Video Posts

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 studioadmin 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 studioadmin in Recording Tips, Video Posts, 2 comments
New In Studio Performance: Bleeding Harp!

New In Studio Performance: Bleeding Harp!

The Music Chamber has been a HUGE success! We’ve been fortunate to have some amazing musicians performing to a fantastic live audience in the studio as well as a huge online streaming audience. It’s been electric in the studio for these performances.

At the last Music Chamber concert the audience was electrified by Bleeding Harp’s performance. They were simply on fire!! Now we have video out for everyone to enjoy!

Continue reading →

Posted by studioadmin in In Studio Performances, The Music Chamber, Video Posts, 0 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 studioadmin 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!

 


Take your drum recordings to the next level!
Get your copy today!

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
  •  

    Posted by studioadmin in News, Recording Tips, Tracking, Video Posts, 0 comments
    In Session w/Chad Smith!

    In Session w/Chad Smith!

    Some sessions are fun…and then some sessions are FUN!

    Few drummers can lay down a groove like Chad Smith. Few bass players can lay down a groove like Kevin Chown. Together, they form an unstoppable rhythm section. For most musicians watching them work together would be the ultimate educational experience.

    They are not only masters at their crafts but they understand that music is made by collaboration. By working together, they create parts they lay the foundation for great music.

    Now mix that formidable rhythm section with rock superstar, Tarja Turunen, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an album!

    Eagle Eye“, from Tarja’s new album “The Brightest Void“, is a track that features Chad Smith on drums. We filmed the entire session (almost 10 hours!) and have put together an awesome, in-studio, music video feature Chad & Kevin with the final audio from the album!

    Tomorrow we’ll roll out some behind the scenes footage from the session so stay tuned!

     

    The Brightest Void
    Tarja CD DigipakTarja 1LP+DownloadTarja iTunes

     

    Tarja Turunen
    “Eagle Eye”

     

    Posted by studioadmin in News, Tracking, Video Posts, 0 comments
    Live Streaming Master Class Performance!

    Live Streaming Master Class Performance!

    We’ve been live streaming some great education Master Classes this month! Guitar improv, drum recording, blues guitar & bass, and we have much more coming up.

    Here’s a little excerpt from our live Blues Improv Master Class with Ernesto Homeyer and Jesse Stern.

    There is much more to come and we’re broadcasting every Wednesday at 6pm and Saturday at 12pm for the month of May!

    Don’t miss an event, visit: www.ultimatestudiosinc.com/events/ to stay in the loop!!

    Posted by studioadmin in In Studio Performances, News, Video Posts, 1 comment
    The Music Chamber: Sonja Midtune

    The Music Chamber: Sonja Midtune

    We are extremely happy to announce that we have the first video from our new show “The Music Chamber” online! Last month we featured 3 amazing artist in a live, in-studio concert, that we streamed live to the entire world. Sonja Midtune, Dankrupt, and Statues of Cats.

    The Music Chamber” concert series features in-studio performances by some of the best artists in Los Angeles with a live studio audience as well as streaming live to the world!

    The series of live music performances presented in a studio setting, similar to VH1 Storytellers. The goal is to give music artists a chance to perform in a personal setting meant specifically for music and to give audiences a chance to see musicians in a way they’ve never seen them before…live in a recording studio.

    Ultimate Studios has the ability to record, video and live stream these performances, which gives the artists a channel to an audience beyond the people in the room on the day of the show.

    Enjoy 3 amazing performances from Sonja Midtune!

    Posted by studioadmin in The Music Chamber, Video Posts, 0 comments
    Building A Drum Sound pt3!

    Building A Drum Sound pt3!

     

     

    So far we’ve captured one heck of a sound with only 4 mics. It’s mono but it’s really good. It’s full, it’s big, it’s punchy. It totally works.

    For the record I love a mono drum sound. It’s tight, focused, and punchy. It also leaves a lot of room in the mix for other elements such as guitars, keys, vocals, etc..

    However, mono can become a little stagnant as far as modern music is concerned. A lot of music can really benefit from a stereo image or left/right movement from the drums.

    So I’m going to use the tom microphones for two things: Attack/presence and stereo image.

    The spot microphones on the toms will definitely help them cut by adding attack. It will also give them more clarity and a little more body.

    By panning the mics slightly to the left and right the drums will start to get a bit of a stereo image. This is a really neat setup. The grooves will be tight, focused, and centered while the fills will have left to right movement. It’s cool!!

    Enjoy “Building A Drum Sound pt3” and I’ll see you in the studio!

    All the best,

    Charlie

    View “Building A Drums Sound pt1
    View “Building A Drums Sound pt2”

    Posted by studioadmin in Recording Tips, Video Posts, 0 comments