home studios equipment staff/friends booking/rates for sale forum contact

Steve Albini drum sound resource

All your geeky questions about electronics, microphones, tape machines, etc.

Moderators: kerble, Electrical-Staff

Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby Joff on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:05 am

Hi all,

I made this as part of my Masters studies. Hopefully a useful resource for people interested in one of many approaches Steve has to recording the drum set. Basically distilled from online lectures and literature.

The mix is kind of arbitrary given there's no song to provide context but you get the gist.

I much preferred making something useful over a "'meme'".

https://youtu.be/whrMX2WfMSs
Last edited by Joff on Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Joff
jock
jock
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:50 am
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Steve ALbini drum sound resource

Postby 154 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:14 am

Eccentric Hole Fail

Just teasin'. Great sounding setup.
Last edited by 154 on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
154
Power Incarnate with Endless Creativity
Power Incarnate with Endless Creativity
 
Posts: 7710
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:56 pm
Location: MKE

Re: Steve ALbini drum sound resource

Postby Joff on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:11 pm

Haha! I know, I do have an unported resonant head but I'm still figuring out how to get rid of that tremor on the kick beater that happens when the air can't escape fast enough. It's a pretty big kick!
Joff
jock
jock
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:50 am
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Steve ALbini drum sound resource

Postby Bon Hoga on Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:35 pm

Joff wrote:Haha! I know, I do have an unported resonant head but I'm still figuring out how to get rid of that tremor on the kick beater that happens when the air can't escape fast enough. It's a pretty big kick!


Embrace it! Good job on the video.
http://gudron.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/gudrontheband

big_dave wrote:If you want to be a racist, the best thing to do is be Eric Clapton.
User avatar
Bon Hoga
apollyon
apollyon
 
Posts: 662
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 3:13 pm
Location: deep in the colon of the world

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby free meat on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:32 am

Nice.
User avatar
free meat
roy campanella
roy campanella
 
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:08 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: Steve ALbini drum sound resource

Postby bishopdante on Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:56 pm

Joff wrote:Haha! I know, I do have an unported resonant head but I'm still figuring out how to get rid of that tremor on the kick beater that happens when the air can't escape fast enough. It's a pretty big kick!


Might be worth trying more tension on the beater head and slacker tension on the reso side. Could also try a thicker beater or reso skin. The skins and airspace work as one system, and the overall pitch of the drum is the product of all the moving parts put together. It's surprising how tight the beater head on a drum can be while achieving a low overall pitch.
502 Bad Gateway · nginx/1.0.8
User avatar
bishopdante
Humankind's Greatest Musical Genius
Humankind's Greatest Musical Genius
 
Posts: 4261
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:25 am
Location: London

Re: Steve ALbini drum sound resource

Postby Joff on Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:29 pm

bishopdante wrote:
Joff wrote:Haha! I know, I do have an unported resonant head but I'm still figuring out how to get rid of that tremor on the kick beater that happens when the air can't escape fast enough. It's a pretty big kick!


Might be worth trying more tension on the beater head and slacker tension on the reso side. Could also try a thicker beater or reso skin. The skins and airspace work as one system, and the overall pitch of the drum is the product of all the moving parts put together. It's surprising how tight the beater head on a drum can be while achieving a low overall pitch.


Thanks for the info! I'll have another fiddle around with it and see if I can get it sorted out.
Joff
jock
jock
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:50 am
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby TyTy on Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:56 pm

Man, nice room. I wish overheads always sounded like that. I think a big part of coping the 90's Steve sound is delaying the room mics by +/- 20ms. Not saying that your approximation didn't sound great, but that always struck me as his most signature move.
TyTy
mother superior
mother superior
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:37 pm
Location: Portland, ME

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby Joff on Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:11 pm

TyTy wrote:Man, nice room. I wish overheads always sounded like that. I think a big part of coping the 90's Steve sound is delaying the room mics by +/- 20ms. Not saying that your approximation didn't sound great, but that always struck me as his most signature move.


