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Old 07-16-2008, 12:08 PM   #13
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Columbus, Ohio
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I record all my drums. From start to finish and with probably entirely too much detail....

*Spaced pair of AT4050s using the Recorder man technique for overheads
*i5, SM57, or SM7 on snare (all depends on my mood)
*i5 on rack toms MD421 on floor toms.
*D6 on kick
*Maybe once in a great which if I feel I need a little more punch, a third SDC for an OH smack in the middle of the other two which gets panned dead center. (Measure this out carefully to be sure it is exactly smack in the middle of the other two OHs or the phase gets fubar.)

Onyx 800R: Toms, that center OH if I use it.
UA4110 with transformer on: OHs, kick, snare

Once recorded, my first stop is to always mute all the drum tracks and bring up the each drum (not OHs) by itself. Throw a gate on each drum and tune it well so that the release is natural, bleed is minimized, it sounds "right" etc. (ReaGate being my recommended gate as tuning the listening circuit is the key). You don't HAVE to gate, I just prefer it as I find I have more control. You may like the sound of bleed.

Once you have that done, mute all those tracks. Bring up the OH tracks and pan them out (I usually do 80% per side). Now adjust the volume of them so that the snare and kick are dead center. If the snare leans to one side, that is the side you need to reduce the volume on. Don't turn up, leave some head room. (Using the same gain on each OH mic and doing Recorderman carefully should make this quick.)

Now I work on panning the toms. If you are clever, at the end of a take, play nothing but a few tom notes one each tom... .like floor, floor, floor, rack 1, rack 1 rack 1 etc.

These are hints I put in to help alight the pan. So with the OHs balanced and turned up I bring up one of the toms with it looping those hint sections. Move the pan until you hear it lock with the over heads. Mute this tom and move on to the rest doing the same thing. Sometimes it helps to mute the tome, close your eyes and visualize the tom in OH stereo image and them unmute the tom to see it if it pops up in the right spot.

Once the tom panning is done, I mute them again and go back to the kick. I compress the kick to make sure it is nice and punchy (Stillwell 1175 and Stillwell Transient Monster are great for this). Do the same for the snare. Now try and get a good balance between the OHs, snare and kick. Remember head room, so I never turn anything up. if the cymbals or room is not in the mix enough, I will put MajorTom on the OH tracks. Once you have the OHs, snare, and kick working together, go back to the toms. Compress and EQ if necessary as sometimes toms can be rumbly. Compression can make the toms fat (MajorTom) or have a sharp attack (1175 with a good amount of lows pulled out), so choose what you want and go for it.

That's about it. Now I may put a bit of verb on the OHs and snare depending on the situation.


Extra minutia:

1175 can have an explanation of its own. 1175 is a JS version of the famous 1176 hardware unit. It is know for crazy fast attack and release. To add more attack to your drums try using this plug as a starting point. I would recommend you set the mix to 100% wet to start with. Set the ratio to 8. Now, drop the thresh hold ridiculously low so it is pulling off like 20 or 30 db per hit. Tune the attack such that nothing but the initial transient snap/click of the drum comes through and the decay is smashed... but make sure the release isn't too slow or the next note will get smashed and you don't want that. Once you have this done... put the mix to 50%. This is 50% dry signal, 50% compressed signal. Now, back off the threshold until you get the right mix of attack and decay. Want even more attack, slide the mix more wet, more decay, move the mix to more dry. Ya dig?

Past this, you can add even more attack with TransientMonster if it is needed. (On a well tuned drum recorded well, you likely won't need this). If you want to fatten drums, use MajorTom as it lends itself more to smashing the attack rather than enhancing it.

Lastly, there seems to always be one hit in the track that sort of jumps out and smacks you. For this I may put EventHorizon on the track. Find where the vast majority of hits are peaking and set that as the threshold. Set the ceiling to the same level as the threshold... this tames those one of hits while keeping the same peak level in the track not throwing the mix all into left field.

Last edited by Bubbagump; 07-16-2008 at 12:25 PM.
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