Yesterday I was kindly asked by Sammy Vere and Gemma Sharp to help them Mic andRecord their drum tracks for their 1st assessed piece. Little did I know that they were planning to use a Mic setup we had previously looked at in our last lecture, which I remember captured a much richer, fuller sound that that of my first recorded drum kit. I also didn’t know tillyesterday that Gemma was very competent Drummer with 3 years experience and so I decided to re-record my drum section and replace my previous recording. Although I was very grateful to Eliot for his efforts playing the Drums for me the 1st time I felt Gemma and the new Mic setup would benefit my mix, greatly.
Like before a Sennheizer 602 Bass mic is used for the Kick drum although this timeplaced using a Mic stand, just away from the second skin, I did feel the kick seemed muffled in timbre, having recorded the kick from inside the drum itself. Possibly a lack of experience but I knew this way was going to sound good.
A pair of Shure SM57 dynamic Mic’s were used for the snare, one facing down towardthe top skin one pointed up toward the lower skin. A phase cancellation issue will come in to play here so a reverse phase tool will be used later in the pro-tools session to counter this.
The following two Mics were used to capture the stereo image of over-head drum sound. Notoriously used for cymbals and capturing harmonic resonant frequencies. A second AKG 414 was used for the left channel again using the cardioid pattern and was positioned to the far left (when facing the drummer) between the Floor-Tom and the right Cymbal. In the right channel the Neumann Omni-directional condensor mic was used and placed over-head facing the snare drum. This would sit at a complete right angle from the drummer and the left over-head Mic. Each Mic was set at an equal distance from the Snare drum so in theory the input for left and right signals would be of an equal amplitude.
Each Mic was routed out of the Live-room through the patch box.
Kick – Channel 1
Snare Top – Channel 2
Snare Bottom – Channel 3
HiHat – Channel 4
Over-head Left and Right – Channel 5 & 6
In the pro-tools control room we opened 4 mono tracks and 1 stereo track, we setup the inputs so they related to the channels I’ve shown above. When I recorded my first piece I used two mono tracks for the over-heads and panned them left and right this time we used a single stereo track and panned each channel within that track left and right. I suggest the advantage of recording it this way is to save on the number of track you need running and also so any effect you apply to one channel also effects the other. So you can EQ and Compress 2 channels equally allowing both to sit compfortably together within the mix. Notice the channel far right called TB this if for talkback and the channel we used to route signal from the microphone in the live room to the headphones Gemma was wearing (we would use these to instruct her when to play, what to play etc, etc).
Next we set up the levels on all 5 of our tracks so none of them were clipping hitting into the red. This stage was relatively easy but we did find the Hi-hat was often hitting alot louder than all the other channels so we reduced this channel by a 10db increment using the stages gain control above the -10/+10 gain control.
We also applied the reverse phase to the bottom snare channel. This is a plugin feature found on a 3 band EQ. Phase can cause in affect, cancellation of heard frequencies the snare sound will still be heard but less tight and sharp sounding as though parts of the sound are missing (hard to describe “best heard on then off”).
We were now ready to record and I was so right to do so I could already tell the recording was going to sound so much better, having a drummer that could play properly was just a bonus.
We recorded Sammy’s and Gemma’s tracks 1st. When it came round to re-recording my drum tracks. I imported the recording of the Saxaphone that Mike Sands performed for me the previous week and asked Gemma if she would mind playing a swung Jazz groove in time with what she heard. She practiced for a bit whilst I checked my levels. I reduced the gain on the Kick as I felt it too heavy and asked Gemma to play the snare alot softer reducing the gain a marginal amount. I then armed the tracks to record cued Gemma in. The Sax introduced and Gemma rolled in with a lovely rollup snare fill (superb). 2 minutes later I had myself a new recorded Drum kit.
I was very pleased with the outcome of this studio time and was already looking forward to my next studio session, which was funnily, booked for today at 3pm. I plan to record my Bass and hopefully lead guitar sections over the top of my now swung jazz drums and sax.