Only ended up using a 10 ms delay in the end as the room mics were pretty far away, but forgot to mention it in the text. 20ms was bringing out some noticeable 'flamming' effect and, with no other instruments audible, It seemed too distracting. I agree though, that delayed room mic is a key part of the sound a lot of people recognise. Not quite so prominent in this example unfortunately!
Joff
jock
jock
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:50 am
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby cobascis on Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:59 pm

Thanks for this vid, it's really well put together and a great quick resource to check out.

The snare mic is 3" above, lined up with the edge of the drum hoop, correct? Is it pointing at the center of the head? I often struggle with snare mic placement (or just set it once and forget it), so I'm interested if you think this is a good starting point.

I've experimented with delaying the room mics, often when I get more than 10 or 15ms delay, the 'flam' effect you mention seems to happen. Is the trick getting the amount of time just under this level? It doesn't sound good when it sounds like there is a delay pedal on the snare drum, but just under that seems to be the sweet spot? Or maybe I'm mixing the room mics too loud? Any tips appreciated.
User avatar
cobascis
cannon fodder
cannon fodder
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:21 pm

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby Joff on Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:02 am

cobascis wrote:Thanks for this vid, it's really well put together and a great quick resource to check out.

The snare mic is 3" above, lined up with the edge of the drum hoop, correct? Is it pointing at the center of the head? I often struggle with snare mic placement (or just set it once and forget it), so I'm interested if you think this is a good starting point.

I've experimented with delaying the room mics, often when I get more than 10 or 15ms delay, the 'flam' effect you mention seems to happen. Is the trick getting the amount of time just under this level? It doesn't sound good when it sounds like there is a delay pedal on the snare drum, but just under that seems to be the sweet spot? Or maybe I'm mixing the room mics too loud? Any tips appreciated.


The snare mic position is hard to see due to the camera angle but yeah, around 3" up, in over the hoop about 1" and pointing at the centre of the head, there's a lot of considerations that determine the start point but that's where it ended up for this. The reasons I generally move it are to balance the hi-hat rejection and to compensate for how hard the drum is being hit, or not.

The 'flamming' is more apparent on fast transients like ride cymbal especially when the room mics are higher in the mix. If the mix is busy it's not really noticeable and the extra sense of depth you get is really effective, I'm happy to let if be if it doesn't interfere with the song, but if it's causing trouble I'll drop the room mics into the mix a bit.

Quite how many milliseconds the room mics should be delayed will be determined by how far away from the kit they are, in line with the Haas/precedence effect.
Joff
jock
jock
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:50 am
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby 154 on Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:35 am

cobascis wrote:I've experimented with delaying the room mics, often when I get more than 10 or 15ms delay, the 'flam' effect you mention seems to happen. Is the trick getting the amount of time just under this level? It doesn't sound good when it sounds like there is a delay pedal on the snare drum, but just under that seems to be the sweet spot? Or maybe I'm mixing the room mics too loud? Any tips appreciated.


Yeah, anytime I've recorded at EA or used similar techniques elsewhere, the room mics are mixed pretty far down in the mix. In those rooms especially, the ambience kind of bleeds into every mic. It is fun to solo the drums and crank the rooms for a giddy thrill though.

Times also depend on the band and drummer, down to specific songs even. Faster tempos, complex patterns, and lots of tight hi hats or pingy/bell-y ride can get messy real quick. I think anything up to about 20 is a safe bet, then you get into 'effect' territory.
User avatar
154
Power Incarnate with Endless Creativity
Power Incarnate with Endless Creativity
 
Posts: 7710
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:56 pm
Location: MKE

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby cobascis on Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:22 pm

Got it. I think I may have been falling into the trap of soloing the drums and hearing the echo effect and being like "well that doesn't sound right" rather than listening in the context of the mix.
User avatar
cobascis
cannon fodder
cannon fodder
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:21 pm

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby JohnnySomersett on Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:30 pm

From what I've read, the delaying FM Steve does on the room mics is primarily done to simulate the time taken for the reflections of the sound from the walls to get back to the drummers 'ears' so as to be ultra realistic from the drummers perspective.

