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Drum Room Too Big?
Old 6th November 2002
Gear Nut
Crushed's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Drum Room Too Big?

Hello folks. Since I work at a school, I've got access to several really large "rooms" to track drums. The school has a 1000 seat auditorium, a large gymnasium, a smaller gymnasium, and several pods that are lecture "auditoriums". Naturally, the drums sound huge in these rooms, but I haven't had a chance to record them yet, just listen to them. I have some questions about how to tackle this.

My questions are:
1. How big is too big? Is the gymnasium too big?

2. Do late reflections **** up my sound?

3. How do I approach the tracking? Same as with my bedroom, only try to incorporate the room instead of trying to hide it?

4. If I use baffles to cut out some reflections, aren't I losing the benefits of the larger room?

Old 6th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
🎧 15 years
A drum room can almost never be too big. What's pretty common is to put gobos around the drums to cut down on some of the reflections so the close mics stay dry and your room is the room. That way when you start to mix you have the option of having a dry drum sound if you need it.

When you start putting mics up and getting sounds I'd start with the room mics, then overheads then close mics. Most people tend to do the room mics last and it usually results in a room sound that doesn't relate to the rest of the drums.
Old 6th November 2002
Gear Head
nick's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Re: Drum Room Too Big?

Originally posted by Crushed
My questions are:
1. How big is too big? Is the gymnasium too big?

No i don't think that would be too big. The main thing to consider is the sort of reverb / acoustics of the room you use, and I wouldn't imagine a gymnasium would sound any good at all.

2. Do late reflections **** up my sound?

I don't think they necessarily do, providing they are sufficently diffuse / different sounding from the direct sound your mics will be picking up, if you know what I mean.

In a gymnasium for example I would imagine you would get loads and loads of direct reflections, which would sound generally **** and come across as very 'small' sounding, due to phase cancellations I think.

The auditorium could be great, and maybe it even has some sort of accoustic treatment.

Old 9th November 2002
Lives for gear
bjornson's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Rooms CAN be too big. It helps to remember that useable decay time is tempo dependant, ie.. a slow tempo ballad can utilize a larger room than a 160 BPM song. The importance of gobos to minimize room reflections back into the close mics cannot be over emphasized. I sometimes use sidewalls AND roof. In a large room I always record a "close room" set (usm-69) 10-15 feet out, and a "far room" set (Earthworks tc30) so there are plenty of options.
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