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Guerrilla Recording

Lesson 5 of 23

Drum Micing Techniques Part 1

Beau Burchell

Guerrilla Recording

Beau Burchell

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Lesson Info

5. Drum Micing Techniques Part 1


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction and Overview Duration:11:29
2 Getting the Right Gear Duration:30:05
3 So What Do I Need? Duration:35:39
4 Single Mic Demonstration Duration:37:49
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Pre-Production Duration:21:10
2 Getting Drum Tones Duration:27:27
3 Recording Shells and Editing Duration:41:52
4 Recording Cymbals Duration:34:34
5 Tracking Bass Duration:22:31
6 Tracking Guitar Duration:19:30
7 Guitar Overdubs and Doubling Duration:30:12
8 Mixing Guitars Duration:25:07
9 Recording Keyboards Duration:21:04
10 Replacing Tom Samples Duration:17:55
11 Takeaways: Dos and Don'ts Duration:24:45

Lesson Info

Drum Micing Techniques Part 1

Okay, so drawn mike and techniques what I did to kind of speed up and do like direct comparisons I went into I went into studio um down in l a and recorded friend playing drums with the kid you know, it's pretty cool slurring kit you know, drums attuned great kind of tried to take everything out of the equation that could like go wrong you know and did all the things that I'm telling telling you to do change the heads tune the drums made sure there right um so all these tracks that you're going to be hearing they were tracked with no weak you know, compression just straight up mike on the drums so there's no trickery going on um and I'm starting out with um I'm taking it from total minimalist one usb mike and then I'll kind of show all the different making techniques will not all techniques but, you know, basically from one mike I think I go all the way up to like fourteen or something with, like, a full full production kit um and I think this is cool because I every time I've gotten t...

