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Old 01-08-2018, 04:16 PM
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Default Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

I found an older thread about this but it didn't address my concerns.

I've a new 4 piece band where I'm singing lead vocals on half the songs. Not such a fan of drummers singing from way in the back so I'm considering setting up sideways/stage left, a la Kelly Keagy (photo below).

Thing is, I'm playing a smallish/medium venue with only kick drum, harp and vocals going through the mains (two guitars and bass through amps). What effect do you reckon this will have on the "mix" out front?
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

Harp?

I'm intrigued. What kind of stuff do you do. Sounds interesting!

Side on might work, just remember all the sound of the kit will be travelling across the stage and not out front where it's needed.

45 degrees would be a happy compromise!
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

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Harp?

I'm intrigued. What kind of stuff do you do. Sounds interesting!

Side on might work, just remember all the sound of the kit will be travelling across the stage and not out front where it's needed.

45 degrees would be a happy compromise!
That's "harp" as in slang for "harmonica." ;-)

Thanks for the suggestion! Hadn't thought about a 45 degree arrangement. I imagine it would be better than in the back, as I'd be aligned with the other performers.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

I'd say the effect would be minimal.

Just have someone you trust go out in the house during soundcheck to see how things sound. Drums can be loud, especially in a small venue. Because of this, setting up in the back or a couple of feet up and to the left shouldn't be anything too different.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

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Originally Posted by spleeeeen View Post
That's "harp" as in slang for "harmonica." ;-)

Thanks for the suggestion! Hadn't thought about a 45 degree arrangement. I imagine it would be better than in the back, as I'd be aligned with the other performers.
Cheers man, the old US-UK getting lost in translation.

I was thinking some medieval folk/rock stuff. That's my bubble popped :)
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
just remember all the sound of the kit will be travelling across the stage and not out front where it's needed.

45 degrees would be a happy compromise!
Are you thinking a drum set is directional?
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

I used to do this while playing in my jazz group. As the drums were mic'd, the direction & placement of the kit didn't matter. Were they unmic'd, I imagine the placement still wouldn't matter.
Add to this the audience gets to see more of you and your playing as it's not hidden by equipment.
Sounds like a Win-Win to me.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

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Are you thinking a drum set is directional?
More sound reflection at volume if you're in smaller venues off a nearby wall.

If you're wondering what a directional drum set looks like check these out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZiDsTdVzfA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXOOX31c1VA
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

I think you just have to do it and see. Visually speaking, a side-view drummer gives the audience something more to watch.
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
I was thinking some medieval folk/rock stuff. That's my bubble popped :)
Ah, well for the record, I would be completely down for a medieval folk/rock gig!

Hey, thanks to everyone for the responses! I'm gonna give it a go. I just have to remember to not scratch myself, pick my nose or make any other unbecoming moves previously hidden by the front of my kit. ;-)
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

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Originally Posted by dboomer View Post
Are you thinking a drum set is directional?
Well, high frequencies coming off the drums and cymbals will no doubt carry through the room, unless the band is crazy loud. The kick will also be fine, since it's going through the PA. Bass and guitar amps will have no trouble achieving enough volume without being mic'd.

The only thing that could suffer is the low end coming off the floor tom, since it will now be parked behind the rest of the drums and your body. But it also depends on the volume of the group. You might consider micing it, but not so closely that it will pick up sympathetic vibrations. Probably not necessary if you're set up against the wall in a small pub. But in a small club with three amps that are turned up to "fill the room", it's a good idea.

Btw, LOVE setting up to the side instead of in the back! Much easier to communicate musically with the other players.
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

I play in a band that does this. I usually set up stage right, where my floor tom is between me and the audience.
I'm at a slight angle just like in your picture in the first post. It works perfect.

I think this is how a drummer should always be positioned, stage right or left. I'll bet the only reason the drummer has always been in the back facing forward
was because it seemed natural to have the drummer directly facing the audience.

.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

Thanks Brent and Jim for your responses. This is all very helpful.

One additional question for anyone who has thoughts about/experience with this:
The plan is to use 2 x 15" w/ tweeter powered speakers. Would it be important to also bring an 18" sub for bass drum? The room is sort of an average-sized VFW/Amercian Legion-type rental hall (if that makes any sense). Expecting a crowd of around 100-125.

Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

100+ people without a sub would sound thin in my opinion.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

As a drummer, I like the side view, so folks can see what I'm doing. I have been to clinics where the drummers sit sideways so the audience can see. There is also no need in my mind for a riser when the drummer sits this way since he doesn't have to look over other instruments.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

Always felt weird to me. To the point that I would usually setup on that side of the stage but facing the audience. Hated having to turn my head to see if the butts are shaking or I need to improve the groove.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

I would bring a sub. Those low frequencies get people moving.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:15 AM
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Default Re: Drums positioned sideways, stage left. Considerations for mix?

If everything is miced it it won't be that big of a deal. The band I tour with out of the UK has the same setup at your Night Ranger photo. I'm on a riser stage left, Keys are Stage right. However it's EBM/Industrial so we don't have guitar or bass amps.
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