Recording drums in a large space, but getting a very dry sound?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Ecadad, May 29, 2020.

  1. Ecadad

    Ecadad Tele-Holic

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    I'm going to be recording music in a very large warehouse. I have mics and a drumkit, but I don't necesarily want a huge sound or a lot of room in the drums. I like a tight, dry drum sound. How can I pull this off when the space is incredibly spacious and reverberant?

    I have a nice thick carpet in the area that we'll be recording the drums, but what else can I do to cut out room noise? (I can't put up walls or anything)

    For mics at my disposal, I have 4 SM57s, a Beta 57, an AT235, a Beta 52a, an MXL V67N Small Diaphragm Condenser, an MXL 990, and a scattering of some other cheaper dynamic mics. I can record with 8 inputs at once.

    Any ideas on eliminating room sound in a huge room? It's really massive.
     
  2. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

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    hanging carpets as walls maybe? getting rid of the skins on the bottom of the bass and tom drums ?
     
  3. Ecadad

    Ecadad Tele-Holic

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    Does removing the resonant heads help make them less room-sounding? Definitely plan on taking it off the kick at least.
     
  4. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mic closely, and gate the drums aggressively so the room reverb is not audible.
     
  5. Ecadad

    Ecadad Tele-Holic

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    Thanks! I figured I would have to use some gating. It's been ages since I recorded drums, guess I'll brush up on my gate-skills.
     
  6. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mic the set up like a live gig.
     
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  7. tubegeek

    tubegeek Tele-Afflicted

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    To quote the Shangri-Las: "Close, very, very close!"
     
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  8. PoorNoodle

    PoorNoodle TDPRI Member

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  9. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

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    I think so, but i don't know much about recording.
     
  10. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    Recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3, gated to perdition:



    The pictures show no gobos around the kit.

    BTW, I typically use expanders rather than gates. The action is typically smoother.

    I love the dual lead guitar sound at the end, but Andrew Latimer's tone is just about always to die for.

    Bob
     
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  11. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

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    If your recording with a DAW you don't need to worry about gates and expanders until later, you also dont say what your kit looks like. 8 inputs are the real limitation here. When I mike a kit usually I use one on each tom, SM57 or similar on top and bottom of the snare, kick gets one on the beater and one on the other side and some kind of speaker wired as a mic for sub bass. You can record that seperately since you wont have enough channels and add it in later. One for the hat two overheads and two farther out to get room noise. To cut it down to 8 channels the order I would eliminate mics are 1. room 2. bottom of snare 3. beater on kick. 4 do not remove the bottom heads, if you see videos of pros recording you almont never see this. Another thing I like to do is record with a tea towel or sheet on the drum heads. It was used in the 60's and 70's but not much anymore. Give it a try for 10 minutes and listen to the play back you'll be surprised at how much it can tighten everything up.
     
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  12. Ecadad

    Ecadad Tele-Holic

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    Thanks! towel on the snare is one of my favorite drum tricks.

    It's a small kit- snare, kick, hat, one crash, one ride, one rack tom, and one floor tom.

    My game plan with micing was going to be: 1 snare, 1 kick, 2 overhead (kind of a Glyn Johns technique, but I'm worried the overheads will add too much room sound).
     
  13. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Ha. I was gonna suggest the Glyn Johns technique - I hate using too many mics...IF the drummer is good, u can get great sound with minimal micage...agreed the overheads may add more room than u want.
     
  14. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

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    You can always lower the fader, you need the overheads for the cymbals ant hat
     
  15. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

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    If you only have one overhead I’d suggest a figure 8 pattern if you have it
     
  16. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

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    If you have enough channels and mics you can do both
     
  17. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Some thoughts:

    -You'd be surprised how little of the room gets picked up in close drum mics. You're gonna get most of it through your overheads, but still less than you think.

    -The Glyn Johns thing (and its variants) is cool, but you get a LOT more room that way.

    -Avoid compression on the drum mics at any stage- doing that brings up the room sound. It's awesome if that's what you want, but it sounds like you don't. In my personal paradigm, compression is pretty much mandatory for the Glyn Johns thing to really work- think "When The Levee Breaks" (which was actually Glyn's brother Andy at the board, but you get the idea).

    -Try building goboes around the kit out of whatever you can find, maybe even build some simple 2x4 frames filled with insulation and covered with whatever's handy (old carpet, scrap bedsheets, whatever).

    -I absolutely second the suggestion to use expanders instead of gates, but unless you're going for an effect (think '80s gated reverb snare) I generally don't bother at all.

    -Bleed isn't inherently bad, bleed=ambiance.
     
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  18. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum Tele-Meister

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    I agree with close mics, using screens, especially for bass drum and recording flat, or at least without dynamics or noise gates - add that later if you can. Using directional or cardioid pattern overhead mics doesn’t pick up too much room ambience. For that I’d have two further mics further out and higher maybe omnidirectional.

    You’ll want to prevent the bass drum bleeding onto other mics as it’s a pain to fix on the mix.
     
  19. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Wall reflection Volume level drops with increased distance walls to microphones. Set up farthest away from all walls. Especially don’t set up in corner.
     
  20. tubegeek

    tubegeek Tele-Afflicted

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    More relative to Glyn Johns method in general than this specific question in the OP: let's not forget GJ used his technique in rooms that sounded good and not just randomly anywhere. The room sound he picked up, in other words, was desirable and welcome, not random boom.
     
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