Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

 

Lesson Info

Microphone Choice and Placement

You'll notice that John Browne from Monuments is here with me, guitar player, and an excellent engineer as well. So we've got two Browns here, Matt and John. So one thing is that when I work with other engineers that I trust and I think are great, I like to get as much input from them as possible, and I think you guys should too, whoever is watching this. If you have a buddy you're working with who knows as much or more than you about engineering, take their advice on things. You might get some great results. So, how that applies to this is, well, I'm in a new studio, they don't have the same mic selection I'm used to, and they knew some mics that I didn't and so contributed some placements and some ideas here. So we're gonna go through everything that we've done on the kit, and just go piece by piece. So we can start with the kick, with a microphone that I have never used before. Okay, yeah. So kick in, I brought a Telefunken M82. It's a pretty new mic they introduced a couple years...

ago. It's a great sounding mic. And one of the advantages to this mic is it has two EQ switches. It has a dip switch that engages a dip at about 350 hertz, and then it has a high shelf that starts a three decibel per octave, or maybe six dB per octave, climb, starting at about two kilohertz. So you get a nice, good top end out of it and it's gonna go ahead and remove any of the junk that you would normally EQ out of a kick drum anyway. And as far as placement-wise, we're just inside of the hole, so the capsule is probably, I wanna say about three inches inside of the hole. This is a technique that I use quite regularly on my kick drums. I don't get up close, super close to the batter head because there's a false idea that the closer you get, the more attack you get, and it's actually the opposite. When you're just inside of the resonant head, you get a nice click, a nice attack, and with that little shelf at the end there, we're getting a little accentuated on the high end. And, also, just inside of the hole we're not getting any of the air creating a false low end, so we're getting the actual sound of the drum there. And then we have the... Before you go on. Oh yeah. Let me just say about it, that we do have both switches engaged. Yes. On the Telefunken anyways because that's what we would be doing EQ-wise anyhow. We would be dipping down some low mids, raising the highs, making the smiley curve. And also, we've noticed, as you've probably already noticed as well, that we don't like the way 300 and 400 sounds in this room. We're kinda gonna be cutting it out of almost everything. So, if that mic already does it for us, Engage it. Yeah. Try to get as close as possible to the sound we're going for just from the mic itself. Yeah, exactly. And then on the outside, we have a FET 47, that evidently, all it does is live on the outside of kick drums here. So it's a pretty standard outside large diaphragm microphone that's giving us the low end, the woof I guess, of the drum. Yeah. And I guess in a normal... My more normal situation would be to use a sub-kick there and maybe a D6 inside the drum, or an SM91, but this seems to work just fine. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, so let's move on to snare. I'll just start by saying that when we were first getting snare sounds, we tried an I5, which is something I'm used to, and it sounded terrible, and so we started trying other things. So, we've got one mic up here that you suggested. Yep. [Man With Large Beard] Which one's that? It's a Unidyne 57. [Man With Large Beard] Which is what, the original 57? The original 57, yeah. And it has a sort of rounder sound to it than the more modern 57s, so it's good for getting the body out of snare drums. [Man With Large Beard] And is that when proximity effect is happening, or just in general? Just in general it sounds good, yeah. Just in general. Cool. Not as honky sounding then. Yep. And then the other mic is a mic that I brought as well, which is the Telefunken M80, which is mostly used as a live vocal mic, but it sounds amazing on snare drums. And this characteristic is almost exactly opposite of what the Unidyne 57 is. This one has a reduced proximity effect, and a nice little peak that's a little bit brighter in the six to eight K range. So both of these mics are placed, the capsules are placed at the exact same place on the drum, so we don't have any phase issues, and we get kind of the best of both worlds. You have a bright mic, and a more round, robust mic working together to create the top snare mic sound which is cool. Did we originally have them a little further in? We started with the I5s were a little further in. Then we moved it back, decided that the I5 was not the place to go, so at that point we placed the M not as far in as the I5 was, but a little bit further in than the second placement that we had which is closer to the actual hoop. And in general, when you're miking drums, on a snare drum, the closer you get to the center of the drum, the less crack, and the more snare sound you're gonna get from the top head, and the further back from the rim, the more