(Be sure to read to the end. There’s a sexy picture there.)
Brilliant day in the studio yesterday. Ornan and I were going to get together in the “early afternoon” to continue working on his drum sound. My idea of “early afternoon” is different from his so I was there for a few hours before he showed up. I’m glad I did because I had the realization that I shouldn’t be thinking about his drum sound just yet. I’ve been in the mindset that the first thing we should do is start dialing in his drum sound. No, the first thing I needed to do was make sure we had a fully-functioning studio.
I spent a little bit of time figuring out how to get a better snare drum sound. Ornan’s snare rings like crazy so I tried resting a sock (clean) on the snare and it fixed it. The drum wasn’t quite as lively as I’d like but at least I had full control over how it sounded. I could boost EQ here and there and no weird tones would start flying around.
I had been building a list over the the few days prior of things that weren’t quite right or that needed to improved. I tackled those on my own without wasting anybody else’s time.
- More low-end in control
- Ability for Ornan to monitor drum set in headphones
- Fix the buzz coming through toms 3-6
- Make a track template for the drum kit
- Fix the end of “The Other Room” guide track
- Get some frickin’ light in the control room
So, from the top. The sound in the control room had been sounding thin. I thought it was the room just not working with the low frequencies somehow. But no, I just had to push the monitors back against the wall and that fixed it. They had been about 4 or 5 inches away from the wall and that’s where the low-end got lost.
Ornan could hear the guide tracks in his headphones but not his drum kit. Even as loud as he plays them it’s not enough to hear over the headphone mix. So, I set up a separate simple overhead mic that feed into his headphone mixer. Now he has complete control over all the levels separate from what I need to hear in the control room.
The last four mics (toms 3 through 6) had been giving off a buzzing sound. Since I only have 8 mic inputs on my computer’s audio device, I have to run the last four mics through a separate pre-amp and pull 1/4″ feeds off of them. (My audio device has 6 1/4″ inputs.) But they were buzzing. After much plugging and unplugging and head-scratching I found that I had set the wrong input type on the device (-10 vs. +4) and that fixed it about 99% of the way. I can hear a wee bit of buzz if I crank the monitors up all the way but that will be completely inaudible once the music gets going.
I forgot the last few bars in “The Other Room” that we added a month or two ago. I had ended it the old way – silly me. Took a minute to fix.
And before I got to Lefty’s, I went to Kmart and bought a $15 lamp so I could SEE what I was doing. Wow.
As I was finishing up my to-do list, Ornan showed up with a new set of drum heads. First thing he did was replace the snare head and that fixed the ring even better than the sock. The drum had all of its liveliness without the nasty ringing. So apparently one needs to change ones drum heads every five years or so. Grrr!
He played on his new snare head for a bit while I recorded some and turned nobs. I’m sticking with the ORTF mic technique for the overheads since it gives enough width to the room and keeps the stereo picture balanced.
I had to take off but he stuck around to replace the rest of the tom heads so they’re all the same. He’d had some with pinstripes, some with white, and a clear one, I think. I hadn’t even tried mixing them because I knew I’d never get them all sounding like they’re part of the same drum kit. An hour or so after I left he texted me this hot shot: