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View Full Version : Working in a large, untreated room - story first


jason baliban
May 26th, 2011, 01:14 AM
This past weekend I packed up my stuff and headed to a friends fathers office space. He is a lawyer and getting out of the practice. The office is a an old church, being a hobbyist, I thought it would be fun to set up some stuff.

I headed over with a friend and a crappy drum set. We started bringing equip in the doors and my friends fathers eyes lit up like a little kid. Every new piece of equipment that I set up his eyes got bigger.

We showed up at 3pm and he had to leave by 4 so he didnt get a chance to see everything set up. The next morning he was there bright and early, just as we were ready for the first drum take. The drummer played for a few minutes and received a call that he had to leave. So after 8 hours of setup, he recorded 15 minutes of drums. I was bummed but i appreciated him lending his set and his efforts (drums are not his primary instrument).

As we were tearing down, the father asked if we could meet after we were done tearing down.

"Jason, I had so much fun watching this, would you like to see if we can record more here?"

YES!!!

So here are my questions.

The room is 50'x30' and 14' high. The floor is wood, the walls are stone and ceiling is probly a metal of some type.

Going forward, how would you go about recording in this space as far as controlling the reverb? I cannot treat the walls or ceiling so i am left to using mobile gobos to try to control things.

Where would you start putting the gobos?

Where would you put the control desk?

where would you first start in placement of the drumset?

Any other ideas?

I know all of these things will require listening and experimentation, i was just wondering if there was a place that you would start?

Here are some pictures of the room...
http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.212495172116098.57639.201839383181677

Here is a sample of the only take (unfortunately, no time to move mics and try to much).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdqOwa9smqA

jB

T.Bay
May 26th, 2011, 02:10 AM
First, Id put the drums at least a third of the way into the room with ALL the gobos behind it so the spot mics are not pointing at the back wall...

Next, the Right Overhead appears to be pointing at the wrong side of the hi hat, were you short of hi hats in the mix?

If you want to mic the drums, then point the mics at the drums not off axis where they sound thin.

The room mics are also pointing into the corners, why mic the drums from a distance and do this, just mic the room from the kit or point the mics at the drums from a distance as a spaced pair.

Also those 57's that close to the toms will be good for plenty of 300Hz & 3kHz, neither of which I'd be overly happy with.

Of course there are plenty of ways to skin a cat...which was obviously what the drummer was doing instead of tuning the snare.

:very happy:

In a room that ambient.I'd have the mono room mic (SM7 or RE20 ) low down, 6 ft in front of the kick drum

jason baliban
May 26th, 2011, 02:33 AM
First, Id put the drums at least a third of the way into the room with ALL the gobos behind it so the spot mics are not pointing at the back wall...

Check, got that one right...kit position anyway:)

Next, the Right Overhead appears to be pointing at the wrong side of the hi hat, were you short of hi hats in the mix?

The overheads were the only mics we got to move around and we tried a few positions. This seemed to give the most interesting image. With the mics in a more traditional formation there seemed to be some strange phasing...could have been the side walls?

If you want to mic the drums, then point the mics at the drums not off axis where they sound thin.

The room mics are also pointing into the corners, why mic the drums from a distance and do this, just mic the room from the kit or point the mics at the drums from a distance as a spaced pair.

Also those 57's that close to the toms will be good for plenty of 300Hz & 3kHz, neither of which I'd be overly happy with.

Excellent tips and will be paid more attention to next outing!

Of course there are plenty of ways to skin a cat...which was obviously what the drummer was doing instead of tuning the snare.

Hilarious!!! I wouldnt (nor would he) call himself a drummer;)

:very happy:

In a room that ambient.I'd have the mono room mic (SM7 or RE20 ) low down, 6 ft in front of the kick drum

You would prefer those two dynamics over the tlm 103? Because of the reverb?

Thanks!

jB

T.Bay
May 26th, 2011, 04:41 AM
I prefer the floor tom side OH to come down a foot or so than to move the snare side out wider over the hat.

