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Author Topic: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?  (Read 3177 times)

Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2020, 10:49:53 pm »

Thanks again everyone for chiming in. I have lots of information to work with. Some of the ideas will cost money and need to be worked in over time. Being a small town church, a large technology budget is just not happening. While I can maybe argue for a small increase, currently we have about $7000 or so per year to spend on all things technology (sound system stuff falls in that box along with office PCs and the software-as-a-service subscription for the church accouting and membership maintenance software). So super expensive mics are not happening with that small annual budget. Small improvements yes, but the "big boy stuff" is too far out of reach. So I will have to trim my expectations and do the best I can with what fits the budget.

With that said, I can apply some of the tips shared in this thread about mic positioning, compression and so forth. I did wind up getting the LP claw mount for the snare. I placed it on the rim as a start, but if I hear it on Sunday and it sounds weird, I will take Tim's advice and put it on the nearby cymbal stand. Have not done so yet, but will also investigate Tim's suggestion of hanging the overheads from the enclosure's ceiling. That will eliminate two more stands from the enclosure.
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2020, 11:17:33 pm »


As far as compression goes I am usually pretty deep into Waves to get what I am looking for, which is not helpful for you. In general slower attack for most drums, and not to heavy on the compression. I almost never use added gain after compression.

For bottom snare, very quick attack and release so that the bottom mic disappears the harder the drum is hit. I usually have 6dB down on a hard hit. I often have one compressor for control and one for tone.

The goal for overhead compression for me, is usually to make the snare disappear from them. Again often use two compressors here, or lots of dynamics EQ.

It is worth noting that cool processing will never make up for a poor source. One of the best snare sounds I have ever heard was a good player with a fresh head on Ludwig black beauty with a KM184 on the top raw. While that snare and mic are out of price for you, the takeaway is that the source matters!

Two kick mics really helps to dial things in. Adding a bottom snare mics makes snare sound SO much better. If you do not have lots of money for mics it is better to have a few good ones rather than many subpar ones.

Hopefully that helps you  :)

Matthias:

Can you elaborate on what you consider "slower attack"? I have done a ton of YouTube watching over the last couple of years watching clips from both professional studio mixing engineers and the few live FOH guys I can find. One live FOH guy I've watched some videos from lately is James Attaway. His videos are here:  https://www.youtube.com/c/AttawayAudio/playlists. I've also read all the posts I can find from folks like Chris Huff, the late Andrew Stone and others. I also own a ton of personal Waves plugins I play with in my DAW, so anything you are currently doing with Waves I can probably replicate in my DAW for learning purposes. I can't use the plugins live in church, though, as our board won't easily support the interface. I could make it sort of work, but not well enough to justify the $3500 cost of the Waves server and Hear Technologies Dante interface box. And there is that limited budget thing I've mentioned before ...  ;D. Plus the TF5 is just too limited with internal routing. There are no patchable inserts on any channels.

From watching the YouTube videos, it seems there are as many opinions on drum compression as there are engineers ...  :). I am currently using these compressor settings:

Kick - hard knee, 5 mSec attack, 203 mSec release, 4:1 ratio. Getting -3 dB max compression on hard hits.
Snare - same as kick.
Toms - hard knee, 10 mSec attack, 400 mSec release, 4:1 ratio. Getting -6 dB max compression on the hardest hits, usually more like -3 dB compression.

Lots of the Waves plugin presets for drums seem to love about 4 mSecs for attack and 200 mSecs or so for release (this is the "Drums" preset on the RCompressor, for example).

So what's your go-to starting point for the drum compressors?

I buss my drums into a Stereo Aux on the TF5 and there I have some light EQ and then a modified 3-band multiband compressor preset from the Yamaha effects choices. The bands break at 132 Hz and 4 kHz. This compressor kisses the drum hits with what appears to be -2 or -4 dB of compression. Hard to tell because the GUI has poor marking (big gap between the numbers and the physical space is small, so it's hard to really pinpoint the gain reduction value it shows you with the bargraph display).
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Geert Friedhof

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2020, 01:00:17 am »

I buss my drums into a Stereo Aux on the TF5

You do what now?  ???
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Bill Meeks

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2020, 06:53:50 am »

You do what now?  ???