crack, and the less body you're gonna get. So it's kind of a using your placement as a way to kind of adjust the EQ as well. So this is a good place. We're about an inch and a half inside of the head, maybe two inches with the end of the mic, inside of the head, so we're getting a nice crack but we're also getting some body from the top of the drum. Don't you also get more harmonic overtones the closer to the edge you go? Yes. I mean, in general with drums, in general, the closer you get to the head, the more overtones you're gonna get, but you're also gonna engage the proximity effects of the microphones and pick up a little bit more, what most people would hear as low end or body of the drum. The further away you get, the more attack and more clarity you're gonna have, but at sometimes you might lose some of the low end of the drum. So it's finding that space in between the two, to where you can control the amount of overtones that are coming into the microphone but still retain the characteristics of the drum, and balancing that with the right amount of attack. And also, it goes without saying, but making sure that it's not in a spot where the drummer's gonna destroy it. Exactly. Especially in a situation like this, where you've got a drummer that plays with tree trunks. Right. You do need to think about protecting your microphones. And not only that, but you have to look at what's gonna be the loudest cymbals in this setting here, and over on this side near the snare drum, the hi-hats are kind of loud, but this crash cymbal he's gonna be using more than he's gonna be using the hi-hats. So we're using the pattern which is a standard cardiod pattern to kind of reject the cymbal a little bit so that any EQ that you do need to do to the snare drum, you're not gonna be hyping the cymbal as much as you would, because it's rejecting what's in this area behind the microphone. So that's another thing, using your placement to kind of get rid of the cymbals or things that you don't want popping up later when you start EQing. I think that we should mention that we had another mic up here as well. Something that you and I both like. Yep. Most of the time. Jay Ruston, great producer, taught us both about this trick, which is, I'm sure you guys noticed earlier, there was an SM7 hanging above the snare. But what do you like about it? It adds more body. Yeah, sometimes. Creates the characteristic of what's going on, basically from the drummer's perspective. Yeah, that's in a good situation. Yeah, in a good situation. For some reason, it just didn't sound right this time. It sounded dinky. Well, that's the thing we're noticing, is that this room is a place that we haven't worked in before, and some of the characteristics of this room are beneficial to what we're doing, and some of them are taking what we know to work in other places, and throwing them out the window, so to speak. They're not usable. Yeah, exactly. And I know that Jay Ruston, when he sets up drums, he does it over there. So we didn't want to record in that corner, because we didn't like what we were hearing coming off the walls, but who knows. Right. Maybe the SM7 would have sounded fine there. Exactly. Again, that just shows that whenever you're in a different situation, you take in what you know, but you should always just be reacting to what's going on. Right. So let's move on to this microphone that I've never used before. Oh, on the side. So on the side of the drum we have a Beyerdynamic M pointed the shell. And I believe that is a cardiod, or a hyper-cardiod ribbon microphone, which is a great sounding mic to begin with. With the ribbon characteristics, it's gonna have a higher SPL. And what we're doing with it, is by pointing it at the shell we're kind of a combination of the top and bottom together in the shell itself. You've listened to it more in there than I have. I just know that whenever I mic a shell, I like to use something, a microphone, that's maybe not the brightest. Something that has a little bit more presence, a little bit more body, and the top end kind of naturally just curves off so we're not getting any reflections that might be from the hi-hats or whatever, and we're getting more of a natural-bodied sound from the drum. And that placement is not something that's super common, but it's not uncommon. It's one of those things that you try, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, depending on the drum, depending on the room, depending on the mic. And with this particular drum, it happens to be bringing out a little bit more characteristics that make it cool-sounding. Basically. (laughs) So what about snare bottom, got a Beyerdynamic on there. Yeah, which mic is this that we're using? The 201? The 201. Yeah. Now that was the suggestion of the studio owner. Yeah. And that's a condenser mic, I think, right? Yeah, I think so. So with bottom, we tried a 57 earlier. [Man With Large Beard] It was not sounding good. And it was not sounding... And that's one of those that is usually a go-to, as well, on a bottom snare. What we were hearing in the room, I think choosing the small condenser over dynamic was a good choice because of what the room is doing itself. We're having that kind of a