Fine Tuning Tones Part 1
just gonna pick up where we left off. We were talking about rough drum tones with Sean Read. Just finished recording some tones, and, uh, we're gonna check him out later. You guys a basic road Mac of what's left, go over the phase. We're going to go over. The basic rough tones have fine tuned them until they sound pretty cool or in a track, a short song. So let's start with phase. Or let's talk about fine tuning it really quick before I talk about phase. Um, this is the part that actually can take a really long time. The everything we talked about before, I think you could get it done in a day. If you really hustle, maybe even half a day, this is where things start. Teoh, go very, very subjective and start to go gray and, ah, I don't know, spent up to 10 days on this part before, So, um, you know, if you only spend a day on this next part, I think you're moving pretty fast, and there's something to be said for not moving very fast through this, unless you're absolutely, positively sure...
that what you have is amazing. So s a right here. This is definitely the heart of the drum production process. In my opinion, you should be looking at it like a bit of a ratio where 75% of the time you're working on tones 25% of the time you're recording and not the other way around. Your drummer should be prepared enough to where the recording time is actually pretty short. In my humble of hidden, uh, issue. There's bunch of reasons for why you shouldn't spend too long on it. Namely things move that will come un tuned. Mike's will get knocked. Mike's will move around. The actual drop said itself will move around. It is not going to sound the same after two songs as it did the beginning. Who knows? It might sound better, but it certainly won't sound the same. And so your objective is to get through the songs as quickly as possible. So front load the tones. If ah, you have Teoh, make a game time decision to where you have, say, four days and yet to divide your time, don't do it and have and don't do it. In my opinion, don't do it Where you spend one day on tones, three days on tracking. I would do 2.5 days on tones and the rest on tracking and hope that the drummer has has a shit together because you can edit the drums and it's always good to edit drums that sound good. Um, if you fudged the tones than your not only editing drums that are not played badly, but you are replacing drums that played badly, so prioritize. Um, and when in doubt, let's go back to the tone pie. I don't actually think about the tomb pie in terms of a pie, but I definitely think about every single one of these aspects. Um, and I feel like you guys should screenshot this and printed out. So actually, you should tell them to download the keynote that down. Tattoo it in your brain. Um, that's another option for sure. Yeah, tattoo it on your forehead backwards so that every time you look in the mirror, it's the right way. But, um, anyways, just be prepared to spend a long time on this stuff. So before you go any further, there's something super important that you got a check and it is phase. Uh, I have been in situations where guys have said stuff like phases and important, and that's famous last words material. This can destroy your recording, or it can make your recording if you're phases in check. Sometimes you don't have to do anything, and it's just sounds great. And if you're phases out, no matter what you do is going to sound terrible. So along with the player being awesome, I'd say that this is the number one killer of everything with recording. And that's why we put this in red, because it's really, really, really, really important. So, um, I'm going to try to give you a very non scientific explanation of what phase cancellation is. And in terms of microphones, it's a diaphragm of one microphone vibrating opposite from another one, and the sound mathematically canceling itself out, resulting in a really weird sounding sound or totally gone, like literally zero. Uh, this is what it looks like semi mathematically in. As you can see, uh, when it's in phase, it's reinforcing itself. When it's out of phase, it would be a nullifying itself. Gone. I will let you hear what this actually sounds like. So here are four kicks, as you can see. One, 1st 1 is in perfect phase alignment and, as you can see, is perfect. 2nd 1 is a little further out, so you've starting to shift and this was even further and this was even further. So this one is exactly opposite. So check it out. 3rd 1 is gone. You play that for you guys again and put it on loop. Nice loop. So this right here, that's rare. The I've never actually experienced 100% phase cancellation, but this right here that's not rare. That's what it and the 3rd 1 almost sounds like. It's flam ing it is, is pretty much is, but it's weird. When I shifted it over just a little more, it disappeared completely just and, ah, I did the same thing for a snare. You'll notice that it's perfect on a little bit shifted, see, just a little bit still kind of in Not in enough and, ah, starting to be opposite their office of Phil. So check it out. Just this one is totally opposite. It sounds like it's getting further away. These air the same hits just with the phase moved over and again. This is perfect phase. This is slightly adjust. This is the same exact volume right here is canceling the volume out. So I can imagine if your mikes are out of phase and you're trying to get a drama tone, You can make you this until you're under the table and it's not gonna sound good. There's nothing you can do to save that. It sounds like it's across the street and down a hallway, whereas this the exact same waves lined up punchy and good sound with the kick. Once again, I'm gonna go through this one more time quickly just because it's super important. Keep in mind, thes two waves were playing at the same time right here. Those that you can't hear because they cancelled themselves out each other out. All right, now, a lot of people have talked to me about how to spot phase. I think it's really obvious. It sounds really bad. Just start checking for it. Um, if it sounds like it's flan Jing, check for it. If you have drums that are, uh that have more than one microphone on them, check for it if you have microphones that are spread far apart, check for it. You basically always want to be checking for this. And it should only take you about 10 minutes. If you spend longer than 10 minutes with it, you probably got other problems. Um, I used to spend 10 minutes on it, get it done with and, uh, and don't cut corners on this again one more time. If you don't take care of this, your drones will never sound good. No matter what you do, no matter what type of metal is on your snares or what microphones you have or how cool your pre amps are. How bad as the drummer is, you don't figure this out. Your drums will always sound like garbage. So last time drilling this home, those are all of the same drum, right? I think we're sufficiently clear on that. I don't It's really important. So I guess the take away here is like you obviously can't start fine tuning your tones until you fix phase, because you don't know what you're listening to know. You have no clue what you're listening to. For all you know, drugs may not even be there is. They're totally canceled out. That kid could disappear. John Copperfield stuff. It really is. Um, so the way that I would approach this is is some pretty. This is the textbook stuff that I would do every single time. Um, when you're looking at overhead, Mike's measure them from the snare drum. You want to drums that are making the same type of thing to be the same distance from the source. So what? It was 3.4 feet or something like that. Um, if you have two microphones on the snare drum, you just want to line them up like that, like you just want everything to be perfectly aligned. Same distance. And that's not to say that it will be in perfect phase if you do that. But that's a great starting point. Definitely have had times where that doesn't work. That's because the individual characteristics of that particular microphone could be centimeters off and who knows what's up. So, assuming you've already done the recording, it's too late in your in postproduction. How easy is it to fix something like a snare that is out of phase with the high with the overheads? Do you mean a snare for the whole song? Or like, one snag a whole song pretty easy. Just move it over just a little. Okay, well, I mean, you might need to be moving it over, uh, many different times, cutting it up. It's easy. It's just very time consuming. Someone's ever get the close to the original desired effect of having it just right. Absolutely. So you can get it. They're absolutely Line it up. Um, that's something that you can fix in post production. But the thing is, when you're getting tones, drum tones if you're not in good phase Like he said, you don't know what you're listening to. So all the dialing that you do on these accuse and all that, who could be completely pointless, you might not need what you actually do. So yeah, you can always change anything and post, but things will sound better if you get it right from the get go, at least in Ah, In my opinion, uh, I'm sure you're probably referring to mix Is that you've gotten from other people or something or you're on you when you didn't even realize it, and it was just totally out. So you got to check it out front. Um, did you ever end up getting it fixed? Well, it was kind of a minor phase issue to the point where it was one of those things where I don't think that the naked ear or untrained ear would really even know what was going on. It was just kind of a slightly thin and distant snare that I didn't even notice was out of phase until somebody else told me. So did it ever get fixed? No, I just didn't bother. I had already mastered