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  #1  
Old 01-25-2012, 10:13 AM
costas.themis costas.themis is offline
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Default Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

Hello, well my band & I are starting to record the new songs we wrote. We all have bills to pay so going to a studio wasnt an option like when we were a little younger. This is my first time ever recording a real drum set.

When it comes to drums we are all lost, & being I'll be engineering the process I was looking for some advice, hints, & help in going about mixing a drum kit. Ive been able to fix the slight mistakes & put them back on time with the click, but when it comes to making the drums sound Big & Wet I'm lost. I have been doing alot of reading on this subject, but I figured I would ask arond & see how other people go about this process etc.

2 big issues Im having so far are ping in the snare when I throw plugins on (ping is not there in the dry raw drums) & how to gate out excess noise & bleed in the overall kit but mainly snare & toms.

Any help & advice would be highly appreciated. I have a good understandng of Pro Tools but as I said before I have never recorded or mixed a real drum set before. So please go easy on me. Thank You!
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:19 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

Assuming you have decent tracks recorded(if you don't, this will be rough); Bleed is a double-edged sword. Its a valid part of the overall sound, but it can sound like crap, or at the very least, hamper your control. Personally, I like to strip the tom tracks of all bleed in between hits. Use Tab to Transient to find the leading edge of tom hits, and cut there. Then drag back to the previous hit and create a fade out. Or use a gate plugin(visit youtube for tutorials on how to use a gate plugin if you're new to this). Another option is to use a drum replacement plugin(like Drumagog or Slate's Trigger) and use samples. Those can be done to completely replace the original sound, or can be mixed WITH the original sound(which, depending on the mix, will lower the bleed). You can even create your own samples of the drums you recorded(but that might be a bit advanced for right now). Another option is to use a plugin like Melodyne that would allow you to create a midi track from the acoustic drums and you could paste that midi info on an instrument track and use a VI drumkit like ezdrummer or Addictive Drums. Or maybe consolidate and export the tracks, and take them to a studio and let an experienced engineer work some "mojo" on them, then re-import back into your session/ That would likely not be terribly expensive, and you would probably pickup a lot of good tricks and tips

Here's 2 tips to try; First; Put an AUX send on all the shell tracks(kick, snare and toms) and send to a new stereo AUX track. Insert a compressor plugin, set it to mash(like 10:1 and lots of gain reduction). Now mix that track behind the main drum tracks to fatten them up. Second; (assuming you had no room mics) add another AUX send to all drums(except the kick) and feed another stereo AUX track. Insert a short room reverb(like .3 seconds) and blend that to give some ambience to the entire kit(this is to give it life, not special reverb tails). If you want more reverb for certain effects, do that in addition to all this. Experiment and have fun.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:22 AM
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DonaldM DonaldM is offline
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Default Re: Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

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Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post

Here's 2 tips to try; First; Put an AUX send on all the shell tracks(kick, snare and toms) and send to a new stereo AUX track. Insert a compressor plugin, set it to mash(like 10:1 and lots of gain reduction). Now mix that track behind the main drum tracks to fatten them up. Second; (assuming you had no room mics) add another AUX send to all drums(except the kick) and feed another stereo AUX track. Insert a short room reverb(like .3 seconds) and bvlend that to give some ambience to the entire kit(this is to give it life, not special reverb tails). If you want more reverb for certain effects, do that in addition to all this. Experiment and have fun.
Oooo...I like those last 2 tips, Albee. Gotta try that out on a mix I'm doing right now!
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:11 PM
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YYR123 YYR123 is offline
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Dave u need to make some videos with the groove3 peeps - working title "put the pro into pro tools"
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:02 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

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Originally Posted by YYR123 View Post
Dave u need to make some videos with the groove3 peeps - working title "put the pro into pro tools"
That means I need to learn video!! Yikes I may need some coaching with that
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2012, 01:21 PM
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O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
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Default Re: Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by costas.themis View Post
2 big issues Im having so far are ping in the snare when I throw plugins on (ping is not there in the dry raw drums) & how to gate out excess noise & bleed in the overall kit but mainly snare & toms.

Any help & advice would be highly appreciated. I have a good understandng of Pro Tools but as I said before I have never recorded or mixed a real drum set before. So please go easy on me. Thank You!
If the ping is there with plugins on, and gone when plugins are off, it means the ping is a part of the snare sound and compression is bringing it out. Nothing you can do about it now except to try and filter it out using very narrow filters. Ideally, you need to tune the ping out or if it is caused by acoustic problems in the room, move the drumset around or put up acoustic treatment.

2nd issue...

