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Recording Acoustic Drums 声学鼓的录制

(2007-02-22 08:38:29)
By Jay Graydon | September 2006           译:Margindge

If you’re looking for a “one size fits all” solution to recording acoustic drums, forget it! When it comes to miking and EQing drums or anything else, every recording engineer has different opinions and techniques. While that may seem chaotic, it’s also liberating: Never be afraid to experiment in your quest for the ultimate sound, as there are no rules . . . and if there actually are, maybe you’ll discover some new ones.




Recording acoustic drums defines the meaning of “give and take.” A common technique is miking each drum, so all the mics will pick up leakage from each drum/cymbal but with a slight time delay. This delay can cause “comb filtering” (phase cancellation and addition), which alters the miked signal’s tone. The less leakage the better, but it’s impractical to baffle other drums and cymbals within the set. A work-around to cut down on leakage is to use fewer mics, and try to capture the set with a couple mics on the set itself, and maybe some room mics.

声学鼓的录制很好的解释了“互相迁就,相辅相成”的含义。通常的手段是分别录每一个鼓,所以所有的MIC都会拾到其他各个鼓和镲的带着轻微延迟的串音。这些延迟会造成“梳状滤波效应”(相位的抵消和叠加),这会改变拾取信号的音质。虽然串音越少越好,但是要阻挡其他鼓或者镲的声音到拾音范围内是不切实际的。一个减少串音的较好的办法是使用较少的MIC,和尝试把一对MIC放在鼓组上方来捕获它们的声音,或者用一些Room Mics(房间麦克)。

Another problem is that the drum head tuning will likely change over a relatively short period of time, due to the constant hitting of the drums as well as temperature changes within the studio environment. Keep lighting and air conditioning consistent, as they’re the main causes of temperature variations. Remember to check tom and snare tuning throughout the session.


Also note miking the full set leads to lots of mics, booms, and cables running around your studio. This multiplies the chances of an accident, like the mic stand falling over and killing your oh-so-expensive vintage tube mic. We’ll address this topic as well.




Isolate the mics from the floor as much as possible so that they don’t pick up any rumbling noises. If your studio was not built with a floating floor (a second foundation over the first supported by rubber and styrofoam, as used in most pro studios; see Figure 1), a drum riser will help isolate the mics. Even if the studio has a floating floor, a drum riser may still be helpful. (When constructing a drum riser, make sure that it is solid and includes some type of rubber on the bottom of all surfaces that rest on the floor. Cover the platform with rugged, indoor/outdoor carpet.)


If the drums will be set up on the floor itself, a carpeted floor cuts down on reflections; a hardwood floor will allow sound waves to bounce back up into the drums, possibly causing phase cancellations. Consider a floor tom mounted in a standard vertical orientation: With a hardwood floor, when the player hits the drum the bottom head vibrates sympathetically. This directs a waveform toward the floor, which bounces back up and interacts with the vibrating bottom head to cancel or emphasize certain frequencies.


To minimize this problem, angle the floor tom slightly by lowering the triangular height rod (the one nearest the drummer) to taste; see Figure 2. This causes the waves to scatter somewhat.




If the drums will be hit medium to hard, you’ll usually want to enable the mic’s built-in attenuation (“pad”) switch. This helps minimize the chance of distortion.


Some condenser mics offer pattern choices. With an omni response, the mic hears everything — the front and back as well as on the sides. The figure 8 response allows the front and back of the diaphragm to be active but not the sides. Cardioid is directional on one side only, and is typically used for drums. Other patterns include “super cardioid” (very directional), which may be useful if you want to tighten up the sonic picture.


Note that all of the following mic placement positions are my starting positions. When listening to the mics to dial in the sound, always move the mic around a bit to find the best sound.


Regarding mics, there are so many, and the landscape has changed so much in the past few years with the advent of budget mics, that we won’t even attempt to recommend possible mics; I’ll just mention a few personal favorites and deal in generalities. One strategy for getting pointers on mics is reading interviews with producers and engineers whose work you admire, as they will often mention which mics they use for specific applications.



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