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 Post subject: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 2:58 pm 
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Hello !
I'd like to have your opinion about drum sound when mixing :)
When I listen to nice productions, I often see that the drum is front ahead the sound, with deep sound, big dynamic and very good definition of each part of the drum, while guitars and bass are nicely separated from it. When I try to mix my songs, I can't manage to have this kind of dynamic and separation.
I understood that the preamps are important to start with a good sound (I had the chance to buy an avalon 2022 for a low price, so I think the source is good now :) ), but even with it, when mixing, I found really hard to have this deep drum sound.
Is there some tips or some cool devices that I could apply, (for example apply a kind of compression on the stereo drum part, or only on some parts ?)
What about Side-chain compression ? Is it necesary to use it to have a better sound with drums (kick) ? how does it must be used ?
Sorry for those noob questions, but i'd really like to have your advices :)
Thanks !


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 3:46 pm 
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live drums?

fixing the room and isolating the drums from the rest of the band when multitracking is a good place to start. great sounding drums start with a great sounding room. cables, mic pres and mics are then next concern. naturally, the drums themselves must also sound great. when those items are all in place, then compressors, eqs and reverbs come into play. last or first, if the drummer can't coax the best sound out of the instrument, all of these things being perfect still won't help completely.

silk purse out of a sow's ear? not likely....


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 3:54 pm 
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It's more about mixing drum into a track, and manage to have it loud and in front of the mix, meanwhile the other instruments can be loud and precise too :-?
I've worked on the room and I think it's ok (I should put some photos in the other topic in the forum :) )
Maybe the next part to work can be mic separation, because I don't like to use those gates every time, and for example the overheads take too much snare, I don't manage to record them as they should.
I must work on the mic placement with the drummer!

Another thing, can you tell me please the difference between SCcompressor "SC-CS" and SC-C S ?
I found them very useful, even if I don't really understand how they are working and the difference between them :)


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:27 pm 
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In the same way, I'm using an ADAT octopre MK2 with internal preamps for the drum, but I got a blue a16 ultra that I could use instead, but I must invest in some good preamps, and I can't invest a lot by now.
So I was thinking about buying 4 of the cheap m-audio DMP3 preamp to go with the a16, I already got one and I find it really better than the small tube art and co.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 5:08 pm 
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eh, all that consumer stuff is about the same. you'd spend less money and be better served by buying a 20 nor 30 year-old recording or broadcast board just to use the mic pres. the best mic pre under $500 a pair would be the FMR RNP. i wouldn't spend one dime on anything else under $1000 a pair. it's just money wasted. using the direct outs on a Mackie 1604vlz mixer would make more sense than buying a bunch of cheap mic pres, a cheap mic pre is under $500 a pair or $250 a channel.

look, to make a great meal, you need great ingredients. that's not to say that fast food or cheap food can't be tasty.

you have to start out with a great sounding drum to end up with a great sounding drum in the mix. there is no shortcut or cheap way out, if great is what you want.

with drums it's all the room, tuning and the player. if a stereo pair of mics in the room don't sound amazing, the room probably sucks, regardless of how much work is in it. this point was brought home to me 20 years ago when a good friend got a job at soundcastle http://www.studioexpresso.com/spotlight ... castle.htm and then recorded his band. he is a drummer and just the raw recording from the room sounded like a million dollars.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 8:40 pm 
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Concerning the preamps, the fact is that I can't spend this money for 4 preamps by now :(
I didn't know this brand FMR, and the nrp looks very nice. I will look for a second hand ones.
Now I try to always use the avalon for chords and vocals, but it's another thing with drum...
I'm going to try the avalon on overhead for important records, or snare+kick, sure it will be a good upgrade :)


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 11:58 pm 
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Assuming all is good at record stage, best way to mix drums is to turn everything else down to zero.

Then bring the bass up to match the drums.

If you have bass and drums perfectly matched, then bring everything else up slightly below.

If the tracks that make up 'everything else' have a good relative balance between themselves, then your mix should have punchy drums (and bass) that sound great.

Think of it as a mix using two busses.

1) Buss 1 - drums and bass (with the right relative levels vs each other)
2) Buss 2 - everything else (with the right relative levels vs each other)

Get the mix between Buss1 and Buss 2 good, and all should be good.