So, distance/room mics are picking up a snare hit 10ms after the actual hit would mean +10ms as a delay (which obviously equates to a real-world 20ms with the tracks lined-up) to make it sound like you're sat on the stool.

If you're in a massive hall or room with, for example, something crazy like 30ms until the soundwaves hit the walls to bounce back, you'd theoretically be running a total of 60ms! Probably wouldn't sound great but that'd be a case of being in a room too big to sound good...and would be 'flamming' all over - BUT it would be an accurate representation of the room. I think the key is to just have the right amount blended in (no matter how crazy long the delay) so that is sounds like what it actually is...reverb - not an audible delay 'effect'.


On a side note, the recording sounds great, good job.
ERawk wrote:I'd rather have a hystorectomy, you fuckstick piece of shit.

My Band https://mopernoise.bandcamp.com/releases
High Fives Save Lives
User avatar
JohnnySomersett
not wearing any pants
not wearing any pants
 
Posts: 1311
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:13 am
Location: UK

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby max on Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:23 pm

JohnnySomersett wrote:From what I've read, the delaying FM Steve does on the room mics is primarily done to simulate the time taken for the reflections of the sound from the walls to get back to the drummers 'ears' so as to be ultra realistic from the drummers perspective.

So, distance/room mics are picking up a snare hit 10ms after the actual hit would mean +10ms as a delay (which obviously equates to a real-world 20ms with the tracks lined-up) to make it sound like you're sat on the stool.

If you're in a massive hall or room with, for example, something crazy like 30ms until the soundwaves hit the walls to bounce back, you'd theoretically be running a total of 60ms! Probably wouldn't sound great but that'd be a case of being in a room too big to sound good...and would be 'flamming' all over - BUT it would be an accurate representation of the room. I think the key is to just have the right amount blended in (no matter how crazy long the delay) so that is sounds like what it actually is...reverb - not an audible delay 'effect'.


On a side note, the recording sounds great, good job.

Au contraire, mon ami.
Delaying the room mics has the effect the room sounds larger than it actually is.
Sound travels at about 340m/s. That means that delaying the room mics for another 15ms equals the distance of about 5 metres.
According to your thinking you would have to delay all the close mics to time align them with the room mics.
User avatar
max
doctor feelgood
doctor feelgood
 
Posts: 511
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 7:54 am
Location: Saarbruecken Old Europe

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby JohnnySomersett on Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:42 pm

max wrote:
JohnnySomersett wrote:From what I've read, the delaying FM Steve does on the room mics is primarily done to simulate the time taken for the reflections of the sound from the walls to get back to the drummers 'ears' so as to be ultra realistic from the drummers perspective.

So, distance/room mics are picking up a snare hit 10ms after the actual hit would mean +10ms as a delay (which obviously equates to a real-world 20ms with the tracks lined-up) to make it sound like you're sat on the stool.

If you're in a massive hall or room with, for example, something crazy like 30ms until the soundwaves hit the walls to bounce back, you'd theoretically be running a total of 60ms! Probably wouldn't sound great but that'd be a case of being in a room too big to sound good...and would be 'flamming' all over - BUT it would be an accurate representation of the room. I think the key is to just have the right amount blended in (no matter how crazy long the delay) so that is sounds like what it actually is...reverb - not an audible delay 'effect'.


On a side note, the recording sounds great, good job.

Au contraire, mon ami.
Delaying the room mics has the effect the room sounds larger than it actually is.
Sound travels at about 340m/s. That means that delaying the room mics for another 15ms equals the distance of about 5 metres.
According to your thinking you would have to delay all the close mics to time align them with the room mics.


