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  #1  
Old 11-28-2009, 05:03 PM
mmarxetc mmarxetc is offline
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Default Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Im wanting to record demos for bands badly. I imagine I would be recording the drums wherever it is they practice or have a kit set up. I have good exp rec everything BUT drums.
My questions are as follows...
1. If drums are not being recorded in A - A proper room B - With good mics and preamps is it even possible to record decent, full sounding drums for rock/pop?
2. Is focusing on buying a great 2ch pre and 2 great mics for overheads to go with saaay six sm57's through a (003 w/Presonus d8) for the other pieces worth it when the room(s) will probably sound like a Scheißhaus anyways?
3. What should be the main things to focus on for rec demos for a band. Of course I would like to record the BEST sounding drums I can but what kind of quality is realistic in these types of environments (those outside of an appropriate room)?
If buying good gear to capture drums is pointless in what could potentially be a crappy room then is there even a point to recording useable drums in this environment? I bet I'm speculating too much through complete ignorance so I would love to have my outlook set right if thats what I need. I've got about UP TO 3k to put towards necessary gear. I dont need to spend it all if I can get by with less.
Ive though about going the good 2ch preamp & mic overhead route with sm57s or audix stf for the rest and just using drumagog or sound replacing to make up for crap sound? Set me straight If need be. What are your views and approaches to good band demos?
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2009, 07:25 PM
sunburst79 sunburst79 is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Wow-A lot of factors at play here. Yet I'm in a very similar position.

The Room is crap, the Drummer is inexperienced, The Kit is absolute garbage. And I'm not all that experienced at micing drums. It's never going to sound particularly good let alone great. Most of the engineering is going to be about damage control or minimizing the impact of the room during tracking.

The gear.

Digi 001 (The rehearsal room/bar gig rig)
Presonus D8 (Line Inputs 1-8)
ADA 8000 (ADAT 1-8)

The Mics

Kick=Shure Beta SM52
Snare Top= SM57
Snare Bottom=SM57
Hi Tom=SM57
Low Tom=SM57
Floor Tom=AT3035
Hi Hat= AT3031
Overhead Left=MXL 2001
Overhead Right=MXL 2001

After getting the mic's set up in what seems to be good positions to A) Maximize impact and tone B) Minimize drum to drum bleed and phase problems I'm left with the fact that the room is terrible and the kit sounds like trash..... My next most sonicly productive areas are to A) Change the room as much as I can B) Tune the kit. I'm confident that with a little work I can track the drums and get a passable drum tracks. Miking each drum and cymbals will make any drum reinforcement/replacing that much easier later on.

In my case a quality preamp and some higher end mic's probably wouldn't make much of a difference.

I'm running the drums through the ADA8000 and saving the D8 for Vocals and guitars. If I had a better two channel pre in this case I would use it for the vocals or acoustic guitar and not the overheads.

I'm a guitar player and I didn't want to spend a fortune on drum mic's so the centerpiece of the caper is the Shure DMK57-52 drum mike kit. My figuring being the SM52 is good for micing a kick both live and in the studio. The 3 SM57's will always get used even if you replace them down the road with other drum mic's. The Shure kit comes with three very nice drum mount clamps and I ordered 3 more of eBay. A well known forum buddy suggested that SM57s would be terrible for overheads and the floor toms-and not surprisingly he was correct. The Floor Tom got a AT3035 and gained a lot of impact and detail. The AT3031 on the Hi-Hat sounds pretty darn nice too. The MXL's 2001 sound okay given the room they are in.....I May try the AT3035s on the overheads just to see how they sound.

All in all I'm happy with the mic selection. They seem accurate and well balanced. With the exception of the DMK57-52 kit none of these mic's are over 150.00. Non of them sounds terrible and if one got damaged its not real big deal like it would be with something expensive.

1 DMK57-52 drum mic kit = 349.00 (3 SM57's , 1 Beta 52, 3 drum mounts+carrying case)
3 extra Shure drum mounts = 75.00
2 AT3035 = 139.00 ea with 2 free pairs of AT20 headphones
1 AT3031 = 149.00 ea
2 MXL 2001 = 69.00 ea

I'm not bragging about my cheap mic collection-just letting you know what you can spend on a entry level drum mic setup. There are lots of drum mike kits from Shure, Audix, Samson etc at different price points.