(I usually center the OH mics directly over snare & floor tom and pan them hard L-R).

In a very ambient untreated room with no gobo's right behind the kit, the room mics would be also much closer, maybe even as close as 4 to 6 feet.

I prefer the dynamic FOK or ribbon rooms' probably because of the abundance of cymbal wash out there.

An old 414EB is also nicely forgiving in the top end for an LDC.

A smoother top end seems more sympathetic to the drum mix generally.

The under-snare mic also adds a lot of annoying rattle, maybe you could gate it and the kick drum mic.

Also the video seems panned opposite.

jason baliban
May 26th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Cant wait for round two with all of these suggestions!

Thanks!

jB

Bob Olhsson
May 29th, 2011, 02:14 AM
Only wombs that are screwed up ever need to be "treated." Sounds like it might be a great one!

Get everybody playing close together so the incident bleed will be short and enjoy.

NathanRocks88
May 30th, 2011, 10:14 AM
Recording, the only reason I'll go to a church. :beer:

jason baliban
June 13th, 2011, 02:21 AM
Only wombs that are screwed up ever need to be "treated." Sounds like it might be a great one!

Get everybody playing close together so the incident bleed will be short and enjoy.

Thanks for sharing the excitement!


Recording, the only reason I'll go to a church. :beer:

HAHA Fact!

jB

jason baliban
June 13th, 2011, 02:24 AM
I finally got another chance to set up the drums for a 2nd run...

I will spare you the sound files, as i played for this test and i am NO drummer.

I know this is the biz of "hearing" but if you "see" anything that stands out good or bad, please share.

http://highsundry.com/webpics/DS2_3061.jpg

http://highsundry.com/webpics/DS2_3064.jpg

http://highsundry.com/webpics/DS2_3073.jpg

http://highsundry.com/webpics/DS2_3074.jpg

http://highsundry.com/webpics/DS2_3079.jpg

http://highsundry.com/webpics/DS2_3082.jpg

jB

CloseToTheEdge
June 13th, 2011, 04:53 AM
Recording, the only reason I'll go to a church. :beer:

Dude, you're clearly going to hell.

I'll buy you a beer and rent you a hooker when I see you down there! :lol:

T.Bay
June 14th, 2011, 12:42 AM
Things i see... that you may want to contemplate.

Mics are being pointed at things that are not instruments i.e the floor.

Stuff off axis sounds different to stuff on axis. I usually prefer the latter.

If you do not have enough stereo width with ORTF then try X-Y or something else.

I think I already indicated my preference for an offset (floortom is lower) spaced pair directly over center of floor tom & snare drum (mics roughly measured the same distance to center of snare drum).

I also like mid-side. Its mono plus room... very focused, can also be tried in the FOK position you have there, with a LD dynamic (SM7?) and a fig 8 ribbon or LDC.

Also, the part of the drum skin that actually gets hit makes a different sound to any other bit of it that doesn't.

Its not 'the same thing' to mic any old part of the skin, not even close.

I generally prefer to hear the bit that gets hit (look for the stick marks) when pointing mics at percussion.

The gobos look randomly placed with spaces in between.

I would have them in a tighter semi-circle, butt them up tight.

Protect the mics from 'seeing' reflections from the closest (side) walls or ceiling directly.

Can't see a reason to leave gaps or not put taller gobos behind the overheads.

I said all this already probably.

jason baliban
June 14th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Thanks for all the input T!

The one comment about the gobos... The pair nearest to the front are on axis with the over heads.

jB

T.Bay
June 14th, 2011, 02:49 PM
I meant (about the gaps) that the gobos effectiveness will be much reduced the further away you put it from the mic, reflected sound will get around it quite easily if you space them out.

I picture it like the surf hitting the beach casting arcs in several different directions all crossing over each other.

I would prefer to protect the back or sides of the mics from the nearest walls (that includes the ceiling) with the gobos up much closer (right up to the stands).

I'm not trying to kill the room ambience, just trying to get it mostly from the direction the mic is pointing.

