride would have been picked up mostly by the RHS overhead, which I expect would have picked up a bit of everything else as well. There was also a LHS O/H which would have mostly picked up the Sabian HH 19" crash (but I crash and ride both my big cymbals). The cymbals didn't have dedicated mics so there's going to be plenty of spill in each of the O/H mics, which will complicate things.

It's all a bit of a budget job, like last time. I can't complain - for what this guy does, the rates are very good.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

My computer speakers couldn't quite get enough highs to get any cymbals, unfortunately, but they did catch the fact that there were only 15 seconds of music to enjoy. And by enjoy, I mean I was thoroughly digging what I was hearing - even the snare drum which was very consistently and sweetly placed.

Sorry to go off topic, but please post more!
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Yea Pols got great feel right? Love the ghosties. She's so self deprecating when it comes to her own playing. Everytime I hear her stuff I'm like, "What is she talking about? Her brain goes on holiday?" Because I don't get that at all.

Don't see how you can bring out the darker tones if they aren't there in the first place. I can see why you desire darker ride tones here, it would sound sweet...I'd be happy if the ride was not so buried in the mix.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Conventional wisdom is to use condenser mics as overheads. That coupled with the full bandwidth (no attenuated highs from tape) nature of digital recording, often results in bright cymbals. Plus cymbals typically sound brighter and drier on recordings than they do in real life. Some of this is due to the distance from the mic. The closer you get the more bass you get (called the proximity effect) which means that distant sources tend to lose bottom end.

I realize that your recording is already "in the can" but one thing that seems to be gaining popularity is using ribbon mics for overheads. The large internal surface means that the proximity effect reaches out further. That combined with a natural high end roll off but a lot of transparency means that the recording sounds more like we hear it. Especially for more acoustic sounding recordings.

I'm getting a pair of low end ribbons for this purpose and when they come, I'll post recordings showing the difference with condensers. I have a couple pairs of popular budget SDCs, Oktava Mk12s and the Chinese CAD GL1200 (pretty much the same as the popular MXL 603s).
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

I would love to use ribbon mics in that context, but they're too delicate and expensive to really consider for most budget home users, especially slightly older models that have a tendency to blow when phantom power is sent to them. Not necessarily the best for drum recording either given the fragility. I heard a story on this board recently about somebody naive enough to think using a ribbon on a bass drum was a good idea.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
I heard a story on this board recently about somebody naive enough to think using a ribbon on a bass drum was a good idea.
I bet it sounded fantastic for the first 0.2 seconds, lol!
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

That's kind of a myth about ribbon mics. If you blow into them, or put them right in front of a port, you may have a problem. But there is a video on YouTube (I'm on my phone at work so I can't easily look it up and link it) from a guy who rebuilds ribbons as well as selling ribbons to DIY,ers. He has a ribbon motor opens up and shows what happens when you put phantom power on them. Absolutely nothing. The ribbon doesn't move. Having 48v come down pin 2 and 3 and run into the internal balancing transformer results in a canceled out signal at the ribbon and no movement. The problem comes when folks ( like me) run their mic lines through a patch bay using 1/4 connectors. If the phantom is on, as the plug is inserted it sequentially touches the hot contacts. Meaning for an instant there is 48v only on one leg. You can see in the video where the ribbon jumps. It doesn't destroy itself. But it might if your unlucky.

I'm not talking about vintage RCAs or Royers, just something like the $99 Apex 205s for my budget studio.
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

That's the difference. I was talking about the older Ribbons. I avoid putting phantom on anything I can if I can help it. The studio I have access to has had some bad problems in the past with accidental phantom powering back into desk channels and outboard gear.
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2011, 10:22 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

I had the same experience with condensers (small and large diaphragm) sounding brittle as overheads, but, for me, the issue was solved by changing the angle of incidence. Bringing the mics in front of, or behind, the kit, instead of directly above it (and pointing directly down at the kit), has really warmed up the sound, with every mic I've tried (KM184s, Oktavas, GTs, SM81s, 414s).

The reason could be that the sharp-sounding, stick definition frequencies (which tend to live around 2kHz) move mostly in an upward fashion if you're playing the cymbal on the bow, while other frequencies are moving more so in the other directions.

Duncan's EQ suggestions are good ones, but the overheads are picking up the snare and toms, too, so if you boost at 500Hz, you may bring out some warmth from the ride, but at the same time bring out some "boxiness" from your snare and toms. You'll have to decide if it's worth it.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Any ribbon microphone, vintage or new technology, stays away from both phantom power and high air turbulences in the shops where I work. I've personally seen over a half dozen ribbons stretched and transformer windings open or shorted in the 44 years that I've been in this business because of carelessness.

Dennis
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Old 04-02-2011, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Duncan's EQ suggestions are good ones, but the overheads are picking up the snare and toms, too, so if you boost at 500Hz, you may bring out some warmth from the ride, but at the same time bring out some "boxiness" from your snare and toms. You'll have to decide if it's worth it.
What that's telling me is, if we boost 500Hz in the O/Hs then we need to cut more than usual at 500Hz in the snare and tom tracks to compensate. I suspect that if I ask Pete (the engineer) to boost 500Hz by 2dB in the O/Hs he'd probably aim to compensate anyway since boxy drums are an engineer's idea of hell :)

This is all very helpful, guys. Thank you. Aeolian, looking forward to the ribbon/condenser comparison.

Will post all four tracks - which will hopefully be a decent listen - when all is finished. The performances area bit down because we were tired. There's a huge construction zone next to the studio now, which is decimating our guy's studio business - he simply can't do anything in the daytime any more. So we had to record by night and middle-aged weekend warriors get tired around bedtime lol. Crossing fingers that ProTools will come to the rescue!

It's a shame that developers can ride roughshod over a studio owner's business like this with no compensation. Also, the vibrations are messing up some of his more sensitive gear. Once again big biz is screwing the small businessman and there's not a thing anyone can do *sigh*
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Ride cymbal EQ

Okay, I still haven't gotten around to splurging on the ribbon mics yet. But I did try reproducing the same effect with a simple high cut on my condenser overheads. And the cymbals went from extra crispy to sort of sounding how they do in real life. The plug in eqs I have to work with don't have a slope lower than 12 dB/octave. But I turned the Q all the way down and it was surprising how low I could turn the frequency point and have it still sound like cymbals. I have rotary encoders on my interface so it's like turning a real knob. I closed my eyes and turned it back and forth until the cymbals sounded pretty much like they do in the room. Amazingly I was all the way down to 6.8kHz. Both versions of my seasick meter take on Jaco's Chicken are on the my playing page. It's amazing how killing the high end of the overheads made the cymbals sound more natural, brought the toms back and cleaned up the overall mix. Just don't ask where the groove went ;-)
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