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Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1
Old 28th August 2002
  #1
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1

For those who enjoy being 'backstage' at a session, here are a few pix of today's tracking session taken during breaks or at the end of the day after the band left.

I was fortunate to have mixer/engineer John Hanlon (Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett, REM) come by this evening and help out with his suggestions.

We are tracking keeper drums, bass, and 2 guitars live. The guitarists and bassist are playing in the control room with cans on ... but they are all standing next to the bigs and the subs to really feel the bottom end and to maintain eye contact with the drummer.

Note the little 'posters' the band put up under the bigs...
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-8.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #2
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The drum kit in the main room...
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-1-lo.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #3
bleen
Guest
Jon,

What heads did you wind up with on the kit? How do they sound? Do you have any photos of the kit up close?

Thanks for posting the update!

Cheers,

Don
Old 28th August 2002
  #4
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here is a closer view of the drum kit and mics:

ATM25 and 421 inside the kick, 414ULS by the beater, phase-reversed "just to try" (it sounds good! lots of sub). OH mics are 451 CK1s, each 150 cm from the snare impact point, HH is a 451 CK3, 421s on toms, 57 on snare, and 2 U87s and a Calrec 1050 on the cymbals (the drummer insisted on micing the cymbals, not sure we'll use them).

Not sure you can see it, but there is a Tubetech MP1A dual valve pre behind the throne for the OH mics, and 2 Neve 1073s for the ATM25 'meat' kick mic and the 57 on snare.

Don, the Evans sound great...we got a very 'tough' rock sound coming out of them. G2 coated on the beaters, G1 clear on the resonance sides, EMAD on the kick beater, EQ3 on the kick resonance.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-2.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #5
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
BTW after the photo, the toms mics were all moved to a more perpendicular position relative to the tom heads...for more attack.

Here is a pic of the room mics. I normally use U87s on the room, but since the drummer wanted them on the cymbals, I tried a pair of Oktava MK219s each about 15 feet away from the bass drum. And surprise...they really rock! In fact, I like this better than my usual setup. Check 'em out.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-3.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #6
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The two MK219s are each about 30 degrees off-axis from the center of the kit. I am tracking them with compression, and preferred the SSL channel comps (slow attack, fairly fast release, 10-12dB of GR) to the usual pair of Distressors.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-4.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #7
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's the ambiance mic, a U47 in Omni placed in the hallway with the door to the studio open. It gets the drum sound from the studio, mixed with reverberation from the loft above and from 60 feet of hallway behind. There is about 50-60ms of delay between the close mics and this mic. I don't compress this mic...it doesn't need it. A little bit behind a rock kit in the mix, and the sound opens up wonderfully.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-6.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #8
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here is an incomplete view of one of the two guitar world setups. It's hard to get it all in one shot. This guy is using a Rectifier, two Marshall tops, a Mesa 2x12, a JCM800 4x12 and a JCM900 2x12 cab. The mics aren't all up yet in this pic. We threw up a 57, an MK219 and a 421 per guitarist, and for today's tracks, we used a 57 on one git and an MK219 on the other.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-10.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #9
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Bass guitar...here's the Ampeg 8x10 cab in an iso booth next to the control room.

In addition to the RE20, I put up a 57. Today we used the 57...more punch. No outboard or desk EQ. No DI. A little bit of comp from the SSL (2-3 dB of GR). I like to get the bass sound I need with one well-placed mic and with a good bass head like the Ampeg SVT2 Pro in use today.

It's important to make the bass sound while listening to the band playing together...to slot it in with the drums and guitars. I might use an 1176 or LA2 on the bass at mixdown, but basically when we track the bass sound is finished and it won't need much if any EQ in the mix.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-12.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #10
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's my station...where I do my thing when not out in the studio, iso booths, machine room, or the lounge.

Any comments, questions, suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em and put 'em into action...so holler.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-11.jpg  
Old 28th August 2002
  #11
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Did you opt for putting selected mic's into pre's out in the live area so as not to degrade the signal by picking it up after the long cable run to the control room?

Why?

Old 28th August 2002
  #12
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Jules...it's habit...outboard pres next to the source. It probably does not make any difference with powerful signals like drums, but I pretty much always do it.
Old 28th August 2002
  #13
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Someone emailed me a question about hihat bleed in the snare mic. Notice how the 57 snare mic is placed so that the hat is at the null point of the 57's cardiod pattern. Not every drummer will give you enough space to do that, but when I can, I do. There is also a small piece of carpet gaffered to another mic stand and placed next to the snare mic.

The hihat is an aggressive Istanbul Alchemy 14" (I think it's from their rock/metal cymbal line) and there is a lot of open hat in the choruses, but the way it is mic'ed, I can compress the snare heavily without the hihat becoming a nuisance in the snare track.

I wonder what you all think of the hihat mic placement. Would you place it differently?
Old 28th August 2002
  #14
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I like that straight down outer edge thang myself, but I would have a padded mic a tad closer to make it sound "close".
Old 28th August 2002
  #15
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Good idea! I'll try it tomorrow!

