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  • Mixing Overheads?

    Hey everyone, I've got a slight problem.

    I consider myself pretty good at mixing drums, except for the overheads.

    I've heard different opinions on how to go about eqing them, and I want some thoughts from pros out here.

    I've heard to low cut at 1k, and then I've heard to low at 500hz. I've also heard to cut up to 500, and then give a boost in the 200hz area.


    Lastly, I've been using a BBE Sonic Maximizer plugin on my overheads (as a tip from my friend), it definitely adds more life to them.

    I've tried all of those methods, and I've tried them with compression, and then reverb too.

    NOTHING I do seems to work. They always come out harsh, WAY too brittle, washy, or just too drowned out. I can never get a good, solid overhead sound.

    The mics I'm using are Oktava MC-012's, I think they are the chinese mics, and have a tendency to be real bright, but I heard someone do a mix of our raw tracks, and the overheads were totally bitching.


    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!!


    Danny


    (Sorry for the lack of organization in this post, I'm just a little tired)

  • #2
    Originally posted by GuitarPLayer61990
    I consider myself pretty good at mixing drums, except for the overheads.


    the overheads are the entire drumkit. it'd be hard to properly mix drums and be "pretty good" without tackling the overheads properly.

    next...why would you erase all the information below 1k? remember, you're not just recording the cymbals. you're recording the ENTIRE KIT. i don't do any kind of hipass on the overheads. ever. MAYBE i carve out a little spot right after the "no one can hear that" low end for the kick drum track. but yeah, cutting everything below 1k = a great way to make your drums sound like they're made of toothpicks. even at 500hz, you're in "made of popsicle sticks" land. slightly bigger than toothpicks, but still not drums.
    Sean Eldon
    Mercenary Audio

    sean@mercenary.com

    "Gearslutz -- Where the uneducated go to fight it out with the misinformed." - Dave Hecht

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    • #3
      Alright

      So you're saying do a slight low cut then? Are there any key frequencies that I can boost to have certain things stick out?

      Are there any certain frequencies that if I cut, will make some annoying brittleness go away?

      I'm open to all suggestions!

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      • #4
        I think the first thing you need to do, and I'm not trying to be harsh, is forget everything you think you know about recording drums, especially the tips from your "friend".

        Like Sean said, the Overheads should be a snap-shot of the entire drum kit. About all they might be missing is some extra low frequency information from the kick, which is why almost everyone will add a kick mic to the overheads to complete the picture.

        There is only one trick to recording drums: position the overheads so that the drums sound good. This means you shouldn't need compression, EQ, lo-cut filters, or especially (fawgawdsakes) a sonic maximizer.

        Processing your drum tracks during the mix can be done to fine tune them, but the point is THEY SHOULD ALREADY SOUND GOOD. If they don't, it's back to square one: start moving your overheads around until you get the sound you are looking for! There are lots of different strategies for overhead placement. Do a search and read up on some of them.

        And put that Sonic Maximizer somewhere where you won't be tempted to use it... like at your friend's house, since he likes them so much!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GuitarPLayer61990
          Alright

          So you're saying do a slight low cut then? Are there any key frequencies that I can boost to have certain things stick out?

          Are there any certain frequencies that if I cut, will make some annoying brittleness go away?

          I'm open to all suggestions!


          as stated in the reply above this, you technically shouldn't need EQ to get a good sound. if anything, EQ should make the sound as close to perfect as you can get. it won't make a bad track sound good. ever.

          i'd say avoid any low cut on the overheads unless it's absolutely called for with the room/kit/player/song/etc. and before you go boosting frequencies, try CUTTING other stuff that would allow what you want to hear to kind of pop out a little more.

          if you hear annoying brittleness, that's probably due to annoying and brittle cymbals and drums, or just really crumby playing. could be not so great/outright wrong mic selection and placement too. or bad preamps. or bad conversion. if i had to guess, it's a combination of all of those.

          do you have a sample you could post of whatever you're deeming "difficult to mix"
          Sean Eldon
          Mercenary Audio

          sean@mercenary.com

          "Gearslutz -- Where the uneducated go to fight it out with the misinformed." - Dave Hecht

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          • #6
            "If it sounds good, do it."

            In ideal situation you wouldn't have to lowcut or boost anything. When I mixed our album I had to dramatically cut the low-register and boost the high to bring out the cymbals. I was trying to eliminate the kit from the oh's, because I wanted the tom, snare and kick mics to do the rest.

            Those frequency areas are only guidelines. I suggest that you try to sweep around with extreme boost so that you hear which qualities lies on which freq-area.
            www.scenerychannel.com - New "Hit" Songs! Mesa Mark IV and Single Recto tones.

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            • #7
              Some good advise here. As stated, the overheads are the heart of a drum kit, and should be considered the primary source. When tracking, take time to work position, different mics and pres, etc., to capture the entire kit as naturally as possible. Fixing in the mex, just never works. You need to get it right going in. One thing against you is the chinese Octavas, they are harsh. If your budget allows, save up for some better, smoother overheads. (FYI my OH of choice is a Shure VP-88 stereo mic.)

              AFA eq when mixing, my advice FWIW, which is the same advice I'd give for any track, is as little as possible. When I am tracking, my goal it to make good sounding rough mixes with volume and pan, and nothing more. I personally never even engage eq until it's mix time.

              Garbage in, garbage out. Spend the time to get it into the recorder great.

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