Mono drums in modern music

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by Arabian_jesus, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    Lately I've noticed that there is quite a few indie and rock groups/artists that uses mono drums instead of the usual stereo setup. They seem to use stereo effects instead, usually stereo reverb or flanger, to compensate for the lack of stereo width. The first time I noticed it was probably when RHCP released The Getaway and I just figured that they recorded the drums like that because they were going for the garage band type of sound, or something. After I started listen to Tame Impala I quickly noticed that they also use mono drums for most of their stuff and when reading about it, it seems like it isn't very unusual.

    I just wanted to hear what you guys think about recording drums in mono on modern indie and rock records/songs. I have never really thought about it, other than using it for short parts as a "lofi" kind of thing tbh.
     
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  3. Adam Ford

    Adam Ford Kapellmeister

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    It's a nice technique for those specific genres but personally I'm all about depth and phase mangling, usually my favorite songs (seems like a subconscious thing) use mid side recording of drums, something I'd love to replicate in the box but seems impossible to achieve with the same natural results, I love panned drums as a doubling effect as well, cool technique came from the 60s/70s.
     
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  4. clone

    clone Kapellmeister

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    it's extremely common in electronic/dance music. almost a general rule. this is mostly influenced by club sound system configurations. same with basses. from a mixing standpoint, it gives the track a solid, well defined center, or backbone, where the rest of the mix builds outward from.
     
  5. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    I also love mid-side recording, not only on drums, but on acoustic guitar and piano as well. It just produces a different 3D effect than regular stereo recording.
    Yes, I know that it's pretty much the norm in electronic (except for maybe some cymbal hits or percussion that may be panned) but I was a bit surprised when I read that it's fairly common in rock and genres alike. Producers like Eric Valentine, for example, seem to be a proponent of this method.
     
  6. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    Most drums are mono with fx send and stereo paralel processed for mono compatibility, headroom regarding other instruments and avoiding phase correlation issues.
     
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  7. Ŧยχøя

    Ŧยχøя Kapellmeister

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    It's also pretty common in many Rock/Hard/Heavy/Metal bands/styles..

    They put the BD, Snare and Hi-Hat on the Center,
    and only let some Cymbals/Toms be more Stereo..

    It varies from band to band, drummer to drummer,
    some will place the snare/hat slightly more panned, but for a powerful Rock sound it's quite standard.


    In the end it comes down to taste,
    I personally prefer a more modern stereo distribution with Snare on the Right, Hi-Hat on the Left,
    but it's still not crazy panned, surely not more than 30-40%..

    Then I use more panning on the Cymbals and Toms,
    which are more evenly distributed in the stereo field.
     
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  8. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    Yes, but I mean that they use mono overheads with the whole drumkit and tracks strictly in mono, except for some stereo reverb. Listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers album The Getaway or Tame Impalas album Lonerism for example.
     
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  9. Ŧยχøя

    Ŧยχøя Kapellmeister

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    Very comprehensive vid.. :wink:
    They demo/compare most usual/basic methods, the Mono Overhead approach is in the end of the video.

    I'd say you can get a great result with either method..

    In a limited context like this, and for Rock,
    I'd say I much prefer the Glyn Johns approach over the Spaced Pair.
    (which is actually surprisingly comprehensive yet coherent)

    But ofc the Mono approach is easier to obtain, and easier to work with..


    It also depends on how you want to mic the individual parts,
    using separate mics for each part makes the Overhead or Room/Ambient mics less important.

    And there's no limits of what you can do,
    some guys use two or more mics just for the Snare, two more for the BD, etc.

    But they can be summed in Mono, as long as any possible Phase issues are accounted for..
     
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  10. Angelo Archetti

    Angelo Archetti Ultrasonic

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    I make Trance and I prefer use mono kick or mono kick + a overcompressed kick with a little reverb but also this mono… I think sound very good compare stereo kick + overcompkick etc…
     
  11. phumb-reh

    phumb-reh Audiosexual

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    I don't think "mono", I think "mono compatibility".

