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Author Topic: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?  (Read 2628 times)

Caleb Dueck

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2020, 03:01:39 pm »

I have two drummers that rotate. One is a hard hitter, the other has a little more finesse. Unfortunately the hard hitters also bang cymbals pretty hard, so then you have to deal with cymbal bleed.

We are a small-town church without a large technology budget, so there are some cost limitations on mics. Our sound system is decent enough for the budget we had. Commercial recorded music sounds very good played through it at typical "performance" volume. Sunday's are usually around 90-92 dBA slow at the mix position (90 feet from the stage). So we don't rattle people's brains on Sunday mornings. The board is a TF5 with a pair of Tio-1608 stage boxes, QSC powered speakers (the KLA CCA tops and matching subs), a dBx VENU360 system processor and the band is on IEMs (Digital Audio Labs LiveMix system). Drums are in a full enclosure.

What you're hearing is a "live-tracked studio sound" kit.  I don't have any inside info as to how much is live vs triggered.

A lot of that sound, which I happen to dislike (sounds hollow, for lack of a better term), is compression.  Hard knee, high ratio, short attack - as soon as that transient is through, slam the rest down.  Also parallel compression. 

I still like gating (downward expansion really) to both suppress the noise between hits, and help speed up the decay.  To me it feels like a more natural sound, more body, less hollow. 

Maybe a bit of plug in help with a Transient Designer. 

Take my opinions with a grain of salt, as my preferences are in the minority today!
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2020, 03:33:20 pm »

Thank you to all the responders! This is helping me out. I am pretty sure that particular video and many others on YouTube from the big Praise and Worship bands (Elevation Worship, Bethel, Hillsong, etc.) have heavily studio-processed post-production audio tracks dubbed in. I know getting the precise sound is well nigh impossible live, but I do want to try within reason to emulate the general sound. After all, that's what the congregation hears on the Christian radio channels.

So the tips shared here are helpful. Our meager tech budget does not allow a fancy board that can run plugins, and quite honestly that level of technology can quickly get overwhelming to typical church sound volunteers. Definitely some cool plugins out there, though. I have a ton of Waves plugins I play with in my DAW. Being able to run some of the low-latency ones live would be really awesome, but we simply don't, and likely won't ever, have that level of budget.

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Nathan Riddle

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2020, 03:38:42 pm »

I have two drummers that rotate. One is a hard hitter, the other has a little more finesse. Unfortunately the hard hitters also bang cymbals pretty hard, so then you have to deal with cymbal bleed.

Drums are in a full enclosure.

We are a small-town church without a large technology budget, so there are some cost limitations on mics.

Our sound system is decent enough for the budget we had.
Commercial recorded music sounds very good played through it at typical "performance" volume.

Sunday's are usually around 90-92 dBA slow at the mix position (90 feet from the stage). So we don't rattle people's brains on Sunday mornings.

The board is a TF5 with a pair of Tio-1608 stage boxes, QSC powered speakers (the KLA CCA tops and matching subs), a dBx VENU360 system processor and the band is on IEMs (Digital Audio Labs LiveMix system).

Good synopsis, thanks!

I've mixed plenty on a similar system. It can sound 'okay to good'. Room acoustics play a large role.
I'm sure the subs are a bit anemic and the tops definitely are harsh at any level that's 'performance'; but they'll do the job.

I see no reason you can't get closer to your ideal drum sound. Will you ever make it sound like the recording live? Not with that setup. But you can get closer.

Mics:
e604 are cheap; or the e904 when on sale.
But whatever you have might be okay (list it?)

Enclosure is good, easy to keep ambient sound low while getting that 'full' sound.
TF5 compressors are weak sauce (Yamaha in general IMO); but that's not to blame in any scenario.

---

I agree with Caleb to some extent, compression and gating can kill a good drum sound. I think that a little bit is often necessary, but lots isn't.
I still hate tom ringing, so I'll remove as much body from the drum as necessary to keep it sounding 'clean' via EQ or gate or compression.

