Recording Tips

Recording the Perfect Track w/Tim Pedersen

Recording the Perfect Track w/Tim Pedersen

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of Tim Pedersen joining me on the Recording Ninja Workshop Live Broadcast. Tim has been one of my musical mentors since I moved to LA. Recently I had the opportunity to work with him on mixing and a little re-recording on an EP for another great friend of mine Tita Hutchison.

We covered a lot of great info about how we recorded the drums AFTER we had a mix finished. This video is a 10 minute excerpt from that broadcast.

Drums are usually the first instrument to be tracked…and usually quite quickly. Then all the other instruments get to take their time building their parts and sounds on top of the drum tracks.

Every once in a while that process gets flipped around and the drums go on last.

That’s exactly what happened for Tita Hutchison’s song “Frost” off of her debut EP “Hello Love“.

We were already deep in the mixing process when we decided that “Frost” needed drums. The song just didn’t feel quite finished and lacked some movement in it’s current arrangement. Since our mix was pretty much done it allowed up to really take some time designing a drum sound that would help move the song along.

Tim and I spent a total of about 12 days mixing (all in a row!) and took an entire day to track just drums. It was a really fantastic time. Tim had the idea of giving the drums an old school, vintage vibe. Which is exactly what the song needed.

After spending most of the day experimenting with sounds, mic placement, eq, and compression, we landed on something that we were really proud of. It’s a sound that we really felt fit the song and helped move it along.

Anyway enough of me talking about it. Enjoy this excerpt from our Recording Ninja Workshop Live Broadcast.

Happy recording!
Charlie

 

Enjoy some photos!

Posted by Charlie in Recording Ninja Workshops, Recording Tips, Video Posts, 0 comments
Minimal Micing Concepts: Recorderman

Minimal Micing Concepts: Recorderman

 

 

A good minimal micing setup can help you achieve fantastic results with only a few channels. It can also capture a wonderful, organic, sound no matter how many channels you have. There are quite a few minimal micing setups and, depending on your situation, all of them are useful. Today I would like to cover the very effective Recorderman setup.

The Recorderman setup uses only 2 microphones. One directly over the snare,aimed directly at the snare, and another over the should of the drummer also aimed at the center of the snare. Each mic should be roughly 2 drumstick lengths away from the snare. Of course the height can be adjusted to accommodate the drummer. I have also added a kick drum mic to help capture a good solid bottom end for our simple setup.

Personally I find the Recorderman a little uncomfortable as a player. It’s a very intrusive configuration so once we demonstrate the basic setup we move the mics a little higher to see if the sound changes at all.

Enjoy this setup. Next month we’ll look at another minimal micing configuration.

Happy recording!
Charlie

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Posted by Charlie in Recording Ninja Workshops, Recording Tips, 0 comments
Compressing Your Room Mics

Compressing Your Room Mics

 

 

Compression has a lot of uses but arguably none more fun than drum room mics. Adding subtle compression to your room mics can add just a touch of excitement while adding tons of compression can completely take your overall drum sound to the next level.

In this excerpt from the stereo room Live Broadcast Seminar a few weeks ago I want to demonstrate just how compression can effect your overall drum sound. I’m doing it with hardware but you can do it with a plugin in your DAW too.

The big thing to remember is there is no one way to do this. You’ll need to experiment but above all LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC and do what it requires. Using compression is a ton of fun but it is easy to overdue it.

Happy recording!

Charlie


Watch part 1 of this series: Recording Rooms with the Blumlein Configuration

Posted by Charlie in Recording Ninja Workshops, Recording Tips, 0 comments
Stereo Room Micing Techniques: Blumlein

Stereo Room Micing Techniques: Blumlein

 

 

There are a lot of ways to capture drum room sounds but none more effective than the Blumlein configuration.

While there are microphones specifically designed to be in a Blumlein configuration you can easily create this setup with 2 Figure 8 microphones. In this video I’m using two Studio Projects CS5 multi-pattern microphones, set to Figure 8, and placed right on top of each other.

The Blumlein configuration captures a very nice stereo image and works well in any size room, small to large. Give this great setup a try and let me know how it works for you!

Happy recording!
Charlie

Check out the USI Music Production Page for much more great info!

Posted by Charlie in Recording Ninja Workshops, Recording Tips, 1 comment
Recording Drums w/Dynamic, Condenser, & Ribbon Microphones

Recording Drums w/Dynamic, Condenser, & Ribbon Microphones

 

 

The first step in your signal chain is the instrument, the next step is the player, and the third step is the microphone. It’s in this step that we can start to alter, or mold, our sound.

Although there are hundreds of mics on the market there are only really 3 basic types; Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbons. There are also tube mics but in the video I’m only covering the 3 main types we use on a regular basis. The video is meant to give you a simple, side by side, demonstration of how the different mic types sound on drums. The mics are placed side by side about 5 feet in front of the kit.

I think you’ll get a good idea of how the 3 different mic types sound. The better you understand the differences the more you can take advantage of these mics to mold your sound.