If your going to multi mic the drums you going to need a ADAT Preamp and I do like the Presonus D8. You can find B Stock on eBay at around 349.00. I'm probably going to replace the ADA 8000 with another D8 very shortly. The ADA8000 has actually been okay but the 8 XLRs on the front are making the front of the rack a jungle of cables. Lets just say the room and the kit are holding things back more than the ADA8000 is.

Grab a D8-If your tracking bands you will eventually need the inputs.

SM57s are not good for overheads although they are great on Snares and Toms. If your kit doesn't come with clamps you will need a LOT of Boom stands and its likely to get messy.

If your not going to do do drum replacing a simpler drum micing technique may work better for you on some demo sessions.

I have no idea if this helps or if its TMI but I don't see a nice mic pre and some higher end mic's helping you short term.

Getting out there and working outside of your normal environment is going to help your skills a lot.
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2009, 07:51 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Doing sound replacement sounds like a good idea. If you're going to do this, there wouldn't be much point in investing in a good preamp and mics just for that (of course you may want to use that for other sources, though).

Acoustics wise, the ideal for drums is a large room with high ceilings, especially if you're using room mics. Some modern houses have 2 story entryways, or a higher ceiling in the garage. If you can record in other places, perhaps a local reception hall, a room at your high school, local elks lodge, any large place could be a possibility. If you have to record in regular rooms with low ceilings, try using absorbtion and/or diffusion, particularly on the ceiling above the kit.

Here's an in-depth article you can read online that might help:

http://emusician.com/tutorials/capturing_kit/index.html
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2009, 08:08 PM
mmarxetc mmarxetc is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

First, thank you for your post! haha, crap drummer, crap room and crap kit. Kinda makes it hard to polish that turd eh?! Your experience has given me a lot to consider and move off of. I agree with your suggestions for all the right reasons. I'd really like to consider using ddrum triggers maybe? Ill have a way better opportunity to take the hideous original drums and use BFD2 or drumagog - i really want to get that sample triggered sound of the current pop rock / electronic type drums. Blend the overheads and other things with highly replaced samples of better quality. I thought if I got a nice 2ch preamp and mics that they can also be used in my vocal chain which I think is WAY easier to get a great sound - can use on acoustic guitar too. I think until i have a good room and attracting some good - better drummers getting better pres and mics would be a complete waste....
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:41 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Been there myself. Had a drummer absolutely HAVE to use a tired, borrowed acoustic kit instead of my TD-10 kit with great sounds ITB. My solution(which worked quite well) was:
Beta52 on kick
57 on Snare
Joe Meek JM27 on hat
57's on toms
MXL2001 pair for overheads
With EQ and my usual "bag of tricks" I was able to salvage all but the toms(which sounded much like empty Quaker Oatmeal boxes). I used Drumagog and replaced them(how well this works depends a lot on the style of playing-I got lucky and had a fairly simple performance). I stripped all the bleed from the tom tracks so there was nothing left but the tom hits with little decay. Drumagog and samples culled from ezdrummer's Nashville kit sounded great and the missing bleed cleaned up the kit nicely. Another trick to fatten up the kit is to add an AUX send to all the "shell" tracks(kick, snare, toms) and route to a stereo AUX track. Insert a compressor(SSL buss comp is perfect, but BF76 will do as well). Set for some pretty stiff "squash" and mix it in with the rest of the kit. Next, Add AUX sends to ALL the drum tracks, including the compressed track(pull the kick send way down), route those to a stereo AUX track with a very short room verb(IK Classik Room at .3 seconds is great here).
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2009, 11:58 PM
mmarxetc mmarxetc is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

I like the idea of using sm57's and some other "affordable" mics to record. Also, too, I think I'm digin using a couple sweet mic pres and pair of mics to rock a nice overhead stereo track "IF" the room can cooperate. Use that to blend in with your main replaced drums and lower blending of the original drums. I speculate that might render a good drum recording vs a P.O.S.
I'd like to try out albees aux method of fattening up the drums!

