Why we have to record ourselves?

DrumDoug

Senior Member
As anyone who has recorded themselvs knows, what you hear and what the microphone hears can be two different things. Im sure we have all listened to a recording of ourselves and cringed. My question is, why can we here things on a recording that we can't hear when we are in the middle of playing it? Why can't we hear that our hi hat is too loud, how we speed up, or slow down, or just plain can't groove? I have a couple of ideas. One is that when we are playing, we are mixing together what's in our head with what's coming out of our drums. My snare is laid back in my head, so I don't notice it rushing as much in my ears. The other reason is that all the coordination takes up so much brain power that we don't have enough left over to really listen. I just wish I could edit myself in real time like I can on a recording. What are your ideas on why we need to record ourselves to really hear ourselves?
 

uniin

Gold Member
i record myself to see how closely i'm falling to a click, when im playing i can't give it 100% concentration on listening to if my right hand, left hand, right foot and left foot are all 100% in time with a click. i'm talking tiny differences, within say 10~20ms difference to the click.

also keep in mind where you place a mic will impact different on whats herd to you. perfect example is at a gig. what you hear behind your kit isn';t what people are going to hear out the front - generally because most engineers will EQ and use other inserts on your kit.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
I record every weekly rehearsal and, yes, sometimes it's painful, but I guess I'm very well aware of my weaknesses and am constantly working on them, which must be a good thing
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
For the last several months, I record both audio and video our weekly rehearsals. The group learns a bunch from watching these.

Additionally, I video my own practice sessions from time to time.

All of this helps me in assessing and in improving all that I am trying to accomplish. I can assure you no one is a harder critic on me than myself.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
My question is, why can we here things on a recording that we can't hear when we are in the middle of playing it? Why can't we hear that our hi hat is too loud, how we speed up, or slow down, or just plain can't groove?

I have a couple of ideas. One is that when we are playing, we are mixing together what's in our head with what's coming out of our drums. My snare is laid back in my head, so I don't notice it rushing as much in my ears.

The other reason is that all the coordination takes up so much brain power that we don't have enough left over to really listen. I just wish I could edit myself in real time like I can on a recording. What are your ideas on why we need to record ourselves to really hear ourselves?
My thoughts are similar to yours - when we're playing we're multitasking.

Also, when playing we're listening to the full band sound (ideally) trying to gel. However, when listening back I tend to initially zone in on the drums - like checking a group photo, hoping you won't look fat, old, goofy etc and cringeing when your fears are confirmed.

However, a wobbly take usually doesn't seem so bad when you listen to the music like the average Jo/e - listening from the singer down. If you ever get hold of drum tracks of famous songs, it's susprising how many aren't perfect. Add the other musicians' tracks and suddenly the drums sound great. Often we are neither as good or bad as we think we are.

I say this because listening back in the wrong way can be confidence-sapping and confidence is important.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Great topic. I believe that most of us are born musically stupid, in that when we first start playing, there's a huge gap in our listening from the "inside the band" perspective while we are playing, to a listener who isn't playing, listening from an audience perspective. Like when you first heard you own voice on a recording. Chances are you thought you sounded worse listening to yourself recorded than when you do just talking. Same principle. You are surprised that you sound like you do.

Recording (which implies honest listening back) strengthens your all around sonic perceptions and musical sensibilities as a whole, and for that, it could be your most valuable piece of gear. I can easily state that in terms of personal drumming improvement, per dollar spent, that there is no better value than a recorder. (Not knocking teachers here at all, it could be close) My point is you WILL improve after first listen. I guarantee that on first listen you will hear something that you won't ever play again the same way.

When you are actively playing, you are using a great deal of brain power. Recording and listening back develops a part of the brain that in most people, is not real active when playing. The more active that part of the "executive oversight" part of the brain is, the more aware you are of what you are doing, while you are doing it and how you are sounding.

Recording builds your "perception" muscle. Most people just play. The best musicians have the ability to play and listen simultaneously and adjust their playing based on what they hear, all at the same time. They are separate processes that must be combined for max effect.

