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Best (cheap) ways to record drums to album with semi-competent drummer?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by worldwideweapon, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. worldwideweapon

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    Been thinking this quite a lot and trying to overcome the fact that drum recordings require money, gear and great drummer.. :lol:

    Our drummer is only semi-good, so recording 10 songs to album would require a shitload of money and studio time for the recording and for the editing part also -->

    Initially I was going the e-drums/superior route, just to make the editing with midi a breeze, but I still think it's maybe a too much of a compromise soundwise (cymbalz especially) and will determine the overall sound of the record too much.

    Any other ideas to cut the tracks affordably and with the option to edit easily? Maybe mesh-heads+triggers to shells and overheads/spots for cymbalz?
     
  2. Bay Studio

    Bay Studio Member

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    Great drummers (that can play to a click, know their shit etc) are a hassle to find actually.. I had to deal with this once and the drummer was "upset", so we agreed on programming the shells. After we programmed the shells the way he plays them, we set up his cymbals and tracked the cymbals to the programmed drums (but without playing the shells). It worked out really nice! Recorded part for part and it went smooth! Try it out. The real cymbals over the programmed drums sounds real nice, and gives it a total different feel/sound.
     
  3. raisedfist

    raisedfist Member

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    I just did a similar thing that that. Only wan't to pay for one day in the studio as although I'm in a band its kinda a project band so I write it and have the final say....

    Anyhow our drummer programmed all the drums for the pre production and then 3 weeks before recording I did him a stereo MP3 of all 8 tracks (an hours worth of songs) with click, guitar, bass and guide tracks with me speaking on them from the pain in the arse bits.

    So turned up at the studio with electronic kit just so he had something to hit, snare and cymbals.

    Not recording toms or kick was great. We did full takes and dropped in a few bits in needed and got it all done. I have had no problems between the midi shells and the real cymbals and snare.

    I would do it again as when editing you are worrying about the kick or toms as they are in time so its 10x quicker.

    Ok this is out of my editing project so its not all buttered and EQed but you get the idea
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5377857/Anchors%20Up/LANDS%20PRE%20PRO/drum%20test2.mp3
     
  4. baalzebubba

    baalzebubba New Metal Member

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    Recently roped myself into a session that wasn't ready to happen. The drummer was sloppy, the whole band was sloppy. After blowing thru 1/2 of the allocated time attempting to get a scratch reference down we needed another approach. His attempts at fancy footwork were stretching and compressing like he thought he was frickin Dr Who. We adjusted. Then it became clear that fills were causing a time space paradox as he whimsically pushes and pulls his "one" to adventerous new places.

    In the end it was trickery that salvaged and polished the turd. Similar to what was mentioned in prior post.

    In the end we had to separate track everything, program against the scratch tracks as a reference to what he -thought- he was pulling off. I had sampled his shitty kit and used it as a target for the programmed drums. Last fib, and not that large of one, was that the overheads tracks were shit and needed to be redone. We cranked the programmed drums with his samples thru the PA (since dude also couldnt work with head phones) and had him just play the cymbal hits. The PA provided some shit bleed that stapled the full kit back together; glue is where I wanted to be but staples is all I could do on this one.

    In the end he thought his performance was what was on the track and that he's also king shite. Im still amazed that he didn't know how far his performance was from the product. I felt dirty and vowed never to 'nice' myself into a hellish corner like this again.
     
  5. xTomx

    xTomx Member

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    Record 3-4 songs well instead of 10 songs poorly.
     
  6. worldwideweapon

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    Very true, but forced to make album now. Nice ideas so far. I wonder what's the definition of "not editable" nowadays with real kit.. Maybe ultimate master, Jeff can chime in?
     
  7. The StabbinCabin

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    If you're cutting corners and recording acoustic drums- just make sure you take care of your overheads. That's it. You can augment everything else and replace all the actual drums.

    If the OH mics, cymbals, room are good and the drummer's hands are consistent for the most part you'll be good. Throw a down comforter or two over the kick drum and you'll be able to hi-pass, quantize and sample the whole thing with little to no problem.

