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Author Topic: drum mixing and phase problems?  (Read 2484 times)

bert

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drum mixing and phase problems?
« on: March 02, 2006, 07:55:38 AM »

I'm currently recording some drum tracks and i'm messing around to get a nice balance in the different drum tracks. I just don't get it sound completely like the drums sound live in reality. i'v tracked everything i could track to have the biggest amount of possibilities afterwards in mixing: kick (front and back), sn (top and bottom), hh, rack, floor, ride, oh left and right and 1 room mic.

During the pre mixing right now, it doesn't sound as powerful as i want it, like it is in reality. I think it has something to do with phasing problems. but can this really be? Do you really have to go through every other track to check it's phase coherency? What's the best way to do this? And, isn't most of all phase problems only at some frequencies?


thanks a lot
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Vertigo

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2006, 10:54:40 AM »

Do all of your phase checking in mono. The first thing to check is the overheads - solo the left side, listen, and then add the right side and listen. Try the same in reverse - solo the right side, listen, and add the left side and listen. Does one side of the kit disappear when the other is added? Does any "washiness" or other strangeness appear when the two tracks are added together? Does the low end balance change when the two tracks are added together? If so, then the overheads are out of phase. Reposition and try again. Hint: with whatever overhead technique you use, it's generally best to make sure that the overhead mic's are equidistant to the snare. This will help prevent phasing and imaging problems between the snare and overheads.

Once you have the overheads the way that you want them, start checking the toms against them one by one. Listen to the toms solo, and then with the overheads. Particularly pay attention to any changes in the low end response - this is usually the most easily noticable indicator of whether the mic's are in or out of phase. Also check the toms against each other if you plan on utilizing any bleed or sympathy vibrations between them.

Now check the snare against the overheads. Listen to the snare solo, and then with the overheads. Listen for any unwanted changes in level or tone. There should be no problems if the overhead mic's are seeing the snare equally. Also, you mentioned that you mic'd the top and bottom of the snare. In this case you'll usually need to flip the phase on the bottom snare mic. Check both ways to see what sounds best (I find it necessary to flip phase on the bottom snare mic pretty much 100% of the time).

Now check your overheads and toms to the room mic. Listen for any washiness in the top end or any changes in level on the bottom end. Also solo the room and kick tracks and check for any phase issues between the two (listen to the low end frequencies).

And if you're using both of the mic's on the batter and resonant sides of the kick you'll definitely need to check the phase between the two (you may have to flip one).

This is pretty much how I do it anyway. Some of this may seem like a lot of trouble to chase down a few minor issues, but a mix is a sum of a lot of pieces, and those little things all add up in the end...

-Lance
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dea

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2006, 01:39:42 PM »

I couldn't tell you if phase is the cause of *your* issue, but phasing can cancel out freq bands.  Again, its only a possibility.  Also, look into a multiband compressor.  You may be able to regain some punch at certain freqs if you use it correctly.

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Demir Ateser
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Fibes

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2006, 02:12:10 PM »

Lance is on the right path but you have to know what you are listening for. Lance says to start with the overheads which works most of the time my caveat would be to start with whatever mic has the most info you are gonna use in the track, most of the time it's OHs but sometimes it's the Front of Kit mics or room mics.

The mono button is your friend and so is restraint; just because you have all these mics doesn't mean you need to use them. Start with your big picture mic and add only what you need to get what you are after. When you have two mics on one drum start with one and only add the other if it gives you something extra.

Less can be very more.
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Fibes
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compasspnt

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2006, 03:10:16 PM »


When you start using more than three microphones (Bass Drum [what is this 'kick" of which you speak?], Snare and "Rest" or "Other"), you may well improve your sound, but the chances are better than even that you will make it worse.

Well, more than one mic, perhaps.

Anyway, every little placement change, every EQ change, every pattern change, everything you do to any one mic, becomes a chance for a problem in relation to any of the other mics.

First, try just bringing up your BD, Snare top, and OH's in your mix.  For now, eliminate everything else.  Does it sound more focused?  Are there enough toms?  Are the cymbals still washy, or "phasey" sounding?  Many great recordings have been mixed with only these mics.  If your overheads are not washy, and do have enough toms, then you may have it.  If the OH's aren't so great, you need to improve your mic technique for acquiring overhead or room sounds.

Have you tried any stereo placement techniques, especially X/Y?  If not, do so.

Anyway, this is just a start.  Mainly, keep it simple.  Add only when necessary, not "just because we've got it."

Good luck.


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maxim

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2006, 05:09:05 AM »

what's wrong with the maximalist approach?

2 mics on every drum, including the drummer's sticks and forehead

plus stereo mics every twenty centimeters away from the drums

we all know engineers abhor vacuum (or is that vacuuming?)
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Fibes

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2006, 10:02:32 AM »

maxim wrote on Fri, 03 March 2006 05:09

we all know engineers abhor vacuum


Vacuum works great when used in the board stretcher.


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Fibes
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compasspnt

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2006, 04:53:27 PM »

maxim wrote on Fri, 03 March 2006 05:09



plus stereo mics every twenty centimeters away from the drums




How far away would you recommend going?

Until you run out of room, or run out of mics, or run out of inputs?

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Fibes

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2006, 05:02:39 PM »

compasspnt wrote on Fri, 03 March 2006 16:53

maxim wrote on Fri, 03 March 2006 05:09



plus stereo mics every twenty centimeters away from the drums




How far away would you recommend going?

Until you run out of room, or run out of mics, or run out of inputs?




As far as the Vaccuum cord allows.

Rinse and repeat.
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Fibes
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stevieeastend

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2006, 05:45:58 PM »

I don't think that your problems have necessarily something to do with the number of mics used but definitely with the fact that you used to many mics without any  clear purpose. For years I have never used more than five microphones for the drums and it worked just fine.
The main drum sound would be almost always coming from the overhead microphones and the way they were placed depending on the song. More poppy, less room, closer to the kit. More rocky, more room, not so close to the kit. Used that way, they are not typically used as "overhead mics" but in order to capture the kit.
I always place the drums near a wall, so that you get a little of a compressed sound when pointing the overheads towards the wall..... but that's only one possibility and depends of course, on the drummer.
Just try to find the "main drum sound" with only your two "overhead" microphones.
What else do you need? Has the drummer good dynamic control? If not you probably won't need to mic the hi hat. Close snare for definition, as well as bass drum and toms for a mainstream rock song? Or more of that "kit sound"  heard on many pop records where you get away with only one of the two overhead mics?

In general you should get a powerful good sound with two mics for the overheads, one mic for the bass drum, one for the snare and one for the hi hat.
Use only more microphones if you are really sure what purpose they should achieve in the mix.

cheers
steveeastend





maxim

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Re: drum mixing and phase problems?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2006, 10:19:50 PM »

terry wrote:

"Until you run out of room..."

unless you, actually, get run out of the room, my advice is just to keep going

we all know bonzo's sound came from miking the stairwell

who knows what miking the parking lot will do to your sound, especially if run it through a bitcrusher


"or run out of mics..."

inexcusable if you call yourself an engineer

i mean there's always a something 7 mic around, no?

if all else fails, phone a friend (literally... those telephone transducers are hot shit, especially from the parking lot))


"or run out of inputs?"

if god meant humans to run out of inputs, it wouldn't have given them behringer consoles


so you see, terry, there is no excuse...

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