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  #1  
Old 10-22-2009, 10:28 AM
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Default Lo-Fi recording techinque

How does one mic the kit for it to purposefully sound "lo-fi", or "garage-band-like".

Like if you want it to sound like those 50s bebop jazz songs, where the drums sounded either distant/faded/muffled/wet/fuzzy.

Even if you use amateur recording equipment it still doesn't sound lo-fi. So is there a way of editing or manipulating the mics or a certain mic-ing method that works?
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2009, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

It's called filtering and EQ. Look into it.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

Back in the fifties they didn't use a microphone on each and every drum. They were either miked by one microphone for the kit or sometimes they were heard by the bleed through to other mics in the studio. This made the drums sound a bit more distant and not so prevalent in the mix.

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

I think a lot of 'that sound' has to do with the recording medium and the way compression is used today. If you listen to the older mixers, they compression used is much less in terms of the overall master, although there are exceptions and very particular exceptions when it comes to recording drums - I refer to Motown engineers' use of incredibly heavy compression on the drums.

The microphone placement has a lot to do with it, you're right - but what I think the original poster doesn't necessarily realise is that a lot of the recording equipment is actually the same. A lot of the microphone models used in the past - even as far back as the 50s - are still in production and general use today and I don't think preamplifier technology has significantly improved. We have a lot more flexibility now than we ever used to, but we don't necessarily have better source sounds. We do have superior editing and multi tracking abilities so when it comes to the really fine detail of mix - drum separation being a key example - the nuances are there now when they weren't necessarily. And vice versa, we can edit out the unwanted nuances far more easily.

Furthermore, if you go back as far as the early 70s, a lot of the mixing and mastering was primarily mono. That makes a massive difference to the overall atmosphere of the work. Listen to 'Pet Sounds' in mono is a RADICALLY different experience than listening to it stereo and I think the mono mix is superior.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

if you meant that boxey short thump sound, buy different sized cardboard boxes... ;)

Ok, seriously, back in the day at the studio they basically very much muffled the heads, drums were in a very small room.... and yes compression. You could also frequency limit it and roll off by 6dB staring anything above 8kHz and roff off anything below 50Hz by about 9dB.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2009, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

Quote:
Originally Posted by thtst View Post
if you meant that boxey short thump sound, buy different sized cardboard boxes... ;)

Ok, seriously, back in the day at the studio they basically very much muffled the heads, drums were in a very small room.... and yes compression. You could also frequency limit it and roll off by 6dB staring anything above 8kHz and roff off anything below 50Hz by about 9dB.
Only if back in the day was the 1980s.

You want a "garage band" sound, you need a big, reverberent room and distant mikes. No muffling. You'll get that cheesy amateur mikes-are-too-far-away sound. Play with EQ to add the lo-fi element.

A sound more like the jazz sounds of the 50s, you want (still) a big room but not especially reverberent. Distant mics, not so distant as above but no close miking. No muffling other than perhaps felt strips on the bass drum. Highish tuning. A lot of drum recording in the 50s wasn't lo-fi at all; much of it sounds very natural because of the mike distance and lack of EQ and compression.

If you just want it to sound "lo-fi," play with EQ.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2009, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

Also play with reverb and delay. A lot of the "garage" sound comes from the fact that the sound bounced all over the place.
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumtechdad View Post
Only if back in the day was the 1980s.

You want a "garage band" sound, you need a big, reverberent room and distant mikes. No muffling. You'll get that cheesy amateur mikes-are-too-far-away sound. Play with EQ to add the lo-fi element.

A sound more like the jazz sounds of the 50s, you want (still) a big room but not especially reverberent. Distant mics, not so distant as above but no close miking. No muffling other than perhaps felt strips on the bass drum. Highish tuning. A lot of drum recording in the 50s wasn't lo-fi at all; much of it sounds very natural because of the mike distance and lack of EQ and compression.

If you just want it to sound "lo-fi," play with EQ.
It's all about the room, the tuning, moving the drums and the mics around to find the sweet spot(s). You can replicate all of the above with effects, except if the drums aren't tuned right to start with - you're wasting your time.

I've heard that the reason most of the Sun Records recordings sounded the way they did was because of the acoustic characteristics of the studio. Sam Philips said he didn't really know what it was, but everything they recorded in there just had 'that' sound.
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  #9  
Old 10-23-2009, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

Yes guys, i was talking the 1980's. Simmons drums made life 'easier'.... well... different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnw60 View Post
I've heard that the reason most of the Sun Records recordings sounded the way they did was because of the acoustic characteristics of the studio. Sam Philips said he didn't really know what it was, but everything they recorded in there just had 'that' sound.
+100
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  #10  
Old 10-23-2009, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnw60 View Post
It's all about the room, the tuning, moving the drums and the mics around to find the sweet spot(s). You can replicate all of the above with effects, except if the drums aren't tuned right to start with - you're wasting your time.

I've heard that the reason most of the Sun Records recordings sounded the way they did was because of the acoustic characteristics of the studio. Sam Philips said he didn't really know what it was, but everything they recorded in there just had 'that' sound.
Yup. Many of the great jazz recordings from the 50s and 60s similarly benefited from being recorded in the great, large studios in New York and LA. Most are gone now, and so is that great sound.
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  #11  
Old 10-23-2009, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Lo-Fi recording techinque

one other thought -

make sure you record to tape (i.e. analog) instead of using a digital recorder.
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