So each drum channel, after individual treating, is sent to Stereo Aux 9/10 on the TF5 instead of going direct to FOH. That board has 6 Stereo Aux mixes, buses or groups (pick your favorite term) where you can apply an effect. So I treat that Aux pair as a drums bus where the whole kit gets a little EQ, and in this case a little multiband compression as that is one of the available effects on that Aux pair. The Aux then goes to front of house via the master bus, to the livestream feed and is also available in the IEMs for the band as a stereo group they can adjust to taste (our IEM system is Dante-based and each user has total control of his mix from the list of available channels).

I actually set this Stereo Aux drum group routing up initially just so the band would have the complete kit, mixed, in their IEMs. I later decided to route that treated group to FOH instead of each individual drum channel. So now, akin to a DCA, the output level of that Aux pair is the "Drums" fader on the custom fader layer we use for mixing.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 06:58:27 am 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 #44 on: December 13, 2020, 07:41:57 am »

Nothing wrong with bussing a drum kit to a stereo bus for processing. I do it too. I think Geert was thrown by the "stereo aux" thing, but I understand what you meant. Typically an aux send is for "sending" things out of the console. To drive a monitor or an effects unit for example. A "bus" is where you would group channel together inside a console for processing before patching them to the main mix. Just semantics.


For microphones, you don't need super expensive. The Shure DMK57-52 is actually a fantastic deal normally, but right now it's a screaming deal: Super Huge Link

This gives you 3 of the industry-standard drum (or anything) mics. The SM57. 3 well-built drum clamps, and a completely workable kick mic. Right now it's 350 bucks which is like getting the B52 and 2 of the clamps for free.

SM57's make a fine Tom mic. They are fairly large and the clamps aren't "fully" adjustable like the LP Claws, but you can work around these issues as countless soundguys before you have done. Relly the big improvement in Tom mics over the years has been to make the mic smaller yet still retain the sound of an SM57. You can also use 57's as oveheads, Hi Hat, top and bottom Snare, whatever. They work everywhere, which is why you will find them on every stage around the world.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 07:49:03 am by Tim Weaver »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2020, 07:47:14 am »

https://www.lonestar.tv/

BTW Our big band Christmas show is happening today at 10:00 Central time. Also at 7PM tomoroow night. What you'll hear is completely live. I don't even have Plugins running right now since my Plug in host lost it's power supply. Eveything is live, no samples, no tracks, and processed only by the CL5 I'm mixing on. If there are any questions post up and I'll do my best to answer them.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2020, 09:34:52 am »

I buss my drums into a Stereo Aux on the TF5 and there I have some light EQ and then a modified 3-band multiband compressor preset from the Yamaha effects choices. The bands break at 132 Hz and 4 kHz. This compressor kisses the drum hits with what appears to be -2 or -4 dB of compression. Hard to tell because the GUI has poor marking (big gap between the numbers and the physical space is small, so it's hard to really pinpoint the gain reduction value it shows you with the bargraph display).

Quote
PGADRUMKIT7

Bill, I love you to death for trying very hard and exhausting every option. I keep following because I want you to succeed. Small church is run by awesome people like you who support via time and financially.

Frankly im perplexed why the others keep throwing the same ideas around and haven't already said this.

You're most likely trying to polish a turd.

You can apply all the compressiom and EQ to a bad kit and mics and it'll never get the sound you want. You gotta fix the source and then the pickup of that source.

You want to buy a truck, but told the dealership you have no money.

Im not saying you need to spend 10k, just a wee bit more than nothing...

---

First thing first do the drums sound good?

Get a budget to pay the best drummer you know who has their own kit and sounds good to bring it in and/or tune-up yours. Get the kit sounding the closest you can to what you want the drums to sound like. Buy new heads, moon gels, deeper snare like Matthias said, etc.

Then get a budget to slowly buy new mics. Start with kick mic: b91 or d6. Then snare sm81, then toms e604/904, then add the 2nd kick mic and 2nd snare mic. You dont need earthworks or DPA mice to sound great, but you do need something.

