Drums, Drums, and More Drums (Part 2)

Bozzio kit

Be glad we don’t have to mic or mix this kit…

This kit belongs to Terry Bozzio. Bob mentioned him a couple of times during our discussion. I attached some YouTube clips for those of you interested in his playing. He has so many drums because he actually composes melodic lines with in his drumming. His toms are actually tuned to a chromatic scale. Similar to a marimba or xylophone.

(His actual solo stuff doesn’t start until around 4:25. The first part is just him grooving with the other musicians.)

 

In the second half of the workshop we began to get into some technical aspects of drum micing and mixing. Bob gave us some insight on how the drums should sound and Mike talked about the best and most consistent ways to capture and reproduce that sound. We were able to do comparisons of different mic placements and the results are very interesting. It’s amazing what moving a mic 4 inches can do to the sound of a drum. (to hear the differences I strongly suggest headphones) Mike refers to some pictures in a handout that we used. I’ve attached a PDF of that handout so you have a visual of what we discussed.

 

Nick

 

Mic Positioning

 

 

 


Drums, Drums, and More Drums (Part 1)

Animal

If you look back through our previous posts you will see that we have had a lot of posts about drums. So why all the hype??? Drums have the ability to give a song the driving energy or the solid groove AND they can completely kill the feel of the music and the mix. We had a Drum and Sound workshop some weeks ago where we addressed common issues with drums, drummers, and sound guys. We had the opportunity of having Bob Brice come to join us for this workshop. Bob has lots of experience in the drumming world and therefore great advice and tips when it comes to drumming itself and how drums should sound. We sat down with Bob and covered a wide range of topics for drummers. Many of the sound guys might be wondering what any of the drum basics have to do with running sound. To run sound really well we need to begin to think like musicians. In some respect we have it a lot harder than the guitar player or the drummer. We don’t have the luxury of thinking only about our instrument or part. To mix effectively we need to enter the mind of each musician. Doing this will help us to create the sound they envision, to accurately reproduce the sound and feel they are creating on stage. Much of what Bob discusses in part one of the workshop pertains to the drummers role in a music group. If we understand the role of the drummer and how it is best to fill that role, then we can accurately fill that role sonically. Take a listen to our talk with Bob. I have also attached the YouTube videos he refers to so you can give those a look as well.

 

Part two is coming soon…

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 


Who’s the new guy?

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By now many of you know who I am and what my role will be, but I figured I should give everyone a little background. Here we go!

Name: Nick Rozendaal

Age: 22

Interests: … Well maybe this isn’t the best way to go about this

 

Early Involvement

My family and I started attending Third Church about 10 years ago when we moved to the Sully area from Iowa City. While Third’s size was daunting at first, we immediately felt at home upon our first visit. We spent the first 8 years driving half an hour to church each Sunday morning. It was less then ideal, but we definitely felt we had a place here. Around my freshman year of high school, I started drumming for the middle school youth group (way back when it was called Chaos). The following year, I joined the Wednesday night worship service called The Refuge (essentially an early version of Revere). Playing at this service allowed me to meet with more great musicians and build some deep connections. I grew both spiritually and emotionally during this time, and I continued to serve on worship teams all through high school and as I went on to college.

 

College…

As my Senior year of high school came to a close, I still had no idea what school I wanted to go to or what career path to pursue. My indecision and lack of time led me to Central by default. My first year at Central was fine. I had a good roommate, made new friends, met my fiancé, and was able to stay plugged in at Third. As the semesters continued, however, I began questioning if a liberal arts education was the best path for me. In the middle of my Junior year Jason Nelson announced his plans to leave Third and plant a church in Chicago. After meeting with him, I decided I had found the excuse I needed to leave Central.

Fiancé???

As mentioned above, I am getting married. Crazy!!! You can see my beautiful fiancé in the picture above. Rachel and I met at Central through our involvement in various percussion ensembles, and we became very close over the years. Rachel is a voice of reason for me as well as a gentle reminder to not take myself so seriously. I am grateful for her love and patience and excited for us to begin this next stage of life.