he chance to go into a real studio I feel like you either a end up you kind of end up chatting with your buddy that owns the place or the guy there for like, a good two hours and by the time you actually start by the time the drummer realizes that, you know, he's hungover and he forgot to pick up drum heads or he forgot his, you know, he forgot his drum key and there's, not a guitar center, isn't open yet or they're all sold out. Or what time you finish all these problems and things that can go wrong? Um, and I have a slide that I forgot to show you, but it's kind of like a checklist of things that you can bring two year session just kind of like it's almost like a duffel bag full of stuff that I normally and upbringing um, just so in case somebody forgets something, I have it there because everyone always forget something that you'd be so surprised how many times the guitar player shows up and it's like all not give a pick or do you like a cable with my batteries don't have pedals like my petals on batteries, you know, so it's just good to have those things, um, even though, you know, on a on a shoestring budget, like if you're if you're doing things sometimes it's it's kind of hard to stock up, you know, it's kind of hard to justify spending, you know, like fifty bucks on a brick of nine volt batteries just so you have them in case you know but if you are able to spend money on things like those are the things that will end up saving you in the long run and you know saving you time and money um so let's just kind of jump into this recorded a couple different types of beats um just to kind of show how certain types of um certain types of sounds and techniques can work for different types of music and they may not work for other types um so I'll just kind of quickly go through I have I have these videos that you can see as as I'm playing the audio files you able to see the mike position and like everything that we used so and I'm starting out this is the maple kit um but just kind of tired of this so here's the make mabel kick mean maple snare is actually an ash there but so what's there two fairly low in the world of snakes but I like words out and this is just one usb mike you can see it up here kind of above the kit it's pretty much above the kick trump and I just want and all kind of go through and show you different positions and what a big difference that they can actually make in the sound of your recording with no heat you're compression or he's not playing any different to straight up mike position so jump in and play this so I mean, I think that sounds pretty cool um definitely would be rad for kind of like a black keys type of vibe um but you can imagine how like in a rock or metal set up like that's just not gonna cut it you know you're going to need way more definition and all the things you can hear how the kick drum really isn't accented that well, you can hear how the floor tom is a lot quieter than the rack tom iraq topping comes out symbols kind of get loud um now here's another clip I moved it down a little bit because I wanted to get more impact out of the drums so here is the same kind of drum riff but moving the moving the mike down a little bit to where it's almost right over the ride it was maybe about if the writers here is maybe about a foot now maybe it looks like maybe nine inches above the ride but kind of in between the rack and the floor kind of facing in between the snaring the kick is you can kind of see there so here's what that sounds like and you'll start to notice like a lot more impact of the shells um here, right back that's like a pretty huge difference um but the bummer about that is because of the positioning of that mike you're kind of limited and not be able to play any ride beats um with your ride position like that you could get creative and move your ride way off to the side like maybe the other side of the floor tom um but just to prove the point here is what it sounds like when you play a ride beat and it's just totally ridiculous totally really kind of unusable almost, um here's another position same same usb microphone same everything now I moved it kind of out in front of the kit it's about I'd say it's about six inches out front of the front head of the kick drum up a little bit kind of under you can kind of see where it is, but the main thing that you can't tell us the depth of how far it is out from the kick andi will notice a lot more kick drum in this and the shells kind of in relation to kind of get a little quieter back to the lower position. So to me, those air like three pretty different drum sounds that are all usable for different aspects um, you know, if I had to do a record with one like I think I could definitely do with that um I would probably choose the lower position one and move the ride out of the way um and then I think tomorrow I think we're going to be miking up a kid and I'll kind of show some other ways of, like, cheating to me, I would have wanted to be ableto see and hear this type of stuff when, you know, at that point when I was tracking things on a smaller budget like to me that's great to see because you never really you have the time as well as, you know, most drummers, they're just unless they're one of the things that I loved to play drums than a lot of the time it's like a struggle to even make him play a song twice, so to be able to have someone that can play the same beat very consistently and like, move the mic around like to me that's pretty valuable stuff. Um, and if anything, it'll just hopefully show you the difference that you know, changing microphones or the fact that you don't have, you know, a million dollar snare drum or your snare drum isn't that great? That may not be the answer like it's far is buying a new drum kit. You know, like you may just have to tune the one you have a little bit better, and like I said, learn tow, learn teo, you know, learned get your gear to a point where utilizing it, too to the extreme you know and if that if you're a drummer than it means like trying every kind of drumhead there is because eventually we'll find one that sounds with your kids you know and it may not be the heads that everyone else says they're great um because from what I found sometimes like I really I really like certain drum heads and I really don't like others but I