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Topic: I'm sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

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  1. #1

    I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    Hi. I will soon be sampling a friend\'s drumkit. It is a custom kit made locally. Only the toms and kick drum were custom built. I need to record this right, and am wondering if anyone here has some expert advice on how to do this properly. Here is my gearlist for recording...

    Rode NT4 stereo mic
    Core-Sound.com MIC2496 portable stereo mic pre
    Creative Nomad Jukebox 3

    I don\'t have access to numerous drum mics, so I can only use the NT4. The Jukebox records 44.1/16 .wav. It has a digital input, which is sent from the s/pdif output on the MIC2496.

    I will be doing everything in 16 velocity layers, with left and right hand hits. Flams, rolls, ghost notes, multiple sizzle levels on the hi-hat, etc, etc.

    Any help is appreciated!

  2. #2

    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    I dont know much about this. But I remember reading the Drumkits From Hell library and how they both made close and ambienced recordings of the same drums and then users can mix them at later stage.

    I think you should consider recording both ambienced and close samples of each drum. Ofcourse you will need additional gear for this, but in the end it will end up being a far better sampled product.

    Isabella Rowlins

  3. #3

    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    If you are going to all the trouble to record the kit, chop up the samples etc, I would be springing for some extra mics.

    SM57\'s are good for snares, the old Senheiser 621 are a good tom mic. There is a good AKG mic for kick drums too.. unfortunately it has been some years since I\'ve had to mic up a kit and I can\'t remember which one it is. A lot of it has blurred. [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]

    Some engineers get a good snare sound by micing top and bottom but if you do, watch out for phase problems.

    There\'s an article here on drum kit micing basics; http://www.acousticdrums.com/members/esp-aug01.html

  4. #4
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    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    The ambient, or room sounds are equally as important as the close mic\'d sounds.

    You really should get ahold of a few more mics to do this properly. Even adding a shure SM57 to your set-up will help.

    Try using the Rode stereo mic as the overheads, with the 57 as the close mic. That will work on the snare and the toms indivdually, but you\'ll need something else for the kick. An AKG D112 works for kick, but I myself prefer 2 mics on the kick. One inside, and one a few feet out front.

    You\'ll have to experiment alot. Just remember, recording a drum kit well is not for the faint of heart. It takes alot of knowledge and patience to really get it right.

    Then again, you might love what you hear after the first attempt.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes...

  5. #5

    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    Originally posted by unconscious sound:
    Hi. I will soon be sampling a friend\'s drumkit. It is a custom kit made locally. Only the toms and kick drum were custom built. I need to record this right, and am wondering if anyone here has some expert advice on how to do this properly. Here is my gearlist for recording...

    Rode NT4 stereo mic
    Core-Sound.com MIC2496 portable stereo mic pre
    Creative Nomad Jukebox 3

    I don\'t have access to numerous drum mics, so I can only use the NT4. The Jukebox records 44.1/16 .wav. It has a digital input, which is sent from the s/pdif output on the MIC2496.

    I will be doing everything in 16 velocity layers, with left and right hand hits. Flams, rolls, ghost notes, multiple sizzle levels on the hi-hat, etc, etc.

    Any help is appreciated!
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I recorded my Maestro Cream drums kit with only two mics, but at 24 bits directly from the preamp to the audio card. The main problem with drum samples is that when you compress them, the low level grit comes up to the surface, and that´s not good at all. You need to record at 24 bits, do your mixing thingie, and dither the files properly.

    Anyway, you will probably get a pretty good sound from the kit, just make sure you place the mic properly. Take your time. You will need to move the mic to record the kick drum, so make sure you´ve recorded everything else before you move the mic.

    Take notes, write down everything you are going to record, so you don´t forget anything. Plan everything out before you start.

    Make sure the drummer hits the exact same spot on the cymbals and drums, so there are no inconsistensies in the samples. And make sure you record everything at the same gain level.

    Let the drums ring out down into the noise floor. This is important and is a great part of making the drums sound real. Don´t dampen the toms while playing the snare, and don´t put your hand on the snare when recording the toms. Also, make sure you get the entire initial attack of the hits. Like with a piano, where you want to hear the keys being pressed down before the hammer hits the strings, it´s a realism thing.

    Record more samples than you need, so you can pick the best ones. Take notes on how loud each sample is and compare them with the finished samples. Don´t normalize, use the same gain level for each velocity layer. For instance, the pp samples might need 20 dB of gain, while the F level needs 3 dB final gain. Make sure every cymbal, tom and snare gets the same gain.

    Name the files in a sequential order and make up a system. For instance, take the snare drum: mc[maestro cream drums]_sn[snare, or if you want to use a midi number, take 40]_r[regular]_13[the loudest first, this is probably a pp sample].wav. The final file name would be mc_sn_r_13.wav. It lets you keep track of the files. You will probably want rimshots (mc_sn_rs_10.wav), off-center hits (mc_sn_oc_05.wav) and so fourth.

    Tune the drums and make sure they are in top condition. Get new heads if needed.

    Get a good drummer to play the stuff for you. It´ll not only get a better tone, but also guarantee that the hits are \"compatible\" with the rest of your music.

    Do a smaller test first with a relatively small number of samples, so you know the sampler you´re using before you make anything big.

    I´ll type more when I think of anything. Take care and good luck!


    Mats

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    Originally posted by unconscious sound:
    Hi. I will soon be sampling a friend\'s drumkit. It is a custom kit made locally. Only the toms and kick drum were custom built. I need to record this right, and am wondering if anyone here has some expert advice on how to do this properly. Here is my gearlist for recording...

    Rode NT4 stereo mic
    Core-Sound.com MIC2496 portable stereo mic pre
    Creative Nomad Jukebox 3
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Well, you can stop right there. \"I need to record this right\" and \"here is my gearlist\" do not match up.

    Go to a local studio that gets a great drum sound, and spend an afternoon\'s blockout (probably only a couple hundred bucks) to record there. That way, you get an engineer that knows how to record drums, and a real gear list. That rig you\'re describing is like a concert-taper rig--it is not suitable for your application. Otherwise you are really wasting your time. I have an NT-4, and love it. But it is not a drum microphone--you could use it as an overhead in an overall array, but even then it would not be anywhere on the list of mics one would normally pick for the application.

    I\'m not trying to be uppity about this. I\'m just saying if you\'re going to spend the time and mind-numbing repetitive motion of mapping a 16-layer drumset, spend just a little money on your session and get something you can actually work with when it\'s over.

  7. #7

    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    Hi everyone. Thanks for all the responses! I\'m basically stuc with what gear I have. I probably will not be making a library to sell, since it will not compete well with the quality of other drum libraries out there.

    If I do get another mic, or mics, what mics should I get for each drum piece? I have heard that the Shure SM57 is a great mic.

    If I use multiple mic positions, I\'ll have to use mono mics, and send the signals to my mic pre, since it only has one stereo mic input. From there, I could split the left and right channels of each recording into seperate mono tracks. (Left channel would be the close mic, right channel would be the overhead).

    Does the Rode NT4 not handle drum transients well? I know it\'sa little bit on the dull side. The top end has -6dB. That doesn\'t concern me too much though. This project is mainly for my own use, so if the quality of the recordings is not up to snuff, I will not bother mapping everything out.

    I will record all of the FFF samples as close to clipping as possible, especially since it is all going to 16 bit, with little room between clipping and the noise floor. The mic pre is pretty quiet, I think. You can take a look at it here. www.core-sound.com They began shipping them out last week, so mine should arrive sometime this week. Let me know what you all think about this preamp.

    Thanks again for all of the input!

  8. #8
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    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    You\'ve got to use really expensive ribbon mics on the snare and kick if you want it to sound right! [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]


    pause
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    What? Can\'t you guys take a joke? [img]graemlins/tounge_images/icons/smile.gif[/img] But seriously \"DO NOT!!!\" do that, unless you don\'t like the
    mics (and want to break them)! I which case sell them to me (for cheap)! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]


    My real advice is to ask any friends you have if you can borrow some drum mics. The \"mic\" you
    have is a little bit like trying to record vocals with a kick mic (i.e. all mics are different, and some
    mics are useless for a given application). Perhaps you could buy one of those \"drum mic packs\"
    that they sell as a complete solution. I\'m guessing it\'s cheaper than piecing it out, as well it\'s
    probably 10x better than what you\'ve got.


    If worse comes to worse spend $79 on a SM-57... it\'s not the best solution but it\'s one mic that
    \"could\" work on everything (for cheap!). That is a last resort though. Remember, you want to be
    able to actually \"use\" the samples you worked so hard to record! [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Good luck!

  9. #9

    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    Yeah, we\'ll see and hear how the test recordings come out. If my HR624\'s don\'t give me some nice lowend on the kick, I won\'t bother with it, unless some EQ tricks can do something for me. But doing that would not be nearly as good as getting the right mic for the job. I figured the NT4 wouldn\'t be one of the best solutions, but I\'ll know for sure once I try everything out. I\'ll keep you informed with my progress in the months ahead.

    Later

  10. #10

    Re: I\'m sampling a drumkit. Need advice please.

    If you want to capture an excellent recoding of your kit, mic everything, set the levels and leave it there and do not move any mics once you start recording. The noise that the \"other\" mics pick up well be the thing that keeps the drums sounding real and natural.

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