Why do drums always sound lower in recordings?

I have my drums tuned to what sounds pretty high tones to my ear, but whenever I listen to my H4 recording they sound very low. Does anybody know why this is the case? I'm not too smart about sound and recording stuff ...
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
What you hear behind the kit is usually different that what it sounds like out front. You are getting the entire sound of the shell and reso head on the recordings. When playing, you're primarily hearing the batter head.

Makes you think a bit, doesn't it.
 
Interesting. I suspected that mic'ing might be part of the issue (I imagine if I were using close mics I'd get way more of the batter). But the H4 picks up the 'highs' of the rest of the band pretty well.

If the mic mainly picks up the reso's and the shell I guess tuning the reso tighter would help? Maybe this is why so many people suggest making your reso higher than your batter.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
There so many variables in the way a drum sounds and one of these is the room you're playing in or if there is even a room at all. Billy Ward once told me something which is very key - microphones don't hear how we humans hear and microphones don't like toms.

Back to my point about the room; a smaller room has less spread in it than a bigger room so that can be a conributing factor.


Mike

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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
There's a few possible reasons for this, but I have to ask, are you referring to low pitch or dominance of low frequencies?

Your H4 will pick up a more resolved sound than you're hearing behind the kit. It's possible the H4 is in a part of the room that's acting as a bass trap, also, your kit may be positioned in a corner with the H4 fairly close by. Do you have an example of the recordings you refer to?

Migrating slightly to close mic'ing, many commonly used mic's "suffer" from something called proximity effect. Essentially, this means they pick up more lower frequencies when close to the source. in general mic'ing situations, this offers a sound with more weight to it than the sound some distance from the kit.

I'm sure Dennis can chime in with some clarification here too :)
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I have my drums tuned to what sounds pretty high tones to my ear, but whenever I listen to my H4 recording they sound very low. Does anybody know why this is the case? I'm not too smart about sound and recording stuff ...
To be honest, I've never dealt with the Zoom H4 recorder. Just a few questions though, I presume when you say lower, you're talking about the pitch of the drums and not their level or volume. Are you concentrating your recordings on the drums only, or the entire band? Where do you mount or position the H4? What bit rate are you using and are you recording WAV or MP3 files, it shouldn't really affect what's being picked-up, but I'm just wondering? Are you recording with the limiter turned on? Have you tried repositioning the H4 for better results?

I was looking for the microphones specifications on the H4 but couldn't find them. Just one more thing to add. When using a recorder of this style (all in one), you really have to use it as a recording studio in a box type situation since you can't detach the microphones. In other words, positioning the unit is very important so that it hears what you want it to hear at the level and mix you want it to be. If you were just concentrating on the drums, feel free to move it to where the individual volume levels of all the drums sound consistent or pleasing to your ears. Here's where the room plays an important part in the equation, especially with distant miking techniques.

Dennis
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
A small hand held recorder is never going to give a faithful reproduction - they seem to capture more bass tones than tops.

Most times with my H2 (your H4 is no doubt more advanced) I try to take out some of the mud by pulling down 100hz and below, 300-400 and 800-100.
 
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