build-up in the 300 to 400 range, so using a dynamic mic that actually has that part of its presence peak built in, we're actually accentuating those frequencies already. By using a small diaphragm condenser, we're kind of getting a flatter response, a little bit more top end. So that'll make the snare drum sound a little bit brighter on the bottom side, kind of getting rid of what the room's contributing and going back to something a little bit normal, what we're used to hearing. And one thing that you'll notice, once again, is that when we go to EQ this stuff, we're gonna be fighting this room the entire time, so we're already taking steps to eliminate the nastiness wherever possible. Yep. But I've already been playing with some EQ, and every single microphone sounds better with 300 dipped. Yep. It's crazy. Yep. So yeah. This room is definitely contributing that. Let's talk about the toms. I guess people who know me know that I like D6s on toms. A lot of people hate them, which I don't understand why. I'll tell you the reason that I like them is because the curve that they give you is already a smiley face. It's designed for a kick drum, but I feel like toms get EQ'ed almost the same way, and I also subscribe to the toms are just small-pitched kick drums in a mix philosophy. So I feel like this microphone just kind of already gets me pretty close to where I want to be most of the time. Now, one of the problems with it, is that it doesn't reject the sides very well, so when you get a huge drum set with tons of effects cymbals, and lots of stuff really close together, it might not work. But in a situation like this that's a little more spaced out, less going on, the bleed's not so much of an issue. Yeah. You notice we're also, what, like two inches off of the drum. I mean, height-wise Two inches up? Yeah, two inches up at least. And this goes into what I just said a little bit ago, is the placement of the microphone, the closer you are, the more body you get, but also the more overtones you're getting. So we're kind of balancing the curve of the microphone with a little bit of space, to kinda help it give us a little bit more attack, which is really what we're after with the toms, more than anything, is that attack, to make sure the attack is nice and clear. When you're dealing with drummers who play fast, the most important thing is going to be the attack of the drum moreso than anything else. Also, I've noticed that this mic in particular, when you start to get it very close to a tom, especially a floor tom, you start to get a warble effect. Right. The microphone. And it's the microphone, not the head, even when the head is head is tuned right, you get too close and it starts to warble. Now, one thing I wanted to point out. Have you ever noticed when guys will mic a tom straight down? Yeah, yeah. And actually, this is... I learned about this because Roger Nichols, who is a famous engineer, worked with Steely Dan, I did a session down with him in criteria where I was the drummer, and he was the engineer, and Alan Parsons was also there. It was a Nair's thing. So both of them contributed to the engineering of the drums. And Roger Nichols mics that way, where he points straight at the head. And his philosophy behind it was, and this is true, when you hit a drum, the sound goes the ways that the heads move, and the heads move up and down into the cylinder and outwards. So by miking straight above it, you're capturing exactly what the drum sounds like, which means you're going to get a lot more of the tone, than you would, versus the attack. So if this was a situation where the drummer was playing slower, and we wanted more length and more roundness on the toms, that would definitely be a way to mic it, is more straight above the drum. And that's something that you can use when you're engineering. If the head is here, we're straight above it, we're getting purely tone. If we go shooting straight across, we're gonna get hardly any tone and almost all stick attack. So you can use that placement to help dial in the sound even more. And that's kind of the goal of how you work and how I work as well, is to capture the sound as close to possible that it's going to be on the inside so that you don't have to EQ as much on the later side. Yeah, yeah. I like to get the drums sounding as good as possible without any processing besides... Corrective stuff. Yeah, or flipping phase. Right, right. Stuff like that. However, that angle trick is important to note because when I'm working with a band that, say, goes from super fast and heavy to slower and light, more sparse, I will actually change the angle of the tom mics to go straight in for the softer parts, because it is a rounder kind of sound. Yeah, fuller sound, yeah, for sure. Yeah. But I would never do that with something fast and heavy. Right. Let's move on. What about the bottoms? We put kick drum mics on the bottoms of the toms. Yeah, whose call was that? (laughs) Yeah, it was what we had. I think it was what was available. We had a D112 and a 52 available. So, the 52 is a rounder mic, it has a lot more fuller, exaggerated low end. The D112 has a little bit of a presence peak in that 4K area, it's a little bit flatter on the