One thing to remember, and if i was physically present trying to help. I'd bypass everything and start at the source everytime we changed something and tested it. Oftentimes in other people's systems they're doing too much processing/layers and it just doesn't sound good. Try bypassing the drum group, etc.

Of course we know it wont all happen at once. You've said 10x you dont have a budget. Time to get one. You have not because you ask not. Go to leadership and kindly make a petition, outline the things you've learned here. Offer to rent before buying, etc. Take them on the journey with you, give them joint-ownership of the project.

Godspeed
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 09:38:05 am by Nathan Riddle »
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Geert Friedhof

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #47 on: December 13, 2020, 10:04:56 am »

I think Geert was thrown by the "stereo aux" thing, but I understand what you meant. Typically an aux send is for "sending" things out of the console. To drive a monitor or an effects unit for example.

Yep I would call your 'stereo aux bus' a 'group bus'.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #48 on: December 13, 2020, 10:12:07 am »

Pro37

Pro45

Audio Technica makes excellent budget freindly condensoer mics. You can't go wrong with either of these mics. Don't buy their cheap dynamic mics though. Those aren't great.

For cheap Dynamics, you just can't beat the Shure sm57. It's a stereotype because its true. The 57 may not be the best mic for every source, but it is the good enough mic for every source.


Also, I second the idea that the drums have to sound really good to begin with. And in my experience even a lot of drummers don't know how to tune their own drums well, so maybe do some real research on drummers in your area before hiring a guy to come in and help.
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Matthias McCready

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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2020, 11:40:16 am »

Matthias:

Can you elaborate on what you consider "slower attack"? I have done a ton of YouTube watching over the last couple of years watching clips from both professional studio mixing engineers and the few live FOH guys I can find. One live FOH guy I've watched some videos from lately is James Attaway. His videos are here:  https://www.youtube.com/c/AttawayAudio/playlists. I've also read all the posts I can find from folks like Chris Huff, the late Andrew Stone and others. I also own a ton of personal Waves plugins I play with in my DAW, so anything you are currently doing with Waves I can probably replicate in my DAW for learning purposes. I can't use the plugins live in church, though, as our board won't easily support the interface. I could make it sort of work, but not well enough to justify the $3500 cost of the Waves server and Hear Technologies Dante interface box. And there is that limited budget thing I've mentioned before ...  ;D. Plus the TF5 is just too limited with internal routing. There are no patchable inserts on any channels.

From watching the YouTube videos, it seems there are as many opinions on drum compression as there are engineers ...  :). I am currently using these compressor settings:

Kick - hard knee, 5 mSec attack, 203 mSec release, 4:1 ratio. Getting -3 dB max compression on hard hits.
Snare - same as kick.
Toms - hard knee, 10 mSec attack, 400 mSec release, 4:1 ratio. Getting -6 dB max compression on the hardest hits, usually more like -3 dB compression.

Lots of the Waves plugin presets for drums seem to love about 4 mSecs for attack and 200 mSecs or so for release (this is the "Drums" preset on the RCompressor, for example).

So what's your go-to starting point for the drum compressors?


For me slow attack means 30+ ms. Sometimes I might even do 40-50.

As far as settings go, this is where I am going to do you a large disservice.

Let me caveat and say that I am no compression wizard, my mindset is really what problem am I trying to solve? Let that be reason you are reaching for the EQ knob or compressor. Practice until you get there. Once get there, practice more.

As you have fun stuff at home play with those plugs so you can hear what you are doing, even though you don't have all the same tools on Sunday morning the experience will transfer over and be useful. For EQ keep in mind the rig at home will sound very different than your live rig.

Once you are more comfortable with your tools I have a mix challenge for you:

Make a new session/scene for your console. In this session leave your inputs/outputs and channel names. You can leave your effects saved and dialed in (erase any EQ on the sends though!). Now for the channels ZERO all of your EQ, compression, turn all the sends down (verbs, and aux fed subs etc). Now save this file and make 6 duplicates

Now get yourself a timer, and pick a chorus for the multi-tracks.

