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best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

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best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rhetro » Fri May 11, 2012 9:26 pm

Hello.

I was wondering if anyone could give me a list of some popular mic pres for recording 9 channels of acoustic drums. I have good mics but am missing the front end. I'm using a Presonus Studio Live 16.0.2 board which is ok, but missing the clarity and definition that I'm looking for.

What are drummers using?

Thanks!
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat May 12, 2012 7:49 am

Presonus know a thing or two about mic amps. I'd be very surprised if the mic amps in that board are causing a lack of clarity. I suspect that you might need to experiment with heads and tuning and be aware that close mics almost always need a good dose of eq if you want them to sound 'crisp'. You could get an eight channel DAV on demo and see if it changes things. But as
I say I'd be surprised if it makes a night and day difference. Indeed some high end mic amps, like 1073s would make the sound more distorted with less clarity.
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat May 12, 2012 9:37 am

+1. It's more than likely not the mic pres. Ignore the mics and computer and listen to the kit in the room. Do you hear the same problem? I'm guessing that your ears/ heart are telling you something is wrong, but your logic is flawed. It's a human thing!

Apart from what Jack has suggested (all good), the most common cause of this problem is mic positioning. What's your methodology?
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rhetro » Sat May 12, 2012 6:54 pm

Sorry,

For the snare top, and racks: I close-mike about 1.5" above the head, .5" inside the rim, and about 45 degrees angled at the center of the head

For the bass: The screen portion of the D112 inside the front head port aimed at the beater head offset about 15 degrees

Snare bottom: Dead center on the snare wires about 2" away at a 45 degree angle.

Hi hat: mic pointed down about 1" away from the top cymbal, angled about 10 degrees or so, and 1" inside the edge.

Overheads: about 4' above the kit x-y configuration
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat May 12, 2012 7:06 pm

Well sadly it's not that easy. Each drum and each mic, in each room, will be slightly different. So you can't say that the positioning is right just because it's x distance at y angle. But just to reiterate...If you're doing rock stuff, you'll probably need to boost some high frequencies. On the last rock mixes I did I was adding something like 8-10dB to the top of the kick, snare and toms. Not saying that's what you should do, but the point is that there are natural drum sounds, and then there are 'hifi'drum sounds. And they do involve eq.

J
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rhetro » Sat May 12, 2012 7:25 pm

Thanks.

I do realize this. The drum sound that I got came from experimenting. It's the best sound that I could get with what I have.

The room -to give you a broader picture- is a carpeted 10' x 15' living area (yes, it's not a bonafide studio) with a vaulted 12' ceiling. It's by far the best room in the house to put the drums in for sure.
Not a bad kit either I might add: Tama Starclassic Maple.

When I'm at the kit it just sounds amazing from where I'm sitting. Other -non musician, yet music fans) tell me it sounds amazing from where they're standing (which could be anywhere in the living area) which could be an irrelevant opinion, but better than them telling me it sounds horrible. My band mates seem to love the sound of it. Aside from 'hiring' a pro to come and evaluate 'my drum sound', I really don't know what else to do.
You start with a sound you like, tweak it, get it sounding better; and go from there. Then it's just a matter of capturing it, with 1s and 0s in this case (preamps, ADCs, etc) -which is the point of this inquiry.
My style is more of the aggressive type as you accurately determined! (rock/progressive rock/ jazz with some latin influences) I'm definitely NOT just sitting around keeping the beat! I'm all over the place! But don't necessarily want my captured drum tracks that way!
I hope I'm making sense. And I know, that one of the good things about my mixer is all those knobs! I guess my question comes more from the 'optimal front end' for the computer. If I need to tweak yet again, then back to the old drawing board, right?
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat May 12, 2012 7:43 pm

We'd really need to hear an example of the "problem". There's no way to tell how it sounds from the info you've provided.
Rhetro wrote:When I'm at the kit it just sounds amazing from where I'm sitting.

Put a stereo pair there so!
Rhetro wrote:Then it's just a matter of capturing it, with 1s and 0s in this case (preamps, ADCs, etc) -which is the point of this inquiry.

What does that mean? 1s?
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rhetro » Sat May 12, 2012 9:11 pm

Sorry Tomas,

I'm not intending to confuse anyone -but I'm sure that I am!

What I'm hearing live is not what I'm hearing played back -this goes without saying but I thought I'd say it anyway. I'm not sure why this is the case, it just is. I realize that I could send people samples of what I'm doing, and failing at explaining myself properly, I just may do this!

What I meant by 1s and 0s is the digital realm; and no longer plugging into the warmth of an analog board going to tape -Sorry but my pun should have been more descriptive. The ADC is yet another factor in the signal chain that can hurt or help the signal -and I'm not sure where I stand on what I have. Everyone is boasting 44 and 192kHz, but to stay away from this brand with the same specs. Can you really hear the difference? Overwhelmed here.

My original question was what studios use to capture acoustic drums, preamp wise. I asked this because I feared that the pres that I have in my board might be contributing to a flat, sterile sound, that seems to lack punch, warmth etc.
I want to be able to solve this by tweaking, and not having to buy another piece of gear -i.e., a 16 channel preamp that drummers swear by.

Just trying to get an idea of the stalwart drummer's preamp.
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat May 12, 2012 9:54 pm

Room acoustics can be confusing. What sounds good to our ears after our brains have psycho-acoustically processed the sound can be very different to recording reality.

The preamps on the Presonus are pretty clean and swapping them out with expensive boutique preamps may make an small difference, but your discussion implies you are not even near, which perhaps indicates room issues.

Best to hire in some preamps before purchasing, if that doesn't do the trick then it's to do with room, mic, mic positioning or post production.

Bob
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rhetro » Sat May 12, 2012 11:48 pm

Thanks Bob.

This makes sense; all you guys here make sense !

I was thinking on having the room 'shot' and then treated anyway. Like you said, this may make all the difference!

thanks again!
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sun May 13, 2012 12:18 pm

Rhetro, try putting a stereo pair right where it sounds amazing to you. You might need to experiment to find which stereo technique works best for you. XY, DIN and ORTF are what I would try first.

Your explanation is actually fine, the problem is that old unattributed truism "talking about music is like dancing about architecture".
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rhetro » Sun May 13, 2012 1:21 pm

Thanks Tomas.

You're right: I think it's a matter of more experimentation -and patience!
x-y seemed to work best, but I think I need to revisit the other stereo techniques.

Dancing amidst the architecture -Love it!!!

Thanks for the help !

cheers!
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Beat Poet » Sun May 13, 2012 11:56 pm

Yeah I can't believe that a Presonus Studio Live 16.0.2 wouldn't give a good result. I haven't used one, but I bet it can do a damn fine job with that price tag!
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Rockdrummerzero » Mon May 14, 2012 8:38 am

Rhetro wrote:Hello.

I was wondering if anyone could give me a list of some popular mic pres for recording 9 channels of acoustic drums. I have good mics but am missing the front end. I'm using a Presonus Studio Live 16.0.2 board which is ok, but missing the clarity and definition that I'm looking for.

What are drummers using?

Thanks!

I use 5 Trident S20's for mine, would never change....
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Pinestreet » Tue May 15, 2012 2:54 pm

I take it this isn't just a simple case of hearing the drums in the room with the natural room reverberation and then listening to the recorded drums without reverb and/or eq ?? Makes a heap of difference !
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Re: best preamp for close-miking 9 channels of acoustic drums

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Wed May 16, 2012 7:51 am

I think it probably is, which is why I suggested using some kind of stereo pair at the spot where it sounds good.
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