I kinda disagree with Luke about getting rid of the body of the snare, if done right; 120Hz is very nice to hit you in the high chest area where the kick will hit you in the low-chest area [I'm opposed to the bottom deep sounding kick around 40-60Hz, and as such mix differently].

As with anything; take my opinions about how 'drums' should sound with a grain of salt too. Everything else I said was about how to get to YOUR 'ideal sound' as described in the video.

---

Mostly, I say just go read and try ideas.

http://www.benvesco.com/blog/mixing/2008/mix-recipes-tom-eq-and-compression/
http://www.benvesco.com/blog/mixing/2007/mix-recipes-snare-drum-eq-and-compression/
Google: "prosoundweb eq and compression techniques drums"
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 03:45:03 pm by Nathan Riddle »
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2020, 03:40:55 pm »

I like between 6-10db of compression with the attack set to just allow the initial transient to pop through.

Luke, when you do this are you dialing back in some makeup gain on the compressor to restore volume or are you letting that initial transient that sneaks through before the compressor acts be the "volume" and then using the compressor action to clamp down on and thus quieten the sustain and its decay?
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 03:59:52 pm by Bill Meeks »
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2020, 03:59:12 pm »

Good synopsis, thanks!

I've mixed plenty on a similar system. It can sound 'okay to good'. Room acoustics play a large role.
I'm sure the subs are a bit anemic and the tops definitely are harsh at any level that's 'performance'; but they'll do the job.

I see no reason you can't get closer to your ideal drum sound. Will you ever make it sound like the recording live? Not with that setup. But you can get closer.

Mics:
e604 are cheap; or the e904 when on sale.
But whatever you have might be okay (list it?)

Enclosure is good, easy to keep ambient sound low while getting that 'full' sound.
TF5 compressors are weak sauce (Yamaha in general IMO); but that's not to blame in any scenario.

---

I agree with Caleb to some extent, compression and gating can kill a good drum sound. I think that a little bit is often necessary, but lots isn't.
I still hate tom ringing, so I'll remove as much body from the drum as necessary to keep it sounding 'clean' via EQ or gate or compression.

I kinda disagree with Luke about getting rid of the body of the snare, if done right; 120Hz is very nice to hit you in the high chest area where the kick will hit you in the low-chest area [I'm opposed to the bottom deep sounding kick around 40-60Hz, and as such mix differently].

As with anything; take my opinions about how 'drums' should sound with a grain of salt too. Everything else I said was about how to get to YOUR 'ideal sound' as described in the video.

We looked at Danley initially, but it was just well outside the budget we had for the amount of stuff we needed to upgrade for the contemporary service. We needed mixer board, PA, and livestream equipment. Also wanted to move to IEMs. The room has a 22-ft ceiling so the KLA tops and subs are flown right up against the ceiling. That helps coverage and balance. Plus the ceiling coupling of the subs seems to boost their output a little bit as what you get in the room exceeds the predictions of EASE Focus.

For mics, budget again limited my choice. Sort of wanted the Audix set that's about $1000, but had to settle for the Shure $499 PGADRUMKIT7 package. I put a real SM57 on the snare. Currently micing only the snare top. While there is not much daylight between $1000 and $500, when it is the church's money and you are right on the ragged edge of over-the-line, you have to cut someplace. So the drum mic kit was a compromise.

I have, since last year when we bought and installed all of this stuff, been able to buy some e935 vocal mics during the November special to replace some e835s. And if I can catch another Sennheiser sale later on e604s or e904s, I may look at those.

But back to the topic at hand. The tips shared by you guys in this thread have been really helpful. I can now get to experimenting, but now I have some good starting points. Before it was a big shot in the dark. Nothing subsitutes for a little guidance from those that have gone before ...  :).
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 04:03:16 pm by Bill Meeks »
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Luke Geis

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2020, 05:20:53 pm »

Luke, when you do this are you dialing back in some makeup gain on the compressor to restore volume or are you letting that initial transient that sneaks through before the compressor acts be the "volume" and then using the compressor action to clamp down on and thus quieten the sustain and its decay?

