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1 | Before Miking
Don’t take the drum kit as a given, tweak it, manipulate it, change it to your liking even before setting up the first microphone.
1.1 | Tuning
Arguably the most important step in making the perfect drum sound - so don’t leave it to the drummer alone - believe it or not, a lot of drummers don’t know how to properly tune a drum kit, so if that’s the case you must take matters into your own hands.
Here is a video tutorial covering the fundamentals of drum tuning, if you never tried tuning a drum kit before I strongly suggest to watch all of it at least once.
1.2 | Controlling Resonances
Even a perfectly tuned drum kit can produce weird and unpleasant resonances, specially when recording in a room with bad acoustics for drums, so get rid of them before hitting the rec button.
Here’s a nice video of a commercial solution for drum dampening called Moongel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTUzYU002jw . The drum manufacturer Evans has a whole section on sound control on their website: http://www.evansdrumheads.com/EvAccessoriesPatches.Page?ActiveID=3576 .
Obviously you don’t have to get something like that, I myself have used everything from Bluetack to credit cards to dampen drums, even toilet paper and masking tape to dampen cymbals!
On this link you can find a post about controlling snare buzz: http://gryner.tumblr.com/post/28414295615/reducing-snare-buzz-snare-buzz-is-something
1.3 | Creative Interference
Take Cage’s concept of prepared piano and use it on drums! Put a t-shirt, a cymbal, or even a handful of bolts over the snare. Colouring the sound before it hits the mic can be extremely rewarding because it gives the drummer the opportunity to play with it.
1.4 | Diversity is Key
When recording drums for a whole album try to get an extra set of cymbals and at least 2 different snares. If you can’t get extra instruments try experimenting with different tunings of the snare, different sticks, dampening cymbals between songs.
Lastly, if your drummer doesn’t like the producer fiddling with his kit too much, you can also try facing the drum kit in different directions inside the live room between songs, this also has a MASSIVE effect on the overall sound.
“… All of us working in audio have had the experience of equalizing a channel to a point where everybody in the control room agrees we’ve made some really significant, perhaps awesome, improvements, only to discover that we were equalizing an adjacent channel that wasn’t even switched on! … “ Read on.
Dynamic Range Day 2013 – Turn it up to 11 !
and why should we care to know? Is (arguably) the algorithm of the 20th century. It is used in many everyday technological interactions, science, engineering, etc. In short it is magic. It allows to convert any time domain signal into the frequency domain. So, it is in any audio processing you use where you manipulate (EQ, multi-band tools…) and/or visualise the frequency spectrum.
Our brain and ears do an FFT all the time, to recognise voices, noises, sounds. We understand sound in the frequency domain. The FFT algorithms are used to transmit secure data over the air, internet, encoded messages and communications, and to encode audio MP3s.
Take a CD quality 1sec sample of a pure sine wave, you need to store 44100 samples. You do an FFT on this sample and it gives just 3 numbers: Frequency (Hz), magnitude and phase, and that’s it.
A little homage to Mr Fourier who developed in the 19th century the Fourier series from where the algorithm was later developed into FFT. No calculators or computers at the time, just pen and paper.
Below is our ear doing an FFT:
Some links for the techies:
Should be practicing on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/47689377/via/sausens
No matter how many likes you have on Facebook…
No matter how many followers you have on Twitter..
No matter how many plays your videos have on Youtube…
NONE OF THAT MATTERS IF YOU DON’T ALSO:
…have kids actually coming to shows.
…have good songs.
…have a solid live set.
I’m not saying social media isn’t important. Hell, it’s SUPER important to promoting a band. But it doesn’t mean shit if you don’t have the tunes to back it up.
I think applicable to all jobs and situations, we just tend to ignore people sometimes …
The new real-time live music making is here: