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Kurt Ballou Signature Series Drum Library

Discussion in 'Backline' started by DavePiatek, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. DavePiatek

    DavePiatek Member

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    UPDATE: AVAILABLE NOW!!

    www.roomsound.com/kurtballou.html


    Heya guys! We're at an undisclosed location this week recording a new signature series drum library. I have a feeling some of you guys might be interested in following the progress. ;-) I'll be posting updates on our Facebook page throughout the week and answering questions, time permitting.

    https://www.facebook.com/roomsound
     
    #1 DavePiatek, Nov 6, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  2. DavePiatek

    DavePiatek Member

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    here's a quick hint:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    That's Godcity. What is going on???
    Is Kurt Ballou involved?
     
  4. DavePiatek

    DavePiatek Member

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    he sure is. :)
     
  5. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Toontrack metal month, Slate VMR and now this... My wallet is aching.
     
  6. Mago

    Mago Austrian Blech Machine

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    awesome!

    I didn't recognize godcity, but when I saw the "distort everything" label my first thought was Ballou...Putney as well lol
     
  7. He's Dead, Jim

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    Shit. Would there be any way to use these in Superior Drummer other than with a separate trigger VST? I love Kurt's mixes. His drums are so beefy and natural-sounding.
     
  8. DavePiatek

    DavePiatek Member

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    They won't be usable inside Superior, but we'll have a very elegant way to use them standalone or in your DAW without an any additional purchase.
     
  9. Manicompression

    Manicompression doing it for the kids

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    Awesome. Count me in.
     
  10. guy in latvia

    guy in latvia Member

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    Oh shit, I can feel the money hemorrhage...
     
  11. EOC

    EOC Member

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    Oh crap...
     
  12. miguelrx10d

    miguelrx10d Axe Addicted

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    holy mother of god
     
  13. ulverine

    ulverine Member

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  14. DavePiatek

    DavePiatek Member

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    Kurt's talking about jumping into this thread tomorrow to answer some questions, so post them up if you've got em!
     
  15. Manicompression

    Manicompression doing it for the kids

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    That would be awesome Dave. I am a huge fan of Kurt's recording work and Converge going way back. I definitely have a laundry list of questions but Ill do my best to keep from spiraling completely out of control.

    I think Ive read in the past that Kurt favors Ribbons for overheads, as most are figure 8, does he have any starting points / pointers in terms of placement? Is the lowered proximity effect, generally predictable null points, and typical high frequency roll off making it so that he can get closer to the cymbals and create clarity, and he uses room mics to create kit unity, or am I way off ? In the spirit of getting things at the source, what cymbals does he favor in the studio.
    I really like the kit image on his recordings, particularly the two most recent Converge records and the Doomriders Black Thunder album. Any pointers in terms of how he keeps the body of the sound from the overheads distinct from the guitars and vocals while mixing would be enlightening.

    In terms of vocals, Jacob Bannon is obviously not a particularly gifted vocalist in any classic sense, yet over the years specifically from "You Fail Me" forward his work on Converge records has become something that lives up to the ferociousness of his live performance and actually elevates the records imo. Does Kurt have any advice or insight for getting singers in a place where they are giving you the best they can? What kinds of mix processing does he tend to use on harsh vocals?

    Lastly, A more broad question, A lot of metal records I love were done by Andy Sneap, Colin Richardson, Zeuss... It seems that most of what I perceive as a common thread between the sonic success of their records is clarity achieved through eq shelving, sample replacement or reinforcement, lots of clean transient detail, hard panning... I think I have a decent understanding of how one would mix a record to get those sorts of results.

    Now on Ballou's recordings dating all the way back to "Until Your Heart Stops" by Cave In, to the most recent Converge the basic rules of recording metal don't seem to apply. The guitar has significant frequency content above 12k, I'm pretty sure he doesn't use 5150's often if at all, The overheads have musical content under 1k, the bass guitar is audible and meaty in the 200-400 range, and transients are distorting all over the place. Yet somehow it doesn't sound like a massive heap of shit and I can still make out what the instruments are doing most of the time even when the tempos are fast. Most engineers who attempt to record faster heavy music with this sonic signature fail to achieve the same clarity (Steve Albini, Steve Austin). What kinds of techniques are being used to create enough clarity to keep such mid-heavy and saturated sounds from building into a wall of mud? Any starting points, or philosophical insight as to how one approaches a mix in this way and what pitfalls to avoid would be awesome.
     
  16. cool9

    cool9 New Metal Member

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    Great! Looking forward to it :)
     
  17. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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    Well I would like to know how the idea of a sample collection came since Kurt is known like a "natural drums kind of guy". Was there some sort of ethical dilemma behind it?
    Not that I personally mind using samples (I will definitely find some use for some Godcity/ballou samples) but I admit nothing makes me more proud than not having to rely on them to get the desired result which is not always possible when you don't have your own place.

    PS: I've been a fan of Converge since Caring And Killing.
     
  18. godcity

    godcity New Metal Member

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    Hi Manicompression and thanks for all the kind words!

    To answer all your questions....
    I sometimes favor ribbons for overheads but I don't have any one set thing that I do on every record. I try to listen to the player, their instrument, and their songs and try to choose gear that will flatter what they're doing. That's part of the problem with designing a sample library - I don't know the songs that these samples will be used on, so I don't have the context to choose the right gear for the player and song. So what we're doing is kind of the middle of the road "GodCity sound" - the type of engineering I'd do if I didn't know a band well and wanted to give myself some awesome options come mix time without painting myself into a corner. But yeah, back on topic, sometimes ribbons are the way to go, sometimes LDC, sometimes SDC. It all depends on the player, their choice of cymbals, and the way they set up their kit. For these samples, we're doing 2 sets of overheads and 2 stereo room mics. There's a pair of old Gefell MV692 cardioid LDC's in ORTF and a pair of sE RN17 SDC's as spaced pair for overhead options. For close room, there's an AEA R88 stereo ribbon, and for distant room, there's Soundelux E49 LDC's in omni. The close room is pretty broad band and would make a great 1 mic drum sound. The overheads and distant room mics are EQ'ed (mostly with some high passing and high mid carving) to be aggressive without being too harsh or muddy and to add 3 dimensionality to the close mics without interfering with their punchiness. All of that bleed will be scalable, of course.

    As far as vox go, I usually start with some generous high passing and low mid contouring - particularly with Jake who uses a hand held mic. then there's several gentle levels of compression and saturation.

    The last question is a tough one to answer. A record is the cumulative effect of millions of small decisions and I don't know how I could articulate how what I do is different than what other people do. I haven't spent a lot of time working with other engineers, although I have spent a lot of time listening to other people's recordings. I doubt I've intentionally matched or deviated from anyone else's techniques, but over time, I've figured out how to make records sound like how I hear them in my head. The most important thing to know if that there's no right or wrong techniques and no right or wrong pieces of gear to use. All we, as engineers, can do is use the tools we have to the best of our abilities to make the best music we can.

    I hope that helps and good luck!
    -Kurt

     
  19. Manicompression

    Manicompression doing it for the kids

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    Thanks Kurt and Dave. Stoked to hear the samples.
     
  20. ~BURNY~

    ~BURNY~ Member

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