For the first session spend 30 minutes and save.
For the second session spend 25 minutes and save.
For the third 20 minutes and save.
For the fourth 15 minutes (you get the idea)
For the Fifth 10 minutes (Feeling nervous yet?)
For the final 5 minutes (That really wasn't enough time!)

Go through your scenes and see how the mixes compare. How fast can you get things roughly dialed in? By the last one you will probably figure out how important Snare, Kick, and vocals are  :)

This is a good exercise at any level.

---

Below I will put my approach, that is not quite so helpful to you over the internet as that is rather subjective, and unhelpful subjectivity as you aren't in the same room as me, and even than you might disagree  ;D

Additionally on a Yammy TF series you will be limited, however you can still get a good mix. I have only mixed on one once, but I was able to get it to do what I wanted. While you probably don't have a dynamic EQ you probably can key the compressor to a frequency.

Onto the subjective details  :o

Kick: Using two mics is ideal as it allows you to use one which has a good low-end, and one which has a nice top end. Ie I like the low end of D6, but the top end of a condenser. Although condenser can have even nicer 30hz stuff. Not what I am going for usually  ;)

You can probably only afford one good kick mic. Choose wisely. For example for R&B or something where I might enjoy a nice woolly sounding kick a B52 is a fantastic mic; however I do not find the top end to be at all pleasant. For all intents and purposes the D6 can mimic that bottom end pillow (if that is what you are hunting for) and will have a nicer top end.

Even if you have one mic I would recommend splitting it to two channels. One which will be sending to the mains and subs (if you are on aux fed) and one which will be the top end click. This way you can change the feel and weight of your kick on the fly to best serve the song. If it is a slower song where there is only one kick hit every measure or two, I probably want to feel the low end impact of it. Conversely if it is a faster song, the kick should be more top end.

For getting the most attack I usually put the D6 about 2-3 inches off of the batter head inside the drum aiming at the beater.

I don't usually do compression on a kick unless they are an inconsistent hitter. I do often do some multi band stuff (keyed comp for you) on the top kick mic to pull out some of the very top end 8-10k for when the drummer really lays into the pedal.

Another element to keep in mind is subwoofers vs reference frequencies. A common problem I had early on was that I would feel like I was not getting enough kick drum or bass guitar; in reality I was hammering the subs. I discovered as soon as I added some top end (some string noise/growl for the bass or click of the top end for the kick) that I had more than enough, and I actually would turn down. For many things it is important for us to have a higher frequency reference; don't just plough into the subs  :)

Top Snare:

For compression I am really looking for something that is going to even out the hits somewhat (to keep those hard hits slightly more consistent) and to move the tonality some. I am often probably only doing 2-3dB usually. The slower attack lets the initial transient of the hit through brings up the tail so to speak.

For EQ I am looking for the weight of the snare (low mids) and for the top end crack. Sometimes that topend is a boost at 3.5k, or sometimes it is a high self, this really depends on the mic and amount of bleed from other things.

Bottom Snare:

This is really what makes a snare feel like a snare. Having a mic here adds in the sound of the wires. It really makes a snare feel more 3D. I had several years I wasn't hip to this, and these days if I am limited on mics I have chosen to have a bottom snare mic over mixing all of the toms! (heresy for some) .

If you want more of Hi-Fi snare sound a condenser (such as an SM81) is a good choice, this will bring out the high-end detail you are probably missing with that top mic. If you want more bottom end (warmer sound) something like an E906 is a great choice. A place this mic can be useful is if your top mic isn't allowing you to get the low-mid weight you want on the snare without getting tubby, sometimes you can get these frequencies from the bottom mic.

While this mic isn't usually as prominent out of the two snare mics, it is often where the detail comes from for me.

For compression I usually do two layers:

Layer 1: Is usually as quick as it the compressor can go. This layer drops the bottom snare level bu 6dB or so on a hard snare hit. When you are playing drums (former drummer here) the harder you hit the snare the less of the wires you hear vs ghost notes (soft hits) are mostly wires. This mimics the drummers experience for the audience. This is a controlling compressor.

