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How to Avoid Phase Issues When miking Snare and Toms

How to Avoid Phase Issues When miking Snare and Toms

  Most often, snare drums are miked using a directional mic aimed directly at their top skin to capture that iconic proximity effect - when someone strikes the stick against this area of skin, its polarity instantly inverts (and is pulled towards the mic). As the drum set gets larger, a second overhead condenser of equal model should be installed equidistant from its counterpart and panning hard left in order to minimize phasing issues. Overheads Whenever recording with overhead microphones - usually positioned above the drummer in a room above - phase issues must be considered carefully. When recording drum kits using overheads, waves from kick and snare may reach both overheads at different times; if these soundwaves reach both overheads out of phase with one another they can cancel each other out creating thin audio that sounds weak like no real drums are present. Thankfully, this issue can easily be avoided by making sure both overhead mics are in phase with each other to avoid phase issues from occurring between them - just making sure both overhead mics will sync up perfectly before recording starts! To accomplish this task, use either a tape measure or microphone cable and measure the distance from the center of the snare to both overhead mics - then ensure they match equal. This will ensure that snare and kick reach both overheads at exactly the same time while remaining in the middle of stereo picture. Once this step is completed, both kick and snare should be in sync with their overheads, possessing fullness of tone and punch that you are seeking when mixing. Once done, add other tracks - bass guitars, keyboards etc. Listen closely when adding new elements into the mix: listen closely for changes to kick drum polarity even though its polarity appears correct; if necessary use a plugin with built-in phase switch before testing out again. Misplacing of an overhead is generally enough to resolve problems; however, if they're caused by insufficient drum playing hardness or too much noise from other sources in the room, nudging your overheads back and forth won't likely work as intended; when doing this you are fighting other elements in the mix with them instead - something which doesn't work very effectively. Therefore it is recommended that when miking drums overall to use the 3-to-1 rule when miking overheads. Once satisfied with how the kick sounds check their polarity for each overhead before finding their ideal position; once found listen mono to see if results. Snare Traditional recording techniques utilizing two mics for snare drum recording involve using both mics at once - one on top aimed down toward the stick hit and tone of the drum, while the second microphone beneath captures wire noise and snap from its bottom resonant head. This approach produces an excellent sound with both attack and body; making this recording method key components in any drum mix. But this approach can cause phase issues if both mics aren't correctly aligned and positioned with one another. By default, the top microphone will push air down towards the bottom mic as soon as resonant heads hit, leading to an unpleasant thin sound that was never intended. To address this problem, many producers use the Glyn Johns miking method. This involves placing one mic about three to four feet above the snare drum and then using another mic positioned to look over the shoulder of a floor tom facing towards hi-hats; this helps eliminate bleed from an overhead mic as well as reduce any chance that two microphones might become out-of-phase with each other. One drawback of this method is that it may be more challenging to capture a precise resonant head strike in the mic, but it can still produce great sounding results. Another option would be using one large-diaphragm condenser microphone on the snare with a directional pattern close to its resonant head. This will capture its high end and attack, without as much of an impactful low end sound. Professional producers recognize the significance of creating an ideal snare sound in their drum tracks as it contributes up to 50% of total drum tracks in any mix, making its quality an essential factor. A great snare sound should feel natural and vibrant for maximum impact in every mix. If your out of phase overheads or drum mics are becoming problematic, there are various plugins available to assist in correcting this problem. Waves InPhase is often chosen, though Izotope Azimuth and Melda MAutoAlign may also prove beneficial. Toms Toms are large drums that add depth and body to your drum track, usually recorded using two large diaphragm condensers: one directly above and directly beneath, with its microphone pointed directly down, while the other two are usually situated to either side, both pointed upward. They should be equally spaced from each other for optimal results; experiment with various placements until you find something that sounds best with your drums! Miking toms usually requires using a close mic (such as the Shure SM57) in order to capture both stick attack and tone of the drum, yet it's important not to forget that its underside plays an enormous role in creating its overall sound - so sometimes using a slightly farther mic to capture that region may offer more tone with less washout. At times, snare drums are also miked with two microphones; one close mic placed above it captures the tone and sound of the drum itself; while a farther mic beneath can capture sizzle and snap of its wires. While this setup sounds great in isolation, it can lead to serious phase issues; specifically when competing for frequency range with kick drums. A distant mic on underside of tom often solves this problem by decreasing competition. Though there are various techniques for producing great drum sounds, one key step in getting one is listening before beginning recording. If a record doesn't have good low end clarity or sounds "hollow", this could be a telltale sign that one or both microphones are out of phase and need correcting with either Waves InPhase, Izotope's Azimuth plugin, Melda MAutoAlign or Sound Radix AutoAlign plugin. Following these simple steps should help prevent most common phase-related problems and achieve solid, clear drum recordings! Hi-hats One of the most challenging issues when miking drums is hi-hat spill into the snare mic. This can be especially tricky to manage when using cardioid mics favored by many drummers; these mics are optimized to sound their best on-axis but may lack pickup from sides or rear areas, resulting in mid heavy or tone shifted hi-hat sounds that may result in phase issues in drum miking. At least this issue can be easily overcome with some experimentation and tweaks. Simply by flipping one mic's polarity can often help them align more with each other and work in unison rather than against one another, or use the preamp's polarity invert feature - effectively creating a 180-degree flip that doesn't alter time of arrival but will bring better alignment resulting in gain reinforcement instead of cancellation. Use of a high pass filter on the snare mic can also be effective at mitigating spill, cutting out low frequencies from floors and other kit pieces to produce a cleaner sound on your snare drum. In fact, you could add one on the hi-hat mic as well, just to completely eliminate any low frequency rumble or bleed from other pieces in your kit. Before finalising your setup for hi-hats, it is wise to listen closely and observe their presence in the mix. A bit of strategic tweaking might just do the trick so don't be shy to experiment and get acquainted with your gear! Once you've mastered the fundamentals of microphone placement, take things further with techniques such as mid side miking. This will enable you to get tight and crisp hi-hats that will drive forward your track.

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