anybody ever have one of these? what are some tips or tricks you use to make them sound good? a while back i had a band, the drummer, well, wasnt very good. we spent about 3 hrs on one song. finally, i suggested that he play just the bass drum and snare drum on the first take, then, we would go back and dub hi hat/ ride etc. last but not least, add fills. this allowed greater separation which let me "fix" most of the errors! the drummer, after being very discouraged, was estatic about how good he sounded. anybody else have any issues as such? what did you do to "correct" the "incorrect" drummer?
Senior Sales Engineer Microphones and Mixers Forums Moderator (800) 222-4700 x 1397 Email Ted
Fort Wayne, IN
It depends on what makes the drummer "not so good"...if their levels are inconsistent sometimes triggering samples helps. If you've recorded each drum close you should be able to trigger them pretty easily, or use a plugin like "Sound Replacer" if you're in Pro Tools. If their playing is just a little inconsistent, sometimes all you need is a little compression; however, if one snare hit buries the needle (or lights the overload light, or whatever) and the next barely registers, the character of the sound will likely vary enough that no amount of compression can save it. I always like to go with the "real" drum sound (unless I'm going for a specific effect) whenever possible, but sometimes it's just not possible.
If it's more of a feel issue, and you're recording in software, you can often manuall fix things...that can be extremely tedious, though, depending on how off the drummer is. I'll often fix a his or two, but if it goes much beyond that...
As an engineer, the thought of recording different drums individually sounds great (and it's been done a lot...when recording "...And Justice for All" Lars Ulrich would usually only record a few seconds at a time, and put towels over the drums and cymbals he wasn't using. Blackie Lawless also recorded the drums and cymbals separately on at least one WASP album"), but as a drummer, I'm pretty sure I'd hate it. Can't imagine what it would do to the feel, although it's been done before and it sounds like it worked for you...
Or you could always do what they've done throughout recording history...hire a session guy...
yeah, i do agree with you that it does not exactly have the same feel if you record everything separately. is sounds like, dare i say, "midi" . hahah. the end result was a whole lot better than the feel before i cut, spliced, moved, copied and pasted. :P hiring a session drummer brings up another issue. the musicians pride. is it just me or are musicicians (myself included) some of the most prideful people around? haha! the other band members didnt have the heart or the baws to not let their "drummer" play. the fear of him getting angry, or his feelings getting hurt. my question is, "why did they even let him play in the band in the first place?"
Another idea that many bands do nowadays is to record the band over a drum loop, and then record the live drums over the top of that. That way no one gets their feelings hurt, and it's much easier to edit (or hide) a bad drum performance with that method.
Other than that, have the drummer record late at night, after which you tell him it's too late to listen to the tracks. Then have a "hired gun" come by in the morning to replace the mess from last night. When the drummer gets there in the afternoon, congratulate him/her on the fine job, and pray that they don't want to redo anything.
i think that you should not record a band that is not ready for it. Entering the studio is a big issue for a band, and it's valuable to work hard before recording anything. One of the methods: take a piece of a song, and play it in loop for hours :
- 15 min after : the drummer should not worry about his part.
- 30 min afer : He start hearing the other instrument's parts.
- 1 hour after : He's hearing the whole music, all of the details of each instruments etc...
And i can surely tell you that it's really working, giving the necessary insurance to the drummer.
I don't think it's our ethical responsibility to tell the band when they should or shouldn't record. It's obvious when a band shouldn't record, and I wouldn't hesitate to tell them they should come back later when things are better worked out, but running a studio is a business. Beside that, it's not the recording itself that is bad for a less-than-apt group, it's their decision to start selling that recording that's where things go wrong.
As for looping the music, I don't know many people that have the attention span to listen to a loop for up to an hour, and I don't know any "rock" musicians like that (unless they're smoking something in the process).
But it is a good point that most first-time recording artists suffer most from Red Light Anxiety. They see the recording light go on, and they freeze up like a deer in headlights.
I think it could be productive if the drummer were to listen to a few passes, play along for a few passes (while not recording), and then you hit the record button when he's/she's not looking. Either that, or just have them come in stoned. Oh wait, .... They already are!