    If you have a mobile rig- rent out a community hall or vacant warehouse, get some decent overhead mics and have your drummer get a hold of nothing worse than Sabian XS cymbals. Did this a few years back and the drums ended up being the best part about the end product and we got most of the deposits back.

    I'd rent a decent mic/pre for vocals and make sure I track that properly and then track DI's for everything else and take advantage of the dude's on here with the means or AxeFX/Kempers to do the reamps for you for cheap. Maybe send it out to be mixed and mastered. That would save you a huge chunk of change if you do everything right.

    That's if you're trying to work with "real everything" though and are trying to get the best product you can.

    Good luck
     
  8. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    You could cheat slightly and use e-drums for midi but with real cymbals.
     
  9. Backe

    Backe Space Cowboy

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    Triggers are awesome. Put one on every shell, then place a mic inside the kickdrum (for the drummer, he can't really hear the kick through the OH's), place a pair of OH mics, maybe additional hi-hat and ride mics and you're good to go. The shells bleeding in to the OHs will help to bring some 'real' back into the final recording, some texture if you like. Then you can either convert the stuff to midi and use superior drummer/ssd, or you can replace the shells with whatever using drumagog and bounce the unmixed drums on a track and run that track through a room reverb.

    Benefits of this method: You won't need a midi interface (cheaper). The editing part will be your normal slip-editing (faster), except you're editing 'pops' from the triggers piezo mics. You won't have to worry about consistency so much since you control the sounds being triggered (if he is weak on the snare for example, you can just increase the input). It'll be easier to overlap parts, like if you're punching in after a tom fill, the decay of the toms won't be cut off in the following part since the triggering is happening when the final composition is ready. Just to mention a few.
     
  10. Jack Pirate

    Jack Pirate Member

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    If you have money to buy triggers then do what Backe said, it's the easiest way to get the work done in your situation. If you don't have the budget for triggers just record everything the way you would normally do (with overheads and spot mics on all shells) but replace the shells with samples later, it will be basically the same as recording with triggers but will demand a lot more work to get good results. Now if you only have overhead mics and your budget is zero, then record the overheads and cheat your way through the mix by placing each hit by hand to "create" the spot mics. I've done that a few times and the results were not that bad, it's an insane amount of work though.
     
  11. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    This. Book a studio and have the guy do just snare + cymbals (and maybe toms), program kick/toms.
     
  12. Backe

    Backe Space Cowboy

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    Well, my thoughts apply if you were recording it yourself. If you go to a pro studio, the guy working there will have the answer to this question (otherwise he wouldn't be working prof.) and a good strategy at hand. I would have :)
     
  13. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    Other guys have laid out some great options to fudge things and get it done so I'll ask the looming question. If it's your band and you guys aren't good enough to make the record you want yet why not practice your asses off until you can? As engineers we do what we have to but as a musician you should consider whether you're putting the cart before the horse.
     
  14. Genius Gone Insane

    Genius Gone Insane http://www.¯\(°_o)/¯.com

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    If I was engineering you I would strongly suggest recording with a MIDI kit and using samples. Editing will be easy and you can do it on your own.
     
  15. AudioGeekZine

    AudioGeekZine arsehole know-it-all

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  16. Jordon

    Jordon Member

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    Spot-on, brutha.

    Yup, at the low-budget level, overheads become the one place you can't skimp. You can ditch the bottom snare mic, you can cheap out on kick and tom mics, but make sure those overheads are done properly. Get hi-hat, ride and china spot-mics if you can afford to use the inputs on them. You may not use them in the mix, but you'll be glad you have them just-in-case. When on a budget, the brass becomes the priority because shells can be replaced (and often are) in heavy rock and metal without people noticing that it was overt....for the most part.

    Hell, at that point, you could probably ditch the tom mics and just keep a kick and snare track for programming reference, and really focus on the brass.
     
  17. Deuteronomy

    Deuteronomy Member

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    Even if you keep the natural cymbals and edit everything the result will be different from modern day recordings,since superior cymbals(no matter if it's an e-kit or not) tend to sound similar.
     
  18. worldwideweapon

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    Thanks to all. Will be tracking this weekend. Real cymbalz with OH's and couple spot mics + shells with e-drums. Should be good.
     

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