mean I've heard other people you know even like people that I like have said those same heads that I like they don't like them and the heads that I think so they love him so I mean it's all personal preference um okay so you have using one mike like you're doing that there to make up a drum kit what type of mike would you ideally use um okay so I would say that's actually pretty good question so I was using and cardio and mike in that position um now if I were to want mohr room sound out of that I would probably go for either a figure eight or anomie um because you know, like we were talking about the cardio it is kind of picturing that picturing the kit just like a camera you know, it picks up what it sees where as you know, the figure eight is gonna have eyes in the back of the head too so it just depends on what your going for but cardio and I feel like is it is a great starting point um and I would just experiment you know I mean the same thing I think a lot of this is I'm kind of showing you hopefully what you're getting out of them showing you what things khun do and hopefully you'll be inspired to like did I need to like really try stuff with the gear I have you know and really push your gear to the limits you know, like if you have microphones that have different take a patterns you know, like trying on stuff you know, like pick up your you know and for this man I'll show up with the snare drum later too, but like even just moving the mic a couple inches office in there we'll take a snare from sounding real boxy and like, I don't know if I like that sounds kind of real bunky like weird but then like you back it off and all of a sudden so that's no sounds great, you know? So there's little things that I think is difficult because, um a lot of a lot of music production now I feel like it is so focused on, you know, what plug ins can I use or what kind of quick fix can I get to make my crappy recordings sound good? Whereas I'm trying to get you guys to a point where you don't have those crappy recordings to begin with, you know? I mean, like, you're getting like pretty solid tracks and focusing on actually engineering and listening and getting it to the point where I don't know how you guys feel this way, but for me, I always want my tracks. Teo, I want to be ableto show those two people and in kind of a pompous way. Hey, look, look how I'm proud of these tracks, like, I think they're good, you know, you wouldn't want to like I don't know how you guys feel, but like, you know, when I was, you know, I don't want to say I'm great now or are we? I was bad at some point. I mean, I definitely was, but there you know, you're at a point when you can show your tracks to people, and you may not be at a point where you're confident enough with your tracks to be like, dude, check out my drum tracks I just recorded I think they're banging, you know, like feel free to open him up in your session and critique him if you want, you know, like, chances are you probably have. Some tracks and there were like I don't know man I'm just not happy with my overhead sound like I can't ever get my symbols to sound right or like my snare always sounds thin you know there's something wrong with that I don't know what it is um and I'm actually gonna be critiquing a couple different sessions I think that's tomorrow is it tomorrow or tonight I'm not sure okay, well it was I got to get jumping on this but does that answer your question it all okay? I'm gonna go through and, uh I think we've kind of heard enough of the uh that kind of a stone a rock beat so starting from rock beats or the one microphone okay I'm gonna move into kind of a little bit more complex beat um and this will kind of show you hopefully mohr of the advantages of multi miking and the difference of you know, one mike versus more mikes so here is a little bit more complex beat with the same but that same kind of one mike technique and you can kind of as you're listening to it kind of try to pick it apart and really focus on I mean as I'm listening to things and dialing in sounds I was try to find like what sucks about this, you know, like what can I fix um and so just as you're listening like just kind of try to figure out what you would change about it you know like ok like is the kick getting picked up enough is this are the tom's like crushing me or you know it's just pay attention of that here is the one light so that was the one like I felt like I could definitely use a lot more definition out of all the close mike's um we're out of all the drums uh yeah, right. You know, like is just it's a cool sound but it's way more suited towards you know, more of, like a kind of like a blackie's kind of vibe, you know? Like if you were just jamming on somebody like some sticky beat, that would be awesome, but the thing to think about is also, um actually let me go back to that kind of stone iraq beat because even though that sounds cool um and I'll be getting into this little later too is that everything affects everything you know? So you I'm gonna throw in some guitars that are pretty like, big sounding and you'll instantly notice how all of a sudden now the's this kind of red drum sound like the supervised drum sound that we have just kind of gets stomped all over might get a little crazy, but here it is with some guitars in there that's gonna be re allowed so immediately right away I mean, even with no base in there you can hear how kick drum has just gone floor tom you can't hear at all um so I think the main thing you could take away with that is if you are doing kind of, um or via the vintage drum sound I think it's important to stick with more of a vibe vintage guitar and bass sound also because if you go for a super modern huge guitar sound it's not even though those guitar sound cool for this they're just way too huge sounding for how kind of I'll say lo fi the drums are and I think that's something to really pay attention to, um and now let me skip back over to kind of like that more complex beat and I'm going tio throw some guitars in there as well okay, so same thing happens there too, you know, except it's almost even more exaggerated because you don't have that space of the um so now we have what I'm moving towards is now I changed that usb mike out for a u eighty seven for the overhead and you can see it's just