it hard. He ended up on my buddies band camp, so 00 silly hardcore band. Well, not well. I mean, now, you know, right now, you know. So it singled out. All right, So before I go any further now that I have demonstrated that I'm going to load back the session has the rough tones of them. We'll check some stuff. So the way that I would go about checking from the beginning would be bring up the overheads and then you check everything against overheads cause overheads, airy the picture, the main picture of the kid. Um, some people like to bring up the snare first or the kick? Uh, I feel like overheads air the way to go just because everything is in the overheads. Um, your over heads should be the element of the drum set where you close your eyes. You can actually imagine the drummer, like maybe in front of you are further backer. Whatever room he's in, that's that's the That's the pair of microphones or trio microphones that will give you that. So check against that. Um, so you bring him up and then you just bring up your snare. You flip the phase and either a sounds bigger or it sounds smaller or it sounds the same and ah, it sounds the same. Flip it back. It sounds smaller. Flip, it sounds bigger. You're good. So that seems simple, but lots of people don't do it. So let's check out some stuff. And just to be clear, is this what you recorded from Sean before the break? Yes. This is so for the Braves. Anybody missed it right before we went to break. Uh, l and Sean recorded just a couple little quick ruff takes a minute or so long. That's what we're looking at right now? Yeah. All right. Here's a perfect example. Making the way form a little bit bigger and, ah, there's some clipping going on which we're going to solve. But right off the bat, snare top snare bottom are exactly out of phase with each other. Look at that. That you can have a more classic example. And ah, these air Some very weird way for him. So that's another problem that we're going to look at. But, uh, check out how opposite these are. I've never actually seen away form that looks like that before. That's my seat. What is that? You ever seen one that looks like that before? Really bizarre. Artsy. It's kind of cool. Um, I bet it doesn't sound very cool, though. Doesn't look like it. Sounds very cool. Anyways, have you seen one that looks like that? All right, it's creativelive. We get creative even with, you know, way. But this is a great example of the kind of stuff. You've been doing this for a minute and you've never seen something like this. So we're gonna figure it out. What's going on and fix it live? Yeah, exactly. That's Ah, that's actually one of the main things and one the main skills that you need to develop when doing this is just improvise and solve problems as they come up. You're always gonna have problems if you don't have problems. That's an anomaly. So anyways, like I said before and I'm going Teoh to keep referencing this when you have Mike's more than one mike on the same drum, you want to check the face, especially when they're pointing in opposite directions so you can see we've got a snare bottom mike under there, Uh, and then a snare top my that just as a rule needs to be flipped, there's no way around it. If we were miking the bottom times, they would need to be flipped you. We would get the same thing, So there's a few ways to go about this. It's the entire track, which it looks like you can do it. Um, you can do you can print it to the track, which I would just go ahead and do so you gotta audio. Sweet, other invert, and I'm sure that your dog has something similar. So there you go this way, for my guarantee. You're still gonna look weird, so we're gonna check it out. But that looks better. Still not perfect, but a top snare and bottom stair will never hit the They'll never hit at the same exact time. Is there different distances from microphone? So that's all right. That looks way way better. So the stake of Look at the overheads real quick, I'm gonna bring the over heads over to the snare. All I did is grab the overhead tracks and we're going to check the snare in the overheads. Looks decent. Looks decent, but this could be an issue right here. I had to just listen. Well, that was without the snare top. That was with sounds kind of thin. Can't really tell the difference when you can't tell the difference. Then leave it alone. All right, so leaving it alone, I'm gonna check overhead against overhead and see what's up with that. Because I saw that they were a little bit far off from each other. So with this process, I see that this overhead is pretty aligned with this snare song. I leave that alone and I'm going to flip this and just see what happens so overhead on the high hat side, which would be stage left, seems aligned with the snare top snare. Right? Not quite so sure Gonna check it out on this. I was gonna look around and see what else we got here. Doesn't seem to be making much of a difference, so I'm just gonna leave it. Not nearly as good of an example is the ones that made because I guess we might it up. Right. Imagine that. So you guys understand how to spot the phase issues? So pretty clear. Like, could you hear it pretty clearly. Okay, so we've just been checking the phase on what we recorded. It seems pretty good, but I feel like we should make a example of another just out of phase example. Just to show people like, um, I'm going to just mike this tongue from underneath. Take one of these Tom Mike's and Mike it from underneath, and, ah, you will listen to it out of phase and in phase, so they get another example of it. So because this isn't place that well anyways, So So So we notice I'm trying to put it at a 45 degree ish angle to the top, Mike, I'm showing you how to Micah bottom Tom like, and we're gonna record it real quick and check the phase, because anyways, I didn't like how my, uh I didn't like how my miking was on that, Tom. Anyway, so is going to change it. So that's perfect. Time to show this. All right, So, back in pro tools land. Do you mind doing me a favor real quick? Could you tap that bottom mike for me? Perfect. Okay, so I'm going to make Tom bottom track, signing it to the right and put. And how about records? Sometimes just that one snares cool. Thank you. Cool. Thank you. So that the wave forms pretty expanded for that. If you think stuff is clipping and you don't see clipping anywhere about the way, check the size of your way of forms. So pretty end. But let's see now opposite right there that goes in and out. This is a rule. Listen, e, I gotta hear it. I don't know if you guys can hear the little flan. G tone. Uh, I'm gonna show you another way to invert this via a plug in right there. So you hear the difference in the low end. Yeah. Okay, So out of phase, it's like, sounds horrible in face. Oh, now those mikes are not balanced right now, the the bottom head is way to allow their equal volume. But that's how you can really tell is when things are equal volume. So and l really quick which plug in was that they were using? Uh, this is waves, SSL Channel. But there's a 1,000,000 different ways. Yeah, there's a I'll just show you real quick like any time that you see the little circle with a line through it, right? Like right here. Or pull up another one. See circle with a line through it. Just make that symbol your friend circle with a line through it. That's phase. That's what you're looking for. Awesome. Thank you. Not a problem. So that's another thing. You guys want to check this stuff with the volumes? The same. So you guys could all hear the difference. The reason I'm asking this is because people often times can't tell, and I think it's really obvious, because I know what I'm listening for. But if anybody can tell couldnt tell, I'll, uh, explain a little further. I think it's really, really obvious. Listen to a low end anybody out there in Internet ville If you can't tell you don't know what you're listening to. Listen to the difference in the low end. This is out of phase. Oh, this is in phase. It's all the difference in the world. Imagine. Imagine 30 mikes later of drums that are out of phase. There's no fixing that. I mean, maybe you can fix it was snare. That's out of phase with the high hat, but there's no there's no fixing that. So question for you make is going to get to this later. But is it always is Simple is just inverting, like flipping phase or no, no. When you have mikes that are facing opposite directions like that, it's super easy. Things get more complicated when you have mikes that are spread out like the overheads, because then you have partial cancellations, and at that point, what you want to start doing is moving the mikes. So people in the chapters are asking about using in phase and other plug ins and stuff to fix it, but we want to fix it when it's going into the box because otherwise we can't really work on our tones. Right? There is a plug in called Auto Align that I've used to align phase on guitars and it works really, really well, It works exactly how you would expect it to work. And, uh, I've used in phase, but I feel like it's really tough toe work, and, uh, it's not as good as just hearing it and fixing it. So if you get if you got to fix something that if you gotta fix some files that you were given, okay, use in phase or whatever, but when you're recording, set yourself. You want to fix it before it hits the box, right? Well, when you're talking about drums, you have really, really defined transients. And so I feel like it's a lot easier to just fix it yourself, whereas with guitar like the Trans answer weirder and it's better to have a plug and do it for you. Um ah. And sometimes you want guitars to be phasing against each other because that sounds cooler. So I think, honestly, those plug ins or better for guitar than they are for drums with drums, the old fashioned method works, so I would