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BFD kit pieces through outboard gear / mono-stereo questions

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:49 am
by rak
I've got some questions as regards routing out the individual BFD intrument pieces to outboard gear and then rerecording them in a DAW:

1) When I listen to the direct signals of the snare(which can consist of the snare samples 2x mic top and bottom)- or bassdrum (which can consist of kick in and kick out and kick sub) or hihat panned center I have the impression that switching to mono in respective aux busses the sound alters a bit. Could this be? I guess it shouldn't since the snares will have been sampled with their respective mics as a single mono sample file, or?
Presumed these kit pieces were all stereo files than it would be highly dangerous to switch to mono in the Aux channels and therefore everything, even the snare, would have to be recorded as stereo files.
btw:Have the kitpieces all been already processed when sampling as well?

2) Listening to the OH channel in stereo: it seems that the pan position of the e.g. a tom is not reflected in the position in the OH Channel or room or ambience. Is it the same with you? This must surely not be. Why?

So, are there some BFD kit pieces that were recorded as stereo samples or is it safe to route them out as mono signals?

3) When I pan the the high-tom to 35% left and the low-tom to 50% right and want to print this stereo image through my outboard gear (BAE/Neve 1073/ mono, line Input) how would I best go about it? I recorded the left channel through BAE and then the right channel through the same setting of the BAE. But what would the pan settings in Samplitde (or whatever DAW) be for the two mono files so that the stereo image of the Toms would be exactly the same as before (in the BFD mixer). I fear that a wrong pan setting in Samplitude could result in phase-problems, is that right?
I know I wouldn't have this problem if I were sending the toms to a stereo device in one go but the BAE is only mono.

4) So if I go down this road of rerecording the individual kit pieces of the BFD drumkit through outboard gear would that actually also mean that I would have to give up the OH, Room and AMB channels to get an authentic drum imoression. Or how would you deal with those channels?

5) In general: Has there been a lot of compressing an eq-ing going on whith the samples when they were sampled/recorded or are they pretty raw? How about the expansion packs (maple/oak/sleish/ modern drummer/...): all very raw with just a bit of peak limiting or going through tube compressors, eqs,..?

Thanks for sharing your experience and tricks with all things to do using BFD and rerecording it to outboard gear.
And how do you get best results without causing phase issues?

Best regards,

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:09 am
by SKoT_FX
1) If panned to center, switching between mono and stereo shouldn't make a difference. We use a 0dB-at-center, +3dB at L/R extreme panning law with a sin-curve roll off. Off center pan positions feeding into your aux bus will have some gain or trim reflecting the pan position. Direct mics are recorded as mono.

2) This is true. The stereo position of a kit piece in the OH stereo recording can't be adjusted - it's a real recording. If you need to swap the L/R to reflect a pan position, you can do this with the "flip ambient" button on the Kit Piece Inspector. If our ambient channels were faked with reverb processors, we could have the kit piece move, but they are real recordings. If you need a roomy-sound with a different pan position, try running a direct channel through Breverb.

3) Shouldn't matter - pan doesn't change phase, only relative gain of L/R channels.

4) Is your problem being that you can't process stereo through the BAE? Can't you do the two-mono's thing you described in (3)...?

5) No. most BFD recordings try to be as natural as possible. Each expansion pack will list what has been doe to each microphone channel. Sometimes there is a special FX buss with "crush" compression, or dirty overdrive (8BK), but usually it is as close to natural as we can get, and we use mixer effects presets to then engineer the sound - reversible. This protects your investment in BFD recordings by keeping the post-processing out of the "final" audio data we ship - keeps it flexible + malleable for longer.

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:13 am
by rak
thanks very much for your reply!

1) ok, that's good.... but I always have the impression that there still was a change ,though only a slight one toggling the snare auxbus ( where all 3 snares are routed to, panned center) between mono and stereo.
Or does the output volume change slightly when going mono or stereo because of panning laws? Is it that what I actually notice?
Otherwise it must be my ears then :-)

2) ok, but: I don't really understand the idea the oh channel being a real recording: a recording is something fixed, ok, but this oh channel does of course reflect every tom or hihat, whatever ... that is being played by me. So the instruments are in this "oh recording" but a fixed pan information is given. I think the fixed panning for kit peces is also not always center but somewhere a bit left and right for e.g. the hihat, right? What kind of recording/ processor is this? No offense meant :-) Just not understanding.


4) I was just thinking that after routing out and processing the direct mics of the kitpieces what good are those 3 channels oh, room , amb anyway then as they only hold the kitpieces in their original, raw, unprocessed state. These three channels are not fed with the processed individual kitpieces. So... are oh, room , amb channel still useful then or should one then better set up reverb/ ambience VST plug-ins instead which would get the processed kitpieces routed into?

5) that's good. I just felt that those direct signals coming from BFD sound quite good even without much processing... so that made me suspicious that some compressing/ limiter/ eq was already added when routing through that Neve in Air Studios. But it's probably just the good mics, superp engineers and that Neve console that make raw samples sound quite 'finished', right?

