Muddy recordings, is it the mikes?

rebonn

Senior Member
“Mud” usually lives in the 250-500 Hz range. Don’t be afraid to scoop some of that out with an EQ. Most drum tracks need this, no matter how well recorded.

Your BD mics sound good in isolation, but the goal is to get them to cut through heavy guitars, bass, and vocals, right? You can supplement with samples (this practice is ubiquitous), Additionally, you can boost around 4kHz to hear the attack of the bass drums a bit better in the mix. It doesn’t matter so much how the drum sounds when solo’d, bc no one’s going to hear that, except whoever is mixing.

THIS,
Do you have a RTA to help see what's going on?
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Tuning
Room
Mic placement

Then everything else.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
real-time analyzer

A real-time analyzer (RTA) is a professional audio device that measures and displays the frequency spectrum of an audio signal; a spectrum analyzer that works in real time.

DAW software usually has this.

rta.jpg

This plugin from Isotope is included with Samplitude, the DAW I use as well as being included in various other recording software. It's pretty cheap on it's own. It's an EQ plus analyzer so you can see and tweak everything right there.

samplitude-pro-x5-.jpg
 
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Mastiff

Senior Member
real-time analyzer

A real-time analyzer (RTA) is a professional audio device that measures and displays the frequency spectrum of an audio signal; a spectrum analyzer that works in real time.

DAW software usually has this.

I'm using Studio One, so yes. I think I've only seen this in the context of playing with an equalizer, but there must be a way to just pull this up by itself.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
I'm using Studio One, so yes. I think I've only seen this in the context of playing with an equalizer, but there must be a way to just pull this up by itself.

I'm pretty sure Studio One's EQ should have an amplitude graph of the bands like Isotope Ozone above.
 
it's EQ. use your RTA in conjunction w/ your EQ. have you lo-passed your kick mic & hi-passed your overheads?

are you close mic'd enough that you can keep your recording levels down to where you get fat tracks w/o a lot of cross-talk? (there'll always be some)
 

rocker261

Junior Member
I've been doing sound professionally for decades, and I'd bet your first and main problem is EQ. If you're close microns, the room will not make a huge difference, assuming your not in a gym! The quality of mics usually won't cause muddyness. It sounds like you've got the positioned correctly enough to get clear sound. Tuning could be a contributing factor, but if you're not EQ'ing correctlyrics, tuning better still won't reduce muddyness.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Thanks for all the input. I was able to improve things by just working with the EQ and other effects in the DAW, like dialing in the gates. I also found that the decay on the compression was adding to the "muddy" sound. Putting the compressors on auto in Studio One helped quite a bit. It's really sounding pretty decent at this point, though not as good as my favorite super crisp progressive rock style recordings. I've got a lot to learn.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Thanks for all the input. I was able to improve things by just working with the EQ and other effects in the DAW, like dialing in the gates. I also found that the decay on the compression was adding to the "muddy" sound. Putting the compressors on auto in Studio One helped quite a bit. It's really sounding pretty decent at this point, though not as good as my favorite super crisp progressive rock style recordings. I've got a lot to learn.
Don’t be afraid to make big EQ adjustments to a track. It’s non-destructive! And with Studio One you can create scenes with saved settings, so you can A/B compare

Also, proximity effect is a huge culprit to muddiness, and the SM57 is not immune to an increase in low frequencies do to its proximity to the sound source.

As an example, here’s a response chart of the Beyerdynamic M201 dynamic mic. Note how it indicates a large increase in low frequencies at close proximity to the source.

FC690239-68AC-4448-B286-B3CA911E4AC2.jpeg
 

mrmike

Silver Member
Don't know if you're using clip on tom mics but they can be problematic. I would work with bass, snare and overheads first and go from there.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
On bass have you tried adding beater slam patch- maybe stick at quarter at contact between layers. It will definitely sound clicky slamming a quarter. I had a hard time getting it to stay- I was using tape. I bet between slam patch it would hold.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
I'm pretty happy with the wood beaters. I went with some round Vic Firth ones. A flat faced one like low boy might be better yet, but I was concerned about them hitting at an angle. My Tama beaters were angle adjustabe.
 

johnjssmith

Junior Member
This could be caused by a number of things, including but not limited to the microphones used, their placement relative to the drums, the heads, the tuning, the room you're recording in, your technique (are you consistently hitting the drums dead center?) and possibly even the drums themselves, and it might be solved by changing either of this things or somehow fixing it in post.

You'd have to post a clip for us to really tell you what the issue(s) might be.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Think of EQ as tone controls on your cars stereo, If you take away the treble and mids with the bass cranked up you get mud. You just have to play around with it.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
This is a good read:


"I also found that moving these mics an inch or two in any direction brought them in and out of some very useful low-end nodes."
 
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