 

CityWave 

Some of you may know of my involvement with the Chicago church plant. Before accepting this job at Third, I had seriously considered moving to Chicago to help with CityWave. Rachel and I made several trips to Chicago and connected with some great people there; however, due to some redirecting and the offer of full time employment here at Third, we decided to stay in Pella. The decision was difficult for us to make, but we feel confident in our choice, believing that God has a plan for us in Pella. There is much more to tell, so feel free to come talk with me if you want to know more.

 

What’s My Role?

My official title is “Sound and Technical Maintenance Leader.” There will be a season of transition as I begin to take over all things related to sound. I will work with Mike to further my knowledge of audio engineering as well as familiarize myself with all of Third’s sound systems. I will also work with Marilyn to maintain the lighting and video systems. In addition, I will be available to help give direction and pointers to sound volunteers desiring to grow in the art of running sound. I will likely start by observing how each individual runs sound, so I can be more effective in helping you. I will also be assisting in training workshops (like the one we did a few weeks ago). Workshops are a great way to help grow your individual skills as well as help us grow as a team. The goal is to empower Third sound volunteers, so you can have an improved set of sound skills to take with you wherever life calls you.

 

I really look forward to spending time getting to know all of you, and I am very excited to take this role at Third. If you have any questions or just want to chat, my office is right next to Mike’s. You can always shoot me and email at nickr@trcpella.com. Thanks for taking the time to get know me!

Blessings!

Nick


Blogs To Check Out

Check it out

Here are a couple blogs that I go to often.

Church Tech Arts:   This blog has a great podcast that is put out into cyberspace every week.  So if you sit at a desk or drive a lot this is great podcast to listen to.  This podcast has some of the big-wigs in the church tech world but they are really down to earth and they are trying to inform small churches.  They cover a gamet of topics so you’ll need to just check the info on the podcast to see what they are talking about .

 Seeds Blog: Church On The Move:  This is one of my favorite blogs.  Andrew Stone who is the tech director is old school and thinks about things differently than most sound guys out there.

Going to 11:   This is one of the best blogs out there.  David Stagl is from North Point Church in Atlanta, home of Andy Stanley.  They are top notch with their tech and David Stagl does a great job covering a bunch of topics that will make you better as a sound engineer.


Faders… Pre vs. Post

This is a quick post about pre and post fader settings for aux sends/ mix sends.

On every input channel (vocal, keyboard, guitar…)  we have the option of selecting if we would like the aux sends/ mix sends to be pre-fader or post-fader.  An aux send/ mix send takes the signal from that channel and sends it somewhere else.  This may be to an Aviom, a floor wedge, or to a FX unit (reverb, delay).

aux_pre_post_basicIf the aux/mix send is set as pre-fader, this means that the signal will be rerouted before it hits the input fader.  As you change the input fader to increase, we’ll say, the vocal in the house mix,   the fader will not adjust the level/volume of the aux. send.  Pre-fader is what you want to use for Avioms and wedge monitors.  This way you will not change the volume for the musician/singer on stage.

Post-fader takes the signal and routes through the main channel fader.  So, as you change your input fader on the vocal it will also change the volume for the aux/ mix send.  This is bad for monitors.  If you want to get a lot of dirty looks from singers and musicians run your aux/ mix sends in post-fader.  Where you would use post-fader aux sends/ mix sends is when sending signal to an Effects Unit (Reverb, Delay).  In this situation we want the signal sent to the effects unit to change as you lower or increase the volume (level) on the input fader.  The reason for this is simple.  When we run effects we always bring back the ‘effected’ signal back to a channel on the board that is different from the original input, in this case a vocal.  We want the level of our ‘effected’ vocal, which is in a different channel, to increase and decrease with the fader movements we make on the vocal channel.  Otherwise we would have to make the same fader adjustments on the FX channel as we make on the input channel (vocal).

