Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks?

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Beepster
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2018/06/16 20:27:45 (permalink)

Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks?

Hi, guys. I already have some ideas for this but wanted to see what others do in this situation.
 
I have a set of drum tracks in the classic 4 mic set up (kick, snare and two stereo overheads). Unfortunately they were recorded with the rest of the band playing in the room as well so there is a lot of extra noise in the overheads (including vox through a PA).
 
I have the overall kit sounding pretty good but really want to draw out the toms when they are struck (which is not often but the tom work really is interesting and helps the tunes at crucial points).
 
My current plan is to do range selects around the tom parts and copy drag them into their own tracks and EQ/compress and/or even automate them there. Then I can use (more of) a hi pass on the original overheads to reduce rumble from the room while still getting the cymbals and some top end on the snare/tom strikes). On the "tom" tracks then I was gonna do more of a bandpass style EQ and and heavily compress (maybe with a multiband?) to draw the meat out of them (which will hopefully mesh well with the top skin strikes still in the main overheads).
 
I like trying different things though so if anyone has any thoughts I'd appreciate them.
 
Cheers and TIA.
 
:-)
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    Leadfoot
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/16 23:25:22 (permalink)
    Sounds like what I would normally do in that situation. You definitely want to use a multi band compressor on the tom track so as not to accentuate any residual cymbal decay when the tom fills come in.
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    Beepster
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/17 00:19:43 (permalink)
    Leadfoot
    Sounds like what I would normally do in that situation. You definitely want to use a multi band compressor on the tom track so as not to accentuate any residual cymbal decay when the tom fills come in.



    Nice one. I had been thinking that might be the case and I'm already having that issue with some of the vox. I am using the original vocal tracks from the session so the room is bleeding into those tracks as well but the vox are generally full on and then just "off" so I snipped around them nice and tight and smashed them with some comp (temporary solution as I work). There are some long drawn out screams and the like though that kind of fade so the compressors boost the room bleed as they do. I have some plans for that too but I was indeed concerned about the same thing happening with my little tom experiment.
     
    Thanks. That's helpful.
    #3
    bdickens
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/20 12:02:34 (permalink)
    I know this isn't what you said you're looking to do, but perhaps just go old-school, embrace that bleed and roll with it? Just an idea.

    Byron Dickens
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    bitflipper
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/20 13:35:09 (permalink)
    Have you considered drum substitution?
     
    I recently faced a similar scenario, wherein the toms were not close-miked and had to be picked out of the OH and snare tracks. I had just acquired Superior Drummer 3 with its fancy drum replacement feature and decided to try it out. It worked brilliantly. After my initial attempt, the sample-assisted toms were actually too big and the drummer hated it. He thought they didn't sound natural. So I just backed the sampled track off a few dB and everyone was happy.


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    Voda La Void
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/20 13:56:58 (permalink)
    ^ I was going to suggest something similar, but thought you might think it stupid.  I did a kind of pop song years and years ago, with horrible MIDI drums sampled from the Soundblaster soundcard.  When I came back a few years later to redo it, I had lost the original project and only had that mixed down track with the horrible drum sounds. 
     
    So..I played with samples from more modern soundfonts to line up with every hit, and it actually sounds pretty damn cool.  They are big, punchy, and I actually prefer it now.  It is night and day.  
     
    Like Bit says, with the drum replacement maybe it can do all that work for ya...
     
     

    Voda La Void...experiments in disturbing frequencies...
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    mettelus
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/20 15:57:29 (permalink)
    +1 to drum "replacement." Bear in mind that it doesn't need to be 100% wet. It is a simple method to accentuate what you want to hear more of. Due to the bleed and method chosen, you may need to feed the replacer with a separate track with and audio microscope on it. If you go that route, do that track 100% wet and mix it back in to taste.

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    #7
    bluzdog
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/20 20:16:03 (permalink)
    I was thinking replacement as well. In this situation I clone an OH for each tom. Remove as much audio as I can leaving only the tom hits for each tom. Place an instance of addictive trigger in each tom track fx bin. Select a similar tom sample to the recorded kit and tune the samples to match the toms in the OH's. Mix to taste.
     
