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Record “fake” overhead drums

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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:00 am

Sam Spoons wrote:I really don't get that, close eyes, visualise drummer on stage in front of you (Simon Phillips, 1977, first live concert supporting the album) he plays that iconic tom fill and you watch him play the drums from high to low, right to left from your sound desk perspective, the sound coming out of the speakers goes left to right!!!!!

That's the thing though: when I'm building a mix (or just listening to music, really), I don't think of the music like I'm watching a band on stage that's playing something to the audience, where the listener is sitting.

I feel like I'm in the middle of the music - like I'm playing in the band - and that's pretty much how I visualise when I listen to music anyway. I want to be immersed in it - I don't want to be 30 rows back, disconnected and away from the music - I want to be part of it. And for me this is more usually what recorded music is, with extreme panning and so on. If you were always "out in the audience" then extreme panning stops working in the same way anyway.

On things like an actual live show (or video performance of a live show), where I am *actually* watching musicians on stage perform, my brain can make the necessary translations for what I'm hearing to still make sense (ie, it doesn't confuse me if my eyes force an audience perspective on me), but also in those cases, the music is usually presented in an audience perspective anyway so things will "match up".

But if I'm just making music, and I start moving the hihat over to the right, it just feels like I'm being dishonest to the listener...! :lol:
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:58 am

Wheras if I'm listening to music I perceive it as if I'm in the front row, (or more likely standing behind the desk, front and centre, at a gig). When I'm playing it's something else entirely and my focus is completely different.

WRT cheating the listener, 90% of them won't care (and are probably listening on a single earbud or to a phone in a beer glass), 9% will be the hifi buffs listening on a decent stereo and they will wonder WTF the hi-hat is on the wrong side, the final 1% will be musicians, some of whom will think like you and some will think like me :D

FWIW I'm trying to do a final mix of my for the forum album, when I got the stereo drum track it was panned from a drummers perspective (recorded on an electronic kit so presumably the panning is for the benefit of the drummer playing the kit, a perfectly reasonable thing to do in that context). I had to reverse the L/R and reduce the stereo width to make it sound more like it was coming from a real band.
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:04 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Wheras if I'm listening to music I perceive it as if I'm in the front row, (or more likely standing behind the desk, front and centre, at a gig). When I'm playing it's something else entirely and my focus is completely different.

Yes, I get that different people are different in these regards, I always find it interesting to get perspectives that are different to mine.

Out of interest - did you start making/writing/producing music young, or later in life?

(I'm wondering if there's a correlation here - the more time you spend listening as a "audience" (or at least, "non-drummer" might inform your hearing perspective when you do start to make music, but if you put yourself "in the band" very young, then that too might bias you to hearing things from band/drummer perspective going forward...)

Sam Spoons wrote:WRT cheating the listener, 90% of them won't care (and are probably listening on a single earbud or to a phone in a beer glass), 9% will be the hifi buffs listening on a decent stereo and they will wonder WTF the hi-hat is on the wrong side, the final 1% will be musicians, some of whom will think like you and some will think like me :D .

Sure, I know that! I was just mentioning how *I* feel when making it, audience perspective just doesn't really work for me, and we all make music to our own likes and tastes.

Sam Spoons wrote:FWIW I'm trying to do a final mix of my for the forum album, when I got the stereo drum track it was panned from a drummers perspective (recorded on an electronic kit so presumably the panning is for the benefit of the drummer playing the kit, a perfectly reasonable thing to do in that context). I had to reverse the L/R and reduce the stereo width to make it sound more like it was coming from a real band.

Sure, as it then more matches the aesthetic you prefer...
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:05 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Wheras if I'm listening to music I perceive it as if I'm in the front row, (or more likely standing behind the desk, front and centre, at a gig).

That'd be nice. When I think of being behind the desk I imagine being off to the side at the back, probably under a balcony or behind a pillar... :thumbup:
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:31 pm

Luke W wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Wheras if I'm listening to music I perceive it as if I'm in the front row, (or more likely standing behind the desk, front and centre, at a gig).

That'd be nice. When I think of being behind the desk I imagine being off to the side at the back, probably under a balcony or behind a pillar... :thumbup:

:D :D :D And that's the reality of it, things really improved with the advent of iPad control, far from perfect but better than mixing from the gents (unless the band are terrible maybe ;) ).

#Desmond, I started playing at 11 and gigging at around 13 or 14* so not a late starter really.

desmond wrote: Sure, I know that! I was just mentioning how *I* feel when making it, audience perspective just doesn't really work for me, and we all make music to our own likes and tastes.

Absolutely. When I've done band recordings it's usually been live bands and I've always liked recordings that sound 'real' to me, like I'm behind the desk.

WRT playing, I'm a fairly reserved on stage, more of a David Gilmour than a Pete Townsend, I don't throw shapes or jump around, I'm up there to play the guitar FFS not dance around like an eejit (it's hard enough to play without all that nonsense :blush: ) and I'm not fussy about my monitors, I just want to hear my voice, no fx or reverb, nothing else in there, I should be able to hear the drums and bass and my guitar from the backline. But like I said, playing is a completely different experience fro listening to music, live or recorded.

* I started recording my bands, just with a stereo cassette to start with, a couple of years later and doing live sound, occasionally to start with in my early 20's. Much later it became a second career alongside my driving school and gradually became the larger part of my income.
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:40 pm

Thanks.

I wonder if there have been studies done on this? Is it that people who feel "drummer's perspective" is natural for them *have* at some point been a drummer, but it's more "normal" for people to have a natural audience perspective bias?

In some ways, musicians that do a lot of gigs I would have thought would also be likely to default to "drummer" perspective, as they are always throwing their music *out* at the audience from within the band.

Or maybe it's like left/right-handedness - some people go one way, other people go the other (I mean the ones who would even consciously notice or care, at least - which is probably in the minority anyway...)
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:30 pm

The Elf wrote:I pan overheads full L/R, because the close mic's live inside this space - and it sounds natural.
And always drummer's perspective for me - else it sounds weird.
Of course, because the overhead is (when it's done right) a stereo array. I wouldn't go messing with that panning. I was thinking more about the panning of the close mics. And in terms of who's perspective it is, which mic goes on the left and which mic goes on the right. The width or fullness of the panning is not at issue here.

desmond wrote:I want to be immersed in it - I don't want to be 30 rows back, disconnected and away from the music - I want to be part of it.
I go for immersion too. But not the kind of immersion where each instrument is player's perspective. I don't think the listener should have that experience, but they could certainly be right there on stage with the band, being performed TO.

I find simple panning to be entirely unconvincing for an immersive experience. It has to be combined with level, timbre and reverb. Even if you're standing right behind the drummer you don't experience the hats as discretely over on one side, you're getting all of the reflected sound as well from all around you.

@desmond I think you are really on to something with this being studie. I wonder if there is some visual/ cognitive bias at play here? I can understand it for the drummer's perspective style of mix. But I wonder if you did a binaural recording from the drummer would the hats REALLY sound like they're panned as much as they often or? Or the toms?

Don't get me wrong- I love OTT dry hard panning of toms, it can be wonderfully dramatic. Phil Lynott's "Old Town" is a great example. And of course it's often easier to see the splinter in your fellow human's eye and not the plank in your own :lol:
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:45 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:I go for immersion too. But not the kind of immersion where each instrument is player's perspective. I don't think the listener should have that experience, but they could certainly be right there on stage with the band, being performed TO.

Yep. I don't think anyone is specifically trying to create a sound stage of locating the listener *actually* in the middle of the band. All our mix soundstages are somewhat artificial - we're creating a balance that pleases us, in the end. Hence the bass guitarist might have no reverb (which isn't "real" for the band space) and the snare drum might have a 3 second reverb etc.

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:@desmond I think you are really on to something with this being studie. I wonder if there is some visual/ cognitive bias at play here? I can understand it for the drummer's perspective style of mix. But I wonder if you did a binaural recording from the drummer would the hats REALLY sound like they're panned as much as they often or? Or the toms?

We all adjust to the situation. All musicians know the difference between hearing what they are hearing, and what they *need* to hear to play their parts correctly, is different ultimately from what the audience is experiencing. This difference in perspective is part of the human experience, and we're all pretty good at understanding that.

I wonder if drummer vs audience perspective is more a learned behaviour - we kind of "settle" on one or the other at some stage in our development based on a combination of factors, including how our individual brains work. A bit like how some people have a really strong inner voice, but others don't - or how some people can visualise really well, and others are less good at that.

I'm not sure I would have even realised there is a difference between both until I started to play drums (and drum programming) and be more aware of this stuff in general. But given that I've listened to a lot of music over the years, my anecdotal evidence would suggest drummer perspective (or at least, "hats on the left" - HOTL) is more prevalent than the alternative.

Does anyone here feel that for them, anecdotally, the music they listen to is more HOTR, rather than HOTL?

(I'd also estimate that probably almost 100% of stereo drum machines come with HOTL routings as standard, which has probably influenced things quite a bit too...)
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:58 pm

Could be, I've pretty much always recorded 'real' drummers*, and been in front of the kit while doing so so I guess I'm conditioned to hear drums from that perspective. I can honestly sat though that I don't really pay much attention when casually listening to music, it's just when I do notice HOTL seems wrong...

* and much more often mixed them live...
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:59 pm

As a drummer and engineer, this whole panning the drums thing makes me laugh. In what room to do actually hear a drumset in stereo such that you can aurally separate the hi-hat location from the ride? is 3 feet actually enough width for your brain to process a meaningful stereo field? Sure it's fun to hear a fill scroll right to left, but really...put the drums in the middle 95% of the time.

Stereo on the drumset is completely artificial, which might be completely appropriate for the mix, but it ain't go nuthin to do with how drums are experienced. and Simon Phillips is like a God unto me. Joey Baron and Steve Gadd too...but I don't need to hear the floor tom panned 30 degrees away from the hi-hat to appreciate how good these guys are. I never heard Buddy Rich or Ginger Baker demand a stereo field. They were too busy holding down the groove.
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:19 pm

It probably wouldn't be too hard to train a ML model to recognise HOTL, HOTR or no hats, and then give it a ton of audio to process from Apple Music or Spotify or youTube etc, to get some real world stats...
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby adrian_k » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:45 pm

Watchmaker wrote:As a drummer and engineer, this whole panning the drums thing makes me laugh. In what room to do actually hear a drumset in stereo such that you can aurally separate the hi-hat location from the ride? is 3 feet actually enough width for your brain to process a meaningful stereo field? Sure it's fun to hear a fill scroll right to left, but really...put the drums in the middle 95% of the time.

Stereo on the drumset is completely artificial, which might be completely appropriate for the mix, but it ain't go nuthin to do with how drums are experienced. and Simon Phillips is like a God unto me. Joey Baron and Steve Gadd too...but I don't need to hear the floor tom panned 30 degrees away from the hi-hat to appreciate how good these guys are. I never heard Buddy Rich or Ginger Baker demand a stereo field. They were too busy holding down the groove.

I’m with this. I don’t play drums but I find wide panned kits distracting. When I’m mixing I tend to go for a narrowish stereo field for them, but I might not, and will swap the hat left or right willy nilly. Just because I can!
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby The Elf » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:50 pm

desmond wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:I really don't get that, close eyes, visualise drummer on stage in front of you (Simon Phillips, 1977, first live concert supporting the album) he plays that iconic tom fill and you watch him play the drums from high to low, right to left from your sound desk perspective, the sound coming out of the speakers goes left to right!!!!!

That's the thing though: when I'm building a mix (or just listening to music, really), I don't think of the music like I'm watching a band on stage that's playing something to the audience, where the listener is sitting.

I feel like I'm in the middle of the music - like I'm playing in the band - and that's pretty much how I visualise when I listen to music anyway.
+1 Simple as that.
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby The Elf » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:52 pm

Panning overheads fully L/R doesn't give an unnatural, super-wide drum kit. It leaves the kit between the extremes. The trick is to pan close mic's to match the overheads.

When you pan your close mic's you will never find them matching outside much more than 60%. *Not* fully panning the overheads just makes the drums sound too narrow to me.

All IMHO - to each their own.
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Re: Record “fake” overhead drums

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:04 pm

adrian_k wrote:I don’t play drums but I find wide panned kits distracting.

Just to be clear, as there seem to be lots of references to "super-wide panning" - when I'm talking HOTL etc, it doesn't mean I'm putting them 100% in the left speaker. Artificially distracting super wide panning is not that useful for the most part, unless used for an intentional reason.

I don't think anyone is putting the hat 100%, the floor tom and ride 100% right etc. At least not anyone making good-sounding mixes! :lol: (Maybe CLA does, he likes a 100%left/centre/100% right panning system in general, but he's not the most subtle of people!).

HOTL means "hats to the left" (wherever that is) is according to your tastes, the arrangement & performances, the mix balance, and so on. That might be a little left of centre, it might be three-quarters over, whatever works. But I bang the floor tom with my right hand, so to hear that on my left would just sound wrong for me.

It all really comes down to where you visualise yourself when listening to music - *in* the band (facing out), or *watching* the band (facing in).
And I would have thought that more musicians would have an "in the band" (drummers perspective) internal visualisation of the music, and more non-musicians would have a "watching the band" (audience) perspective - both skewed a little by personal experiences etc.

When I have more time I might have a google around to see whether any studies have been done on this..
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