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Complete newbie need several tips

 
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audiothrowaway
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Joined: Jun 07, 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:08 pm    Post subject: Complete newbie need several tips Reply with quote

I'm looking to record some drums. I've never recorded before and I have zero experience in audio engineering or mixing. I already have some usable drum mics, so that's out of the way, I just need someone to hold my hand for the rest. Basically:

1. What's the optimal setup for micing the kit with about 3 or 4 mics, and is there a different way to do it depending on the style of music being played

2. Where do the mics go? How exactly do I connect the mics to a computer for editing. (I'm aware that an audio interface is needed here, but my issue is that the room where the drums are, and the room where the computer is are on opposite side of the house, so is there some sort of workaround or way to do this without the two being in the same room)

3. How would I go about editing the actual audio? Once the raw audio files are in my computer from each mic, what's the optimal way to splice them together to make a full sound. (I don't mean like how do I open the file, I mean more like what would be the best way to manage volumes, levels, effects etc. within the program and which channel would need attention in which areas)

4. Recommended audio editing programs?

As you can tell I have no idea what I'm doing, so help is greatly, greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot. Very Happy

P.S. I'm sorry if this is the wrong forum, if so please redirect me to the correct place to post this.
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Redlich
Rehearsing
Rehearsing


Joined: Jul 02, 2006
Posts: 489

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Complete newbie need several tips Reply with quote

audiothrowaway wrote:
I'm looking to record some drums. I've never recorded before and I have zero experience in audio engineering or mixing. I already have some usable drum mics, so that's out of the way, I just need someone to hold my hand for the rest. Basically:

1. What's the optimal setup for micing the kit with about 3 or 4 mics, and is there a different way to do it depending on the style of music being played

2. Where do the mics go? How exactly do I connect the mics to a computer for editing. (I'm aware that an audio interface is needed here, but my issue is that the room where the drums are, and the room where the computer is are on opposite side of the house, so is there some sort of workaround or way to do this without the two being in the same room)

3. How would I go about editing the actual audio? Once the raw audio files are in my computer from each mic, what's the optimal way to splice them together to make a full sound. (I don't mean like how do I open the file, I mean more like what would be the best way to manage volumes, levels, effects etc. within the program and which channel would need attention in which areas)

4. Recommended audio editing programs?

As you can tell I have no idea what I'm doing, so help is greatly, greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot. Very Happy

P.S. I'm sorry if this is the wrong forum, if so please redirect me to the correct place to post this.


I'm not an audio engineer so I won't help answer any of these questions, but have you considered maybe calling a local studio and asking if you could help them out for a recording by running leads, setting up mic stands etc? You could offer them some much needed elbow grease and they could share some tips with you at the same time. Just a thought.
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YaMumsUncle
Rehearsing
Rehearsing


Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 164
Location: Narre Warren, Vic

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:58 am    Post subject: Yo! Reply with quote

Id be happy to help out!

I am a session musician and sound engineer for Jam Audio, doing sound for live gigs, festivals, functions and so on, as well as work in the studio. Ive only been working as a sound engineer for the past 8 months or so, so my knowledge is somewhat limited, but i do work with some of the best and most switched on dudes in the field, and would be happy to help out where i can.

Firstly, mic placement is important depending on what kind of sound you want to capture. Maybe elaborate on what you want and i can help more. Also, the placement/positioning of your mics would also depend on what kind of mics youve got. There are a lot of variables when it comes to recording drums. So if you arent to worried to begin with (about placement and such), then my best advice would be 1 on the kick drum, 1 on the snare, and use 1/2 for over heads, to capture the toms/cymbals.
Where you specifically place the mics ie Kick, Snare and so on, is best left up to you to experiment with different placments and mic configurations, recording and taking notes of which. Youll soon know why certain things do and dont work just by simply testing it and messing around Smile

Secondly! When it come to having the drums seperate from the studio, youll either want really long cables from your mics going to your mixing desk/interface. Or some relatively short leads, going from your mics into a stage/snake box. A stage/snake box is kind of like a power baord in a sense that you can plug multiple leads into it, and then run 1 cable from one end of where ever your drums are, to your studio. That 1 cable will split into however many heads your stage box has to be plugged into your mixing desk/interface. These can have anywhere from 4 inputs, to 24 inputs and 8 outputs, even more! Its all dependent on what you need and can afford really.

Third Very Happy Depending on what kind of computer you have, how old it is, and its processing power, youll need some kind of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Bear in mind, these DAW's usually take up a bit of processing power, plus, aidiofiles arent too big on their own, but once you start putting together full songs/projects, itll take up a bit of room, and result in less processing power again. A decent sized hard drive is recommended. I started with a 500gb one early last year when i was doing some freelance recordings. I managed to fill it up after about 2 months. Now im using that, as well as a 2 TeraByte Hard drive, and it looks like im going to have to clean it out soon cus its getting full! But i digress...
You may have heard of some DAW's called Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase. They are the more popular ones. I personally use Logic Pro X, as i find it to be the most intuitive when it come to work flow. These all essentially do the same thing, just in slightly different ways. they enable you to record, playback, mix and edit audio files, as well as create Midi files and electronic music. They are pretty versatile but can cost a bit of money. There are free options out there, you just have to look, and know what youre looking for i suppose Smile

Im not sure if that helps at all. But feel free to shoot me some more questions. Ill do my best to answer them ;)

Have fun!

Dan.
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audiothrowaway
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Joined: Jun 07, 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Yo! Reply with quote

YaMumsUncle wrote:
Id be happy to help out!

I am a session musician and sound engineer for Jam Audio, doing sound for live gigs, festivals, functions and so on, as well as work in the studio. Ive only been working as a sound engineer for the past 8 months or so, so my knowledge is somewhat limited, but i do work with some of the best and most switched on dudes in the field, and would be happy to help out where i can.

Firstly, mic placement is important depending on what kind of sound you want to capture. Maybe elaborate on what you want and i can help more. Also, the placement/positioning of your mics would also depend on what kind of mics youve got. There are a lot of variables when it comes to recording drums. So if you arent to worried to begin with (about placement and such), then my best advice would be 1 on the kick drum, 1 on the snare, and use 1/2 for over heads, to capture the toms/cymbals.
Where you specifically place the mics ie Kick, Snare and so on, is best left up to you to experiment with different placments and mic configurations, recording and taking notes of which. Youll soon know why certain things do and dont work just by simply testing it and messing around Smile

Secondly! When it come to having the drums seperate from the studio, youll either want really long cables from your mics going to your mixing desk/interface. Or some relatively short leads, going from your mics into a stage/snake box. A stage/snake box is kind of like a power baord in a sense that you can plug multiple leads into it, and then run 1 cable from one end of where ever your drums are, to your studio. That 1 cable will split into however many heads your stage box has to be plugged into your mixing desk/interface. These can have anywhere from 4 inputs, to 24 inputs and 8 outputs, even more! Its all dependent on what you need and can afford really.

Third Very Happy Depending on what kind of computer you have, how old it is, and its processing power, youll need some kind of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Bear in mind, these DAW's usually take up a bit of processing power, plus, aidiofiles arent too big on their own, but once you start putting together full songs/projects, itll take up a bit of room, and result in less processing power again. A decent sized hard drive is recommended. I started with a 500gb one early last year when i was doing some freelance recordings. I managed to fill it up after about 2 months. Now im using that, as well as a 2 TeraByte Hard drive, and it looks like im going to have to clean it out soon cus its getting full! But i digress...
You may have heard of some DAW's called Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase. They are the more popular ones. I personally use Logic Pro X, as i find it to be the most intuitive when it come to work flow. These all essentially do the same thing, just in slightly different ways. they enable you to record, playback, mix and edit audio files, as well as create Midi files and electronic music. They are pretty versatile but can cost a bit of money. There are free options out there, you just have to look, and know what youre looking for i suppose Smile

Im not sure if that helps at all. But feel free to shoot me some more questions. Ill do my best to answer them ;)

Have fun!