This works for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 12:31 am 
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Ok, I understand. That's exactly my problem, I always have all my instrument so loud compared to the drum, and I must always work on balance.
I always have this bad habit when I mix :)
I was thinking about putting a mixtable just for the drum, but that's true that a bus is perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:09 am 
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you need to decide what is important, what you want the audience to focus on. everything else needs to be at a level that helps the audience to focus on the important things. it's best to not have too many things in competition for attention, something i always have to fight against in my work. sometimes, you really want to bury the drums, no matter how good they sound, sometimes the drums are the whole point. in general it's the song and singer or melody that are most important unless it's dance music, then the rhythm might be first.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:35 am 
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So maybe 3 stereo bus are better ?
1 for the drum+bass, 1 for the instrument, and one for vocal .


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:58 am 
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well, that's typical for live sound.

for recording, i usually bus the drum mix for convienience. i might bus a horn section or a group of singers(chorus/backround). i usually don't bus instruments of the lead vocal unless those things are part of something i want to handle as a group once the relative levels of each thing in the group are set. in other words, if it's a bunch of things that will be treated as a single element in the music on one fader, i put it on a bus, maybe stereo, maybe mono. again, whether stereo or mono depends on what i am doing. if the source elements are all going to be panned in the same spot, then a mono bus is better. i only use a stereo bus if i wish to pan the elements in different places, or if it's several stereo instruments. suprisingly, combining several stereo sources can really make phase issue trouble. maybe it;s not that surprising to the people who do the math.

there aren't any hard rules about how to organize the elements in the mix, but you need to have some kind of system that allows you to be effective, able to get the story across.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:13 am 
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I have this problem with Samplitude:
Each output is stereo, and need to be pan if mono.
As I like to pan from the sequencer, I always output guitars and other channels to a stereo output, and leads me to use a stereo asio output for nothing...
I'm wondering why they never changed that.
Reaper can output individualy what we want, and is more useful on this part.
I'm thinking more and more to switch to Reaper.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 10:27 am 
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a stereo bus that is fully panned, is the same as a mono bus. if two tracks are bused together and one of fully panned left and the other right, then left will be one track and right another. if you output those to Scope, they can be treated like two mono tracks.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 3:59 pm 
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But it's only if you really pan your mono instrument with scope at the end of the sound process ?
Because I always pan with the sequencer, for special effects or things like that, so it's not very useful for me.
Or maybe i'm wrong and I didn't understood very well :(


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 4:30 pm 
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what's the problem? :)

if you pan in the sequencer, panning will be as you choose just the same. you'll just output the stereo bus into a stereo channel in Scope instead of two mono ones. mono or stereo is just a matter of how you use a stereo bus. a mono bus is always mono....


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Ok, i've just understood.
:roll: :lol:
But why can't Samplitude allow us to have "real mono" output like Reaper, instead of panning every mono channel ?
It's easier to remember to have asio1 input to asio1 output, than asio1 input to Left asio1/2.
I've seen that Reaper has some wonderful routing possibilities for output.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 3:04 pm 
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it all depends on the philosophy of the person who wrote the app. it's really a non issue, though.

an engineer already thinks through these things. as your experience grows, you won't care about this kind of thing so much. most of being an audio engineer involves simply following the signal path.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 11:16 pm 
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Hello !
I have the opportunity to buy a Blue Robbie preamp for 400e (I found it by searching a second hand FMR RNP).
Do you think i'm doing a good invest ? I didn't know this brand but It looks as serious preamps.
I have seen some discussions about it on different websites, but I'd like to have your opinion :)
I want now to try to have the best preamps for the money on the drum, to eliminate questions about drum dynamic with preamps (I understood that fixing the room is important, but I need to experiment :) ).
Do you have any experiences with the Blue Robbie ?


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 12:27 am 
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that looks like a clean amp. i haven't tried one. from the discussion i've seen, it's said to sound very good with lots of headroom, so it would be good for drums. it's not rack mountable and it's only one channel. it would be one good pre and might be worth having, but i might want a 2 channel pre first so that i could record overheads. it's also said that early examples suffered bad build quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions about big sound for real drum
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 4:24 am 
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Thanks for your advices Gary !
I'll use the Avalon 2022 for the overheads :)


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