No you wouldn't have to. Say the room mics are 5 metres from the snare, then by delaying those mics 15ms (for your maths of 5 metres) you would replicate the reflections travelling out then back again to the drummers ears...total in & out time of 30ms.

You can make the delay longer than that and make the room sound bigger but by delaying by the same amount as the real-world soundwave-to-mic delay then you actually just replicate the room properly.

it all depends if you want the recording to sound like you're stood in front of the drummer or sat in the stool. It also depends if your room mics are pointed at the drums or at the walls.

just my 2p
ERawk wrote:I'd rather have a hystorectomy, you fuckstick piece of shit.

My Band https://mopernoise.bandcamp.com/releases
High Fives Save Lives
User avatar
JohnnySomersett
not wearing any pants
not wearing any pants
 
Posts: 1311
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:13 am
Location: UK

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby Adam P on Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:21 pm

Delaying the room mics takes them out of the area of the Haas effect, so they're perceived as unique sounds.

viewtopic.php?t=159
User avatar
Adam P
"kick a ginger day" victim
"kick a ginger day" victim
 
Posts: 1241
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:44 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby Stinky Pete on Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:16 pm

Adam P wrote:Delaying the room mics takes them out of the area of the Haas effect, so they're perceived as unique sounds.

viewtopic.php?t=159


I think you may have misread what was intended in his example, he quotes exact math, but the point he's making is that he does it largely to reduce comb filtering. If the kick is tuned at 40Hz, then the period is 25mS, so once the signal from the room mic is delayed by roughly that amount you can reduce the interference while also avoiding going into the Haas area of hearing it discretely.

I dunno, I could be wrong, but I've never heard an example where I could hear distinct flams in the echo. I delay mine out just in from where they flam usually, and call it a day, but I use room mics pretty prominently and the bleed from the full band is often in them.
User avatar
Stinky Pete
complete piece of shit
complete piece of shit
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:56 pm
Location: Off topic

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby JohnnySomersett on Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:23 am

Stinky Pete wrote:
Adam P wrote:Delaying the room mics takes them out of the area of the Haas effect, so they're perceived as unique sounds.

viewtopic.php?t=159


I think you may have misread what was intended in his example, he quotes exact math, but the point he's making is that he does it largely to reduce comb filtering. If the kick is tuned at 40Hz, then the period is 25mS, so once the signal from the room mic is delayed by roughly that amount you can reduce the interference while also avoiding going into the Haas area of hearing it discretely.

I dunno, I could be wrong, but I've never heard an example where I could hear distinct flams in the echo. I delay mine out just in from where they flam usually, and call it a day, but I use room mics pretty prominently and the bleed from the full band is often in them.


I don't often delay mine, but I keep my room mics pretty low in the mix for the most part unless the song calls for a particularly open sound. I too dislike being able to hear anything 'flamming' so would also dial mine back from that position. But I'm not massively experienced so it's all with a pinch of salt.
ERawk wrote:I'd rather have a hystorectomy, you fuckstick piece of shit.

My Band https://mopernoise.bandcamp.com/releases
High Fives Save Lives
User avatar
JohnnySomersett
not wearing any pants
not wearing any pants
 
Posts: 1311
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:13 am
Location: UK

Re: Steve Albini drum sound resource

Postby Stinky Pete on Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:11 pm

It depends what you're doing, of course, and it depends what an "Overhead" is versus what a "Room" sound is. I tend to run them as hot as I can without muddying the mix too much, otherwise it feels a bit anemic to me. Another guy would mic the kit different and use no room mics and get a result that might sound 'full' but might aesthetically very different.

I've never done a record that called for 100% dry drums. For a funk or pop outfit it might be ideal, but I work with rock bands.
User avatar
Stinky Pete
complete piece of shit
complete piece of shit
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:56 pm
Location: Off topic

Next

Return to Tech Room

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], TylerSavage and 9 guests