Okay . . . I admit it. My name is Michael, and I'm a studio
addict. It's been a long time since I've engineered or produced
any records, but I still think about twisting knobs and pushing
buttons once in a while.
Throughout the years, people have often asked me, "How do
I record an acoustic guitar?" and I'm happy to tell them.
Then it dawned on me. We probably have thousands of members
who have "How do I record . . ." questions. The answer? Studio
Buddy, The Home Recording Helper. A self-contained database
that answers the questions most people have about home recording.
It's FREE. It runs on PCs and Macs. And it's small enough
to e-mail to your friends. We've been quietly working on this
for a couple of years, and are just a week or so away from
Alex Reed, TAXI's Director of A&R, and myself wrote the hundred
and some odd answers that are a lay person's guide to getting
great sounds out of your home studio, and our friends at Disc
Makers, Recording Connection, and Tascam helped fund the programming.
The result is a program that will give you the information
you need to make big improvements in your home recordings.
Here are a couple of samples to whet your appetite. We'll
let you know when the final version is out, and where you
can get your FREE copy. Enjoy.
"How do I record a snare drum?"
Recommended mics: Shure SM57, AKG 414, Sennheiser 421, Neumann
KM 84, Neumann KM 184
For the snare drum, it's always a safe and highly effective
choice to use the venerable Shure SM57. Bring it in from the
audience side of the kit and give it a 45 to 60 degree angle
with the capsule about an inch or two above the head. The
farther away it is from the head, the roomier the sound, but
the more potential you have for phase problems. The closer
to the head you get, the more bottom end you'll getit will
give you that "goosh-y" sound. By the way, it's always a good
idea to have the snare mic follow a line to the drummer's
crotchnot that it's a particularly good sounding part of
the anatomy, but because it's away from the hi-hat and any
potential leakage problems.
Recommended eq for the snare is: +2@100Hz on the bottom if
necessary; roll off 300 to 700Hz in the lower mids to eliminate
the box-like sound; and +2 to + 6 dbs @ 5, 8, or 10Khz to
brighten up the top end. Tuning the snare is very important
in getting the right sound. If you encounter undesirable ringing
in the snare, try a small piece of gaffers' tape. You can
also try taping a small piece of a feminine napkin to the
outer edge of the top head to eliminate over ring.
Remember that a snare is full of transients, so keep your
levels fairly low to avoid overloading your preamp, tape machine,
or the tape itself. -2 or -3 VU or + 2 or +3 peak reading
are typical levels.
"How do I record a kick or bass drum?"
Favorite mics: Sennheiser 421, AKG D-12 or D-112
If the mic you're using has a pad switch, use it. If not,
pad the input at the console. Mic the kick drum from the audience
side, but only after throwing a sandbag in the drum to weigh
it down. Let the sandbag touch the head (that the beater hits)
just enough to dampen out any obnoxious overtones, but not
the good, natural sounding ones. The mic should be placed
about half way in to the drum itself and pointing at the beater.
If you bring the mic in from the right side of the drum and
angle it at the beater you will be avoiding leakage from the
snare drum, which is a good thing to do. You can experiment
with the depth of the mic, but always keep the mic pointed
at the beater for maximum attack. If you want a "poofier"
kick sound, you can point the mic away from the beater, but
again, try to avoid letting it point in the direction of the
snare to minimize leakage. If you want a roomier sound, you
can pull the mic out of the drum a little bit. The further
out you pull it, the roomier it will get. Some engineers use
a second mic a foot or two outside the kick. Be sure to check
the phase relationship of the two kick mics if you try that
technique. If you have phase cancellation problems, they will
usually manifest themselves by canceling out the bottom end
of the kick.
Eq: If you need more bottom end, try boosting @ 60 or 100Hz.
Try rolling off lower mids (300-700Hz) to get rid of a box-like
sound. To add more attack, try boosting in the 1K to 3K range.
Remember that a kick drum is full of transients, so keep
your levels fairly low to avoid overloading your preamp, tape
machine or the tape itself. -2 or -3 VU or + 2 or +3 peak
reading are typical levels.
Tips: If you don't have gobos to block incoming and outgoing leakage, try placing a moving blanket in a tent-like fashion around the mic stand and kick drum opening. Tune the kick drum up or down according to the key the song is in, making sure that the tuning works well with the register the bass guitar is in.
Wanna publish this article on your website? Click here to find out how.