Below is a bit more in-depth explanation of dynamic, condenser, and ribbon mics.

Happy recording!
Charlie

Dynamic Microphones

The dynamic is the most common and robust type of microphone. Popular examples include the Electro Voice RE20, the AKG D112, and the ubiquitous Shure SM-57. The durability, form factor, and inherent directionality of the dynamic make it ideal for live applications.

At the heart of every dynamic microphone is an electromagnetic coil attached to a diaphragm. Sound pressure hits the diaphragm, which moves the coil relative to a static magnet, producing a voltage. This configuration is inherently more directional and less sensitive than other types, making dynamic microphones ideal for close miking – especially of loud sources like drums and amplifiers.

Dynamic microphones are inherently cardioid or hypercardioid and most can handle even the loudest sources. Dynmanic microphones also tend to have narrower frequency response than other types (less low end and high end sensitivity). Some models designed for specific purposes (ie: kick drums) can have wildly nonlinear response curves.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones offer greater sensitivity and wider frequency response than most dynamics. This is one reason they are favored as overhead microphones as well as hi-hats and rides cymbals. The increased sensitivity can make some condensers unsuitable for some high SPL applications like drums. Some condensers will feature a switchable pad to reduce sensitivity for high SPL situations but this may not always be adequate.

Condensers can also feature a variety of polar patterns, or may have multiple, switchable patterns. Often they will also feature a switchable high pass filter to eliminate unwanted lower frequencies. Common examples include the AKG 414, Shure SM81, and the Neumann U87.

A condenser element consists of a thin metallic diaphragm oriented parallel to a larger metal plate. When charged with an electric current, these two pieces act as a capacitor. As sound pressure moves the diaphragm, the capacitance fluctuates. This fluctuation creates a current that is converted to the output signal by circuitry within the microphone.

This circuitry and the need to charge the element require all condensers to be powered by either external phantom power or an internal battery. The wide frequency response, variety of polar patterns, and robustness of modern condenser microphones allows for an enormous variety of microphones to suit almost every application.

Ribbon Microphones

The oldest common microphone type is the ribbon. A thin metal strip – the “ribbon” – is suspended between two magnets. Sound pressure moves the ribbon through the magnetic field, creating a voltage between contacts at each end of the ribbon. This offers better high-end response than a dynamic element, but the design’s inherent figure eight pickup pattern limits their usefulness in situations where isolation or feedback is an issue. Many vintage ribbon microphones, such as the RCA 77, are highly prized for their smooth top end and robust bottom.

There are also many modern ribbon microphones, such as the Royer 122, that offer the classic ribbon sound while maintaining performance on par with other modern types. When connecting a ribbon microphone, be careful not to expose it to phantom power. Some older designs may be damaged by its presence. Most contemporary ribbon microphones have protection built in – some even have preamps requiring phantom power, but the safest option is always to keep ribbon microphones isolated from phantom power entirely.

For drums, the ribbon microphone’s figure eight pickup pattern limits its usefulness for most close-up applications. However, the smooth top end and full bottom of many ribbon microphones can be ideal for overheads and especially room miking.

Posted by Charlie in Recording Tips, Video Posts, 0 comments
Recording Drums w/1 Microphone

Recording Drums w/1 Microphone

 

 

I know what you’re thinking. Do we really need to talk about recording drums, or any instrument for that matter, with 1 microphone again?

Yes.

Capturing any source with one 1 mic allows you to really learn about what you’re recording. Especially on a drum set which has many different parts. By focusing on using 1 mic you’ll learn to get the most of each mic you put on a kit.

In short, you’re multiple mic setups will become more effective by understand how to use only 1 mic.

This video is an excerpt from one of my Live Broadcast Seminars. I’m going to use a single Audio-Technica AT4047 to capture our drum sound. The big focus will be on using mic placement, specifically the height, to act as a natural eq.

Find some time this week to pic a microphone out of your mic locker and try this out in your recording space. I promise you what you’ll learn will make your recordings better!

Happy recording!

Charlie

Posted by Charlie in Recording Tips, Video Posts, 2 comments
Rock Drums Sounds with 5 Mics!

Rock Drums Sounds with 5 Mics!

 

 

Over the past couple of months I’ve started doing a lot of live streaming seminars. I love going live because I can interact directly with other recording enthusiasts that are watching….in real-time!

One recent seminar was on the topic of capturing a full rock drum sound with only 4-5 mics. Not just drums on their own though.

That’s too easy.

Since the ultimate goal is for the tones to work in a song, we used a full blown rock track to test our sounds.

Before you watch the video I want to reiterate my stance on minimal micing….

I am not a hard core minimal micing setup only fanatic. However, I ALWAYS start with some sort of minimal mic setup. No matter what style of music I’m recording.

By making sure that I’ve captured my drum sound with only a few mics (3-5) I’m ensuring that the drum sound will be full and have good depth. Then I listen to the drums along with the music to find out what other mics I need to add to make the sound work for the song.

