Topic: micing the drums behind plexiglass  (Read 7408 times)

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amoacristo

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2008, 01:39 AM »
I get a bit frustrated at how the phrase "Play at a low volume but with the same energy" is used so often. It's scientifically a physical impossibility.

Fine, agreed, it's not the same energy. That isn't to say that it can't be played and played well at a lower volume. There is nothing wrong with doing music in the ways you described, however, if called upon to play rockin songs at lower volumes, I think a drummer should be able to do it. It's not the same but it can be done.

I played in a church once that would seat about 800. There was a plexiglass shield in front on the drums. During rehearsal I was told I was playing too loud and that even with the drum mics off that I was too loud compared to the other instruments. I was just playing normal thinking that it wouldn't be a problem. It wasn't a problem at all for me to play quieter as long as I knew I needed to. The point of that is, plexiglass shileds aren't the great solution so many people think they are. They have a purpose but they aren't going to take drums that are too loud and make them so quiet that you now need mics to hear the drums. Sorry to burst some bubbles saying that, but it is good to know reality.

DoubleC

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2008, 01:43 PM »
Here comes a not so popular answer. And unfortunately I don't see anyone taking this road, even at my own church.

How about programming worship songs that don't have drummers bashing away on the recordings? I get a bit frustrated at how the phrase "Play at a low volume but with the same energy" is used so often. It's scientifically a physical impossibility. Why not pick a lower volume song or better yet - come up with an 'unplugged' version that doesn't have the same electronic timbres and open end volume budget and use that one?

In other words if I play too quietly, players on the other side of the stage start to drift in time.  ::)

Jim
A great solution!!!!!

I have to agree.  I was playing at church using Hot Rods, smaller drums, smaller cymbals, no metal snares and it was different.  The vibe and energy is going to be different.  I had to stress that to the worship leader.  The songs are going to have that "UNPLUGGED" vibe and for awhile it was okay.  After awhile, that vibe gets kind of boring.

BUT............as soon as we were able to get the shield, use some panels and mic the drums we had more choices for every service.  We could go all electric or unplugged.  It was nice to change it up.

cc

Jim Martin (cavanman)

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2008, 05:09 PM »
I played in a church once that would seat about 800. There was a plexiglass shield in front on the drums. During rehearsal I was told I was playing too loud and that even with the drum mics off that I was too loud compared to the other instruments. I was just playing normal thinking that it wouldn't be a problem. It wasn't a problem at all for me to play quieter as long as I knew I needed to. The point of that is, plexiglass shileds aren't the great solution so many people think they are. They have a purpose but they aren't going to take drums that are too loud and make them so quiet that you now need mics to hear the drums. Sorry to burst some bubbles saying that, but it is good to know reality.

Agreed as well. I'd just as soon see them go. They do seem to have some psychological benefit for some (not the drummers). When it comes to shields, I've only had success with wood panels lined with foam or absorptive material. Some will nicely say they miss seeing me (you can only see my head over the shields) but I always say 'Thank You' first but that it doesn't really concern me if people can see me at all. This is obviously not a 'performance venue'. I explain that the wood shields benefit our sound solution and techs.

Fine, agreed, it's not the same energy. That isn't to say that it can't be played and played well at a lower volume.

***OPINION ALERT****(yes the following is my opinion and I know others will disagree)
I guess it depends on how you perceive 'played well' in these circumstances. I've played all kinds of situations where I had to play quietly and could (and can) do so very effectively. However, I feel, there is a line that gets crossed by this volume/energy/style compromise where  the music starts to sound just weak, mediocre and sometimes outright silly to me.

There is nothing wrong with doing music in the ways you described, however, if called upon to play rockin songs at lower volumes, I think a drummer should be able to do it. It's not the same but it can be done.

From a complete professional standpoint, this is very valid. I've been paid over the years do just this. That should never be confused with my opinion on how poorly the music sounds in these situations. It becomes a question of heart vs. professional decision. In the pro world decision trumps heart.  I do stand on the last sentence of the above paragraph: "It's not the same but it can be done."

I'm just bummed at the reasons it is decided upon and the results.

I think I'm done :P

Jim

Chris Whitten

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2008, 05:17 PM »
It becomes a question of heart vs. professional decision. In the pro world decision trumps heart. 

I hate to see that kind of thing written.
It's kind of beside the point anyway.
We are musicians (fun or for money). If the acoustic drums are too loud in a 150 capacity hall it's up to the drummer to adjust. Simple as that. It's a musical decision.
Said another way -
If the drums are too loud, do you ask the drummer to tone it down, or say nothing and go out and spend thousands on glass screens, mics and a public address system?


TheBeachBoy

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2008, 06:00 PM »
One suggestion I haven't seen, unless I just overlooked it is to get electronic drums.  Now of course, there are the issues of budget and the drummers willingness to play on e-drums, but it should solve any volume issues.  It may be overkill in this situation though.  I guess first and foremost I'd ask the drummers to try volume control, as has been mentioned numerous times so far.  No monetary cost involved, just a little time and effort on their part.