A big depends. My main thing for compression is to control the dynamics first, create the desired sound second, and finally to increase RMS level. Using make up gain or simply turning up the channel are basically one in the same. I will use make up gain if The compression is heavy enough or I need to really get the instrument on top of the mix and adding more fader to it just doesn't make sense anymore.

As to the attack time and how it relates to " volume ", we are talking milliseconds. If you simply use the compressor to clamp the dynamics, it will sound like a compressed snare. If you allow a bit of the initial transient through, it preserves some of the reality of the input, while clamping down more on the body and tail of the instrument's sound. I didn't really touch on release times, but too long of a release and you will pack down with the compressor. I.E. It will still be compressing when the next transient comes through and recompress, never fully releasing. Too short of a release and the tail or decay of the instrument will rise back up perhaps too soon. This can help in creating sustain when using make up gain. I prefer to set the compressor up so that it is 100% released by the next transient. This is tricky in songs where there are snare triplets or 1/16th note hits. So you have to use your judgment. I really try and make it so that the compressor is not obvious. When it is obvious to me, I dial it back, otherwise, I use it to as much extent as I can to acquire a desired effect.
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2020, 05:56:36 pm »

A big depends. My main thing for compression is to control the dynamics first, create the desired sound second, and finally to increase RMS level. Using make up gain or simply turning up the channel are basically one in the same. I will use make up gain if The compression is heavy enough or I need to really get the instrument on top of the mix and adding more fader to it just doesn't make sense anymore.

As to the attack time and how it relates to " volume ", we are talking milliseconds. If you simply use the compressor to clamp the dynamics, it will sound like a compressed snare. If you allow a bit of the initial transient through, it preserves some of the reality of the input, while clamping down more on the body and tail of the instrument's sound. I didn't really touch on release times, but too long of a release and you will pack down with the compressor. I.E. It will still be compressing when the next transient comes through and recompress, never fully releasing. Too short of a release and the tail or decay of the instrument will rise back up perhaps too soon. This can help in creating sustain when using make up gain. I prefer to set the compressor up so that it is 100% released by the next transient. This is tricky in songs where there are snare triplets or 1/16th note hits. So you have to use your judgment. I really try and make it so that the compressor is not obvious. When it is obvious to me, I dial it back, otherwise, I use it to as much extent as I can to acquire a desired effect.

I've been experimenting in Reaper with some raw tracks and I see what you mean about the attack and release.

Technically I know at the circuit level how all that works (my education was in electronics, both analog and digital, and I started life as a broadcast engineer but moved quickly into electric power production control systems maintenance because electric utilities provided excellent job security and a quicker advancement path. Later I moved into IT networking and security as PCs and networking took off in the early 90s). So anyway, now that I'm actually trying to mix music I am relearning some of these tools like compressors. But this time I'm listening and learning about their impact on tonality as opposed to learning whether they gain change with a VCA, an optical sensor, a variable-mu tube, etc.

I am really enjoying my volunteer sound duties, but man it's a different world when you get into the musical asthetics as opposed to the purely technical stuff. The techie stuff I can handle without a sweat. It's the musical stuff where I'm struggling and still learning. That's what I meant in an earlier post about being sort of overwhelmed when standing in front of the board with the live band playing. I know exactly what each fader and knob does and where every signal is routed, but I'm just not confident yet of when to use what tool and by how much. In music mixing, you need to purposely EQ things away from "flat" many times. That's about the polar opposite of what I did in my early broadcast engineer work for radio stations. There we strived for as flat of a frequency response as possible from 30 Hz to 15 KHz (for stereo FM) and then a sharp rolloff above 15K to make room for the 19 kHz stereo sub-carrier pilot tone.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 06:01:47 pm by Bill Meeks »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2020, 06:45:54 pm »

Ok. I'm going to let you in on the big P&W band secret.