Sometimes I don’t need any other mics. Sometimes I need a few spot mics to make sure certain elements will fit. Sometimes it all just needs to get miced up. It ALL depends on the song.

Since my core overall sound has been captured with only a few mics I know the kit will sound full and cohesive and not fall prey to the “spot miced” drum sound.

Happy recording everyone!

Charlie

p.s. We’ll be releasing a full schedule of live streaming seminars very soon! Check out the events page to stay informed!

Posted by Charlie in Recording Tips, Video Posts, 0 comments
Simple Room Micing Trick

Simple Room Micing Trick

 

 

There is simply no better way to add depth, space, and sometimes excitement to your drum sounds than using room mics. Can you say Led Zeppelin?

However, I realize that not everyone has the space to really explore all the cool room mic possibilities. Yes, you could use reverb to simulate a room sound and it would work nicely, but…..

There is nothing cooler, and more realistic, than the feeling of an actual mic capturing the drummers performance in the room.

Today I want to show you a cool room mic trick that can work in ANY size room. Small or large.

On a recent Live Streaming Seminar I pulled out an old trick I used to do in my first studio that was considerably smaller than my studio now. Actually it was smaller than my current control room!

Best of all this trick used only 1 microphone so all you need is a single condenser (you could try a dynamic mic too).

So watch the video and then go grab a mic and experiment!

Happy recording!

Charlie

p.s. I’ll be doing a part 2 with concept soon!

 


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The Art of Recording Drums Vol. 1 by engineer/producer Charlie Waymire

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Behind the Scenes with Chad Smith

Behind the Scenes with Chad Smith

Yesterday we posted video of Chad & Kevin tracking “Eagle Eye”. Today we bring behind the scenes footage from the session.

As far as sessions go it went pretty smooth. Working with professional musicians like Chad & Kevin make my job as an engineer pretty easy. Kevin and I had talked quite a bit in the weeks leading up to the session so I had a pretty good idea on what type of tones they wanted.

We decided to use a vintage Rogers Holiday kit restored by a good friend of mine Kurt Berger and drum whisperer Chris Heuer. It is a truly amazing drum set. I love all of my kits but that kit just has the “it” factor. It really is amazing.

Kevin brought his Mark Bass rig which is a piece of cake to record. Although Kevin could make any bass rig sound good the Mark Bass is bad ass.

All in all this was a really fun day in the studio. Tarja joined us via Skype from Buenos Aires and stayed on for the entire session. Once we’d get a track we would also send them an MP3 to listen to. This is one of the great ways that technology has made our lives better. It was an international session!

Tarja is a wonderful person and an amazing artist. Check the new album out at www.tarja-theshadowself.com. Links to purchase the album are below.

Anyway let’s get to the video! I’ll post a full list of the mics used and a few photos below too.

Enjoy!
Charlie

 

 

The Brightest Void
Tarja CD DigipakTarja 1LP+DownloadTarja iTunes

 

Microphone List

  • Kick In: MXL A55 kicker
  • Kick Out: Studio Projects CS5
  • Snare Top: SM57
  • Snare Bottom: SM57
  • Snare Side: Cascade Fathead II
  • Hats: Audio-Technica ATM450
  • Rack Toms: Heil PR30
  • Floor Toms: Audio-Technica AT4047
  • Ride: Audio-Technica ATM450
  • Overheads: Audio-Technica AT4060 Tube Mics
  • Mono Room: Cascade Knucklehead Ribbon Mic
  • Stereo Rooms: Audio-Technica AT4080 Ribbon Mics
  • Stereo Wide Rooms: Audio-Technica AE3000
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    Posted by Charlie in News, Recording Tips, Tracking, Video Posts, 0 comments
    Why It’s Important To Know Your Mics!

    Why It’s Important To Know Your Mics!

     

     

    When I start preparing for a session the first thing I do is talk with the artist and find out what they are looking for sonically. We’ll talk about their music, their influences, what albums they like and I’ll ask them for references of other artists that fit their music. I’ll also talk with them about what type of recording they want and whether it’s a modern sound vs old school sound, dark or bright, etc..

    Based on their answers I start putting my tracking sheet together and make my initial decision on what my signal chain will be. My first decision is usually what microphones I’ll use to fulfill the artist’s sonic vision.

    Before the artist even arrives at the studio I’m able to make quite a few microphone decisions simply because I know my mics….really well.

    My goal is not just to record a good sound. My BIG goal is to record the “RIGHT” sound for the music. I’m able to do this because I’ve done my homework and spent time getting to know how my mics react in any situation on any source.

    So, are you getting the right sound for the music you’re recording? Check out this video to find out why it’s important to know your mics and know them well.

    Happy recording,

    Charlie

    p.s. do me a favor and leave a comment with your experiences with you microphones. What you use, your method for learning how they sound, etc. I would love to hear from you!

    Posted by Charlie in Recording Tips, 0 comments