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Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

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Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Rocknrollerlondon » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:31 pm

I'm going to be recording a band rehearsal with a drummer who's kick drum has an unperforated resonant head. I've read an SOS feature (June '08) which was very helpful, but can anyone give me some miking advice from experience?

I have a Sennhieser e602 mkII and Shure PG52. I'm thinking miking both drum heads with the PG52 pointing towards the beater (drummer side) and the e602 at the front and slightly off centre.
Does this sound ok?

I know there will be a lot of spill but I'm going to try and reduce this the best I can.

Thanks
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:45 pm

You can put one stand over the top of the kick towards the batter head rim, with the mic pointing down at the beater.You dont need to use a kick mic specifically. A 57 works quite well...and the other somewhere on the resonant head side. I personally prefer to be close to the rim rather than the centre on that side. You can make some sort of shield to protect the mic from cymbal spill coming from above. A relection filter works well but any arrangement of foam tile, rubber matting etc will work.

One of the problems you may find is that the drum sometimes prefers a bit more venting than the shell vents provide. In that case you can make a small hole...cut around a shot glass for example.

If it were my session I would take a resonant head with a 4 or 5 inch hole, so that it can be swapped out. The sound of the kick outside is far more natural, but if you get a guy who hits thick cymbals hard, you're going to have a difficult time mixing that kick drum. You can gate it but then you get a big 'splash' on every kick. And with this technique you can't be sure that you'll get away with leaving the mics open all the time in the mix, because that batter side mic doesn't always play nicely with the snare drum. Depends on the style, how bright you will need the kick to be, how hard and consistently the drummer plays the kick, and how softly they play the cymbals. If you can get away with a lot of eq you can get a close resonant head mic to sound very complete and natural on its own, without a batter side option.

Jack
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Rocknrollerlondon » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:07 am

Hey Jack,

Super quick reply and great advice, thank you.

I do have an SM57 which I can use, but unfortunately I can't make a hole in the skin. I want to try and get the best mic placement I can without having to go going crazy on eq, if possible? Are there any dangers of phase issues by miking both skins of the kick drum?

The band has a classic funk style... James Brown, Wild Cherry etc... what do you think?

Thanks
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Beat Poet » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:20 am

Would the guy allow you to take off the reso? That'd save heaps of time and you'd get a much better sound.
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:25 am

There are always problems with phase with multiple mics. You might find that you have to delay the batter head mic because it's closer... Depends on the depth and diameter of the drum. Alternatively you can get more distance by coming from under the snare. But you might not need that mic for this music. You can probably make the front of kick mic work well. Don't be afraid to eq stuff. Drums can take quite a bit.

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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby The Elf » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:33 am

All good stuff from Jack above. I'd add a subkick if possible - you'll need to use of little of it as you have to, but at least it will be clean of cymbals and other muck. I'd also consider a D12/D112 in front of the res head - I do this for jazz kits quite often and it gets a very honest low end that you can isolate a bit easier than other mic's.

I did work with a drummer a couple of years back who insisted on keeping the unperforated, undamped res head on his 26" kick and then berated me for not getting enough click out of the kick - ah, it takes all kinds... :D
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby turbodave » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:35 am

Hi, I would get the head off the drum. Regardless of whether the drummer likes the head on or even if it sounds great acoustically, recording like this is only going to work if you have a brilliant environment/acoustic space and extremely competent/understanding musicians. I would explain the technical limitations of working like this, get the head off and get the mic inside the drum.......otherwise, what Jack said! :D Dave
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Tartaruga » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:04 am

Hi
I would make some experiences and try to do the best I can with what’s there.
Keeping the resonant skin,is an ‘artistic choice’,and the sound and the feeling is very different from an open one.
I have an old ASBA Jazz Bass drum,with custom size skin(sheep,sometimes goat skin),one i get from ‘Magma’s drummer(Christian Vander)and would never let you cut them…
Usually,sound technicians,want to impose their view(sorry guys,I expect the worst…),no matter what,but you have to respect the musicians choices(in my opinion).
The reason I have a 'closed drum’ is because of the ‘old jazz/orchestra sound’,and,as i mentioned before,the feeling is different.I don’t like or use,the ‘clicky’ sound everyone wants for his kick drum(and that’s a ‘choice’,not a ‘mistake’)
If you take your time,you’ll find interesting things to do with it.Sure it’s not usual or common this days,but it’s an occasion to learn something,face a little challenge,and eventually,at the end,sound a bit different…Walk your own path and respect musicians/artists choice,you’ll be much respected,appreciated,and probably won’t have to cut the drummer’s skin…lol.
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Tartaruga » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:26 am