Old 28th August 2002
  #16
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
nice digs jon.

thats more pieces on a kit than i have seen in quite a while... i seem to be held captive by 4piece kit drummers for as long as i can remember... with a hat, ride, and a crash... maybe 2 crashes.
Old 28th August 2002
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
, I tried a pair of Oktava MK219s each about 15 feet away from the bass drum. And surprise...they really rock! In fact, I like this better than my usual setup. Check 'em out.
I really need to remember to get a pair of these, I have used them only twice, in the same application ( not the same position, I need to try that) and they rock in the room... funny thing is , I was not so excited when putting them up that thay were "all i had available" I was really impressed wehn I heard them at work ( allways nice to get a GOOD surprise for a change...)

Looks like a cool session, love to hear the sounds!
Old 29th August 2002
  #18
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Alpha, yes, he has lots of cymbals. It would be easier if he just had a crash left and right, a ride, and maybe a china or a splash.

Steve, getting my thing on with the 219s has been cool on this session. The MK219s are the kind of mic that I forget about until I'm out of my regular ones, then they go and charm everyone with their original grain and color. Good color drum amb mics, and interesting on electric guitar.

Jules, I lowered the hat mic closer to the HH and settled on about 5" away. Thanks for the keen tip!

We got 3 songs tracked today...during the last song the kick pedals had moved without our noticing it and so did the bass drum relative to the mics. The sound was fortunately still okay -- which was kind of amazing considering the mics inside the kick ended up only about an inch away from the batter head. It was even a lucky stroke, because they hit the tape harder and that progressively *kicked* in some heavy tape compression on the bass drum that worked well at the end of the song.

It's a good idea to mark the mic stand and drum feet positions with gaffer tape...luckily, we had, so it wasn't hard to move everything back afterwards.

This kid hits so hard, we're lucky those Evans skins are holding up as well as they have. 3 songs, no head change yet. Good drummer, though. Really good.
Old 29th August 2002
  #19
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
hey jon, what do you use to keep the kick from moving on those nice floors? i have to pound in concrete nails on a 2x4 into the concrete floor to keep some guys kits from moving. either that or a carpet with the drum set on top of it, also with a 2x4 screwed into the carpet [the weight of the drummer keeps it all in place, or a non skid pad]

although i wont be able to do that in a few weeks after the hardwood floor goes in.
Old 29th August 2002
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Jon, thank's for starting a good thread....

I'm currently producing a band that just scrapped about 10 days of tracking, and are going to start tracking again in a few weeks after I finish a few smaller things (and they gather some more dough)...

Anyways, Drummer I have to deal with has a kit that's still a bit larger than yours - 4 toms, timbale, alot of little splashes and whatnots, looking for the perfect mix of good sound in a small speaker / fluid kit image.

The interesting thing is, after micing up his kit and recording most of an album's worth, I now have the chance to go back and do it over - which is a great thing, and I'm defiantly doing some things differently. I guess alot of it all depends on the drummer at hand, and how adept they are to keeping their maximum volume under control and to a constant. Just like that old joke, how do you know there's a drummer at your door? The knocking keeps getting louder!

After reviewing my drums tracks, I felt that I definatly needed something different for this mix, or at least felt that I could do something to better suit the mix. I started with the drummer perspective kit layout - which I am going to abandon, due to him having a large kit I went with my usual pair of Schoeps cardiods in ORTF over the kit, mistake #1 - I had this pair more so over the drummer's head as to pick up the kit, and it caught <B>way</B> too much snare. Goal #1 in the next tracking session is to make sure whatever I use for overheads gets mostly cymballs and as little snare as I can manage.

Jon - I would think you also try to have a mix in your head by the way you mic the kit - when going with two OHs aiming straight down, and both 150cm from the snare - do you pan these hard? do you start your mix with these, and how do they fair for snare bleed? I may indeed try a pair of 451s next session actually (the re-issues).

My mental plan for next time around is to keep the kit listener perspective - this time I will have the Schoeps ORTF pair in the room (infront of the kit), to use as needed. 451s or km-84s as OHs with the attempt of catching mainly cymbal with some tom and as little snare as possible, getting the snare from top and bottom to taste, as well as a healthy blanketed kick, and probbably the 87 on the hat facing the snare, - sound starting with the kick/snare/hat combo, and bringing in the toms/OHs/rooms to taste...

I guess the question of this post, or the deep thought is :

what parts of micing a kit do you try to start or balance your kit sound with? I'm particularly interested into how you go about with your OH scheme in relation to the room mics, and even the 47 way back down the hallway!

hoping your tracks are coming along nicely...
Old 29th August 2002
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
also - here's a somewhat current picture I could find of his kit - just take away the 16" tom, and remember the spot mic needed for the blocks at times....
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-jimdrumset01.jpg  
Old 29th August 2002
  #22
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
With these mad setups I would do what Simon Phillips showed me...Start with Ambience / Room Mics, then overheads, then bring in close 'spot' mics for added defenition.

