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Author Topic: Drums  (Read 1823 times)

Mike Caldwell

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Re: Drums
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2021, 07:46:05 PM »

On your smaller stage and smaller overall space a full drum iso booth is going to stick out like a sore thumb, at least I think it would.

You mentioned vocal mic and using gates, do not gate the vocal mics, it's a fine line to find a gate thershold that will close off the drums and yet let the vocals through, actually it can be a moving target that is hard to hit unless all your vocalist sign loud and always directly on mic.

E drums and call it done, it looks like just about everyone is on IEM's so you already have that going for you.

Matthias McCready

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Re: Drums
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2021, 10:59:42 PM »

It is definitely a rough space, not designed for what we do.

We would prefer not to use an e-kit.

We are open to an enclosure as long as we can move it around. We are looking at moving it to the corner of the stage if we do so.

Audix D series mics

We have a budget for the enclosure and a pair of reasonably priced overheads.

X32 Compact, P16, and plenty of channels.

I have a drummer who says he knows how to tune a kit and I have no reason to doubt him, but I have no knowledge yet of what it takes.

Kit quality could probably be upgraded in due time. The cymbals are not good (I don't know what brand) and I don't know about the snare.

Our drummers easily play with a click, can play parts within reason and/or create their own. They tend to have a good feel and one of them is definitely more willing to play to the room than the other. Ongoing discussions...


Good to see that you have some nice mics, those will be a good starting point.

What type of kit do you have now?

Most kits can be made to sound decent, but having something better than not will be helpful.

If you are not already aware, used is absolutely fine for drums. There are lots of good brands, there are different tiers of kits to them. You may be able to find a great deal on an upper-tier kit that is a few years old, but not old enough to be "vintage." As long as the shells are intact (no cracks) and the hardware is working (not that it is hard to find or replace) then the most a drum should need the bearing edges sanded (if they are inconsistent) and some new heads. Honestly even brand new kits need the bearing edges sanded sometimes!

Note if you are willing to go for a kit that is not a current vogue color/design, you can probably find an amazing deal. For example, a little over a decade back custom drum shops got tons of orders for crazy colors, orange, neon green, etc. Heck, I even found a kit with Spam wrap (yes the canned meat!). Right now a natural look is the craze, although it would probably be something else soon.

A note on custom kits (smaller brands) they can be great, or not. The church I work at uses a particular custom brand that is built locally. They are nice sounding drums, but they are VERY difficult to tune; to the point, they can sound worse than certain other brands if someone is not diligent.

As far as brands go you should check out Yamaha. Are they the best kits out there? No. But they do make great drums, and used they can be affordable. If you wait on Reverb long enough you can probably find a nice deal on Absolute Custom or something similar.


I am not sure what type of music your church plays however a trick for you in making a drum enclosure work is actually using a slightly smaller kick drum. A 20" properly miced can be just as beefy sounding as a 22" can, and it allows the for the tom(s) to be lower.


For most music you will want 16" tom for a floor tom; however a 14" can be tuned fairly low; although you will probably need to replace the head a lot more with it being played tuned down that far.


As far as heads go batter heads (the side that gets hit) should be replaced fairly regularly, depending on how often the kit is played. I would recommend at least every 6 months, but some places do it every few weeks. It kind of depends on how much the drums are used and how much wear they exhibit. Resonant do not need to be replaced as often, I would recommend having something better than stock heads.

To the point of heads. consistency is really important. You will probably find that a certain tuning fits your needs best, this tuning will be affected by:
Genre
Iso-booth Acoustics
Mic choice and placement
Overall room

Note that some tuning choices and even cymbal choices don't feel good at the drummer's perspective, but feel great miced. This is a little counterintuitive, and for what it is worth is still expensive/quality gear.

I highly recommend that Youtube channel "Sounds Like a Drum" it is a very cool resource that I wish I had when I was playing.  They really dive into lots of different ways to tune.