Dan.


Hey thanks Dan, this is really comprehensive and helpful!

For the mic config I'll take your advice and just experiment for a few days before I record to see what placement I can achieve the best sound from.

The thing that was worrying me the most was the potential lack of support in terms of hardware for long distance studio setups but you've reassured me in that regard. I'll see what kind of cable lengths I can get my hands on, but otherwise I'll have a look into those stage/snake box things Smile

My computer is pretty beefy and has about 1250gb of built in storage (and I can easily add more) so I'm pretty certain it can take a relatively heavy load. I'll definitely do my research on the actual software I'll be sticking with but thanks for the suggestions/recommendations!

I have one final question though:

Is there any sort of process you go through (or general process) when mixing the drum output from the mics, as in the raw file, to level them out? What I mean is what kind of volume adjustments are made (turning kick drum up and turning snare down etc whatever) or how to remove sounds such as ringing/echoing. I'm just assuming that once you collect all the audio files and play them together it'll just sound like a dumpster orchestra.

Cheers again for the help Cheesy Grin
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YaMumsUncle
Rehearsing
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 164
Location: Narre Warren, Vic

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha. No worries. Happy to help!

To answer your question, from my experience, there is never any 1 way to do it right. Especially not the first time. Having said that, i do have a general process that i use now after experimenting in a few different studios and such, but every room/stage/studio is different, and i dont always use the same mics, or mixing desks, so im kind of forced to keep experimenting, which i love Very Happy
As i said previously, there a heaps of variables when it come to recording any instrument, but drums in particular are a ***** in comparison to say guitar, bass or even vocals.

What i mean by this is that not only does the quality of the recording depend on your mics, mic placement and input settings eg Gain, compression (if you use it). But it is heavily affected by drum skins - new or dead skins? are the heads you are using what you really want? being that clear heads are usually a lot brighter and ring out more with more attack, and coated heads tend to be dryer with more warmth - Are the drum heads/skins tuned appropriately? - the tuning of your toms and snare is pretty important, as if they are horribly out of tune, you may wind up spending heaps of time editing the audio files, trying to get a good sound out of it, when you cant, or at least shouldnt need to waste that time. Also, each drum produces a note or a frequency. The room your in may boost certain frequencies and drown out others. Which brings me to my next variable. The room.

The room that you have your drums in, and where you place you drums in a room can also affect the overall tone and sound of your recording. I strongly suggest setting up your drums in a few different places, trying out 2/3 different mic placements/configurations, so that you can possibly simulate any potential problems, or even find that sweet spot for recording Smile

Some rooms sound really flat and dead, like there is no life in them, and in turn no life in you drum sound. Other rooms might have to much life in them, like if the floor and walls are tiled, youre going to get some sharp reverb. Anyhow, most of these issues you might face due to a funny room sound can be overcome with sound proofing, and changing the position and placement of your drum kit, tuning heads correctly and using your mics efficiently.

Let me know how everything goes dude. Feel free to shoot me an email with your results, im keen to hear what you come up with.

danielvanhorssen@hotmail.com

Peace.
Dan.
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audiothrowaway
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Joined: Jun 07, 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome thanks, I'll consider those things when I'm prepping to record. Thanks for all the help mate, I'll be sure to send you the final product in a few months or whenever it's available Very Happy Very Happy
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YaMumsUncle
Rehearsing
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Joined: Mar 16, 2017
Posts: 164
Location: Narre Warren, Vic

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

audiothrowaway wrote:
Awesome thanks, I'll consider those things when I'm prepping to record. Thanks for all the help mate, I'll be sure to send you the final product in a few months or whenever it's available Very Happy Very Happy


Right on Mr. Green
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