Get the room & over heads right, take a LOT of time on them.. then the rest should fall into place...

I had a session ages ago where the drumer sounded like a drunken octopus on the rampage in a chinese percussion shop... I knew the OH sound was the key. So I used a Royer SF12 and spent some time auditioning ALL the pre amps available... Time well spent!

The track was a radio hit, and from a demo became track one on a major release and the band won best british band in the UK's number 1 rock mag "Kerrang!". (The band were called Cay and came out on East West (Warners) here in the UK a few years back.)

Old 30th August 2002
  #23
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I agree with Jules. The OH and room mics are important...I like them to provide a complete kit sound, not just cymbals, with the bass drum well-centered and the snare slightly to one side, and no phase problems when summed to mono.

My OH mics are pointed more at the heads than at the cymbals. I don't have any beef with snare bleed. Hihat bleed can be a nuisance, though.

At the moment, the OHs and room mics are panned hard left and right. The U47s are both panned in the middle (one in the hallway, one 6 feet in front of the kit on the floor.)

I moved the two MK219 room mics closer together today...they're about 8 feet apart now rather than 15...both are 17 feet from the bass drum.

I think it's helpful to hear the mix in your head and be realising it already at the tracking stage...the track should be complete-sounding with the drums, bass and two gits that are going down.

The kick mics and the snare are going to tape with fairly heavy EQ. I am committing them to tape sounding the way I want them to. There is slight EQ on the toms, too. There are varying degrees of desk compression before tape on the kick, snare, toms, room mics and cymbal mics, sometimes on the OH mics too...the SSL comps are handy for bringing out the attack just a little more. The kick, snare and tom mics are also getting a bit of *tape compression*, more or less, depending on the song and the levels sent to tape.

It turns out the 3 cymbal mics are helpful...they'll be staying.

At the end of each day, the recorded tracks are being transfered to ProTools for section editing and occasional drum fill fixing. Nothing too heavy, just the basics.
Old 30th August 2002
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon

At the moment, the OHs and room mics are panned hard left and right. The U47s are both panned in the middle (one in the hallway, one 6 feet in front of the kit on the floor.)
sorry jon, what I was looking to ask is:

which perspective do you pan both pairs? listener perspective or drummer perspective?
Old 30th August 2002
  #25
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Jay,

Usually listener's...but I'm comfortable doing it both ways.

Sometimes it's a cool thing to switch the left-right desk outputs going to the monitor system to see how you like the mix the other way. I might hear something that is out of balance more keenly with the new perspective.
Old 1st September 2002
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
recorderman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
With these mad setups I would do what Simon Phillips showed me...Start with Ambience / Room Mics, then overheads, then bring in close 'spot' mics for added defenition.

Hmmm..interesting. That's what I generally do. I build a "shell" with the room mic's so that the could stand on ther own as a great "picture" of the drums. Then I add the OH's. then the direct mics. The advantage to this is that you tend to do much less processing to you directs, and tend to use the rooms more because you've diled them better than is generaly donew if they're thrown up last. Also you really notice phase between the room/oh/directs.

On another aspect. Im tired of "bad" drummers who hace to hit everything on the verge of breaking "it." Typically they hit kicks too hard, which actually chokes the sound of the hit, ther is a point of no return, where if you pass it, the drums do not speak as well. The only drummer;s I've ever worked with that played well, and who's drums sounded good with this (beat the **** out of) approach were: Vinnie Appice and James Kottack (a secret MONSTER!!!!)

My favorite drummer is Jim Keltner though...one of the yoda's of feel.
Old 1st September 2002
  #27
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by recorderman

Hmmm..interesting. That's what I generally do. I build a "shell" with the room mic's so that the could stand on ther own as a great "picture" of the drums. Then I add the OH's. then the direct mics. The advantage to this is that you tend to do much less processing to you directs, and tend to use the rooms more because you've diled them better than is generaly donew if they're thrown up last. Also you really notice phase between the room/oh/directs.
So true...I share that approach.

We finished 9 songs in 4 days...sorry I didn't take more photos, but aside from changing snares from song to song, the setup remained the same.

Here are a couple of snapshots at the end of today's session next to the guitar worlds.

In the first one is my studio partner Jay Cee (he says hi to you, Jules) and, Laura, our runner on these sessions.

In the second one is Briac (bass tech & friend, a big "hi" to Jules as well) and Auralie, a studio intern (we like pretty interns/runners...the artists do too).

Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-laurajc-big.jpg  
Old 1st September 2002
  #28
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
P.S. Note the classic workhorse comps in the rack, bottom right: LA2A, 1176LN, and CL1B.

The bass amp head is an Ampeg SVT2Pro...sort of the definition of good head in my world.
Attached Thumbnails
Rock drum tracking session pix - Day 1-bibiaura-big.jpg  
Old 1st September 2002
  #29
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i need to find some runners/interns like that. im coming to your studio to record jon.
Old 1st September 2002
  #30
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
You would get along just fine with Jon's crew... I assure you!
yuktyy
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