Once you find a head that works for your tuning I would recommend buying several. I know some churches that have a stack of 20 new snare heads awaiting deployment!

Personally, I am a big Aquarian fan. I love the sound of an Aquarian Super Kick II (batter) and one of their Regulator heads (resonant). It is a one-trick pony to how a kick should sound. About $80ish for their pair, but is worth it.

Also, check out a Zoro beater. They make a huge difference in the kick sound and yield lots of nice top end attack. They are about $30.

--
At some point, I would recommend getting a nicer snare. A Mapex brass cat or black panther; or a Ludwig black beauty are common choices in my circles.

--

Not sure what type of music your church plays, but if it is any of the more "modern" stuff. That is very focused on deep snare drums and very large dark sounding cymbals. Hats are often 15"-18" (usually made using crash cymbals) and 20" crashes and 22" rides. Expensive stuff as it usually hand-hammered. Remember that cymbals will crack, especially quickly with some drummers. Some churches find it is better to have drummers bring their own cymbals, others like the consistency of having a house set. Just realize they could be a yearly expense of $1500 if you have hard hitters.

As far as brands go Meinl, Zildjian, and Instanbul are common. Paiste sound fantastic, but anecdotally they crack quicker than most other brands).

Keep in mind that if a cymbal is hand-hammered that each cymbal will sound different and have a unique voicing. A good drum shop will have a whole wall of the good stuff. Even if a cymbal is a good brand and from an expensive series doesn't guarantee it is the one you want.

If you are on the hunt for inexpensive cymbals I have been quite impressed with the Instanbul XIST series for the money. For the price they are fantastic. If a local drum store carries them, have your drummer check them out.









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Tim Weaver

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Re: Drums
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2021, 11:31:10 PM »

Electronic kits mostly suck. No matter what you do, in that room with that volume level you'll still hear the drummer, but it will sound like a 10 year old beating a bunch of cardboard boxes. E kits aren't all that quiet when you are still close to them. thud thud thud thud thud is what it will sound like.


Go for a drum booth. There are dozens of different styles. You can use your current drum kit, which you are familiar with and the drummer can hit harder and use regular sticks. It will sound better all around.

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« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 08:52:32 AM by Mac Kerr »
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Drums
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2021, 12:09:19 AM »

I have tweaked a Roland V-Drum set and got it to sound very good. I didn't like the out of the box sound. It is not cheap but if you know how to set it up properly it can be a really good alternative in a room like this. I can give a lot more detail as to my thought about this if you want. But it is late and I am tired now. 
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Drums
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2021, 02:56:47 AM »

It is definitely a rough space, not designed for what we do.

We would prefer not to use an e-kit.

We are open to an enclosure as long as we can move it around. We are looking at moving it to the corner of the stage if we do so.

Audix D series mics

We have a budget for the enclosure and a pair of reasonably priced overheads.

X32 Compact, P16, and plenty of channels.

I have a drummer who says he knows how to tune a kit and I have no reason to doubt him, but I have no knowledge yet of what it takes.

Kit quality could probably be upgraded in due time. The cymbals are not good (I don't know what brand) and I don't know about the snare.

Our drummers easily play with a click, can play parts within reason and/or create their own. They tend to have a good feel and one of them is definitely more willing to play to the room than the other. Ongoing discussions...

Vocal mics are e835 and we aren't using gates because I don't know how to implement them. Learning...

Our piano mic, an AT something, picks up a lot as well and hardly needs to be amplified in the room. Mostly for the live stream.


What is the reasoning for not wanting an e-kit?  This is a case of the needs of the church need to step in front of the musicians or even the crew.  Do you really have a drummer so talented that he can't do what is needed for a worship service without "real" drums?  I have worked with a lot of worship bands and even ones with hired guns just aren't on that kind of level.  People come to church to get closer to their deity, not decompose the performance of the musicians.   
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John L Nobile

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Re: Drums
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2021, 12:56:24 PM »

I had the displeasure of mixing VDrums for 3 years. They replaced a beautiful Yamaha kit. Same drummer. We both hated it but the producer demanded them.