Layer 2: The second layer of compression is a tone thing. I personally really dig a DBX-160 for its nice SPLAT sound. I hit this pretty hard and dial back the mix so there is some raw coming through.

Hats: In my world I usually don't want bright and detailed hats. Why? Because the overheads probably sound pretty nice, and are detailed. So if I am micing hats I usually make it dirty. It usually hits some preamp distortion (something you won't have on your board probably). I am looking for clank and body. I take out the top end (sometimes down to 3k) and bottom end (200-500hz) and I boost around 1k or so for that body. In the compressor I SMASH this channel. It is compressing even on light hat hits, and very heavily on snare hits. This channel gets added to taste. A little bit goes a long way, it is a nice addition to the detail of the overheads; it also adds more of a room mic feel to the kit (this is more noticeable/useful to me than having parallel bus compression or something for the kit).

Toms: Find the weight (fundamental tone) and the top end. Everything else can usually be cut.

For floor tom I do a lot of processing, to explain I like a big sounding floor tom, here you feel the low end. To the point a drummer technique for fills is to sometimes mimic the kick drum with the floor tom; in this vein a big sounding floor tom is enjoyable.

Roughly steps I take are:

1. Take out below a 100hz (12dB cut or more) this gets added back in with an dynamic EQ expander so there is a slight boost when the tom is hit. This release is set to shape the tail of the hit.
2. A dynamic expanding EQ to the fundamental frequency of the tom.
3. The kick frequency is side-chained to the floor tom, so that the kick wins.
4. The lower end has a very slow attack compressor that pulls back over time, so if there is one hit you feel it in the subs, but if they go to a tom groove there is not constant low end sub rumble from the hits adding up.
5. Depending on how noisy the tom is picking up the kit I sometimes have an EQ top end boost that is off of a tom trigger. Sometimes I do gate off of a trigger. Sometimes I sidechain the tom to the snare so that the top end of the tom mic disappears during the top end.

Overheads: Even with well positioned and delayed overheads you will get transient smear from the snare.

The approach of most engineers I know is to only use the top end of the spectrum for the overheads say 6-8k and up. This is valid, but not my favorite approach. While it mitigates some of the conflict for the snare hit, it also misses the body of the cymbals. To the point those nice expensive custom cymbals a good drummer is bringing don't feel that nice.

So for here I do some dynamic stuff.

Depending on what is available, I either have compressor keyed to the snare or large dynamic band keyed to the snare that pulls back those frequencies (say 1-3k); sometimes I do both. You want to be taking away about 6dB on a good hard hit. If you are doing the dynamic part this enables you to have a greater frequency on the overheads and to capture the body, without fighting the snare.

I then do a second of layer compression to tame some of the harder cymbal hits. Pull out any offending frequencies.


---

I also wanted to talk "budget" for a second

As you stated you are from a small church, as it is small lets think of budget as so  :D

As it is so small don't bother with the budget, bypass it. If there are upgrades you really think are needed take some ownership and raise some money for it. Find a few like minded conspirators and put some cash down on it, invest in your idea. If you approach your pastor and state,

"We would like to purchase product X, which will help improve this..., I have already secured us a $4k matching grant" I doubt they will say no, and they probably announce it after offering as something people can give to. I have seen this raise $20k for new gear for small churches in a week or two. To the point I have seen God provide in some incredible ways!
The sky is the limit!
--

Additionally as you have some personal Waves plugins, it seems to me that you are wanting to get better and possibly have some personal finances to invest. So maybe the church doesn't buy a better mic package, you do. When I started out my mentor made me buy a Pelican and furnished me with some mics.

So I would roll into the little churches with my 1510 and mic the kit up right. Where I went so did my mics. I really got to learn how those mics worked by using them across many PA's.

This kit will be your personal one, and you can serve where you mix with them. What mics do you want own and get to know? Additionally setting them up fresh every week will help you to become more proficient at doing it an efficient manner and should help you to learn positioning.



« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 01:38:46 pm by Matthias McCready »
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Re: How Do You Get This Drum Sound -- or reasonably close?
« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2020, 11:40:16 am »


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