If I want a wider stereo drum image or less cymbal I put the overheads in lower, not further out.

jason baliban
June 14th, 2011, 03:22 PM
I cant wait to get in there and do some more experimenting.....hopefully with a real drummer this time.

Thanks for direction T:Thumbsup:

jB

NathanRocks88
June 15th, 2011, 08:32 AM
Dude, you're clearly going to hell.

I'll buy you a beer and rent you a hooker when I see you down there! :lol:

yeah, I sold my soul for rock'n'roll a while ago.

The devil has 4 more years till I'm 27 to come through on his end of the bargain. If he doesn't I'll take his ass to court for breach of contract.

NathanRocks88
June 15th, 2011, 09:28 AM
Umm....where is the mic for rack tom 1??? :Confused:

That was my big question. now some suggestions. :Wink:

I would also recommend moving that D112 anywhere but dead center of the drum AND turn it off axis. But that's just me. If it sounded good, it is good. Context and yada yada yada.

and that snare mic....god I hate the sound of a lonely top head snare mic. :Cry: Especially when it's actually on top of the head.

Here's a cheap trick. Move the mic about 4-6 inches away from the rim and up ~3 inches. Keep it pointed at the rim. Just make sure the hi hat is situated in the "rejection zone" of whatever mic you're using when doing this. Experiment and see what you come up with. This method has served me well (sometimes, context, yadayadayada)

Or you can put an LDC about 3 inches above the rim of the snare, with the diaphragm almost totally vertical. This sounds pretty rad by itself too. :Wink:

I also realize that this is contrary to T.Bay's advice. As I generally prefer the part of the drum responsible for the tone. Which is rarely ever where the stick is smacking it. :headpalm:
To my ear, the shell and the resonant/bottom heads are where the real magic of the drum are happening. With some careful mic positioning it is possible to get the best of both worlds. :weedstore:

aka Roast Chicken :vuvu:

I might also be a good idea to find a different space to setup the control station. Getting good tones is easier when you can actually HEAR WHAT's COMING OUT OF THE MONITORS without the sound's point of origin within arms reach. That, and you won't have to record little snippets and play them back (which is never a bad idea anyway, helps with setups for phase coherency)

Or you could use the gobos for isolating your monitoring/control station? That would also require finding a sweet spot in the room for the drumset and the room mics.

You have an awesome converter and a bunch of 57's. To the womb that says you got your priorities in order. :beer: To a gear Evil! slut, it might say something to the contrary. :headpalm:

Could be fun (and affordable) to rent some awesome outboard gear and mics for the next session. Assuming there is someone in town that does that sort of thing.
That would also be your chance to snap some glam photos and maybe record a sound that you will be excited about sharing.

and


Ya might want to add some lava lamps to your gig bag....that office has the kinda vibe only a human relations manager can appreciate.

nobby
June 15th, 2011, 04:47 PM
and that snare mic....god I hate the sound of a lonely top head snare mic. :Cry: Especially when it's actually on top of the head.



I've never heard of such a thing unless you're listening to it soloed.

The snare is coming through the overheads, the tom mics, room mic(s). The snare spot mic is just to reinforce/process the sound a bit.

Last time I mic'd drums I had a mic under the snare but I found it to be pretty much unusable and superfluous. (more of the snare than I wanted to hear)

YMMV

T.Bay
June 15th, 2011, 05:54 PM
The snare is coming through the overheads, the tom mics, room mic(s). The snare spot mic is just to reinforce/process the sound a bit.



I tend to mix like this too, so I only look for the stick attack and some of the fat underneath (low end) from the spot mic on snare, hence the position of that mic.

Just in case you are wondering the mix order, its OH's, Rooms, Toms, Sn, Kick.

NathanRocks88
June 15th, 2011, 07:48 PM
I've never heard of such a thing unless you're listening to it soloed.



That's what I meant, sorry I was unclear on that.


It is nice to solo the spot mic and mutter "Dude that's cool" under your breath.


