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Recording live drums - recommendations

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Anonymous
July 15, 2005 3:31:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Got a gig coming up Saturday, with pretty loud stage volume: Marshall
amp, Hammond & Leslie, bass amp, and drums. (The genre is psychedelic
heavy rock, like Floyd+Deep Purple+Jimi+Free+Zep.) There's no large
space between instruments, they're packed in pretty tight.

I want to record this gig as well as possible. The Marshall, the
Leslie, and the bass amp are no problem to close mic. My main concern
is the drums. How can I get the highest quality drum sound, with the
least bleed?

I have a reasonable variety of mics available to me, pretty much your
usual studio mainstays. I have up to four inputs to allocate to the
drum mics.

Thanks in advance for any help!
Anonymous
July 15, 2005 7:44:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

If you have the space, try moving the amps in front of the drum kit so
they radiate their sound away from the drums.
Anonymous
July 15, 2005 8:30:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

they say simplicity works!
kevin
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Anonymous
July 15, 2005 2:26:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

swami50 wrote:
> I have a reasonable variety of mics available to me, pretty much your
> usual studio mainstays. I have up to four inputs to allocate to the
> drum mics.

Kick, snare and a pair of overheads should be fine.

Chris W
Anonymous
July 18, 2005 6:42:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

swami50 wrote:
> Got a gig coming up Saturday, with pretty loud stage volume: Marshall
> amp, Hammond & Leslie, bass amp, and drums. (The genre is psychedelic
> heavy rock, like Floyd+Deep Purple+Jimi+Free+Zep.) There's no large
> space between instruments, they're packed in pretty tight.
>
> I want to record this gig as well as possible. The Marshall, the
> Leslie, and the bass amp are no problem to close mic. My main concern
> is the drums. How can I get the highest quality drum sound, with the
> least bleed?
>
> I have a reasonable variety of mics available to me, pretty much your
> usual studio mainstays. I have up to four inputs to allocate to the
> drum mics.
>
> Thanks in advance for any help!
>

Okay, here is what I do:

Noise gates on all drum mics. You preferably want "tunable" type so you can zero in on the relevant
frequencies of each drum. Then clamp down on them so the gates are only open as long as they need to
be; in other words, make the release of the gate short so it shuts fairly quickly. They you will
rely upon the other live mics (like vocal mics on stands) on stage to get the "ambient" sound of the
drums.

You can minimize your mic usage, but why? If you use six or eight mics, go for it. My setup with a
six piece and eight mics runs like this:

L-R overheads (Rode NT-5's) pointed at the drummer's right knee -- yes this works very well
Kick, just inside the hole in the front head (Beta-52)
Snare (top mic'd w/SM-57)
Tom 1 (top mic'd w/SM-57)
Tom 2 (top mic'd w/SM-57)
Tom 3 (top mic'd w/SM-57)
Tom 4 (top mic'd w/SM-57)

The overheads (set about three or so feet apart behind the drummer) pick up the cymbals (of course)
and some of the more broad sound of the skins on the drums themselves, giving the "base line" sound
for the kit. Then I bring up the snare, toms and kick to flesh out the sound. With the gates in
operation, it is quite a clean sound. The Overheads will remain open just a bit longer, but are
pointed "forward" toward the kit, not much bleed from the amps.

You can have the cabinets for the guitars/bass as a back line, but it would be better to have them
slightly tilted away from the kit -- or you can use the drum shield solution to keep the sound from
bleeding too much. Another possibility is to move the cabinets further away to either side from the
kit, allowing more space (if possible, depending on the size of the stage) between amps and kit.
Then pipe the guitars/bass/vocals through the drummer's monitor, which can be a headphone affair
instead of a cabinet to minimize bleed.

As an example of tunable gates, I use Behringer Autoquad xr2400's. I got two of them. They're four
gate units, for a total of eight channels. They are frequency tunable, but out of production. I
suppose there is a more updated version, but I don't know. These are bullet proof units and well
built and quiet -- no clattering gate if you use them properly. You could also buy the more
expensive Drawmer 201's or the 4 gate equivalent.

--fletch
Anonymous
July 19, 2005 5:18:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Two mics or a stereo mic somewhere in the room. Record the "event" and
don't get bogged down with trying to make it sound like Frampton Comes
Alive.....(or fill in the blank with any other "live" lp). Most of
your favorite live lps were "touched up" in the studio anyway. A live
recording should sound raw and rough. That's what's cool about them.
I have a DAT with a little Symetrix two channel compressor/limiter that
I barely use...just to take the top off of something that goes horribly
wrong. Usually a pair of mics like AKG451's work or depending on the
room, maybe a pair of ribbons, etc. Simplicity is your friend here.
later,
m
Anonymous
July 20, 2005 9:51:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"swami50" <googlegroups.5.swami50@spamgourmet.com> wrote in message news:1121409107.447670.252830@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Got a gig coming up Saturday, with pretty loud stage volume: Marshall
> amp, Hammond & Leslie, bass amp, and drums. (The genre is psychedelic
> heavy rock, like Floyd+Deep Purple+Jimi+Free+Zep.) There's no large
> space between instruments, they're packed in pretty tight.
>
> I want to record this gig as well as possible. The Marshall, the
> Leslie, and the bass amp are no problem to close mic. My main concern
> is the drums. How can I get the highest quality drum sound, with the
> least bleed?
>
> I have a reasonable variety of mics available to me, pretty much your
> usual studio mainstays. I have up to four inputs to allocate to the
> drum mics.
>
> Thanks in advance for any help!
>


Mic up all of the 'hard' drums... IE: Kick, snare, rack, floor.

If it's a 5-piece kit, make room for another input channel and track.

Forget any overheads.

Forget the hi-hat (back up the snare mic a bit if you want more hat).

Keep some distance from the drums on toms and snare... like 3" or more.

Try to look down at the surface of the drum rather than miking across it's surface.

Use some sort of kick mic for the kick... don't try to be esoteric.

Keep the other mics simple, like SM-57s or MD-421s.

Forget that the word "noise gate" exists.

Pray that the drummer doesn't sing.


--
David Morgan (MAMS)
http://www.m-a-m-s DOT com
Morgan Audio Media Service
Dallas, Texas (214) 662-9901
_______________________________________
http://www.artisan-recordingstudio.com
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 4:10:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> "Justin Ulysses Morse" <ulyssesnospam@rollmusic.com> wrote:.
> > I don't get it. You want to hear the guitar amp through the tom mikes,
> > but only while the drummer is hitting the toms? And you want the
> > guitar bleed to change tone depending on what drummer is doing?

Zigakly <no@no.no> wrote:
> It's no different from gating toms in the studio. Cymbals ring through tom
> mics, but gating the toms is imperative, despite any disproportional
> bleeding. The previous poster talks about gating the overheads too, now
> that's a dubious notion.

It's a matter of preference and style. To me, NOT gating the toms is
imperative. For the sake of the tom sounds as much as to avoid
modulating the bleed.

> In the studio, maybe, but live, the more you have to work with in post the
> better. In the studio the drums don't start tracking until the drums are in
> the right spot for the room and the right mics are in the right spots.
> Live, the show starts when the show starts.

That's true, and back-ups plans are critical to a successful live show.
I just know from experience (mixing bands on a live radio show for
years, as well as live sound and studio work) that listening critically
takes time, and when you're on a tight schedule it's helpful to limit
how many things you need to critique and reoptimize.

> > > Okay, here is what I do:
> >
> > I would set up an AKG C33 stereo condenser mike at the best-sounding
> > spot in the house. I'd feed it to a stereo recording apparatus and
> > start recording. Then I'd make sure somebody did a fantastic job of
> > mixing FOH that night, so that everybody in the room enjoys the show
> > and the recording sounds like a realistic representation of a really
> > great show. And I would try to relax so I can play my best.
>
> If everyone were angels, we wouldn't need police. If every live recording
> circumstance were even close to ideal, we wouldn't need studios. The need
> to multitrack live performances is no different from the need to multitrack
> drums in the studio. The overheads do most of the work, but not all. Same
> for room mics under even the best live recording conditions. There is no
> one spot in any venue or drum room that has everything.
>
> Plus, a one-point stereo mic lacks depth, and large diaphragm mics lack
> off-axis coherence. His NT5's would be much better suited than a C33 for
> overheads or room mics.
>
> And not everyone plays best when relaxed ;) 

All good points. That's what's great about open forums - the OP has a
variety of perspectives here to consider, and agree or disagree as he
sees fit.

I think live albums should try and capture the reality of a very good
live performance. The trick to that isn't to turn the live venue into
a controlled environment and treat it like a recording studio. The
trick is to record lots of shows so you can pick the most successful
recordings of the best performances. Typically, the first hometown
show after returning from a long tour is the best possible scenario -
large fanbase who haven't seen you in a while, and you've had tons of
"rehearsal" in real live situations to get comfortable with the crowd,
the songs, and the tones. But to get a lot of recordings of lots of
shows, you need a simple, relatively hassle-free setup so you're able
to pull it off consistently night after night until you find yourself
having an "on" night on stage while you're also in a good-sounding room
with a good crowd and a good FOH mix.


ulysses
Anonymous
July 29, 2005 12:15:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"swami50" <googlegroups.5.swami50@spamgourmet.com> wrote in message news:1121409107.447670.252830@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Got a gig coming up Saturday, with pretty loud stage volume: Marshall
> amp, Hammond & Leslie, bass amp, and drums. (The genre is psychedelic
> heavy rock, like Floyd+Deep Purple+Jimi+Free+Zep.) There's no large
> space between instruments, they're packed in pretty tight.
>
> I want to record this gig as well as possible. The Marshall, the
> Leslie, and the bass amp are no problem to close mic. My main concern
> is the drums.


So what did you do to mic up the drums... and how did it come out ?

DM
!