Oh,and i forgot…
One mic in front of the kick(find position to your taste),one for snare,and two OH’s(not very far from the drum set)…
With the OH’s you’ll get the extra wooopf (and the bat sound) the closed kick makes on the drummer’s side …Nice!(and alive…)
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby turbodave » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:45 pm

Well sorry to disagree with the previous poster as even though it is an artistic choice, and as a drummer myself, I can tell you that to get the best out of the recording..and I emphasise recording....to keep the resonant head on is not a good idea, does not affect play (or shouldn't for someone with adequate technique) and it did sound great in the 40s when there was no multitrack recording. The issue of bleed is the main one for me, however if the drummer in question does not wish to do this emphasise the restrictions being imposed...as most rehearsal spaces will sound horrible and seriously affect the tone of the recording. Dave
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:30 pm

Well, it totally depends. Tartaruga, you sound to me like the sort of musician who really cares about how the kit sounds, understands it as an instrument and has a clear idea of what you want. If you told me you wanted to use a full front head I'd certainly work with you to achieve that. If you're playing Jazz it's a more natural approach and as you say you don't need or want the click.

But there are also situations as an engineer or producer when you need to steer people in a certain direction in order to achieve what they want with the money they have available, and with their abilities in mind. A lot of musicians don't understand how their instrument works, and when you discuss their sound you find that they don't have much of an opinion about it. Personally I do think the resonant head is an important element and I do prefer to have one on there, but it's nice to have the option to mic inside it in situations where the room, the cymbals or the player make the spill uncomfortably harsh.

Of course, budget is a very real issue. A lot of bands expect to record the drums for a twelve track record in two days. But they turn up with the heads that the kit was sold with, and don't want to take the time or spend the money to sort the drums out. I never go to a drum session without clear and coated one ply and two ply spares for all the sizes they (and I) have. But we do live in a world where some people expect and even want to be sample replaced. Not if I can help it.

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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Tartaruga » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:39 pm

@ Jack
I agree with you…
In some situations,it’s a choice,in some others,the drummer itself doesn’t have a clue,or have never thought about it or test different solutions.There’s also the ones who make a hole just because they saw it in other kits.Yes it’s a different sound and feeling.
After much tests,I do prefer 'that particular one' closed.Usually sound technicians look at it like it was sent from Mars,but at the end,they play along,and realise that it works for what i need.I usually tell them:’make it sound like a 40 inch from the 30’s’…
I do have a custom sized skin,with a hole in it,but ended never using it.
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Tartaruga » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:41 pm

Sorry,I forgot…
I’m thinking of putting a fixed mic inside...
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:50 pm

I think if you're going for that natural jazz thing, the inside mic is not your friend anyway. Not sure I'd bother with the effort and expense.

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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Tartaruga » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:12 pm

@ Jack
Ok,thanks for the advice!
It was a way of facilitating everything for everyone,but haven’t try it…
ANW,thanks.
Cheers.
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby turbodave » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:43 pm

Anyway, as far as the the OP is concerned, with his/her style of music, unless you have a great space I would mic inside. Dave
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby Rocknrollerlondon » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:50 am

Thanks for the advice.

Paul
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Re: Recording kick drum with unperforated resonant head

Postby narcoman » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:35 am

Goal dependant. For a. Rough rehearsal, then yeah.... Much of the above advice is good..... Although why not just keep it on.


For more studio oriented goals.....I don't leave it up to the drummer, it's down the the goals of the music and the sound in general. I've kept heads on , taken em 'off, cut holes in them, hired different kicks and pedals, single tracked, multi miced, resampling, sample replaced etc etc and everything in between.

Build a tunnel for isolation and mic the resonant head with something open. Look for a front of whole KIT sound and work globally rather than locally. You're after a drum kit sound. Put a decent omni in front and move that mic first to get a global sound THEN fill in with other mics. Of course, again, goal dependant... If you're after a groovey 70s rock tone or a jazz tone or something like "rolling in the deep" or whatever,....... Removing a head won't help then!

Move it round the room for the right tone, tune the kick head slack and the res head tight. Three mic approach works great fo' a jazz tone or a zep tone. Having said that, the room matters in such circumstances.... So does the mic.

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