Looking for a great all around go-to studio microphone? Then put the Rode NT1a (or newly updated NT1) on your list. In the wake of last week’s article on affordable microphones vs expensive microphones I thought I would share one of my all time favorite affordable mics. For around $200 US, you really can’t go wrong with having one of these in your mic locker. Check out the review and sound sample at the end.
Part 10 of 31 - One of the easiest ways to make impact with your drums is to take advantage of panning. Like narrow? Awesome. Like wide? Great. How about both?
Make An Impact
Mixing is all about impact. And one simple and effective to way to create impact is to automate your drum overhead panning through the mix. Start with a narrow panned overhead in the verses and then open up the panning wide in the chorus. It’s subtle but it will open up the mix in a tangible way.
Part 6 of 31 - Want a bigger sounding mix with more width and clarity? Then pick one stereo track to stay stereo and fold the rest down to mono. Ironic, isn’t it?
Mono Tracks Are The Secret
I always thought big wide stereo tracks were the goal. Have stereo piano, stereo guitar, stereo drums, stereo loops, etc. That much stereo should equal one big ole’ mix, right?! Wrong. The secret to wider mixes is simple: use mostly mono tracks. A bunch of stereo tracks just cover each other up and wash out your mix.
Part 3 of 31 - To make great mixes you need to listen to great mixes. More than that you need to steal specific ideas and production decisions from the pros and try to impliment them in your own tracks.
Pick Three Things
It’s one thing to like a pro mix, it’s another thing all together to identify specific elements of that mix that you want to “borrow”. Be specific and write down three things you want to try on your next mix. It won’t ever sound exactly the same, but it gives you some direction and goals to shoot for in the mix.
Last year my band at church decided to record a few Christmas songs. More than that, we wanted to track it all together live, with only 8 inputs. The process was a fun challenge and I documented a little bit of hit here. Today I wanted to share that Christmas EP with you for free and also offer three critical lessons I learned from the experience that might prove fruitful in your recording endeavors.
1. You Can Get A Monster Drum Sound With Just 3 Microphones
I think my biggest surprise (a pleasant one) with this project was just how big and balanced of a drum sound we captured using only three mics. This tracking session is what officially sold me on the recorderman overhead approach, mostly because we got such a solid snare and tom sound in the overheads. With no close mics other than on kick drum, the overheads had to capture the cymbals cleanly but also maintain the punch and snap of the snare and toms.
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If your recordings aren’t sounding great, there could be a million reasons why. But sometimes the simplest of tweaks can be all you need to see dramatic improvement. This is especially true with drum recordings.
Just last weekend I was recording drums for my band and with one simple click of a mouse I took lack luster drums that sounded somewhat thin and hollow to sounding punchy and full. How was this possible with one button?
Tweaking All The Wrong Things
So we were setting up mics on the drum kit and things were sounding pretty good. The overheads were balanced and full and I was starting to implement close mics on the kick and snare. But no matter what I did, the snare sounded thin and harsh. I was using the same mics I always use and started with a placement I usually start with, but no luck.
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As you may well know, there are countless ways to record an acoustic drum kit well. That’s part of the fun and challenge of drum recording. The people at Focusrite put together a video earlier this summer featuring a few different drum mic techniques that I thought might be interesting and helpful to you all. Take a look at the video and then I’ll sum up some take away points below.
Today I’m answering a handful of random recording and mixing questions covering a wide variety of topics. One of my TRR readers, Luis Garcia, who teaches recording in Peru sent in a list of questions from his students and I thought everyone might be interested in hearing the answers as well. We cover it all from de-essing to mastering and everything in between.
Mixing drums with a wimpy sounding snare? Before you reach for EQ or sample replacement, consider this one move that could instantly make your snare sound fat, punchy, and huge. It takes two seconds to do and has a 50/50 shot of totally improving your snare sound with no processing whatsoever. It’s called flipping the phase (or polarity I should say) and today’s example will blow your mind.
If you’re not getting the sound you want in your studio, chances are you need a studio reset. We always tend to think that our gear is the problem and that if we could only buy something or upgrade our studios with something more “professional” we’d be closer to what we hear in our heads. More than likely you just need to re think how you use your stuff and start from scratch. And good thing too, because it costs you nothing to do!