Sound from behind the kit vs out front

ThomasL

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On a gig a few weeks ago I was again reminded about the difference between the sound from behind the drums and from the audience's perspective. I made a short video clip to demo this:


It's an acoustic jazz quartet (no amplification whatsoever ) in a big room with very high ceiling. Unamplified piano and bass can be challenging in many rooms, but not here (of course, it helps that the bass player has a very good sound). I was still a bit worried: am I playing too loud, is the bass drum too boomy etc. The stereo mic in front of the band revealed that the tenor sax was way louder than the drums. Maybe I have been playing too much piano trio lately :D
 

mebeatee

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It is very interesting when you have to "guess" the sound of the room and instruments and play accordingly, plus playing to the room from where you are situated can be fun. Almost reverse hearing in a way.
bt
 

OZjazzer

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Wow the universal live performance problem. Balance. All I can offer is what I do. No science in this but I ask people in the audience.

Cymbals are the biggest dilemma in jazz. Trouble is normal folks often can’t judge what they should be hearing. Are they hearing just scads of messy wash? Too much ping. Nasty high pitched ringing. It’s tough.

I must say in recent times l’ve dropped back to lighter sticks (Regal Tip E Series Jazz) and a very friendly Bos 22” New Orleans doing the bulk of the work on the right. You can always come up in volume but coming down is tough.

There is no answer. Just when you think you’ve got it right 40 people turn up and you have to adjust all over again.

I’ll be very interested in the replies from others here.
 

jptrickster

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I liked the out front mic sound best, drums not above solo instruments in the mix where they should, you did an excellent job of holding it down .Band sounds great!
 

Matched Gripper

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On a gig a few weeks ago I was again reminded about the difference between the sound from behind the drums and from the audience's perspective. I made a short video clip to demo this:


It's an acoustic jazz quartet (no amplification whatsoever ) in a big room with very high ceiling. Unamplified piano and bass can be challenging in many rooms, but not here (of course, it helps that the bass player has a very good sound). I was still a bit worried: am I playing too loud, is the bass drum too boomy etc. The stereo mic in front of the band revealed that the tenor sax was way louder than the drums. Maybe I have been playing too much piano trio lately :D
Great playing. Would love to hear more. But, not sure it’s a good comparison with two different mics and the one out front is with compression.
 

ThomasL

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Great playing. Would love to hear more. But, not sure it’s a good comparison with two different mics and the one out front is with compression.
Thanks! The cell phone does all sorts of things to the audio (autogain etc), so the difference would be even bigger without the compression. I usually use some compression for all live recordings. Otherwise the transients are too strong and the dynamic range too wide for the volume people tend to listen at. What I'm missing from the out front sound is mainly some highs from the cymbals and a bit batter head attack. A wooden wall behind your back usually helps in this respect.

If you are interested, there are three full tunes in my 'Music' playlist:


(Let me know if the link doesn't work.)

Edit: I posted the full tunes in the Videos section: https://www.drumforum.org/threads/three-tunes-from-a-recent-jazz-gig.179370/
 
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DanRH

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Is that you playing? Really great. I preferred the out front recording as well. Thanks for posting!
 

Matched Gripper

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On a gig a few weeks ago I was again reminded about the difference between the sound from behind the drums and from the audience's perspective. I made a short video clip to demo this:


It's an acoustic jazz quartet (no amplification whatsoever ) in a big room with very high ceiling. Unamplified piano and bass can be challenging in many rooms, but not here (of course, it helps that the bass player has a very good sound). I was still a bit worried: am I playing too loud, is the bass drum too boomy etc. The stereo mic in front of the band revealed that the tenor sax was way louder than the drums. Maybe I have been playing too much piano trio lately :D
Wow! Great band, great sound! Love your cymbal set. Very inspiring! Now thinking I should get a micro bass drum. Is that a 16”?

PS: Your sax man ROCKS! Your whole band rocks. Where are you, if I may ask?
 

ThomasL

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Wow! Great band, great sound! Love your cymbal set. Very inspiring! Now thinking I should get a micro bass drum. Is that a 16”?

PS: Your sax man ROCKS! Your whole band rocks. Where are you, if I may ask?
Thanks! This is not a working band. The sax player is an invited soloist, one of the best in Finland. The bassist is a music student, leaving only the pianist and me from our regular band.

The bass drum is 12x16", converted from a floor tom, and the cymbals are my favorite ones:

14" Johan hihats
18" Spizzichino
22" Lauritsen BSC
22" Calabria with a brass chain
(there's also a small Collingwood effect on the stacker, but I don't think I hit it once on this gig...)
 

Matched Gripper

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Thanks! This is not a working band. The sax player is an invited soloist, one of the best in Finland. The bassist is a music student, leaving only the pianist and me from our regular band.

The bass drum is 12x16", converted from a floor tom, and the cymbals are my favorite ones:

14" Johan hihats
18" Spizzichino
22" Lauritsen BSC
22" Calabria with a brass chain
(there's also a small Collingwood effect on the stacker, but I don't think I hit it once on this gig...)
Best of all was the hand clapping from a real audience. Stay safe!
 

Seb77

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It's an acoustic jazz quartet (no amplification whatsoever ) in a big room with very high ceiling. Unamplified piano and bass can be challenging in many rooms, but not here (of course, it helps that the bass player has a very good sound).
In a case like this I think you cannot win either way as a drummer. I would say the priority should be to make the other players feel comfortable, which you apparently did.
 

Sinclair

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Nice playing Thomas but dear god I refuse get sucked into the black hole of mindfukery this topic will lead to yet again. It's so much easier to just play the way you play and enjoy the gig. Can I get an amen? ;-) Love that sax tone.
 

JimmySticks

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Thanks! Yes, that's me. I'm also the recording engineer and camera man, which explains the missing heads... ;-)
If I was the cameraman, I would have made sure I was front and center on the frame, because after all, it’s all about the drummer! :icon_lol:

Seriously, you did a great job in a very echoey (is that a word?) open, resonant environment.
 

dboomer

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It is very interesting when you have to "guess" the sound of the room...
The “room” is not a single thing. The sound of every instrument is different to every listener in that room. That’s simply the room acoustics, standing waves and critical distance.
 

OZjazzer

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Nice playing Thomas but dear god I refuse get sucked into the black hole of mindfukery this topic will lead to yet again. It's so much easier to just play the way you play and enjoy the gig. Can I get an amen? ;-) Love that sax tone.
Yes Sinclair you’re right as usual. “Play the way you play and enjoy and enjoy the gig”.
 

Old Drummer

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This reminds me of why I always put cotton in my ears before I play. It's not to protect my hearing (although it helps a little with that) but because I hate the way drums and especially cymbals sound from behind the kit. Strangely, I don't find the sound of drums and cymbals annoying from a distance, but from behind the kit, always. I really didn't like the recording from behind the kit but liked it from out front. The difference is a little like putting cotton in my ears. I'd guess, though I don't know, that some of the shrill highs are muffled and the overall sound is more balanced.
 

ThomasL

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Nice playing Thomas but dear god I refuse get sucked into the black hole of mindfukery this topic will lead to yet again. It's so much easier to just play the way you play and enjoy the gig. Can I get an amen? ;-) Love that sax tone.
Thanks Sinclair! I always like to say that drum and cymbal sounds are 60% about keeping yourself inspired, 30% to make the band feel good, and 10% for the audience, but sometimes I forget this myself. Maybe it's the optimist in me thinking that one day, in one room, I will get a studio-quality recording with a stereo mic in front of the band :)
 


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