Which is exactly what I said when I heard the AT4050 my buddy used on a snare. It actually sounded like a drum!

T.Bay
June 15th, 2011, 10:31 PM
It is nice to solo the spot mic and mutter "Dude that's cool" under your breath.


Which is exactly what I said when I heard the AT4050 my buddy used on a snare. It actually sounded like a drum!

Yes it is nice...

The problem arises when you try to blend a half a dozen of them thar AT4050's together in the hope that your Roast Chicken Salad hasn't turned into Chicken Soup. :beer:

NathanRocks88
June 16th, 2011, 01:16 PM
Yes it is nice...

The problem arises when you try to blend a half a dozen of them thar AT4050's together in the hope that your Roast Chicken Salad hasn't turned into Chicken Soup. :beer:

I paid my fine for the 3 snare mics + HH infraction thank you very much :lol:

One AT4050 was just enough for that particular project.

T.Bay
June 17th, 2011, 04:50 AM
I paid my fine for the 3 snare mics + HH infraction thank you very much :lol:

One AT4050 was just enough for that particular project.

I use 3 mics for the snare drum all the time... a stereo pair of condensers somewhere just above the drummers ears and a dynamic maybe 4" above the rim.

Add another to the kick drum and a room mic or two & we are virtually there.

5 or six mics in total.

Of course, it took many years for this 'obvious' logic to filter through to my small brain.

NathanRocks88
June 17th, 2011, 10:25 AM
I use 3 mics for the snare drum all the time... a stereo pair of condensers somewhere just above the drummers ears and a dynamic maybe 4" above the rim.

Add another to the kick drum and a room mic or two & we are virtually there.

5 or six mics in total.

Of course, it took many years for this 'obvious' logic to filter through to my small brain.


Beautiful.


I'll be doing a 6 mic drum setup on Sunday in a band's practice space.

Ribbons for overheads, Sm7 for kick, i5 for snare, AT4050 fok/toms, and st66 tube for a far room.

The band didn't want to record in a "studio". But I managed to talk them into renting 8 pres from API and GML plus an 1178 from my friends studio uptown.

The gear rental alone could've paid my hourly engineering fee. But who cares? I'd rather be recording!!

I am excited about finally getting to hear firsthand what a GML pre can do. I expect something between self-actualization and nirvana enlightenment to come out of the speakers.

T.Bay
June 17th, 2011, 03:03 PM
I'll be doing a 6 mic drum setup on Sunday in a band's practice space.

The band didn't want to record in a "studio". But I managed to talk them into renting 8 pres from API and GML plus an 1178 from my friends studio uptown.

I am excited about finally getting to hear firsthand what a GML pre can do. I expect something between self-actualization and nirvana enlightenment to come out of the speakers.

Rehearsal spaces ...:otek:

...the room needs to be big enough, like the one in this thread, to make the rental outlay really worthwhile.

Rehearsal spaces have a habit of sounding dull & boxy. That will pretty much imprint itself all over the recording.

Hope it works out.

Meverylame
June 17th, 2011, 07:51 PM
I just did a record in a similar setup. Strike the room. Pull in just your speakers. Move them around until they sound the best. In my particular circumstance it was the corner, which surprised the hell outta me! But be ready to spend a day on this. The speaker part is a real pain.
The drum part is easy. Take a well tuned floor tom and walk around with it(whilst intermittently strike it) and find where it sounds the best to you. Voila!

NathanRocks88
June 17th, 2011, 09:32 PM
Rehearsal spaces ...:otek:

...the room needs to be big enough, like the one in this thread, to make the rental outlay really worthwhile.

Rehearsal spaces have a habit of sounding dull & boxy. That will pretty much imprint itself all over the recording.

Hope it works out.


Yeah, I was hoping that they were recording in a house so I could run cable under a door or something. But nope. We're going to no-mans-land called a rehearsal room.

At least they rented a big one. 15x20 ft (or close to that)

and I hope the drummer buys the new heads like I told him.