After getting the amazing opportunity to record the BSYC and BSC, I thought to myself that it’d be amazing to record drums in the concert hall. So I made that absent thought become a reality.
You’ll never know if you don’t ask! So I found the correct email address to email, and I asked. I asked about how it would be, whether it’d be possible and all in all I was honest.
I was told that to hire the concert hall at the Lighthouse in Poole would be £3000 plus VAT. After explaining that I am a student just wanting to get the most experience before leaving college, I got radio silence. No reply for around two weeks, I’d let it go and thought at least I had a go! Sods law then kicked in, as I absent mindlessly checked my phone, as you do as teenager of the 21st century. I had an email. Not just any email, an email from the programming manager of the Lighthouse offering me the use of the concert hall for £72 for 4 hours!
I arranged a time and date and let the reality set in. Such an amazing opportunity and I needed to make the most of it!!
I had arranged for my fellow college class mate who is a fantastic drummer to play two specific songs that already had “big drums” in the original tracks. We’d then choose one to cover and record the rest of the instrumentation in another recording session. As well recording full songs I also took samples of the kick, snare and each tom to add to my sample collection. We ended up choosing “The City” originally by The 1975. We shall continue recording the rest of the song in the coming week.
MIKING THE KIT:
My classmate had brought his own Yamaha kit and a collection of microphones as I brought more microphones, my Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 and my Macbook Pro. We were raring to go!
I used an AKG D112 on the outside of the kick. After testing which sounded better, the inside of the kick or the outside and the outside was the winner. Due to the heavy dampening inside the kick, getting the microphone inside the kick was a massive hassle, it would never of worked as the mass of blankets and pillows surrounding the grill of the mic would just absorb the sound and the mic wouldn’t pick up anything of use.
The D112 has a frequency response of 20Hz – 17kHz, a low end boost between 50Hz – 200hz and a high end boost between 2K – 5K. The low end capturing the boomy full attack of the kick yet the high end boost adding clarity and brightness to the tonality of the microphone.
The snare was miked up using a Shure SM57, close miked on the bottom of the snare looking at the snare wires. I intentionally only used a bottom microphone due to the three overheads would capture more than enough of the top of the snare. My reasons for using an SM57 to mic up the snare, is simple it is an amazing microphone, with an amazing tone. A frequency response of 40Hz – 15kHz, with multiple high end boosts between 4K – 15K and clarity and a brightness to the microphones tone.
The technique used to capture the cymbals and the overall kit was spaced pair using a pair of AKG C430 pencil condenser microphones, with a set cardioid polar pattern. The C451B has a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz. High end boost between 3K – 15K, giving the mic a bright tonality perfect for cymbals.
There’s one more over head microphone used an that was the Sontronics Orpheus. I beautiful mutli-pattern large diaphragm condenser microphone. The Orpheus was placed behind the drummers back over his head around 3 feet away. The mic stand was placed on a higher part of the stage behind the drummer, looking out over the kit and into the room. Capturing the massive room that was there. The Orpheus is amazing a mic on its own but even better when used as a room mic. The Orpheus has a very full tone with its low end boost between 30Hz – 100Hz and a brightness to it with its high end boost between 6K – 15K. An overall lovely microphone that performed brilliantly in this circumstance.
I could not have asked for better results. An amazingly unique drum sound, to say its big is an understatement! But more so, I’ve learnt a lot from the experience of arranging a recording session in a facility outside college. I didn’t just arrange with a band to be a Poole college at a certain time, I took the bull by the horns and organised times, dates and money with a big venue and ultimately my approach and courage gained their respect. This give me more confidence in myself and my ability to become a Record Producer.
I will update the blog with the progress of the cover of “The City”, and maybe even it may hopefully make it on to the FMP CD!