Recording the experimental kit soon, opinions sought.

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
As some of you will know, I'm building a very different design of drums. We'll be assembling them in the coming weeks, & I'm looking to record them in the most natural yet representitive way possible (without it costing a fortune). The main job of the video is to show you guys and others exactly what they sound like.

I took a couple of my standard drums to a local demo studio today to test out the live room sound. It was reasonably neutral. My plan is to run 2 overhead LD condensers and another LD condenser in front of the kick drum. Everything will be flat, no EQ, compression, verb, etc.

Do you think I'm going about this in the right way? Any advice on mic placement?

I'm super keen to demonstrate that the sound you'll hear is the sound in the room, no enhancement whatsoever.

Any tips very much appreciated. Thanks in advance, Andy.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Perhaps you should try that Earthworks set-up: One pointing at the bass drum about 2-3 feet in front, and two overhead. According to their ads and Keith Carlock, this gets a very natural sound. Perhaps the studio has those mics in its cabinets?
 

last man to bat

Senior Member
Quite a few years ago I did an experiment with micing using 2 mics here is a link to the results http://dansaltdog.tripod.com/id1.html. Click on drum kit On the page it describes what I did and the mics I used, each mic position changes after each minute of playing. It will give you some idea of the options and the sounds that best suit what you are after. I hope it helps.

I am very much looking forward to hearing your results of your new design
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Perhaps you should try that Earthworks set-up: One pointing at the bass drum about 2-3 feet in front, and two overhead. According to their ads and Keith Carlock, this gets a very natural sound. Perhaps the studio has those mics in its cabinets?
Agreed. Earthworks are probably the way to go.

Otherwise, you might want to try just a pair of high-quality overheads in a spaced pair - or even binaural mics.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Agreed that a pair of overheads and a somewhat distant kick mic will sound "natural", and I really like that sound for some music, but why wouldn't a drummer also like to know what the drums sound like when close-mic'd? I get interested in a brand of drum when I hear a great recording of one. Have you heard Steve Ferrone's Gretsch kit on the latest Tom Petty album? Mmmm, mmm.

You could make a three-mic mix of the kit, but then, in another mix, you could also blend in the kick, snare, and tom close mic signals. For the close mics, I would choose the usual suspects: Beta 52 or Audix D6 in the kick, SM57s for the snare (both top and bottom), Sennheiser 421s for the toms.

Because the close mics will pick up so much ring, it's probably not a good idea to present them in a "dry" mix. Instead, conservatively process the close mics with gentle noise-gating, and use EQ to tame the low-midrange so typical of drum recordings.

You could even make a third mix, blending in room mics, adding reverb, compression, basically pulling out all the stops, short of sample enhancement. A "Cadillac" mix, if you will.

If you are upfront about the recording process and treatment, and the reasoning behind it, customers will respect you for making the bold choice of presenting the kit in more than one "world". An accompanying picture gallery would be cool, too, if you can get flattering light in the studio.

Alright, now cut me in as your marketing consultant! :)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Perhaps you should try that Earthworks set-up: One pointing at the bass drum about 2-3 feet in front, and two overhead. According to their ads and Keith Carlock, this gets a very natural sound. Perhaps the studio has those mics in its cabinets?
Cheers Bo, I've heard about these, but never used them. Samples sound interesting, but I'm only listening via Youtube, so it's compressed to hell & back. Either way, it's a little budget studio, so they don't have them available.

Quite a few years ago I did an experiment with micing using 2 mics here is a link to the results http://dansaltdog.tripod.com/id1.html. Click on drum kit On the page it describes what I did and the mics I used, each mic position changes after each minute of playing. It will give you some idea of the options and the sounds that best suit what you are after. I hope it helps.

I am very much looking forward to hearing your results of your new design
Thanks for this. I'm really frustrated at the moment, we had a big power out here yesterday, & now my machine won't open Mp3 links properly for some reason. I'll try to find another way of listening to your clip. Sounds very interesting.
Agreed. Earthworks are probably the way to go.

Otherwise, you might want to try just a pair of high-quality overheads in a spaced pair - or even binaural mics.
Thanks Duncan, good suggestion. I guess I'm going to have to play around a bit. I'll certainly spend some time on tuning for the room & mic placement.

Agreed that a pair of overheads and a somewhat distant kick mic will sound "natural", and I really like that sound for some music, but why wouldn't a drummer also like to know what the drums sound like when close-mic'd? I get interested in a brand of drum when I hear a great recording of one. Have you heard Steve Ferrone's Gretsch kit on the latest Tom Petty album? Mmmm, mmm.

Alright, now cut me in as your marketing consultant! :)
Haha, thanks, but marketing is not the purpose of this video. The fully produced sound, & purporting it to represent the "out of the box" kit sound, is the very thing I'm trying to get away from on this occasion. I very much get the appeal of a "before & after" video, & that has real merit, but I really want to get as near to the natural room sound as possible.

I'm certainly not considering close mic's, with the possible exception of something to pick up the kick drum attack. This kit design is very different from existing kits, & is designed specifically to sound it's best as a single instrument, rather than a collection of close mic'd pieces. The kit has very special shells that are designed to contribute much more to the overall sound than a standard drum construction. Close micing wouldn't capture that well at all.

Agreed though, if this project works out well, & we do go into production on it, then a more marketing focussed, yet still "real world" & transparent video, is a good idea. I'm sick of hearing videos put out by manufacturers that are clearly significantly processed, yet presented as the sound you can expect to get just by playing it in a room. The kids may buy that, but my audience is a bit better informed. Great post, thanks!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Then you could just throw up a Shure SM57 as a single overhead and use an SM58 about two feet in front of the kick drum ;)

Who needs condensers? They're over-rated anyway.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Also add a couple of PZMs - attach them to the walls.
What I used to call "boundry mic's"? Yeah, I'm a great fan of using those in normal recording situations. I'll see if this little demo studio has some..
 

Hercules

Senior Member
to compare apples with apples it may be a good idea to use a conventional miking technique - perhaps the Glyn Johns technique or even consider the tried and true close miking to give maximum separation......
 
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