stick to that of listening and flipping and listening and flipping. It was the way it looks is not always the way it sounds with this stuff. Um, And when it comes to overheads, you don't always know what you're listening to. And I will just say that auto align. I tried using it to align samples. Ah, and it wasn't exactly what what I thought it would be. So would that said just because the plug in says that it's in phase. Trust your ears. Um, always go back to your ears. So have any you guys, I'm just gonna ask a question and starting with you. Have you had any issues with phase that you haven't been able to solve, or have you never really thought about? It is it's something that you thought about. It's something that I've thought about. I've had trouble with, um, overheads and, um, like, plead with snare and the kick. And I had trouble deciding if I should actually move. Um, you know the kick in this near back to meet up with the transience of over You mean the actual way for me as a part of the microphones. Yeah, well, what did you end up doing? Um, I I think I ended up nudging them a little bit, cause it was too late. The drums were gone and the, um, the tractor already recorded on. And it's sort of helped. Um, but yeah, I was sort of at a loss for Whoa. Did you try moving the mikes? No, you didn't know? OK, so I would go with that because it's easy to forget where you're at. Um, if you're doing it all after the fact to, um, it's get it gets a lot harder to remember. Oh, I flip this. And I didn't flip that. I inverted this and they used invert here and there. And then the mike's got bumped, and suddenly it's not out of phase anymore. But I flipped the phase because I thought it was out of phase in a different song. Uh, just always be using your ears. Oh, check it on every single song. Mike's move. Um, I actually think that more of my face problems have been in the guitar world than the drum world. So I got out of a line. Yeah. Yeah, I think I will normally would have problem with is getting too close. Mikes that are the same distance will use one microphone, too. Catch all the thumb Penis of the guitar tone and then something for the mid range and high end and getting them to play with each other nicely, sometimes really difficult. So I have to check that out. Mostly, though, drum related stuff it's usually getting to snare Mike's to play nice with each other. What, have you tried taping them together and okay, Have you tried putting them, uh, exactly parallel to each other in the exact same point. Normally, the biggest thing that I have the problem with is the fact that I cannot get the top snare mic directly parallel to the head. It doesn't need to be directly parallel to the head. No, but I usually I've got in my head that it should be because I talked just It's really simple. Just take that idea and it doesn't. It shouldn't be anything on that reminds me of the part in the Metallica movie where large data. Okay, cool. The last thing I'll say is Ah, yes, that works sometimes, but it no will not work every time. And ah, you want your mikes to be like this? I just taped them together. Even if you're doing that thing, then they should look like that. You reference Teoh. Every is decide Microphone, by the way, on the shell of the drum. That was what I was having a particular problem with is I was getting the sound of the shell that I really liked, but I couldn't get it. To work with the top microphone is Well, how much did you did you put them at 45 degree angle to each other? No, Try that. I will try that. Yeah, that that will. More often than not solve your problems with that. I just have a quick phase related question. Um, you know, just understanding the science of it. How would you align to Mike's if you that have the most face, like, how do you purposefully cause phase between two microphones? Um I mean, do you mean Mike's that are close together? Mice that are far apart? Uh, you know, I don't know. I mean, we just just not sure what you mean by the most phase. Well, like, um, you know, we're talking about moving the mikes of it to eliminate phase. Um, but eliminate phase cancellation face can. Okay, but it is, ah, positioning for the mikes That would cause, like, that would definitely cause phase. You know, you talk about the distant, it would call if there opposite directions from each other, like one pointing this way and one pointing that way. Okay, it will be out of phase with each other. Um, that's less so, but definitely the more of this that's going on, the more phase problems you're gonna have, you want them pointing in the same direction or in like that a little bit. But the more ah, the more lined up they are, you kind of like with, uh, with the toms. How if you switch to the overhead view. Um, at some point, when they switched to the overhead view, you'll notice that the Tom mikes are all pointing in the same line and that that's ah designed Teoh solve that problem