    Rocky
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    Beepster
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/20 22:20:43 (permalink)
    Hi, guys. Thanks. I'm not entirely opposed to some drum replacement (or more accurately reinforcement in this case) on the toms. However what I'm getting through the overheads as is is actually pretty close to where it needs to be anyway despite the bleed. I think I just need to draw the toms away from the cymbals and beef them up. There is also the other problem of the drums (and particularly the fills) being quite busy and chaotic on top of all the mic bleed. I don't have the really nice drum replacer stuff like Drumagog or whatever but I do have the SONAR drum replacer and of course the ARA audio to MIDI conversion stuff (which is actually my preference or even straight up old school Audiosnap transient to MIDI conversion). I've done experiments with those tools on similar material in the past and was underwhelmed because there are just too many hits going on (not enough definition... think like snare rolls and how they react to such transient detection).
     
    I am however planning on maybe adding a trigger click to the kick because it's much more defined/not as cluttered and should respond well to the transient detection tools. It's nice and meaty and where I want it as far as "WHOOMPH" but I don't think the right beater sound frequencies were captured. I think a touch more click there would really help.
     
    I'd like to add some more weight to the snare as well (he was using a really snappy piccollo style snare) but then I run into the same issue with transient detection once the fills start.
     
    This thread has however got me thinking that maybe some snare reinforcement at specific NON fill section (as in when it's just a steady beat) will fix another brain bender I was contemplating.
     
    The tom fills in question incorporate quite a bit of snare as well. I did not want to have to edit around the snare hits in my overheads because that would lose the flow of the fill (I think anyway). However since I already have a snare track and will have the high end of the snare in my overhead "Cymbals" tracks having the snare come in during the fills might be TOO much snare and sound "pumpy"/weird/whatever.
     
    Now I'm thinking that if I add a more bottomy MIDI snare during the "straight" beats and ONLY during those sections (thus the MIDI snare dropping out at fill spots) that if I EQ it right/pick the right MIDI snare that my "Tom Overhead" tracks snare sound will even out with the entire mix.
     
    Also, @rbecker...
     
    I am indeed mostly trying to preserve the live feel of the recordings but for multiple reasons I won't go on about it was a super sloppy rendition of the material and really only meant for us to hear ourselves before properly recording. Because of that I did a bunch of post work to get it all time corrected and then overdubbed all the guits/bass to completely replace all the original strings. I kept the new parts as real and cohesive as I could but there is definite cloudiness coming from the original overhead bleed. I also may have to do some slight vocal timing correction and the vox are the most prominent of the bleed in the overheads. Essentially if it wasn't so "mushy" sounding because of that bleed I'd be doing exactly what you suggest but ya, we weren't really expecting it to be a final album.
     
    Honestly if I had known at the time I would not have hammed it up as much as I did. This past year of trying to fix my tomfoolery has been my pennance and I ain't never gonna ferget it for future tracking sessions. lol
     
    It is sounding really good though. The work so far has been worth it. I just want it to sound GREAT.
     
    SONAR unfortunately has been putting a few random bugs in my way and scuppering my plans. I have to come up with some alternate workflows before I can even start messing with my toms and it's annoying. I'm hoping my next idea will work for what I want to do but I may have to YET again toss my tracks into Reaper do some relatively basic editing work....
     
    but ignore that last part. Just a bit of a whinge out of frustration.
     
    Cheers guys and I appreciate the input.
     
    PS: Since I'm at the least going to start off with some multiband compression for the tom overhead tracks maybe ya'll have some thoughts on that? I usually avoid multiband compressors because I haven't been skilled enough/had the ears to use them effectively but I think I''m ready and this would be a good starter application of them (as opposed to multi banding a whole tune... which I always screw up).
     
     
    #9
    Puggles
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    Re: Techniques for drawing out/defining tom drums from overhead mic tracks? 2018/06/24 03:56:45 (permalink)
    When I get too much snare in my Overheads I dial in 927Hz and that frequency sucks out the snare sound very well so that the actual snare track can shine.  I would use an analyzer to see which specific frequencies are being made by the toms and use eq to pull them out along with multiband compression.  You don't have to worry about losing low end in this case because they are overheads and you would normally do a roll off at about 150-200Hz anyway.  The challenging part will be pulling out the attack of the toms in the overheads.
     
    As for the kick drum attack, I use my old ID badges from work (they are thick) and tape them over the strike zone of the kick drum and my drummer uses nice beaters that have good attack, the combination of the two, plus eq and compression gives good results.
     
    This is most likely completely wrong, but I wrote it anyway.        
    #10
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