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Old 21st October 2002
  #1
I'm back

Sorry I have been absent from the board for a while. We were tracking drums in surround and that kept my attention going for about 12 hours a day.

I wrote a little about the pre-production for this project on another thread, here is what we ended up doing:

There were 3 complete drum kits to chose from (Yamaha, Pearl and Gretsch) and 8 different snares. The snare we ended up using (as expected) was a 1934 Slingerland, hands down the best sounding snare that ever entered my studio. Except on one song we used a 12" Premier snare for a brighter sound.

We took the 12" tom from every kit and got a selection of 12" heads and a few different bottom heads, to check out what sounded good on which drum. It took a whole day of changing and tuning heads. We recorded each combination with the same microphone in the same position at the same level, so we could compare afterwards. The mic we used for the test was an AKG D3800.

Long story short: the winning combination was a pin stripe head, clear bottom head on the Pearl (Studio Masters Series) Toms. The Gretsch 22" kick took the cake with a clear Remo batter head and a full (no hole) front head. I used my speaker/SM91 combo on the kick with the SM91 cable just fitting through the air hole in the top so we needed no hole in the front head. The SM91 went through a LittleLabs IBP, which let me adjust the low end to taste. I'm really happy with that kick sound.

We checked 3 different mics for the toms: an AKG C535, AKG D3800 and a Sennheiser 504 (previously my fav). The AKG D3800 came out the winner with the best balance between high end attack and fat low end for all the rack toms (10", 12" 14”). The 16” floor tom got a Shure SM7, which sounded very close to the 3800 but better suitable for the floor. In the picture you can see the 504 – D3800 - C535 mics for the checkout. On top of the kick you can see the tiny cable for the SM91 coming out of the air hole.

more to come...

Old 21st October 2002
  #2
drums part 2

Here are some pics of the kick inside (before we put the front head on) and the kit from the front (sorry slightly fuzzy). We put a blanket on top of the kick to minimize reflections from the toms. The piece of acoustic foam inside the kick does not touch any head, just soaks up some of the reflections inside the kick

Other mics used are:

Snare top – Beyer 201TG
Snare bottom – AKG C1000
Hat – AKG 451 w/cardioid capsule
Ride – AKG D224
OH – 2x Royer R-121
Snare OH – AKG 451 w/long shotgun capsule, about 5 feet above the snare

The following was our first setup for room mics for surround:
Fritz the head – Neuman K100 binaural head behind the drum kit above the drummers head

rear wall (listener perspective):
2X Fostex M11RP pointed into each corner of wall and ceiling
2X Octava 219 (as per Jon’s setup , thanx Jon) 1” above the floor pointed towards the drums. Those four mics were mixed together to stereo in the Spider

room center
Soundelux E47 in omni – same height as the triangle of rack toms and kick about 6 feet away
2x GrooveTubes AM40 mini tube mics – 1 foot below the ceiling pointed at the outside walls of the room.

Then we got the Soundfield mic and it replaced all the room mics except for Fritz. We even went back and re-tracked 3 songs after we got the Soundfield (it was at AES and arrived halfway through tracking).

Since I need 6 of the MTR buses for monitoring (on the Sony DMX R-100) I had to patch everything direct into the R-1 converters. Not a stitch of EQ or compression on any of the drum tracks. I am really happy with the sound. Love working in surround.



Old 21st October 2002
  #3
...part 3

Here is the drumset from behind with that wonderful Slingerland snare. I offered to trade my complete drumset for that snare, but he didn’t want to go for that. The Soundfield is at the top of the picture slightly right of center. BTW, the headphones are GKs. They work great for drum tracking (or acoustic gtr). I could not hear any bleed in the drum mics, even when he was not playing the drums.




This picture is the back wall, excuse the mess. You can see the Fostex ribbon mics in the corner under the ceiling and the Octavas on the floor (right side is hard to see). The two AM40s (behind the E47 stand) had been moved back after we got the Soundfield. They were placed right above the drums one foot below the ceiling. The E47 is still in place but not being used (sure will be used for vocals, though).




That’s it for the drum parts. Came out great. If I can figure out how, I post a MP3 of a few seconds in stereo (oops, haven’t even checked in stereo yet).

On to overdubs…
Old 21st October 2002
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Michael,

thanks for this very interesting information !!!!

Can you please post more about the specific surround tracking ?
What atmosphere did you try to capture ? The impression of beeing in the room looking at the drummer, or actually sitting behind the kit ?

I haven`t made any surround experiences yet, but I once tried something which could be very cool for surround drum tracking :

Take a stereo mic ( I used a Crown SASS with great results ) and place it anywhere in front of the kit. I had the middle of the SASS facing the middle of the kit. Now place two equally tuned snare drums on the left and right side of the stereo mic. Of course they won`t get played, but hitting the drums, the snares start to make noise.
I used this on a spheric ambient track and only bringing it up a little bit opened the drums alot and was the secret weapon for this mix.
Now think about surround : Depending on where you wanna place the drums in the mix, this could give you great possibilities of reproducing of natural impression of the kit.


Have you ever heard of that german company SPL ?
They are just around the corner from where I live and offer that 5.1 mic array user brauner capsules. They just produced a drum surround DVD at Galaxy Studios featuring Artists like Simon Phillips, using their 5.1 system.

Very impressive, as you think you are actually sitting behind the drum kit watching the DVD.

(sorry for the bd english )
Old 21st October 2002
  #5
Quote:
Originally posted by clipgod
Hi Michael,

thanks for this very interesting information !!!!

Can you please post more about the specific surround tracking ?
What atmosphere did you try to capture ? The impression of beeing in the room looking at the drummer, or actually sitting behind the kit ?
Guten Abend Herr clipgod

I am trying to create the impression of the listener being in the room with the band. At first I thought that my room might be too small for this (12' x 22'), but it worked out great, because it's very live, all hard surfaces. The position of the listener would be in front of the drums looking at the drum kit. The guitars will be placed off to the sides and keyboards are going into the back behind the listener. The lead vocals are going to be in the middle of the room, kind of where the listener would stand. I'll try to keep the "flying-around-the-room-effects to a minimum (probably can't refuse completely from that, too tempting)

Quote:
Have you ever heard of that german company SPL ?
They are just around the corner from where I live and offer that 5.1 mic array user brauner capsules. They just produced a drum surround DVD at Galaxy Studios featuring Artists like Simon Phillips, using their 5.1 system.

Very impressive, as you think you are actually sitting behind the drum kit watching the DVD.
Yes, I talked to them and they are sending me some material and possibly an Athmos 5.1 ($$$$$) to try out. The Soundfield mic with the 5.1 decoder is working great and sounds very natural, should be interesting to compare the two.
Old 21st October 2002
  #6
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
all the drum pics posted lately have so many drums in them. i cant tell you the last time i tracked more than a 4 piece kit. its gotten to the point where i dropped from a 5 piece to a 4 piece kit now when i play [side note: i might possibly get my first ever drum credit on an album thats not my music... going to track them tuesday with my wife manning the board. im mixing a AAA album right now and the original drummer didnt quite have this one rockin song down, he is more of a country/brush style player, im mixing the song and i love the song but i hate the drums, so i mentioned it to the artist and he told me to play the parts, hope i dont suck too bad on it]

cool pics, i always love seeing drum tracking pics.
Old 21st October 2002
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I hear ya Alpha ( great pix btw michael! Thanks!) I generally hate big kits ( a four piece is about all I ever want to see) I start tracking an artist on tuesday who has told me to think India arie meets macy gray with a bit of americana thrown in and the drummer calls me today and says he has 5 !!! toms.. a double kick and a ****load of cymbals.... the demos the singer/artist played me were very drum minimal, and both he and the producer said thay wanted real simple, middle of the road parts... this should be an interesting mess!

sorry foe the side note...

Michael, will you leave some of the surround micing " in place" when doinf other overdubs to create space? I would be curious if this worked, or sucked... keep the pix coming!
Old 21st October 2002
  #8
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Awesome thread Michael, your'e back with a bang!
Old 28th October 2002
  #9
more pictures

Drums and bass are done and wer'e moving on to finishing one song at a time. We started with two acoustic songs that don't have drums, but will have real strings and I need the ruffs for the string arranger. Here is a picture of the mic setup for a single acoustic guitar (it was taken at a 45 degree angle, that's why the black corners). John is actually sitting a little further away as he was when actually recording:




On the other song both guitar players played at the same time and "Fritz" was moved right between the two players. The Soundfield was closer too and it sounded amazing.

I wish I would never have to go back to stereo.
Old 28th October 2002
  #10
mic test

Here are the five finalists we checked out for vocals, any idea which one won?


Old 28th October 2002
  #11
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: mic test

Quote:
Originally posted by mwagener
Here are the five finalists we checked out for vocals, any idea which one won?
E47
Old 28th October 2002
  #12
Old 28th October 2002
  #13
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
E47
Old 28th October 2002
  #14
Lives for gear
 
SoundEng1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
E47
Old 28th October 2002
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Greg Heimbecker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
yuktyy the one that's still got the windscreen! rollz the E47
Old 28th October 2002
  #16
Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Heimbecker
yuktyy the one that's still got the windscreen! rollz the E47
actually the windscreen is mounted to that Atlas stand heh
Old 28th October 2002
  #17
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
The suspence is killing me!
Old 28th October 2002
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, the popper-stopper still attached gave it away for me too. But in the Vipre, all of those mics would sound great, no?

FWIW, I recorded a male vocalist (the one with the painful essing problem) with a Solidtube last week, and it turned out to be a perfect match, which is rare for that mic.
Old 28th October 2002
  #19
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
251, 47, 103, 87 HIKE!!!!

47 gets my vote...
Old 28th October 2002
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I know!

It's..

It's...

It's the little kick drum speaker in the far upper right!

I knew it!

The only mic that wasn't too bright!rollz
Old 29th October 2002
  #21
Wow, lots of correct answers, yes, the 47 took the cake.

Here is the verdict:
The singer has a very clear voice and a great range, kind of like Bruce Dickinson meets Rob Halford.
The 103 didn't have enough midrange for his voice.
The SolidTube was too bright and not enough warm bottom.
The 87 didn't have enough bottom or high end and sounded almost a bit hollow on his voice.
The finalists were the 251 and the 47. Both mics would have worked great for his voice. The 251 had a bit more top end (around the 10 - 12 K range) but the 47 has that creamy midrange and fat bottom with a very smooth top end. Very close call between the 251 and the 47, took us an hour of listening and comparing tracks, but in the end we went for the 47.

The vocal chain now is the E-47 into the VIPRE (600 Ohm) into the Distressor (3 - 5 dB compression) straight into the Euphonix 713 A/M converter. No EQ neccessary. The one problem I keep having with the 47 (not only with this singer) is low end pops (air). I got two windscreens in front of it and it still pops when he's not careful. Any ideas? I tried the old pencil in front of the mic but it didn't do much good in this case.

Today we started setting up for electric guitar, more pictures coming up tomorrow.
Old 29th October 2002
  #22
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
P-Pops

You might try the airgun appraoch. Here's what you do: buy a supersoaker squirtgun, leave it empty (unless you don't like the singer). Learn the vocal passes well enough so that when the singer reaches any strong "P" words, you're ready to fire a pop-cancellation air blast between him and the mic. The timing is a bitch to get just right, but it's worth it when it works.
Old 29th October 2002
  #23
Lives for gear
 
imacgreg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: P-Pops

Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
You might try the airgun appraoch. Here's what you do: buy a supersoaker squirtgun, leave it empty (unless you don't like the singer). Learn the vocal passes well enough so that when the singer reaches any strong "P" words, you're ready to fire a pop-cancellation air blast between him and the mic. The timing is a bitch to get just right, but it's worth it when it works.

Ouch, that's intense!!

Are you serious? Wouldn't the mic pick up the sound of the gun itself??

Ian
Old 29th October 2002
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
imacgreg....have another cup of coffee and read that again.
Old 29th October 2002
  #25
Lives for gear
 
drundall's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by mwagener

The one problem I keep having with the 47 (not only with this singer) is low end pops (air). I got two windscreens in front of it and it still pops when he's not careful. Any ideas? I tried the old pencil in front of the mic but it didn't do much good in this case.

I pretty much never have popping problems anymore, I don't know why. I use a low end roll off and always a Royer pop screen. Could be the 33609...
Old 29th October 2002
  #26
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Perhaps the Viper has over 'hyped' the capsule, and it's responding in an unattractive way...

I'TS NOT NATURAL!



DUMP ALL YOUR VIPERS AND SEND THEM TO ME FOR SAFE KEEPING!

Old 29th October 2002
  #27
Quote:
Originally posted by drundall


I pretty much never have popping problems anymore, I don't know why. I use a low end roll off and always a Royer pop screen. Could be the 33609...
The high pass filter on the Vipre is on and I don't want to take out more low end because it affects the vocal sound, all the throaty growl gets lost. Tell me about the royer pop filter.

Maybe it's because I'm listening with a sub for the surround sound, it might intensify the pops. But then again, the listener at home will be listening with a sub as well. It's actually down to about 4 - 5 pops a song and I can automate the EQ in the board to get rid of those during mixing.
Old 29th October 2002
  #28
Re: P-Pops

Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
You might try the airgun appraoch. Here's what you do: buy a supersoaker squirtgun, leave it empty (unless you don't like the singer). Learn the vocal passes well enough so that when the singer reaches any strong "P" words, you're ready to fire a pop-cancellation air blast between him and the mic. The timing is a bitch to get just right, but it's worth it when it works.
I tried that, but we used a paint gun, really pissed off the singer heh heh heh
Old 29th October 2002
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't worry too much about popping p's. I just rooll off a bit of bottom on the offending P on the Fairlight.

Work's like a charm
Old 29th October 2002
  #30
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by mwagener
The vocal chain now is the E-47 into the VIPRE (600 Ohm) into the Distressor (3 - 5 dB compression) straight into the Euphonix 713 A/M converter. No EQ neccessary. The one problem I keep having with the 47 (not only with this singer) is low end pops (air). I got two windscreens in front of it and it still pops when he's not careful. Any ideas? I tried the old pencil in front of the mic but it didn't do much good in this case.

might sound stupid but why not angle the 47 a bit away from the singer, or depending the setup so that he sings just under it.

Never tried it on a singing vocal myself but it works for heavy compressed voice overs. Even have them talking sideways from the mic sometimes.
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