I hope you can follow my points and it's not too confusing :-)

Many thanks in advance and best regards,

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:54 am
by rob_fx (ex-FX)
rak wrote:

2) ok, but: I don't really understand the idea the oh channel being a real recording: a recording is something fixed, ok, but this oh channel does of course reflect every tom or hihat, whatever ... that is being played by me. So the instruments are in this "oh recording" but a fixed pan information is given. I think the fixed panning for kit peces is also not always center but somewhere a bit left and right for e.g. the hihat, right? What kind of recording/ processor is this? No offense meant :-) Just not understanding.

All of the mic channels are real recordings, it's just that some of them are microphone pairs, such as the Room and Amb3 mics. The OH (overhead) mics are slightly weird in that they capture a *kind* of panning information, but not in the horizontal plane as you would with normal ambient mics. They are normally above, looking down at the kit.

Nonetheless, the overheads are a kind of A/B micing arrangement: ... _Technique

For any sound source in their pick-up area, they encode its location into a stereo field by way of level differences + arrival-time differences. When a drum is all the way to one side, its sound is louder and arrives sooner on one OH mic than the other, and hence it is "placed" in that stereo plane with two kinds of stereo information.

Traditional mixer panning usually takes a source with purely level-difference encoding and modulates the level difference in order to move the image around in that stereo field. The issue with doing that with the OH sends or OH bus is that the arrival-time differences would not be altered. The effect (due to the human spatial hearing mechanism) is that you would hear the high-frequency content shift while the mid-frequency content stayed fixed in the original position. Interesting perhaps, but not particularly useful to a drum mix.

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:06 pm
by rak
Thanks for trying to clarify things!

Thanks for your patience!!!

My problem is that that my observation for all three channels: oh, room, amb is that for example the snare or hihat (all of them center) have quite a bit more audible 'reverb/room' tail on the right channel... ! I checked my setup and headphones and monitors. With other plug ins I don't have this problem. Why does the snare appear more to the right in the oh and room and amb channels? These channels, when used, will then shift the position of the direct snare panned center more to the right then, right? ...which isn't welcome.

... and direct panning isn't only not one bit reflected in the oh channel as discussed and clarified but also not in room and amb channels! So what is true for the oh is true for room and amb3 as well?

So is this normal that snare and hihat always have a pan position more to the right in oh, room and amb channels ... or just a problem that has to do with my studio/cables/... As I said I didn't encounter stereo image problems with my voice going through a reverb and have the feeling cables and listening position is fine here.
And looking at the oh, room, amb levelmetres in BFD itsself suggests that the stereo image of those channels is really leaning more to the right!

Thanks for your patience!!!

Regards, Rak

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:19 pm
by rob_fx (ex-FX)
Simple: the recording room at Air had reflective panels to break up the near reflections and diffuse reverberation from the far walls. Due to the position of the snare and ambient mics relative to these panels and each other, it just so happened that one mic picked a bit more sound energy than the other. I've already proposed a way of adjusting the ambient mic stereo image to match the direct mic pan position, but it's still very much in the research stage.

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:20 pm
by SKoT_FX
This is a result of the snare being physically closer to one of the microphones, and hence louder.

With BFD samples, the kit pieces are recorded in a true kit layout, and are set up as an actual kit. So some kit pieces will be closer to one or the other of the ambient stereo pair mics. When you do a tom roll from high to low, you will hear the sounds move across the stereo field because that is actually how they sit in 3D space.

Other plugins that fake ambience with effects (and you can of course do this with BFD2, using reverb effects) don't have this "problem" - it is actually part of what makes BFD2 sound so real - because it is all real recordings.

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:32 pm
by rak

So even Air Studios have some tricky things to deal with :-)

I reckon it would therefore be very good to know/have the original pan settings which reflect how the real drumkit was set up in Air Studio as a preset? I haven't checked that for my extensions,... maybe those presets available reflect that.
Or maybe I could just listen to the oh channel to see where the original high tom and the low tom was placed. Maybe sticking to the original pan layout might then result in an ever more realistic picture in connection with the oh, room, amb channels, right?

And: So everything we discussed about oh channel is also true for the room and amb channel, correct?

Many thanks again and regards!

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:52 pm
by SKoT_FX
Well... not really an "issue", more of a fact of recording stereo images. If you listen to any real stereo recording, the objects that make sounds will have somewhat different amplitude, phase and delay captured by each mic depending on the objects distance to each mic, the orientation of the sound waves striking the mics - even the frequency response can vary (orientation of mic and kit piece, other objects adding reflections, resonance, blocking part of the spectrum)

Room in BFD2 is a Mid/Side pair, so the microphones actually sit directly on top of each other and can be mixed to a pure mono signal. Room in BFD1 and most expansion packs is a physically separated left / right pair, and you will get differences according to the placement of the drum in the stereo field.

The default pan positions for kit pieces' direct mics is typically matched close to the apparent pan position in the OH mics, but it can vary (can't cover all bases with one setting).

The Amb3 / far Room channel is also a left / right pair. As you get further away from the kit, the ambient reflections of the room starts taking over from the "direct path" sound, and the difference becomes less noticeable.