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1 Posted on 02/22/2019 at 07:36:20
I’m new to this forum and am eager to get some advice/feedback on an upcoming recording session in which I’ll be playing drums. Some quick background – I’ve been playing drums for over 30 years and have been recording them in studios for nearly as long. That being said, while I know enough to be dangerous I wouldn’t be shocked if there are obvious things I‘m missing or mistakes I’m making, so I’m really open to opinions. Sorry if this is a little long but I want to paint the complete picture so figure better too many details than too few.
First, the style of music is important: we play a very strange instrumental mix of prog rock, space, psychedelic, jazz and punk. The drums are busy/chattery with a lot going on, including odd times and polyrhythms, with a lot of quick notes and accents. The drum set itself is a very high quality Premiere kit (recording series) from the 80s – 4 toms, snare and 24” BD with double bass pedal. The cymbal setup is unique – Zildjians: high hats, large ride, china, 2 small bell cymbals and 2 sets of inverted, stacked cymbals (Bozzio style) which provide for very fast, staccato notes as well as unusual trashy sounds. I also use a clave cowbell that I play with my left foot. I’ll be going over the tuning of the drums with a fine-toothed comb before we record. I also plan to walk around the room and try to decide the best spot to record the drums.
The room is OK – not great, not terrible. It’s our rehearsal space, pretty decent sized - something like 20’ or 25’ x 15’ or so – I can measure if helpful. The ceilings are a nice height – I’d guess 8’ or 9’. Carpet on most of the floor, wood underneath. Blankets hanging on some of the walls and part of the ceiling. One door leading to a hallway and 2 doors on the opposite side leading to other, smaller rooms. One window on the wall between the hallway door and one of the other doors.
Aside from the drums we have a chapman stick player who also plays electric violin (never in the same song) and an electric guitarist. We record all together using headphones – no overdubs at all – with the stick & violin being recorded direct. Last time we had the guitar amp in another room but the guitarist was not very comfortable with that. This time considering his main amp in another room and a small amp/speaker in the room with us for him to play off of, likely behind a makeshift barrier wall that he can see over and/or facing away from the drums. While there will still be some bleed, we hope it’ll be minimal and as I said, we keep all the tracks so at least it won’t fight anything else being played.
Last time we recorded with 8 tracks into a MacBook Pro – this time we are planning to get the Behringer 16 track interface, using 1 track each for stick & violin, 2 for guitars leaving 12 for drums/room.
On to the drum recording itself: all in all I (will) have access to 10 Mics, some of which are very good. Here are my thoughts on how to use them:
• 2 matched Neumann U87s (OHs) – last time these were placed ORTF, considering going with a wider spacing this time for more separation
• Sennheiser 441-D (top snare - alt could be AKG C 414 EB)
• To be purchased - either EV N/D868 or Avantone Pro Mondo (inside bass drum)
• AKG C 414 EB - assuming not used on snare ( 2 smallest toms)
• Sennheiser 421-D (tom)
• SM-58 (floor tom)
• SM-58 (batter side bass drum)
• SM-57 (underneath snare)
• EV PL88 - EV's version of a 58 (Cowbell played with foot)
We also have access to a few more SM 58s and a cheapish AKG condenser mic that we plan to experiment with as mono or stereo ambient room mics.
I've also read online that some people love the AKG C 414 EB as a bass drum mic so depending what we decide I could try that, in which case I’d move a 58 to the toms - I've even read that a lot of people like the Sennheiser 421-D on the bass drum, although it might require a little extra low end in the mixdown.
I’d love to read thoughts/feedback/criticisms, whatever. I feel like in the past I should’ve done more homework and research ahead of the session, so this time I’m hoping some extra preparation and planning pays off.
[ Post last edited on 02/22/2019 at 07:37:03 ]