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Author Topic: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?  (Read 3158 times)

tamasdragon

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What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum? I mean eq then the gate after it a compressor, or gate, comp.,eq,etc. What is your approach?
Regards Tamas Dragon

compasspnt

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Re: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2005, 11:40:18 am »

tamasdragon wrote on Tue, 01 March 2005 07:00

What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum? I mean eq then the gate after it a compressor, or gate, comp.,eq,etc. What is your approach?
Regards Tamas Dragon


Hello Tamas, thanks for the question.

I am very sure that I will disappoint you with my answer.

Here is my normal signal flow for recording bass drum (I never use the term "kick," but I knew what you meant):

Bass Drum > Microphone > Preamplifier > Tape (or Protools).

It is very rare that I will use an equaliser when tracking bass drum.  And it is NEVER that I would use a gate.  First, about gates.  To me, these are basically "sound stoppers," and I've decided I really don't want to stop my sounds.  I would much prefer to properly set up the instrument, so that it sounds as I'd like it to, and then choose a microphone proper for the job, placed in the best location for the desired sound.  I know that there are times when undesired sounds can be on a track, and perhaps interfere with other sounds, necessitating the drastic use of a gate; in these certain instances, I might use gating during the mix.  But for tracking....?...once something is gated, you can't recover the lost sound, should you desire to do so.  (Of course, I have seen other people's session wherein they had gates all over everything...and these were top notch professionals, so remember, this is only my one little opinion!)

I will use a similar approach with EQ during tracking of bass drum.  If it REALLY needs correction, I will do it, but again, that would be a rare instance, if the drum and mic are right to begin with.  Of course, during mixing, EQ might very well be applied, in order for the sound to properly integrate with all of the other sounds.

I once saw a definition of Equalisation in the British magazine Studio Sound which I liked.  Unfortunately, I cannot credit the author, or remember his exact verbiage, but it was something like:

"Equalisation is that audio process which, once applied to any sound within a group of sounds, mandates the similar application of the same equalisation to all other sounds within the group."  Of course, this is meant facetiously, but there is a real element of truth to it.  What I'm saying is, simple is always best; don't do anything that you don't need to do, just for the sake of doing it.

One thing I will always do when recording drums is to move my ears around everywhere, listening to how each drum, especially the bass drum, sounds from different locations.  This will tell me where to place the microphone.  Of course, this means often crawling around on the floor like an animal, but so what?  I don't just automatically put the mic in the same old place every time.

The other thing you mention is compression.  Again, the same answer: later, if necessary.

What I'm talking about here is my so-called "normal" drum sounds.  Certainly I realise that there are times when you want a "special" or "different" drum sound, and of course, anything goes at a time like this!  But again, do it acoustically first, if possible!

I hope this doesn't disappoint you too much!

Terry
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maxim

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Re: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2005, 02:47:49 am »

terry wrote:

"One thing I will always do when recording drums is to move my ears around everywhere, listening to how each drum, especially the bass drum, sounds from different locations. This will tell me where to place the microphone. Of course, this means often crawling around on the floor like an animal, but so what? I don't just automatically put the mic in the same old place every time."

too true

in the same line, of course, the signal flow starts with the placement of the kick drum in the room

it can make a HUGE difference to the sound

of course, it's tricky to walk around with the kick drum, but a floor tom will do the job nicely
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compasspnt

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Re: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2005, 07:19:15 am »

maxim wrote on Mon, 07 March 2005 02:47

... the signal flow starts with the placement of the kick drum in the room

it can make a HUGE difference to the sound...



Very good point, which I missed!  Thanks.
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Joe Giannone

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Re: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2005, 07:53:22 pm »

Terry, is there any instrument that you'll compress during tracking without even having to think about it? Yeesh, with those UA176's laying around, how can you resist  Very Happy
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compasspnt

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Re: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2005, 10:05:58 pm »

Joe Giannone wrote on Tue, 08 March 2005 19:53

Terry, is there any instrument that you'll compress during tracking without even having to think about it? Yeesh, with those UA176's laying around, how can you resist


Hi Joe,

While tracking, I'll almost always compress the bass direct, occasionally the bass amp'd.  And usually an acoustic guitar.  And of course a vocal.  My 176's are so old now, that I almost always use the Lucas Limiting Amplifiers for these, though.
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Cellar Dweller

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Re: What is the most effective way of signal flow on a kick drum?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2005, 04:03:19 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Tue, 01 March 2005 11:40

...once something is gated, you can't recover the lost sound, should you desire to do so.  (Of course, I have seen other people's session wherein they had gates all over everything...and these were top notch professionals, so remember, this is only my one little opinion!)
Terry


Hi Terry;

Reading this reminded me of a session that I observed where the mix engineer painstakingly gated all the tom mics so tightly that the drum decay was completely cut off - all that was left was the attack. He then dialed up a thick reverb setting and fed the toms into it, proclaiming that this was his innovation, that the reverb provides the "body" for the toms, and that it would sound great.

I was kind of shocked; I thought the shell decays sounded nice - the recording engineer had done a nice job micing the kit (I don't know if it was the same guy).

I didn't stick around to see how that mix came out!

PS. I have really been enjoying this forum and your anecdotes. You are a true gentleman.

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