NST7 - So if I had a ceiling higher than 10ft and maybe 12x12 and up, Could I assume the room to be ok? What are some factors and characteristics to look for and avoid of an inadequate room? Slap back, buildup in corners? Or can nice open rooms be just what ya need to capture a cool kit, (overheads)?
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2009, 06:29 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

I'm not an acoustics expert, but I've read many articles on drums and it seems that unlike other instruments, they need room to "breathe". Part of this is because of the inherent loudness-they will quickly bounce sound all over the room which gives that boxy, weird compressed sound. This doesn't happen so much with vocals or acoustic guitar, because they're much softer volume wise, but to give an analogy, imagine if you recorded vocals or acoustic guitar in a small closet, you would hear the funky acoustics of that in your recording. A drum set in a small room is the same way, only bigger. And this will be more pronounced with the overheads because you can't get in too close (to try to minimize the room sound).

The other thing about modern drum sounds is the addition of a stereo pair of room mics, usually about 10-15 feet back in front of the drums. In a nice size room, this gives you a very cool ambient sound of the whole kit that's very hard to duplicate using artificial reverb. In the mix you can blend this as desired with the individual close mics. You can also compress it individually which sounds way cool.

However, in a small room this would not sound good. So it comes down to almost an all-or-nothing approach: If you don't have a large room, skip the room mics and use acoustic treatment (absorbtion and diffusion) to take the room reflections completely out of the equation. Then use artificial reverb to try to create some natural space.

This assumes the music calls for a nice big sound, such as rock, country, some pop, etc. Some music does better with a drier, upfront sound: some hiphop, jazz, funk, and some 70's classic rock (think Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love).
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:16 PM
mmarxetc mmarxetc is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Quote:
Originally Posted by nst7 View Post
I'm not an acoustics expert, but I've read many articles on drums and it seems that unlike other instruments, they need room to "breathe". Part of this is because of the inherent loudness-they will quickly bounce sound all over the room which gives that boxy, weird compressed sound. This doesn't happen so much with vocals or acoustic guitar, because they're much softer volume wise, but to give an analogy, imagine if you recorded vocals or acoustic guitar in a small closet, you would hear the funky acoustics of that in your recording. A drum set in a small room is the same way, only bigger. And this will be more pronounced with the overheads because you can't get in too close (to try to minimize the room sound).

The other thing about modern drum sounds is the addition of a stereo pair of room mics, usually about 10-15 feet back in front of the drums. In a nice size room, this gives you a very cool ambient sound of the whole kit that's very hard to duplicate using artificial reverb. In the mix you can blend this as desired with the individual close mics. You can also compress it individually which sounds way cool.

However, in a small room this would not sound good. So it comes down to almost an all-or-nothing approach: If you don't have a large room, skip the room mics and use acoustic treatment (absorbtion and diffusion) to take the room reflections completely out of the equation. Then use artificial reverb to try to create some natural space.

This assumes the music calls for a nice big sound, such as rock, country, some pop, etc. Some music does better with a drier, upfront sound: some hiphop, jazz, funk, and some 70's classic rock (think Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love).
Good point. Im all for killing the reflections and going for the artificial reverb - i bet most of the demo stuff will be recorded in a pile of sh** room so at that point maybe I'd close mic everything and replace and blend the original.
Lets consider Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Boys Like Girls, and all the rest of that Pop Punk sound. Tight/big/fat/ and sssssampled! Thats really the sound I am after. In my realm, thats what we listen too, thats what the kids dig and what the bands want.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2009, 08:26 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Since you mention Fall Out Boy, here's an article you can read online about the recording of "This Aint A Scene (Arms Race), including how the drums were recorded and mixed (samples are mentioned also):


http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan0...es/itavron.htm
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:36 AM
mmarxetc mmarxetc is offline
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Default Re: Recording good band demos w/concern of drum tracking

Quote:
Originally Posted by nst7 View Post
Since you mention Fall Out Boy, here's an article you can read online about the recording of "This Aint A Scene (Arms Race), including how the drums were recorded and mixed (samples are mentioned also):


http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan0...es/itavron.htm
Great article, thank you so much for linking me up to it!!! He produces/engineer/mixes a lot of the groups that I dig. Love the sound he gets.
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