AF’s Weblog

August 12, 2009

EQ and Compression Techniques Pt.2: Drums

Despite the preponderance of exceptional drum samples and loops on the market, for certain genres of music (notably country and rock) there is no substitute for a great session drummer playing on a well-recorded and mixed drum kit. One thing that samples and loops can’t provide is the great rhythmic instincts an accomplished live player draws upon when responding to a specific song. However, getting a great player (while certainly a significant element) is not the entire story. The appropriate treatment of the drums in a mix with EQ and compression can make the difference between a lifeless, vague sound and an exciting, textured and genuinely rhythmic drum track.

Even though the drummer plays the entire kit as a single instrument, the miking of individual drums and cymbals can make for a very complicated mix scenario. The reason I reference country and rock music specifically has to do with the fact that in these genres the sounds of the individual drums and cymbals are not only singled out by individual microphones placed on each of them but also their sounds are exaggerated to create an even more dramatic effect. Consider, for example, the tom fills in Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” By contrast, jazz drums are often treated as a more cohesive, unified sound and it’s not unusual to use a simple pair of overhead mics to capture the sound of the entire jazz drum kit.

In this article, I’m going to go drum by drum providing EQ and compression settings that will, hopefully, provide you with a jumping off point to getting great drum sounds in your mix. Because of its all-in-one mixing board channel approach, I’ll be using Metric Halo’s Channel Strip plug-in with its EQ, compression and noise-gate to illustrate my comments about various EQ and compression settings.

Now lets take a closer look drum by drum…

Conclusion

While I’ve been painfully specific about EQ, compression and gate settings, it’s important to remember that every mix situation is different. Use all of these settings as a jumping off point and then use your ears to tweak the sounds until you’re happy. Good luck!

To read the full detailed article see:  EQ and Compression Techniques for Drums

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July 20, 2009

Recording Drums with Michael Wagener – Part 2

After explaining how he mics up drums, Michael Wagener now talks more about ribbon microphones, which he considers much less understood than their condenser or dynamic counterparts.

In fact, the subject almost creates a debate: whereas some say that ribbon mics inhibit hi frequencies, Michael feels that it’s the other way around; condenser mics exaggerate hi frequencies, and they sound less natural and are more difficult to use correctly…

This second part also gives us an opportunity to: go into further detail about some of his choices (why use a stereo mic for overhead?), to see how he sets up drums in a room to get the best possible sound, and especially to hear the result after recording and mixing. Does he get a huge sound? Yes, that’s the right word … In fact, we put the final drum mix into 24-bit 48 kHz, so you can judge for yourself. You can download it here …

See exclusive video demonstration:

Recording Drums with Michael Wagener Part 2

July 13, 2009

Recording Drums with Michael Wagener Part 1

Recording is an art and often a matter of experience, and so what better way of gaining some understanding of what’s involved than by listening to the prestigious American engineer Michael Wagener talk about his recording tips and secrets. Starting with mic placement for drums …

Michael Wagener: If you like rock in general and metal in particular, you probably know his name, because this engineer has worked with some of the most prestigious artists such as: Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Helloween, Testament, Dokken, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Accept, Extreme, Janet Jackson, King’s X. Quite simply, the list of albums and singles he has recorded or mixed is simply staggering…

So when Royer Labs and Jukebox LTD invited us to meet him while he was in the studio with the band Cockpit, we jumped at the opportunity and decided to film the whole experience, to better show you how he does his thing. And needless to say, we weren’t disappointed. We were even surprised. Not by Michael’s skill (he has little to prove), but by his affable manner and willingness to share his wisdom.

So, we were able to ask him almost anything we wanted about microphone placement, or about the gear he uses. The result is a kind of Masterclass, that we will unveil, episode by episode, in the coming weeks.

Michael Wagener is quite exhaustive on the subject of mic placement, and his views are all the more interesting since he uses ribbon mics quite extensively. He therefore dispelled certain preconceived notions about them: no, ribbon mics are not only for jazz, no, they are not limited in the high frequency range, and no, they are not as fragile as we’re led to believe, you can even record a bass drum with them.

But let’s listen to what he has to say in this first episode:

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

January 27, 2009

NAMM 2009: Wavemachine Labs Drumagog 4

Filed under: Drums/Percussion, namm 2009 — Tags: , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 9:23 am

Presentation of Wavemachine Labs Drumagog, a live drum replacement plugin.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

January 22, 2009

NAMM 2009: Video Demo MOTU BPM

Filed under: Drums/Percussion, namm 2009 — Tags: , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 10:03 am

Demonstration of the brand new BPM by MOTU.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

January 21, 2009

NAMM 2009: Video Demo Native Instruments Maschine

Exclusive presentation of the new Native Instruments Maschine groove production interface and software.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

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