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Member Since: Jun 17, 2008

Greetings everyone, I'm new to this wonderful forum although I have been reaming some info from it for some time. Quick history:

26 yrs old, got started on a Kareoke machine about 11 years ago (and of course doing radio shows on a tape cassette recorder since I could speak). Graduated to 4-track tape Tascam, then the much-loved Tascam 488. About 3 years ago got a Tascam digital 8-track, the DP-01, and now have made the move up to Cubase LE.

The new project I am involved with (myspace.com/ihatescranton) was completed on Cubase and obviously it is worlds away from the toys I was playing with before. So basically I've learned how to crawl and now I'm trying to walk. The finished product sounds pretty good (will be posted on myspace soon and available for purchase, cough cough), but it's a first try and already I'm picking it apart and can't stand to hear that godd@mn out-of-tune acoustic guitar blasting out of right field. Anyway.

So, I Hate Scranton is a disco / pop / indie band. Our next project will be for my personal band (I drum in Scranton and play guitar in my own project), Din Perdiem, and will be our first official non-garbage recording. It's got bits of Van Halen, a heavy dose of Metallica and Zep and painted over with the Beatles as far as melody is concerned. It's a heavily guitar-based project.

Before I even think about guitar, however, I need to think about the drums. While I am not the drummer, I know exactly what I need to hear from him as per his style (heavy handed, plodding, but quick fills and lots of double time punk beats).

We are working with a nice Ludwig set, brand new Remo pinstripe top / coated Ambassador bottom. 10-12-16-22. Open front head, felt beater. I've got a nice drum mic package that covers all the drums + overheads, and a wide diaphragm condenser that I usually throw in the back of the room. We've got a lot of space in our personal studio and it is all deadened with minimal reverb. The amount of muffling on the kick we do depends on the song / project.

Also (very important) have the PreSonus Firepod 8-track interface.

Now, the questions.

1. On the last project, we had an issue with the snare. No matter which channel we used, how low we had the levels, where we placed the mic, or how many cables we switched out, the snare would clip. Bad. We had to resort to taking the mic off the snare and putting it on a stand. This stopped the clipping but led to a snare sound with no guts, no depth. Sounds like a problem with the mic itself, but does anybody have any suggestions? Also, how much would it add to the sound by micing top and bottom of the snare? I'm looking for that gut punch with a ringing undertone. Maybe switch from a wooden snare to metal?

2. I'm just going to say it and get it out of the way: I love Metallica, and I love Lars Ulrich in all of his worthless d**khead glory. I love how he plays with wild, sloppy abandon as if he invented drums and drumming. I particularly LOVE his drum sound on. . .wait for it. . . LOAD and RELOAD. Before you go back to the main forum page and report me for obscene language, hear me out. I've been on vacation for a week with my new Bose headphones, them fancy things with the noise-cancelling feature. I can hear the drums like never before. His drums are sick sounding. They have punch, depth, warmth and to be honest it just kicks me in the face. I am trying to achieve this. It sounds like there is very little processing on his kit, just well-tuned drums. As there is very little documentation of the production of those records, I can't figure out one or two key things: how does he get that sick, Lars kick drum? You guys know what I mean. It's like somebody is stabbing a piece of meat. I don't think he uses triggers on the kick, but I do know that for . . .AND JUSTICE he did the quarter-taped-to-back-of-head thing. Really the same thing applies to all his drums. It is no coincidence that our kit is the same measurements as his. Anybody as pathetically fanatical about his post-80s sound as me? Any tips?

3. I'll keep this one short: For some songs I know we'll be close micing everything but for others (a couple of softer numbers) I'd like to try ambient micing (my preferred method). A general setup tip or two would be great. I've done it numerous times in the past (when yer stuck with recording 2 tracks at a time, hey, whatya gonna do), but never with this new setup.

So, thanks in advance, don't hate me because I love the big L and I'm glad to be a part of this community.


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*sticado: short and LOUD!*
Since: Feb 25, 2005

Jun 17, 2008 01:42 am

i know exactly what youre say about lars' kit... in my opinion, its unmatchable. all i can say is i know he scoops the mids out of EVERYTHING on his drums except the snare. if you want a kit sounding like that masterpiece, you'll need about 8 hours a day for 30 days of straight up micing techniques. i dont think its possible to get that same sound.


oh, and no... he definately does not use any triggers. theyre just billionairs who can afford the greatest drum tech in the world

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Jun 17, 2008 01:55 am

hmmm good questions..

1: did you try turning the gain down on the preamp of the snare mic when it was clamped to the snare? i'm gonna assume so, but you didn't state it directly, if not, i'd say adjust your preamp...

a drum (EPICALLY snare) has an extremely loud transient. which makes it easy to clip, i don't think i've ever really physically clamped a mic to a snare, but i've NEVER had a problem with a mic on a stand, and i've had those mics (usually 57's) about 2 inches from the head...

so this leads me to think, maybe by physically clamping a mic onto the snare drum, more low frequencies (more energy) are making their way into the signal, which would make it clip easier....so i'd try some foam in between the clamp and the drum to isolate it some (which essentially is what a mic stand does) or you can try a high pass filter if your preamp has one.

2.a: metallica is my greatest/first major influence musically, i'm a bass player and i used to keep a pic of cliff in between my pickups at all times. i've studied that band more than any other, although my Tool knowledge is getting up there.

b: i jumped on the "i hate metallica because they all cut their hair and went digital" train when it all came out, but i still love them, just not as much.
to answer your question in two words, it's Bob Rock, he's the wizard behind the curtain on that issue, all i can say is great instruments, great room, great signal chain, great processing, and great ears made that sound. and i have no idea how to get it.

3: ambient micing only sounds awesome if you're in a good room, if you're at home, it's not really worth it. these days you can create awesome ambiance with plugins. the trick is not to put them directly in the signal path, use an aux buss for the reverb, tweak away to taste.

in any case, welcome to HRC! good peeps here. glad to have you aboard.


Since: Jun 17, 2008

Jun 17, 2008 03:07 am

All right! I like this place. Thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming, especially if anybody knows where I can find some video of the production of either of those records.

Daddy: definitely messed around with the preamps on my interface, switched cables, inputs, etc. I think you may be right about the clamping issue. Almost every snare hit I do is a rim shot, too (thanks again, Lars), so that makes sense. I'll try it on stand a little closer. Any words on the miking of the bottom of the snare also?

Yer probably right again about the ambient thing. Now that I think about it, the last solo demo I did was mostly ambient (with a little bit of trigger), recorded in our studio, and it DID sound very flat and dry. Perhaps I will try my front room at home: high ceilings, wood floors. Good natural reverb.

Great feedback. Thanks again.


Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Jun 17, 2008 03:21 am

lol oh yeah, i forgot to mention the bottom of the snare, when ya mike it, get as close as possible, them little wire's translate to sustain in you sound.

basically, you'll get the "thwack" out of the top head, and the "decay/rattle" out of the bottom. i've really never messed with two mics on a snare due to the phase issues, i understand it's common practice, but flipping the phase is not the only issue.....i'm a fan of keeping things simple. and until i'm getting paid 3 figures, i'm really not gonna bother with the bottom mic, because to me, it creates more problems than it fixes. others may disagree. but i do what i know. if anything, try just micing the bottom instead of the top, you'll definitely get more isolation.

Since: Jun 17, 2008

Jun 17, 2008 03:29 am

Thanks. Go back home in a week to try all of this out. . . that is, course, if my drummer went and practiced every night while I was gone like he said he would.

I can dream, right?

I'll definitely be asking more questions as we get into this project.

Thanks again,


Since: Feb 07, 2005

Jun 17, 2008 10:37 am

First off I would say ditch the clamps. Even then you have to make sure the stands do not touch the kit at all. I didn't see what kind of mic you were using but a snare of course has very high SPL's so you need a mic that can handle it. No matter how much you turn the gain down, the mic itself could be clipping/distorting. If you are using a SM57 then I'm not sure why it would be clipping at very low gain.
Make sure the snare top mic head is past the rim of the snare. A lot of crappy tone comes from close to the rim. For the bottom mic, try and come in on a 45 degree angle real close to the wires.
Overall, I would say spend a lot of time on mic placement and mic selection. In a great room you are going to be using a lot of the spaced pair for sound. Not so much in a crappy room.
Hmmm, just some ramblings there for ya... a lot of this you may already know.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Jun 17, 2008 05:50 pm

I'll second BH on the idea of loosing the clamps. They are not a good idea unless it is one of those expensive mic's meant to be used with a clamp.

But indeed, miccing the snare is an art in itself and BH has hit the best technique on the head, or heads. :-)

Whenever possible I use a top and bottom mic.

AS for Lars sound, yep that is killer. I rate it tight up there with Rahmstein's drum heart thumping kick drum sound. Actually their whole drum sound is killer as well.

But that sound is indeed achieved with some top end mic's into a top end signal chain. And also mixed by a top end engineer.

That said, it is doable by mortal man as well, just like you and I.

One big thing is finding the right room for the sound as BH mentioned. That is a HUGE part of the drum sound you hear on many records.

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