low end. They both have a scoop in them. So it just seemed like the bigger the drum should get a little bit more exaggerated low end. The rack tom, since it doesn't have as much low end, would get a little bit more exaggerated on the attack side of things, to kind of balance out. I've seen guys do all matter of things, though, with bottom toms. Yeah. And I've tried all kinds of things. Everything from SM57s to RE20s to sub-kicks. Right, yeah. And I also know that a lot of guys don't even bother miking the bottom toms. Right, yeah. It's really an optional thing. But I like it, just because it gives you a little bit more bottom roundness. Yeah, a little bit more tone. If I do use a bottom tom mic, I like to use it as the way to kind of add fullness into the sound of the tom without having to EQ the top mic, you know? So, once again, we're using a tool to kind of help shape the sound without having to do as much EQ on the back side. The more you exaggerate anything, the more it's going to affect the way the rest of the kit sounds in itself. So, with the tom mic being on top, we're getting a lot of cymbals, we're getting snare drum, so if we exaggerate a lot of low end on the top mic, we're also exaggerating the low end on the snare drum and in the cymbals themselves, and you can end up with an unclear picture of the kit just by exaggerating too much of one thing on one mic. So by adding the bottom mic, you definitely get more tone, more control over the low ends, so you don't have to hype the top mic and affect the rest of the kit that it's looking at, basically. Let's talk about these overheads. Yeah, let's talk about the overheads. Let's talk about these overheads. Well, first of all, these are measured. Yes. Yes. These are measured from the center of the snare. It doesn't look like they are, but they actually are. Yeah. We always get them the same distance from the snare. The reason that we use spaced pairs for this style of music, or why I do it, and lots of other guys do it, is control, pretty much. Because there is lots of other ways to mic overheads that will give you more of a kit image, or where you could literally just use those microphones for your entire drum set sound, and that's killer for certain styles. But when it comes to heavy music, you really want as much control as you can possibly get in the mix, because a heavy music mix basically boils down to controlling noise. You're controlling a lot of noise, all pushing to get to the very front at all times. And the more control you can get over the individual elements, the better. So, these style overheads, I almost see them as crash mics, because at the same time, we are close-miking all of the other cymbals. They're not exactly crash mics, but almost. What do you think about that? I mean, this is something that is specific to the heavier genres, for me, in my experience. And as far as these angles go, we're trying to reject a little bit of the snare drum so that it doesn't come into the microphones as much, and so that you do have more control over just the cymbals. And honestly, everybody that I work with that does metal or heavy rock uses this approach, where the overheads are not necessarily a kit-picture. They're more of what's the main crashes, and they pick up that, but they still want the snare drum to be in the center of the image because it will affect that. So it's always measured and closer, and it seems to work for the genre. And obviously, you gotta do what you gotta do to make it work. And if you're trying to battle 17 million guitars, you need a way to go, "Hey, I need that crash cymbal louder," without turning up the rest of the kit really. Let me just say, though, that one thing that some guys don't understand, and I know this through talking to people, is when we say we're trying to get the snare out of the overheads, we don't mean out completely. Your snare sound, a good snare sound, isn't just the direct mics. It's a combination of your directs, your overheads, and your rooms. And so these overheads still will be a part of the snare sound. We just don't want the snare to be louder than the cymbals, that's what we're trying to get away from. And with a drummer like Anup Sastry, who hits like a total beast, that is a real issue. So, one thing that's counterintuitive, but that we should note, is that we actually started with these mics way higher, and the higher up we were, the louder the snare was in the mic. Right. Because it had more distance to pick up the entire kit image. Exactly. So we lowered them, and now they're a lot more balanced, the way we'd want it to where they're more cymbal-heavy, and less drum-heavy. Exactly. He's got a 451 on the hi-hat. I just like it, I don't know why. What were... These were the 84s, the KM84s or KM184s? These are KM84s. 84s, yeah. Yeah. So those are a little bit darker, a little bit darker than the 184s to begin with, which is great because if we're going to be close-miking a cymbal, you want it a little bit darker in nature anyway. Yeah. Okay. 451 on the hat. Yeah. It's just a standard thing, pointed away from the snare basically. I almost feel like when you start close-miking these cymbals, it's really... Just pick a small diaphragm condenser