Recording woes...

dkerwood

Silver Member
So I decided to take a lazy Sunday afternoon and try to get some nice recordings of my drums. Plus, this gives me the opportunity to let some (relatively) new recording gear breathe again; AND since I moved to the new house, I haven't been able to try recording in my music room yet.

So, I use my Audix 4 piece mic set to mic up kick and three toms. I use 2 57s for my 2 snares. Then, since the only other matching mics I've got are 58s, they go up on stands to serve as overheads (I've got 2 condensers; they just don't match and the outputs sound different).

All 8 of these mics run into my Mackie 1604 VLZ mixer, and then out via inserts to 2 Presonus 4x2 firewire interfaces, then into my laptop running Adobe Audition.

First of all, wow. The room is not very nice for recording. I'll need to do some serious treatment in there if I ever want to seriously record. I've been in rooms that are more live, but this one sounds like a box. I should be able to do some basic work in there, though.

Second, I'm having some success and some trouble close micing the kit. Since I like cymbals low and out of the way, I had to mount the tom mics underneath the drums. They sound FANTASTIC... they really complement the sounds from the overheads. I've having trouble reigning in the volume of the low tom- seems like it's overwhelming the mic regardless of gain. Hopefully some more tweaking will help.

Because I didn't want to crawl back in the corner to access the reso side of my kick, I decided to just mic the batter side. I'm getting a pop on the attack, though, and I can't decide of it's beater click or just the volume overdriving the mic. I'll play with the placement there, and maybe suck it up and move it up front if necessary.

Snares are proving to be a huge problem. Snare 1 is a Tama Starclassic 14x7 bronze snare. Top micing proved useless, as I got nothing but ring from the batter. Bottom micing was better, but still not preferable. The overhead snare sound is pretty good by itself, but it sits a little too far back in the mix for my taste, especially when I mix in the tom mics.

Snare 2 is a Ludwig 13x3 piccolo, tuned about as high as I can crank it. It's set up to the left of the hi hat, so the microphone is picking up a TON of hi hat and all the annoying batter ring that usually disappears in the mix. Plus, for some reason, I'm overdriving that 57... unbelievable!

So... anybody have any thoughts/suggestions to help me fix some problems? I have lots of ideas on how to address this, but I haven't recorded drums in a couple of years, and didn't know if there was a "duh" answer staring me in the face.

Thanks!
 

ermghoti

Silver Member
You can try micing the snare shells (stay away from the soundhole, the air will blort into the diaphragm), but you should usually be able to get a sound from the top. You'll get the best isolation by getting in very close, but I usually prefer the sound about a fist's width up, maybe an inch and a half in from the rim, and aimed at the center of the head.

A SM57 can handle about 140dB, I'd be very surprised if it is actually distorting, unless it's broken.
 

dkerwood

Silver Member
You can try micing the snare shells (stay away from the soundhole, the air will blort into the diaphragm), but you should usually be able to get a sound from the top. You'll get the best isolation by getting in very close, but I usually prefer the sound about a fist's width up, maybe an inch and a half in from the rim, and aimed at the center of the head.
I'll have to try the shell. Unfortunately, my hi hat is in the way for me to get where I'd like the mic to be (inch and a half from the rim). I want to figure out a way to sound good without sacrificing my playing comfort...

A SM57 can handle about 140dB, I'd be very surprised if it is actually distorting, unless it's broken.

You're right- there are a million places this could be coming from... heck, with gain alone I've got three places where it could be clipping- the mixer, the interface, and the actual recording program. I was able to get rid of the pop on the snare by lowering the mixer gain a bit. I'm not sure if the mixer was clipping or if the higher gain was clipping somewhere else, but hey, it's fixed now.

I still can't get the low tom to stop popping, even by adjusting the gain, but I did notice that my reso head had slipped out of tune. I'll pull it off sometime next week and retune it properly. Hopefully, that will help the problem.

Now I just have to figure out how to get *that* kick sound. Maybe I will have to crawl behind and jam the mic into the drum. I just figured that it might not matter which side of the head the mic was on. Maybe my kick just isn't tuned very well... it's really hard to tell in that small room.
 
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