    That is to say that if your stuff is going to be played on a big sound system wide stereo field on the low end does not work. Also it can be disconcerting on headphones or earplugs.

    My method is that I'll pretty much do my stuff "vinyl compatible", that is to say everything below 350Hz (not strict, but that's what I use) is going to be mono. It applies to sends as well, if I want to have reverb on kick or snare, the sends are hipassed to that as well.
     
  12. Mohit15

    Mohit15 Newbie

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    I personally prefer a more modern stereo distribution with Snare on the Right, Hi-Hat on the Left,
    but it's still not crazy panned, surely not more than 30-40%..
     
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  13. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    Which source did you listen to? On YT, Dark Necessities first chorus, tom on the left, crash cym on the right (like the reversed intro cym).

    BD and SN centered is common for decades. HH is centered mostly in EDM (or two panned), in Rock it's a bit uncommon.

    I personally find a panned snare very irritating and can't stand listen to it with headphones.
    OTOH, extreme panned cyms and toms are not my cup of tea either.
     
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  14. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    Maybe they used a special technique that I read about long time ago, but I haven't personally tried it yet. It's named after the guy who invented it and it uses 3 mics to record the drums. One on the kick, one aimed at the snare, and one over head [if I remember correctly]. Weird technique, but it gives pretty realistic sounding results [if you want that, of course :wink:].

    I found the video on Youtube. Maybe try searching for drum recording techiques. Actually, I'm going to look it up, because it's interesting and a client asked me about it because he's got great mics [Neumanns, AKGs...], but not enough to do the whole drum kit [classic 5-6 mics setup just for drums! overkill IMHO] and the band at the same time.

    OK, I found a good one here:


    Watched Fuxor's video and they mention this technique. It's called the Glyn John's technique. :wink:

    Here's the video I watched years ago :headbang:
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  15. Ŧยχøя

    Ŧยχøя Kapellmeister

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    Those AKG 414's are like pornography.. :wink:
     
  16. recycle

    recycle Audiosexual

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    Due to this covid stop, music played in large spaces (gyms, concerts, clubs, festivals, street parades, etc) has been banned for more than a year: in my opinion the way of composing / mixing is also changing. At the moment, any song is listened to mainly on iPods or in the car and mostly alone, which is why I now feel much less need for music with high energy and I prefer a more psychedelic and intimate sound.
    No one can predict if and when we will return to our previous lives (maybe never again): I am convinced that this whole situation will also affect art, musical composition and mixing style
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  17. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    5-6 = Overkill? Standard pro setup:
    2 BD
    2 Sn
    1 HH
    1 Ride
    2 OH
    2 Room
    1 for each tom
    Sums up to at least 13 (but I'm sure you know that).
     
  18. hackerz4life

    hackerz4life Producer

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    Nothing modern about hard panning a snare. Been done in the 50s, 60s....
     
  19. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    Yep, micing drums can get rather interesting! :) @No Avenger I guess it generally depends on what mics you have, what the room sounds like, what the drums sound like [make sure the tuning is perfect!] and most of all on what you're trying to achieve. Using Glyn Johns with 3 or better 4 mics should sound perfectly nice. That's why a lot of recording engineers use it - the 4 mics one with one mic on the snare.

    The biggest problem with having too many mics on the drum kit is phase problems. You gotta watch the phase... you gotta watch the phase... :hypnotising: :rofl:Especially when you're trying to record the kit in stereo, obviously.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  20. Arabian_jesus

    Arabian_jesus Platinum Record

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    Ah, yes! I remember that we had a lecture about the Glyn Johns method in school. Beatles used it for most of their stuff if I remember correctly!

    About the phase issue, Sylvia Massy has a pretty good method for avoiding it: aiming all of the mics in the same direction, as much as possible at least. I can't remember in which video she explains it more thoroughly but in this one she mentions it in passing at around 8:40.
     
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