The typical rule is this.  When using an Aux send, set it to ‘pre’ when you are using that aux for monitoring (avioms or wedges).  When you are using an Aux to send a signal to an effects unit use ‘post’ fader.

An example that was getting us into trouble.  We use pre-service music for all of our services.  This music is also sent to the avioms and to places like the mezzanine in the auditorium.  The Aux/ Mix send for the mezzanine was set to ‘pre-fader’ which means that even though the music was being turned down on the input fader, if it was not muted or turned off on the CD player, music continued to go to the mezzanine.  In this situation we want the Aux/ Mix send to the mezzanine to be post-fader, so that fader moves will turn down the music in the event that the sound engineer forgets to mute or stop the CD music right away.

FYIs

Aux= Auxillary Mix, this is the term used on analog boards (sanctuary) and on the Midas consoles.

Mix Send= is what they are called on the Yamaha console in the auditorium


Where’d The Toms Go?

large-drum-kit-2Mixing the drums is one of my favorite things to mix.  They are the foundation of the mix and they add a lot of energy to the room when mixed well.  Most of the time we get fixated on the Kick Drum and the Snare.  And that’s probably fair since they are getting used the most.   With that in mind don’t forget about the toms.  There is nothing worse than having the kick and snare sit nicely in the mix and the drummer does a tom fill and all of a sudden there is a big gap in the rythym section.  Often it goes unnoticed because fills happen fast and usually have a cymbal hit at the end.

It’s also valuable to know when the drummer is playing a tom-part in the song, where the toms are keeping the rhythm and not the snare and high hat.  This is a very popular thing right now.  During these times push those toms up in the mix and let ’em be big and than bring them back down.  You’ll notice that in the sanctuary and auditorium that we have a DCA/VCA group that is assigned to just the toms.  This is so you can push just the toms up for those parts.

Your toms should be just a little quieter than your snare drum (remember your snare drum should be the loudest drum in the mix, not the kick) and about the same level as the kick.  So watch your meters and sliders and more importantly listen to make sure you can hear each individual drum.


Drums: Part 4

Let’s talk about mixing the drums when you are not using a shield or maybe a partial shield.  If the conditions are right and if you have the right drummer it is very possible to leave the drums open and allow the ambient sound to mix with your house speakers.  Something that is key to remember is,  just because you can hear the drums coming off the stage doesn’t mean you don’t mix them into the house mix.  We are trying to create energy with our mixes and run levels that mimic concert sound without the excessive dB’s.  To accomplish this we want to mix the drums so that they compliment what is coming off the stage.  We also don’t want to hear toms and the kick coming out of the speakers and nothing else, that just plain sounds wrong and off.  Either you need to have zero of the drums coming out of the speakers or a little of each to compliment the sound coming off the stage.  Otherwise it doesn’t sound natural.

Starting with the kick drum bring your level so that it masks the sound coming off the stage.  This will add the low end that we desire to give the music energy. This also allows you to EQ the kick drum to get the desired tone.  In this situation you may not need to boost the mids-highs to help with the attack because the ambient sound from the kick will help with this.

The amount of snare you mix into the sound system will vary depending on how hard the drummer hits.  In most situations the snare will cut through the mix and it might seem like you don’t need any in the house system, but it is important to bring the snare up in the system so that it matches the snare coming off the stage.  This will help the drum kit sound more realistic and not like it’s sitting behind the rest of the mix.

The toms are usually easier to mix because they are a softer part of the kit.  You almost always have to have the toms up in the house system.  Again you want to mix them so that they compliment what you hear coming off the stage.

The cymbals are the hardest part of the kit to control.  You might have to coach the drummer so that they lay off the cymbals.  If the drummer is using in-ears make sure that they hear themselves really well.  A trick you can do is to turn up the overhead mics in their ears. This will force them to hit the cymbals softer.  Again if you can get a little of the cymbals into the sound system this will help reinforce the drum sound so that it is full and not sound like it is behind the mix.

Mixing the drums without a shield will change your EQ’s and any compression/gates you might use, so take that into consideration as you build your drum mix.


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