that you kinda like, and go, because you're probably not even gonna be using that microphone. Right. I hate to say it, but it's pretty much the truth. Yeah, a lot of metal drummers don't really balance themselves as a kit player. So their hands are always overshadowing the bass drum. And a lot of times they're not really trying to make the balance where the hi-hat or the cymbals are... In comparison to the snare drum, how it would be in a mix, where the snare drum is loud and the cymbals are usually a little bit lower, the drummers aren't concerned with that as much. These things are loud. The cymbals are gonna be played very loud, especially with those giant sticks. So, whether you use it or not depends, but at least it's there in case you do. And one thing, also, is I like the top end sizzle that this mic gives on a hi-hat, pretty much. And if this was to be used in the mix, it literally would only be blended in a little bit to give a little bit more sizzle to the hats, just a tiny bit of polish or whatever, and that's it. It wouldn't be a mainstay part of the drum sound. Right. Same with the ride or the china. Right. So, we've got an SM81 under the ride, which is another one of those microphones that is not considered the most high quality. Completely underestimated. Yeah, I agree. But it's pretty flat, and just sounds great underneath a ride. I haven't really used it on much else. It's just my go-to for underneath rides. It's one of those mics that's not super expensive, it's affordable. But you're right, it's super flat. I've used them on overheads, I've used them to record acoustic guitars, I've used them on rooms. They really do work in almost any situation and they're a great-sounding mic. They EQ really well because they're very flat, and they have a pad on them and roll off so that it's the perfect mic for doing anything that requires a detail, but you need kind of a flat response to it. And how often do you find yourself miking above the ride? Because I find I almost never do that. It depends on the type of drummer. With a heavy player, it's not really necessary, but I do mic on top of the ride if I need the detail, if it's more of a pop tune or a jazz type project, or even if it's an alternative thing where you want a lot of stick attack on the bell and a little less wash. I go for the top end, top of that ride for sure. But it definitely depends on placement. With his cymbals being this close together, if we were to place a ride mic here, we would get ride, but we would get a whole lot of this crash as well, which would be counterintuitive for isolating that particular microphone. So it really depends on the style of music and the player itself, and his positioning. There's very subtle differences between miking the top and the bottom, and you can use those subtleties to your advantage if the music is right. Well the one thing that I will say that I think is very important when you are placing the microphone on the ride, depending on the style, is in metal, you want to make sure that the balance between the bell and the body of the ride is pretty even. And you don't want it to sound too washy. Those are the factors you need to watch out for. So when you're checking the ride, make sure that the drummer goes between ride bell and ride itself, ride bell and ride itself. And if one of them is way louder than the other then you know that your positioning is screwed up and you need to adjust it. Yeah, yeah. Alright, so... Next. We don't like this yet. We're gonna try this out, different position. Yeah, I actually find china to be one of the trickiest cymbals to close-mic. Yep. Almost never sounds good with close-mic to my ears. You gotta get it right in the overheads. Right, yeah. You've gotta get it right in the overheads. And also, it's one of those cymbals that definitely sounds better from the top side as far as the way this is mounted from the open side. It sounds a lot better from up here than it does, usually, from underneath. Almost every single time, it seems like we always try to capture it from underneath because of the isolation standpoint, but we always end up with it on top, just because it sounds better. It sounds more like a china. Well, one thing that happens somewhat frequently on metal records is, I don't know if this is a technical term, but instead of a spaced pair, a spaced trio. Right. Where you actually have three overhead KM84s and if there's a china, you'll just put another one over there. And still, you'll measure everything exactly and keep the snare in the center. Right. But that'll just become another part of the overhead image, and it sounds pretty good that way. So we'll probably end up moving that. More than likely. So I'm gonna step out of the way and why don't we talk about the Coles. Yes. And that's you guys. Yeah. So, you want to talk about the microphones, since you love these things so much? Yeah. They are amazing. Yeah, they're amazing mics. They're ribbon mics made by Coles, 4038s, and they're really good at capturing the environment of the drums and capturing the room sound. Yeah. And the top end roll off is really good so you don't get too many cymbals with the meter it's capturing actually the body of the drums. Nice