kind of a mano overhead above and I'm using like the original vintage d twelve kick mike inside of the kick and you should be able to hear how now we're getting some more information out of the kick drum and the other thing you'll notice is the u eighty seven is actually a pretty dark microphone compared to this u s v mike and I would say I mean this us being like I would go on to like the apogee website and listening to the recordings they've done because this thing sounds pretty awesome for what it is I think it's more like one hundred bucks or something and it's just put it up and it sounds brad so I'll play a little bit of this and then right back to that one so you can hear the difference so here's the usb micah's the overhead I'm gonna kill these guitars too you look at it one of two ways you can either look at it like eighty seven is way more warm and like thick sounding or you can look at it like the usb is more crisp and bright either way you know depending on what your tastes are and then now we're getting a lot more with the kick um now just kind of quickly blowing through these I'm going to go now I have a what I think it just called at the apogee mike and it's like just this usb microphone it's like it's it's really wrapped um okay um now moving on three microphones now have the same d twelve kick with a stereo set of eighty seven's you guys probably won't able to hear it over there um but at home, if you're listening on speakers or headphones you should be able to start to hear now that you're going to get some left and right spread on the kit like with symbols as he plays different symbols I love watching jared play it's funny if you listen really close, you can hear him kind of like grunting in there there's like a little um okay, so now I'm going to move on to stereo x y overheads with kick and snare and kind of see how that starts kind of adds more definition of into the sound. Thie kicking snare mike is the same take, but just so you can hear the difference that those close mike's air adding as faras impact and then I'm gonna put them back in and you can hear the difference. And for me, I could easily I think I have done records. I mean, I think so that's kick snare into overheads. Um the bronx one record I did was just kicks their rack floor into overheads and that was it. So I mean, you can easily make cool drop sounds with minimal mikes, and the only reason why I think I used tom's on that particular record is because he does so much tom work that I think it was important to capture that um so now here we are with folks, we're using stereo yeah, I've noticed that it's really simple to it's really easy to get into this situation where you could kind of totally screw up the drum sound with phase issues what are some like simple things to pay attention to when you're just initially setting up a drum set okay and just over sarah overheads toe avoid getting into phase issues with like, you know, having a kind of weird you know, tinny sound right here just because of the over as being placed in properly okay, so you kind of I guess you kind of answered your own question at the very end you know it's because they're placed in properly yeah um well, what are some what are some like ways to tell you? Um the reason why I went with the x y at first is so the ex wise is a position where you have two microphones positions like this so these air these air you eighty seven I don't know if you see the pro tools screen or not, but these are positioned in a way to where they're kind of like at a ninety degree angle um and they're up above the kit and they're very close together, so you're not getting like your phase issues that you're gonna have between your overheads is gonna be minimized um, so you're not really gonna have like your symbols hitting your right overhead at a bigger time difference than you're like so you're you're left crash versus your right crash you know and a lot of the times your tinny symbols is caused by that like if you're just doing kind of like a space to pair, sometimes you're trying to get like a little bit of stereo with but because of that you're getting you know, this symbol is hitting your right microphone at a certain time but it's hitting the left symbol at a a different time and depending on how far away they are, you'll get certain frequencies that cancel out yeah and that that would matter a good deal for things like let me especially kicking snare what you want pretty much centered in the mix if they're if they're going to be hitting two of your right two of your hardpan stereo you know? Yeah mike's at different times it's going to sound yeah odd it will sound odd you'll you'll either gain or lose um body and attack you can a good a good kind of like cheat way of doing things um and I'll show it as we're tracking the drunk it um but you can like, for instance, as I was dialing in these sounds, um I like something I always do is once I get my kind of like mike's upto where and again I've been doing it for so long I can kind of just eyeball it and kind of bowling ball mikes up and I know it's going to be like in a good general starting position but I always have to go back and check you know because if you don't check they're going to be nothing about your drunk it is going to be completely in face everything's gonna be something out and it's about a compromise of getting the most amount of things in the best phase possible you know um so something that I always do is I'll just track a little bit and then just zoom in like this and look at my way forms so here is as I get into mohr mikes on the kit so these air both of my kick kick likes you know and for an inside kick which is the top way form and in the this way form here is the outside kick mike to me that's like pretty pretty good phase for those um and now if you look at and for getting like things like your snares and tom's and phase um I normally have him hit the snare a couple times and then compare that with the overhead mikes so here is the start of my move my overheads appear so you can just kind of get a better look at it snare top so you can really see here because I have my overheads pretty high up um the difference in time it is from like the close michael the snare to the to the time it takes hit the overheads um now if you if you look here like obviously this