Went back to the Yamaha kit. Drummer used softer sticks and put a drape in front of the snare. Louder than the VDrums but the sound and feel were night and day. 

I've noticed that the choice of sticks makes a big difference in volume.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Drums
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2021, 02:51:24 PM »

I don't think anyone here is disagreeing that an acoustic drum kit has the feel and sound we all like to either play or mix.

In situations like Curtis's church there are other factors that out weight the feel and sound for lack of a better word "convenience" of a good e drum kit.
Yea the drummer may grumble, the sound person will say the ride cymbal bell doesn't sound right or the snare doesn't have the same crack to it but no one in the congregation will care all the while they're having a better worship experience because of controlled volume resulting in a better overall mix.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 03:26:03 PM by Mike Caldwell »
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Matthias McCready

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Re: Drums
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2021, 07:59:10 PM »

I don't think anyone here is disagreeing that an acoustic drum kit has the feel and sound we all like to either play or mix.

In situations like Curtis's church there are other factors that out weight the feel and sound for lack of a better word "convenience" of a good e drum kit.
Yea the drummer may grumble, the sound person will say the ride cymbal bell doesn't sound right or the snare doesn't have the same crack to it but no one in the congregation will care all the while they're having a better worship experience because of controlled volume resulting in a better overall mix.

Getting slightly off-topic I am very curious about creating a better E-kit.

Most E-Drum sets are pretty bleh (granted I haven't played many in the last 6 years, but I would guess there a no huge changes).
They have lots of included kits (sounds), a few of which are great/useful, but many of which are unnecessary. To the point they don't usually come close to having a real miced kit.

I know there certain mesh pads/heads which feel not terrible to pretty good.

Cymbals have been a problem, I was very excited when Zildjian the Gen 16 cymbals came out. To a stick, they feel like a real cymbal, and acoustically they sound like a cymbal, albeit quiet and not that great. The sampling on those is truly horrible.

I know on the studio side that drums have come a long way. For example, the addictive drum software even has some, dare I say it, decent-sounding cymbals in it! About any of their stock drums are a good starting point from the perspective of "live guy."  ;)  ;D

Many tours are using sampled snare's etc these days.

So I would be curious about building a kit utilizing the Gen-16 cymbals and the preferred brand of mesh heads, which would all be input in as triggers into a DAW which would send out individual outputs (maybe utilizing Dante Virtual Soundcard?).

The way I see it:

1. It would feel good to play
2. It would sound fantastic (most churches don't have a great kit, don't replace heads often enough, and don't know their tuning game).
3. It would make for a happy engineer as they have access to each channel, just like a real miced kit.
4. It would be quite
5. It would probably would not be more cost-prohibitive than a real kit and mics.
6. While the computer would need to be replaced every few years, so do cymbals and heads...

Cons:
1. Relying on a computer, probably would want a redundant backup rig with automatic switching (1k pilot tone?).
2. Latency?
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Curtis McGill

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Re: Drums
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2021, 06:57:26 AM »

One of our drummers has a fully isolated ClearSonic enclosure so we are going to try that first. What is different about ClearSonic and other brands that have been recommended?

If we enclose the drums should we use SDC or LDC for overheads since we have the Audix mics on the kick, snare, and both toms?

Sonically, I think it would clear up the sound. Aesthetically, it not be pleasing.

We will make other upgrades to the kit over time.

As far as e-drums go: we are not under pressure because of our volume so this is a step up (if all goes well). No one, that would care, wants e-drums. We are in a win-win situation where everyone is relatively on the same page.

Great feedback! Thank you.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Drums
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2021, 08:07:39 AM »

Mute the drum mics. You might not need them.


Steve.
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Re: Drums
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2021, 08:07:39 AM »


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