Playing and not recording and listening back is like painting something on a canvas with your eyes closed. You just don't know how it is coming out until you open your eyes (ears)
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
nothing like hearing yourself on a playback

you could be pleasantly surprised

or horribly disappointed

absolute fastest way to improve is to record practices.....not only audio....video if possible

even if its you practicing on a pad

you may be surprised at what you see as far as stick heights and hand position

huge believer in using recorded practices and gigs as a tool
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
I recorded every worship practice held at my house for over 10 years, and then I would give everyone in the band a copy. It is a great tool to hear how things are going with you, and the band as a whole.
 

Xero Talent

Silver Member
Listening to a recording of your playing is very humbling, but in my humble opinion, very necessary in your development as a musician.

I often find I get absorbed in the music and play by "feel", sometimes loosing focus. While it "feels" great, the playback shows small errors and time-drags that, although no one else likely noticed, drive me to perfect my craft.
 

gunar

Member
Great topic. I became obsessed with recording my own shows years and years ago and it inspired my choice to go to sound-engineering school. Now, my band employs a full time sound engineer to multi-track almost every one of our shows. Since we improvise a lot, we have the opportunity to listen back and pick out sections that we want to turn into more complex tunes. It has done more for my playing than I can describe.

But, I would highly encourage listening to your kit as if it were a recording while you play. Overheads are the most important mics in your setup. They 'hear' the most and give the most accurate representation of your sound on a recording. Your ears should be hearing something pretty close to the overhead mics. If your sound is unbalanced naturally, the recording will sound unbalanced.

Example of a live recording from a few weeks ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XveyTqsaMgo&feature=related

We have over 75 shows multi-tracked.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Really enjoyed your vid Gunar, nice drumming! You really are a big part of the sound of that band, judging from that song anyway.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
nothing like hearing yourself on a playback

you could be pleasantly surprised

or horribly disappointed

absolute fastest way to improve is to record practices.....not only audio....video if possible...
100% agree with you, I also use a couple of large mirrors to watch my hands and feet from a side view, like you're watching someone else's playing (your teacher exercises, for examples) or like watching a DVD exercise for practicing and reproducing the right movements, I find it helpful and instantaneous.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
100% agree with you, I also use a couple of large mirrors to watch my hands and feet from a side view, like you're watching someone else's playing (your teacher exercises, for examples) or like watching a DVD exercise for practicing and reproducing the right movements, I find it helpful and instantaneous.
With these mirrors, you have your clothes on, right?
 

gunar

Member
Really enjoyed your vid Gunar, nice drumming! You really are a big part of the sound of that band, judging from that song anyway.
Thanks man!! The bass player and I started the band together about 3 years ago in an effort to have as much fun with music as possible. He and I have shaped our sound together.

If you can't hear your own ghost notes on stage, I doubt many others can either.
 

Mike Mandaville

Senior Member
Playing and not recording and listening back is like painting something on a canvas with your eyes closed. You just don't know how it is coming out until you open your eyes (ears)
This is the same comparison that I use to describe playing on an un-triggered practice pad.
 

Joe Morris

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Without sounding like I'm blowing my own horn here I bet I record more than most drummers in the world. LOL!! This past year I finally counted how many tunes I cut in 2011. The total was 3,072.00 Thats right three thousand seventy two tunes I cut this past year. When I'm not touring with Esteban I am the music director at the Conservatory of Recording arts and sciences. I record pretty much every day. Sometimes 4 to 5 tunes a day, sometimes 20 tunes a day. "like tomorrow!! lol) If you want to check out some of the stuff see my page here at drummerworld.

Anyway, I think recording yourself is vital in becoming a better drummer. I remember when I was a teen ager listening to recordings of myself, I remember trying to cut my first album with a click track. God those were horrible yet humbling and learning experiences. I as most teenage drummers thought I was just a bad dude, I thought I knew everything. Man was I wrong. Recording yourself will teach you so much about your playing, your time, your drum sound and so much more. It will test your nerves and your brain.

I guess since I do it so much I don't understand about all the brain power some of you are talking about. When I am cutting tracks, I'm thinking about parts sometimes or I'm thinking about what I want for lunch. I am listening more than using my brain to play. I just listen to the music and my body reacts to that. Hope that helps.

joe
 
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