is starting at a negative point and then it goes up to a positive and then back down to a negative but depending on how high your overheads are that will determine so if these were placed a little lower it would look something more like this um and then same thing if they replaced even higher than they would be like that which is almost completely out of phase and you're familiar with phase right as far as like everything being positive and negative interfering yeah so you want everything pushing at the same time and that's what I'll give you your body and punch um so and to get my overheads centered you just treat them like individual mike's you you know you can hit the snare and then track a little bit on the list and then just go on even if you can't hear it then you can zoom in and then okay like I want this to for me this is a good spot for my overheads to be in um because everything after this first kind of initial like tic of an attack it looks like almost everything else is like totally in phase um and that's. Great. And it really just takes a lot of and that's why I keep driving it in just like you got to just keep redoing and redoing and listening. And because each kate, you get on that's the other thing. So without getting too geeky, depending on how your snares tuned, the frequent there's going to be a fundamental frequency and that frequency has a certain distance that it takes for those frequencies to develop a full wavelength. Um, higher frequencies take a shorter distance. Lower frequencies take a longer distance, so depending on that's, why there's no, riel like, oh, cool. If you're my kind of a snare a drum kit, you're going to just want to go, like, three feet above and that's it, you know, because that's not going to be the case depending on how it's tuned. Um, but like, like if I was going to do x wise, I think a good general rule of thumb is almost like your level. You know, I find that that's not really a good starting spot for me. And then as I go in and listen, you know, I kind of just make sure, like, for instance, like, for this here's here's, my stereo, kind of like actually, this is my space pair overheads now, and I believe there's a video in here, but he's going to try to power through this because there's a good question, so as I'm listening, the overheads which I think are really important, I'm listening to the spread of the kit, and if my snare is hitting both at the same time, we feel centered because I'm sure like what you're talking about if it's if it's off center, it almost sounds like it's coming from the left or it's coming from the right and you're like, all is going on, and then no matter what you do as you're mixing those you're bringing up your snare tracking like, cool, that sounds good, but it always feels like you're snares like panned toe one side. Yeah, so what I do is I don't really pay attention to my overheads listen to him, does everything feel balance? And even and as well as the more you start recording things for for, you know, at every genre is different. So depending on what you're trying to get out of your overheads, you'll know how you want them to sound. So for kind of like rock and just like a basic, I went for kind of a basic natural kit on this, and for me, this is like a pretty good overhead sound that kind of captures the whole kit and getting a pretty wide image of the symbols so just play that for you fortunately you're not going to hear it over there but you know, for me that's like a super pretty well balanced kid that I didn't really spend that much time doing um does that kind of anything else okay um so now let me guess taking it from there now that I have like the overheads doubt all normally kind of go in and listen to my close mikes make sure all those air sounding cool on dh now just let me just to kind of refreshed from where we were at um here is the uh the kick snare with x y overheads. Now as I move to the full production kit I swap out the kick mike with uh for to kick mike's I do it's near top and bottom I added a hat mike which have muted because he's playing it so long I just kind of had it needed uhm rak floor wide overheads and room likes and to me this is where I mean this is totally the sound where it's like oh that's a record, you know, versus kind of like I recorded this myself um but I think later will kind of show how a lot of the times like these drum sounds that these rab drones, has you have soloed, may not even have room for them in the tracks, you know, so that's your close mike's that a lot of time important. So here it is with the full kit. I apologize that the video is from the inside, but at least to kind of have a cool, uh, look at the end for these tracks, they started running through the console, so to me, that's, like I mean that's, the drum sound. I I really like that comes in.

Class Description

Find out exactly what you need to get a great recording on a super tight budget in Guerrilla Recording with Beau Burchell.

Beau is a vocalist, guitarist, producer, and founding member of Saosin – his discography includes credits on songs from The Bronx, From First to Last, and The Bled. In Guerrilla Recording, Beau will show you how to walk into any recording situation and make the most of it.

Whether you are making do with with 1 mic, 3 mics, or a fully staffed studio – Beau will help you focus in on the details that will really make a difference on your track. You’ll learn best practices for recording vocals, guitars, drums, and bass on the cheap. Beau will also talk about workflow and how to listen to your track to make sure you captured the best sound.

You don’t need a big budget and high dollar equipment to get a quality recording. Learn the gear and techniques you need to get the sound you want.

Featuring a live studio tracking session with Beau and Seattle band Lo, There Do I See My Brother


a Creativelive Student

A lot of great info here! Awesome getting to see Beau's workflow and hear his thoughts on the methods he uses. Would love to see him do a class on micing guitars, bass and show his methods in more detail/time. He gets some of the best raw tones in the game. Feel like this was more of a great overview and would like more time for details seeing as he is a very knowledgeable dude. Thanks Beau for the great class and for sharing this info with us.