and smooth. Nice and smooth. Yeah, and they sound exactly like they sound in the room, so it's really good at sort of capturing basically the entire image of the kit. You know, I have to say that why we put these up was because the snare was sounding kinda dinky. In there, they kept telling me the snare sounded huge, but in there to me it just sounded a little plinky. Just the close... Yeah with just the close-mics. And so we did this as an attempt to add more body to the snare, really to the whole kit. Yeah. But primarily, to beef up the snare. Yeah, and as far as placement goes, this is something that we use quite a bit. I know I use it quite a bit on my own as well. It's a Blumlein configuration. So even though the ribbon mics are in figure-eights, we're capturing a stereo image of what's happening from a focused center point on the kit. The other advantage with this placement, as far as height-wise, is it's behind the drummer. So we're not getting a direct snare into the microphone. We're not getting a direct tom into the microphone. We're getting something that's blocked a little bit by the drummer, the cymbals are being blocked a little bit by the drummer as well. So we're using his body to kind of shield us from the stuff that we didn't want. We didn't want any more top end out of these mics, we wanted more body. So by having the drummer sitting there, and placing them behind him, we're able to use his body as kind of a shield from the stuff that we weren't looking to capture. And it gives us a nice stereo image of the kit. We're not too far away, so we're not gonna get a whole lot of room sound in it. It's a really cool trick. It's does some cool stuff with the bass drum once you get it in phase. Definitely in this room it helps out with the snare drum a lot. Plus, the baffles are right behind it. Right. To prevent that wall from messing it up. Exactly. This is something that we do quite often back at my room in Florida. I've got a great sounding room, but it is very live at times. And especially for faster material, we need to tame it just a little bit, or things can get very muddy. So we will build a fort around the drums. And you can kinda get the best of both worlds that way. You can still have your room mics out in the room, capturing a very lagged room, but then your direct mics so your very close rooms don't get affected by all that noise bouncing around. Right, exactly. So let's move on to the Sony. (laughs) This right here... We wanted a mono room that we could just destroy, and we literally asked the house engineer, "What is gross?" Yeah. And he said, "That is a very crush-able mic." Yeah, he pointed us to that mic. It's a very old Sony. And it's a cardiod pickup pattern. And what we're looking at right here is actually the back of the microphone. So the placement is looking at, we have a corner there, and then a little shelf. So we have several reflections, and the microphone itself is actually pointed towards that corner to capture multiple reflections, and at the same time, kind of reject the kit itself from looking on it. We wanted to be able to crush the room sound without crushing the kit sound. So that's where we ended up with the placement, and that was one of those first try, sounds amazing, let's leave it, type of thing. Yup. Whereas with some... When you get to a place you don't know, and you're experimenting with microphones you never use, you try to use your best estimated guess of what you're looking to capture, and you hope for the best. Sometimes it works out great, like this did, and sometimes it's, "Well, let's try somewhere else, "let's move it somewhere else, let's try this position." And you just kinda experiment until you get what you're looking for. And with this mic, we got lucky on the first try. (laughs) Yeah, well that happens sometimes. It happens sometimes. Alright, so let's talk about the spaced rooms. Spaced rooms. Now, these, I've never used before either. These were contributed by our wonderful Creative Live producer, Zach. Yes. Thank you Zach. The Microtech Gefell UMT 800. As far as I know, these are the originals too, so these are a little bit older. And these are U47s basically. Same kinda design as a U47. Microtech Gefell and Neumann were at once one in the same company, and then the wall went up and split the company in half. And so Neumann became popular because everybody liked that side of Germany, and Microtech Gefell did not. And they kept making microphones in the same way, just a little bit different variations, but using the same parts. So these are basically U47s. And this is something that I have been doing, and I know in the other Creative Live with Nali and Matt, they talked about creating a center image of the kit in the room, and how you would do that without pulling the snare or kick drum to one side. So what we did with these is I marked... Right here you can see this piece of tape. This piece of tape is looking at the snare drum and kick drum evenly, dividing the kit kind of in half diagonally. So this became our center mark right here, and then we based the spaced pair evenly off of the center mark and the center of the snare drum. So that way, when you pull them up, you're not gonna get the snare drum pulling to one side or the other. The other thing that I did with these as far as how we're using them, we're using them in a figure-eight pattern. And the rejection of the figure-eight is actually pointed directly at the kit. So we're not getting the sound of the kit coming straight into the microphone, we're getting the sound of the kit coming from the sides of each spaced microphone. So we have one right here, and then we have one on the other side over here, and they're both pointed the same way where the rejection is pointed straight at the snare drum, and we're capturing from the side and rejecting the direct kit. Because we don't have a giant space here, it's a nice, medium-sized space, but in order to make the space seem a little bit bigger, we're capturing just reflections of the room itself, and not the direct sounds from the kit. Also the cymbals. Also... Yes, that's what I was just about to touch on. Before we place the mics in the room, I played the kit and I asked about the cymbal balance, because cymbals in the room is something that is very difficult to tame. Yeah, so loud in here. And they're very loud. Yeah. So that was another reason for choosing a figure-eight pattern on the microphone, and also placing them lower where the drums are, as opposed to up higher where the cymbals are. So you're using placement and patterns to kinda help get the sound you want and get rid of the things you don't want. So we wanted to avoid a lot of cymbals so we placed a pick-up pattern avoiding the cymbals, as well as down closer to the drums, in efforts to kind of minimize the cymbals into the microphone. Let's talk about the crazy stuff. (laughs) So, Jay Ruston gave us another tip, which was to put a U87 in that back room right there. So we did that, but also, there's something else we should be going to. Yeah, follow us. This is cool. So, they got the door closed. We tried this with the door open while I was playing, and they said, "Shut the door," so we did. In here we have the placement of the U that we were recommended, so we placed that back there. And we noticed at first we had kinda the same reflections that we had in that room, because the piano lid was closed and it was flat, so we were getting a flutter echo as well in here. So the thought was we could cover this with blankets or whatever, or I was like, "Why don't we just open this up, "and create an angle?" And that immediately got rid of the flutter. So that was cool, and it sounded great. And then we had an open piano, and I like to do cool things, I like experiment with resonances, so I asked John what the key of the song was, he said C. So I taped all of the Cs on the piano down, so they would be open the whole time, and then we stuck a microphone inside the piano. And the idea behind it was, let's see what it sounds like, this could be crazy cool to have this kind of resonating Cs throughout the whole thing just kinda creating a harmonic thing while the drums are going. And it didn't really do that as much as it just created a really great sounding room. (laughs) And a lot of low end. A lot of low end. I guess you can hear the strings a little bit in there, and maybe this low C is part of it, because it is... (piano note) It is pretty low. So we're probably getting a little bit of that helping out. That's what we got in here. And you were listening to it in mono and thought it sounded great. Yeah, but then the panning... Yeah, and then I was like, "What happens when you pan 'em hard right and hard left?" And we got this extremely wide room image that happened to be in phase with each other, which is pretty cool. There's another we tried as well. We started on a 414 AKG. We thought it was too much bottom end, so we changed it for a Neumann 103TLM which just added a little bit more clarity to this room. It sounded great. So there you go. There's the fun stuff. That was a little bit of an experiment that turned out to be really, really cool. And that's pretty much it, right? [Man With Large Beard] Yeah, I think that's it. That's all the microphones we put up so far. That's all the inputs we had. (laughs) Yeah, we did run out of inputs. One thing is that I've 32 at my place. Yeah. We'll usually use what, like 29? Yeah, somewhere around in there, depending on the kit. Yeah, we also do record drummers who have larger kits sometimes. Yeah. But I mean, my philosophy is, if you have a big room, and you have the mics, just try to get stuff, even if you don't end up using all of it, you may as well try. Yeah, it's funny. The house engineer... So when we started doing this, and then we started with the piano thing, and I asked him for tape, and he's like, "Yeah, here, use this. "What are you doing?" And I told him I was taping down all of the Cs, and we were gonna put a mic in the piano, and he goes, "Man, you guys are crazy." (laughs) So, I guess this is something that's never been tried here before, but this is one of those things that I always like to, especially when working with a new place, it's like, well, let's try everything. Might as well. Might as well. Cool, well that's what we got for microphones. Cool. I guess it's time to get Anup in here and have him hit some stuff. Yup, yeah.


Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp will give you access to one of metal’s most in-demand producers and educators. You’ll also get to watch the talented and seasoned performers of Monuments show you how to record flawless takes and how to prepare to enter the studio.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp is the definitive guide to recording and producing metal. From soup to nuts, start to finish, A to Z, you will learn everything you need to know about recording and producing a metal song.

Eyal Levi will take you inside the studio with Monuments as they record a song from scratch at Clear Lake Recording in Los Angeles. In this bootcamp you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for a session in preproduction by choosing tempos and organizing the session
  • Record flawless drums from selection and reheading/tuning to mic choice and placement to editing
  • Record rhythm guitars
  • Record clean and lead guitars
  • Record bass guitar
  • Record, edit and tune lead vocals, harmonies, and screams
  • Mix and master from session setup to final bounce

What comes with purchase of the class?



Lessons

Intro to Bootcamp
Purpose of Pre-Production
Technical Side of Preproduction
Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map
Pre-Production: Importing Stems
Pre-Production: Click Track
Creating Tracking Templates
Intro and the Tone Pie
Drums - Lay of the Land
Bearing Edges
Wood Types
Depths and Sizes
Hoops
Sticks and Beaters
Drum Heads
Drum Tuning
Drum Mic Placement Intro
Basic Drum Mic Setup
Cymbal Mic Setup
Touch Up Tuning
Microphone Choice and Placement
Drum Tracking Intro
Getting Tones and Final Placement
Primary Tracking
Punching In and Comping Takes
Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking
Amplifiers - Lay of the Land
Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out
Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement
Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain
Finalizing Amplifier Tone
Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin
Intro to Rhythm Tracking
Setting Up Guitars
Working with a Guitarist
Final Guitar Tone and Recap
Guitar Tracking with John
Guitar Tracking with Ollie
Final Tracking
Tracking Quads
Intro to Bass Tone
Bass Tone Setup
Bass Tone Mic Placement
Bass Tracking
Intro to Clean and Lead Tones
Clean Guitar Tones
Lead Tones
Vocal Setup for Tracking
Vocal Mic Selection and Setup
Vocal Mic Shootout
Lead Vocal Tracking
Writing Harmonies
Harmony Vocal Tracking
Vocal Warm Ups
Scream Vocal Tracking
Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction
Vocal Tuning and Editing
Routing and Bussing
Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels
Setting Up Parallel Compression
Setting Up Drum Triggers
Gain Staging and Trim
Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ
Drum Mixing - Snare
Drum Mixing - Kick
Drum Mixing - Toms
Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms
Drum Mixing Recap
Mixing Bass Guitar
Mixing Rhythm Guitars
Basic Vocal Mix
Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars
Mixing - Automation
Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek
 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.
  • Amazing knowledge is being presented here. If you want to start out recording, this should be your first step, it'll save you lots of time and get you awesome results. Highly recommended class.
  • Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.