Those are tracks. They are playing to tracks. That drum sound is 85% track with maybe maybe a little bit of the actual drum layered in. They do this live. They do it in Church. They do it on the record. They do it everywhere, all the time. In fact you can do it too.

https://www.multitracks.com/songs/Elevation-Worship/Speak-Revival/Do-It-Again/multitracks/


Take a listen to the example. Sound familiar?

YTou can buy this track and it comes with click track with singing prompts on it, and you can either get a full mix or just buy certain parts, and you can get it in multiple keys.

It's almost like cheating huh?


I am the Audio and Lighting guy at a fairly large church. We are a Cowboy Church so a lot of our stuff is 100% live, but our youth band makes use of these tracks all the time. They play it back from an ipad which can change keys and do other cool things within the app. But yeah. With enough track playing in the mix you don't even need a band anymore.....




P.S. I can't stand contemporary P&W music. I saw the title and was really excited for a second. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmdiKePVUy8&ab_channel=SteelyDan-Topic
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2020, 07:41:11 pm »

Ok. I'm going to let you in on the big P&W band secret.

Those are tracks. They are playing to tracks. That drum sound is 85% track with maybe maybe a little bit of the actual drum layered in. They do this live. They do it in Church. They do it on the record. They do it everywhere, all the time. In fact you can do it too.

https://www.multitracks.com/songs/Elevation-Worship/Speak-Revival/Do-It-Again/multitracks/


Take a listen to the example. Sound familiar?

YTou can buy this track and it comes with click track with singing prompts on it, and you can either get a full mix or just buy certain parts, and you can get it in multiple keys.

It's almost like cheating huh?


I am the Audio and Lighting guy at a fairly large church. We are a Cowboy Church so a lot of our stuff is 100% live, but our youth band makes use of these tracks all the time. They play it back from an ipad which can change keys and do other cool things within the app. But yeah. With enough track playing in the mix you don't even need a band anymore.....




P.S. I can't stand contemporary P&W music. I saw the title and was really excited for a second. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmdiKePVUy8&ab_channel=SteelyDan-Topic

Yep!  I am familiar with the tracks game. Our band is in the long process of learning to play them and keep time with the click in their IEMs. Still a challenge for them, so we don't use the full tracks yet. Just plain pads for now. They want to use them to supplement their sound (provide some missing instruments), and then on the odd Sunday if a member is absent perhaps make up the part from tracks. The COVID-19 issues have put a crimp in their practice sessions, so not much time this year to learn the tracks gig.

But even the tracks were initially recorded in a studio and then mixed down. So I figure there are some of the studio tricks that might translate a little bit to live sound. That was the basis of my original request.

By the way, I love the Cowboy Church music. Found some channels on YouTube a while back. Which church is yours? Do you have some clips on YouTube? I love the way they do some of the old classic hymns and gospel type songs. I don't hate the contemporary P&W music, but that's not what I grew up with. I'm getting on towards being an old fart at 62 now ...  :D.

For the vast majority of churches, the contemporary music is where it's at now, so I've learned to like some of it. There's still some that's just too far out there. Luckily our P&W band is more conservative and doesn't get into the really hard stuff. Songs like "Do It Again" are about as hard rock as they normally get.

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Tim Weaver

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2020, 08:02:17 pm »

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaCzOEnfdatx-sg43liUOAA

So the stuff you see under the "Music" section has all been post-mixed. Vocals were tuned, and possibly some drum samples added. The core performance was live, just sweetened in post.

We had a Worship leader who was a seriously fantastic musician. He left a year ago and our current WL is not so good. Funny thing is the former guy did a lot of upbeat, funky, and fun music. The new guy does the same 7-11 songs you find anywhere else. You know those songs with 7 words and you repeat them 11 times? Yeah those.

Old WL:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLM9aLp8QuI&list=PLhHdFOtFmxmwbJ4C9auA7yHq6ThEfuHXo&index=4&ab_channel=LoneStarCowboyChurch

New WL:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPxhcAioqM8&list=PLhHdFOtFmxmwbJ4C9auA7yHq6ThEfuHXo&index=58&ab_channel=LoneStarCowboyChurch
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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2020, 08:02:17 pm »


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