Join Larry Crane for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding the best drum placement in rooms, part of Music Production Secrets: Larry Crane on Recording.
Larry: So finding the best spot in a room to record drums is pretty important. A lot of times, I'll go to a studio and say, where do you guys record drums? And they'll point to an area. When I had to actually do a little research it turns out sometimes that's not the best place to record drums. So the way that I figured this out is kind of fun. I take a floor tom and I walk around the room and place it in different areas and see what I get. You'll find out in the room right here, that we have kind of a crazy flutter echo. I'm going to have Dave follow me around. He's going to hold this mic.
He's going to capture kind of close to what I'm hearing, so you can hear the same thing and understand why I'm listening, why I'm coming up with these solutions. (SOUND) So you heard kind of a frappy, flutter echo happening right here like (INAUDIBLE). That's crazy, that's part of the room. It's a little too live. If you go to the center of the room, which we mapped out with some tape earlier. We took a tape measure and measured wall to wall and came up with the exact center.
You'll find that a lot of times, the low-end just gets choked down. The, the first reflections of the the sound of the, of the floor tom are hitting the walls and coming back. And it chokes the low end massively. (SOUND) (SOUND) (SOUND) Very different low end response. What I'm listening for is always like the low end response, how it reacts, and how the crack of the high end reacts. Are there echos? Are there crazy sounds? Does it feel good in the room? Generally, we'll record the drums over here.
And this has a pretty good spot. It's, it's got a little bit of a liveness to it, but the low end seems to sit pretty nice, too. (SOUND) And that works out pretty well. So we're going to go in this room here, and hear what drums sound like in a whole different room, because sometimes you don't have to use the biggest room in the studio to record a drum set. (SOUND) Also, let me apologize for my drumming.
I can hear this room right now. So in our bigger iso-booth, a jackpot. It's got a lot of treatment on the walls here, very different acoustical sound. (MUSIC) That's that floor tom, doesn't bloom out very much. The snare sounds kind of choked down too. Let's not stop there, let's try some other rooms. Here we go on a little excursion. Now, (SOUND) I have done records (SOUND) where the drummer played in the control room with me. That's not an ideal situation for monitoring, possibly. But we had a lot of acoustic instruments being played in the other room and we needed somewhere to put the drummer to get him off of the acoustic guitars and everything.
So I actually recorded with headphones and had a drummer playing right behind me. (MUSIC) (BLANK_AUDIO) That sounds pretty cool. It's pretty live in here. It's got a real different sound than the live room does. But hey, don't stop there. Let's go in here. (SOUND) Everybody knows the bathroom must be the best place to record drums. (SOUND) Right? Sure. (MUSIC).
Alright. So check out all the rooms. Run around. Hit the floor tom. Listen. Set up your drums.
First, Larry introduces basic signal flow techniques that will improve any recorded sound. Then he explains some of his recording secrets, like how to capture acoustic guitars and vocals at the same time, how to choose the best microphone for a vocalist, and how to use stereo mics and room placement to create an ensemble sound on a single performer.
- Understanding input signal path
- Gain staging
- Checking phase on a drum kit
- Miking snare drums
- Comparing vocal mics
- Recording live acoustic guitar with vocals
- Using distortion with bass guitar
- Finding the best drum placement in rooms
- Recording upright piano
- Creating your own style