Gating starts with mic choice and mic placement. Most people believe the marketing BS they read and think their mics are all cardioid. Most inexpensive mics become omni directional above and below 1KHz, while 1KHz is the only frequency that is actually cardioid. What does that mean? It means you are basically recording with omni-directional mics for the most part, which is why bleed is probably a big issue for you. This is why some dynamic mics, like the Shure SM57, have transformers in them that act as a high freqency roll off. The SM57 starts to become omni directional above 5KHz... so the manufacturer put a gentle high freq roll off transformer so that as the mic gets omni, it gets quieter and quieter. Other companies don't do that and so your MD421 on a tom will pick up cymbals as though it is omni directional, or your Studio Projects or MXL condensor mic is picking up low bass and high treble as though it was omni directional. This makes recording with them in untreated acoustic spaces a B*TCH!!!

Placement of the mic is paramount to getting good isolation BEFORE you even try to attempt noise gating. If the high hat and high tom are AS LOUD as the snare drum is in the snare drum mic, a noise gate isn't going to do you any good.

If you can find a mic that has a consistent cardioid pattern through most of it's frequency response, then you are starting off in a good place. Next thing to realize is that anything that is BEHIND The mic will be super quiet and anything in FRONT of the mic will be super loud... why does that matter? Because if you are getting too much hihat or high tom in your snare mic, move the mic so that the hihat (or tom) is BEHIND the mic, not in front of it.

Here's a couple good pics took showing this technique, how to keep high tom (and hihats) out of snare mic...

http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...c5965912/l.jpg

http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...196d75af/l.jpg

http://a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...3970cc02/l.jpg

Note: The hats are really quiet in the snare mic in this pic because of it's distance to the mic relative to the distance and volume the snare is to the mic.

How to keep high tom and snare out of hihat mic...

http://a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...3e465b3d/l.jpg

Notice, in both instances I'm facing the BACK of the mic toward the thing do not want in the mic.

Depending on the mic, this may be all you need. For example with the TLII on the snare in the above pics, there is no need to gate the snare mic since the tom is so quiet. The TLII does something like 20 or 30dB of reduction to sounds that are behind it, and it does this through almost the entire frequency spectrum (which is why it is an expensive mic!). But if you need to gate, you have ensured that the loudest thing in the mic (which is what the gate will react to) is going to be the object you are intending to capture with that mic.

Another thing, especially with tom mics, is to make sure the mics are actually FACING the toms. With SM57s and MD421s people have a tendency to point them across the drum instead of down into the drum. This means that the mic is going to pick up whatever is on the other side of the drum just as well as it will pick up the drum itself. In the case of a high tom, a 57 or 421 pointing across a tom will be basically aiming right at the snare drum. So you could have A LOT of snare drum in your high tom mic because you didn't actually point the mic down AT the drum.

This is why I like using side address mics (like C414B/ULS) for toms or very small front address mics (Like Audix D2). Here is a pic of how I normally mic toms...

http://a3.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...75fb1dea/l.jpg

http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...d30d1181/l.jpg

http://a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...23162a83/l.jpg

http://a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...44b92a27/l.jpg

http://a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/i...93cd0299/l.jpg

Also notice in that last pic, there is also a 57 on the snare... notice anything about it? Where is the hi hat in relation to that mic? Notice how the mic cable coming out of the back of the SM57 is almost touching the hihat? That means the hihats are about as far to the back of the mic as I could possibly position it. It also means that the mic is pointing DOWN at the drum. And you can also see how the B/ULS on the tom is pointing directly down at the tom and not angled pointing across the tom.

This all helps to make sure bleed is to a minimum. THEN when you noise gate, the gate will work properly. If you didn't mic properly, then other parts of the drumset will be just as loud in a particular mic and the gate will open for those instruments as well as the mic's intended instrument, defeating the purpose of even trying to gate. Make sense?

If you've already recorded the tracks and have this problem, your only solution at that point is to go in and manually edit each drum track to cut out any unwanted instruments as much as you can. This can be very time consuming and frustrating. A couple of minutes moving microphones can save you hours, if not days, of editing.
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2012, 09:49 AM
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crizdee crizdee is offline
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Default Re: Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.G. Killa View Post
Here's a couple good pics took showing this technique, how to keep high tom (and hihats) out of snare mic...

Hi,

Having knowledge is one thing, but coming on a forum and sharing that knowledge in such detail really is another thing all together!

Top man Derek


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Old 03-14-2012, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Mixing A Drum Kit, Getting Big Sound

I agree with Chris. Awesome to have people like Derek on here who are willing to share their knowledge. Thanks a lot, Derek.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:22 PM
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OG in da house - nice !!!!!!


Now if I can just save up enough money to get all those nice mic's :-D


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I would anticipate it being "fixed" in PT 11...
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