Jim Martin (cavanman)

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2008, 06:07 PM »
I hate to see that kind of thing written.
It's kind of beside the point anyway.
We are musicians (fun or for money). If the acoustic drums are too loud in a 150 capacity hall it's up to the drummer to adjust. Simple as that. It's a musical decision.
Said another way -
If the drums are too loud, do you ask the drummer to tone it down, or say nothing and go out and spend thousands on glass screens, mics and a public address system?



Guess I'm not done. ;)

I see your point(s), Chris. In fact I was trying to mention that I am somewhat living the point. I do tone it down. My point is - why do people bring a style of music, along with all of it's volume baggage, into a scenario where it's destined to have absolutely no chance of sounding like the writer/artists originally recorded it, envisioned it or even perform it live? Why not choose styles more suitable for the scenario and have a fighting chance of making it sound good?

I am speaking of church experiences but let me depart from that for a moment.
If I'm hired to play AC/DC, Led Zep and Stones tunes and I have to do it in club that holds 15 people sipping coffee, I'll do the gig, play at the right volume and cash the check. But this can truly be a schizophrenic situation with clueless leader/singers trying to get the feel of a very different scenario and ending up with middle-of-of-the-road results.

As sidemen we have no choice in the matter although in some situations our input will be considered. But a bad decision is a bad decision. When faced with it I won't pout, sulk and/or overplay in my displeasure (therefore not being called back in most cases). But I still have a hard time with regarding this kind of approach with respect. Not that anyone needs my respect but.......I think a lot more can be done in the decisions made.

J

Chris Whitten

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2008, 07:00 PM »
Guess I'm not done. ;)
Why not choose styles more suitable for the scenario and have a fighting chance of making it sound good?

Yes, I agree with you. I said so in an earlier post.
I'm not arguing, just putting forward a second point about compromise.
In a perfect world a drummer should be able to play in a manner that befits the genre - soft for acoustic music in small spaces, slamming for loud arena style rock.
But then there is the reality and it is possible.
I agreed with you that it does pain me to be expected to sound like Travis Barker, while playing in a cafe room for 15 tea sipping customers. But at the same time two things can happen; 1) you can take on the challenge and do your best, or 2) you can make the music something different - the aforementioned 'unplugged' performance.
In the end, I've been able to play in my normal way in room's that hold about 150 people.
Musicians need to communicate with each other about acceptable levels of performance volume. We can also discuss the pros and cons of translating loud rock songs to smaller spaces. Quieter drums, quieter ways of playing and absorption materials can be considered, also e-kits.

JeepnDrummer

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2008, 03:11 AM »
I've seen my share of churches that buy plexi shields thinking they'll fix all of their sound problems. ::)  The solution was already given, but here it is once again...  The drummer should learn how to play for the situation.......in this case, play quieter.

I was never a hard hitter, but playing softly was certainly a challenge for me when I first began playing in church.  It was a good learning experience as it helped me to play looser, it improve my playing dynamics, and helped me be a better listener.  I'm sure there were other benefits, but that's all I squeezed out this tired brain. :)

Mark Counts

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2008, 10:19 AM »
This topic has been discussed in depth on here and I will say that I can't stand the shield. We bought a shield  and a complete set of drum mic's. We mic each drum and use one over head and another mic on the hi hat.  All I can say is that it cuts the sound from the snare hitting the folks at that level in the ears.  As far as sound quality out front, it doesn't help anything IMHO. As far as on stage mix, if people would use there ears we wouldn't need a shield at all. Our acoustic player says that he can't hear the drums at all now except though the monitor.  I turn the drums in my monitor all the way down because in the booth it is right in my face.  Everything else gets turned up to the normal volume of the drums in my face.  If people would use their ears to play to the dynamics of the song the shield wouldn't be needed.
Out front they sound a bit muffled IMHO. 
                                 Nutty

Chip Donaho

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2008, 12:43 PM »
As far as on stage mix, if people would use there ears we wouldn't need a shield at all. 
Now try and convince church members about that. They all think they are drummers and won't listen to people who are. I refuse to play behind those plastic shields. They can find a different drummer and I will probably quit going to that church because that's how much I hate those things. They wreck what I'm trying to hear in the first place. If I can hear I can play soft. I'm only as loud as the rest of the band. They are just a waste of money IMO.  ::)

amoacristo

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2008, 09:13 PM »
Now try and convince church members about that. They all think they are drummers and won't listen to people who are. I refuse to play behind those plastic shields. They can find a different drummer and I will probably quit going to that church because that's how much I hate those things. They wreck what I'm trying to hear in the first place. If I can hear I can play soft. I'm only as loud as the rest of the band. They are just a waste of money IMO.  ::)

I think I may have said this before on another thread, but I think it is worth repeating.
Shields are straight from the devil. I don't believe Jesus would approve of them.

Louis Russell

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Re: micing the drums behind plexiglass
« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2008, 09:18 PM »
Well?  How was this Sunday?  Have you tried moving the drums a little? Inquiring minds want to know!

 

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