Anyone used drum shields before?

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Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Sammas » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:02 pm

Hey gents,

Have any of you had any luck using perspex drum shields while tracking live? Or shielding any instrument for that matter to gain better isolation while tracking a live band on stage? It seems like the odds are stacked against you when you are thrown a pickup-less cello on a tiny stage with a full drum kit, and electric guitar and bass!

They seem like a great idea in theory, but I am dubious about how effective they are given that they are 8mm perspex!

Anyone have any words of wisdom?
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby GlennS » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:58 pm

Hi Nath,

I can't speak from the perspective of recording, but when I play in church we have a perspex shield around the drums so that the drummers can play uninhibited & not be too loud for the hall, considering the overall volume is required to be softer than a regular gig. I usually have to have the drums, especially bass drum, cranking through my stage monitor so that I can lock in to the timing, so I guess the isolation works pretty well. We sometimes have violin mic'd with a 57 standing 3 or 4 metres away from the drums. It also depends on the room and how much of a shield you're using. Ours is dubbed "the goldfish bowl", it's pretty much a perpex booth. If the drummer is against a wall you may need some kind of absorptive material to stop the sound from reflecting between the shield and the wall. I suspect that on a tiny stage you will be struggling whichever way you go, and depending on the stage construction you may also have transmission issues through the floor. Maybe you won't need overheads on the drums, just use the cello mic!

Cheers,
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Chris H » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:00 pm

I don't like em. My first question is why use them? What they are presumably meant to do they don't do well and can be accomplished far more effectively by other means.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby seancook » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:37 pm

i havent encountered one that didn't sound terrible, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Sammas » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:08 pm

Chris H wrote:I don't like em. My first question is why use them? What they are presumably meant to do they don't do well and can be accomplished far more effectively by other means.


What are the far more effective means?
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Sammas » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:35 pm

GlennS wrote:Hi Nath,

I can't speak from the perspective of recording, but when I play in church we have a perspex shield around the drums so that the drummers can play uninhibited & not be too loud for the hall, considering the overall volume is required to be softer than a regular gig. I usually have to have the drums, especially bass drum, cranking through my stage monitor so that I can lock in to the timing, so I guess the isolation works pretty well. We sometimes have violin mic'd with a 57 standing 3 or 4 metres away from the drums. It also depends on the room and how much of a shield you're using. Ours is dubbed "the goldfish bowl", it's pretty much a perpex booth. If the drummer is against a wall you may need some kind of absorptive material to stop the sound from reflecting between the shield and the wall. I suspect that on a tiny stage you will be struggling whichever way you go, and depending on the stage construction you may also have transmission issues through the floor. Maybe you won't need overheads on the drums, just use the cello mic!

Cheers,
Glenn


The cello was mic'ed with a DPA 4060 in the soundhole and a Gefell M300 jammed as close as I could get it without interfering with the bowing. Even with the Cello behind the "backline" instruments to get it away from blaring amplifiers, as soon as the band hit full tilt the cello was lost in spill as everyone was jammed onto the stage (live gig first... recording second was the days priorities).

Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Chris H » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:33 pm

Sammas wrote:
Chris H wrote:I don't like em. My first question is why use them? What they are presumably meant to do they don't do well and can be accomplished far more effectively by other means.


What are the far more effective means?


In an ideal world: Firstly musicianship, getting the players to play as close to the acoustic level of the cello as possible,especially a drum style that keeps the stage level low, getting a balance using players amp volume etc etc. Nothing in the stage monitors that doesn't have to be there, ie acoustic instruments, backing tracks (god forbid! :ar! ) and vox only.The mixer should set stage levels as low as possible, no kick in the stage monitors, getting a balance. Bottom end and low mids esp muddy 350 Hz etc kept to a good clean balance.
The DPA 4060 is a great mic but more so for when stage levels are low in keeping with the cello because it's omni. Omni will pick up more of the stage spill than other options. Here is a pic from another thread of a neat way to position the mic.
Bass.jpg

Bass 2.jpg



Another thing is when a mic is too close to the soundboard in certain positions, the instruments surface acts like a giant PZM! .........the last thing you want! Having the player in the best position on stage to avoid the bulk of the spill. I have found a fig 8 mic up close to the bridge with the rear lobe facing a carpeted floor can provide better isolation than many other options. I have also used an AKG supercardoid shotgun mic accross not pointing at the soundboard.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby ChrisW » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:19 pm

I agree 100% with Chris above.
These things are a disaster for drum sound.
Best options are getting the players to play correctly for the dynamics of the ensemble and the acoustics of the room.
Another option is to shield the quieter instruments I suppose, with the acoustic barrier away from the drums. The best acoustic barriers are the ones they use in recording studios, made of wood, soft furnishings and acoustically designed.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby ChrisW » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:24 pm

GlennS wrote:when I play in church we have a perspex shield around the drums so that the drummers can play uninhibited & not be too loud for the hall, considering the overall volume is required to be softer than a regular gig. I usually have to have the drums, especially bass drum, cranking through my stage monitor so that I can lock in to the timing............


This sort of thing cracks me up, especially as I read about elaborate on stage monitoring set ups in American places of worship.
It's really backwards logic. Kill the drums on stage, then have them blasting through monitors so people can play in time with the drums.
THE best set up is acoustic drums played appropriately (unscreened), then everyone plays at the right level so they can hear the drums WITHOUT having them in monitors. Musicians themselves have always been better able to make instant adjustments to their playing so they can hear the drums on stage, which is far, far preferable to communicating multiple up and down signals to a sound person who isn't on stage and isn't playing the music.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Drumstruck » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:10 am

If you want that much control over the drum level perhaps an electronic kit would be a better option?

The 1K plus for the shields could go towards the e-kit ;-)
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby GlennS » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:22 am

ChrisW wrote:
GlennS wrote:when I play in church we have a perspex shield around the drums so that the drummers can play uninhibited & not be too loud for the hall, considering the overall volume is required to be softer than a regular gig. I usually have to have the drums, especially bass drum, cranking through my stage monitor so that I can lock in to the timing............


This sort of thing cracks me up, especially as I read about elaborate on stage monitoring set ups in American places of worship.
It's really backwards logic. Kill the drums on stage, then have them blasting through monitors so people can play in time with the drums.
THE best set up is acoustic drums played appropriately (unscreened), then everyone plays at the right level so they can hear the drums WITHOUT having them in monitors. Musicians themselves have always been better able to make instant adjustments to their playing so they can hear the drums on stage, which is far, far preferable to communicating multiple up and down signals to a sound person who isn't on stage and isn't playing the music.


I totally agree & have pushed this argument. The problem is that the demographic is so broad you have to accommodate pensioners alongside teenagers, and younger drummers refuse (or perhaps don't know how) to play appropriately. You have to compromise to strike a balance. At least we avoided using PODs and/or in-ears for guitarists by carefully placing the amps.

Anyway, I also agree with Chris H wrt the band playing closer to acoustic levels. Or get an electric Cello!
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Gian » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:36 am

I think placing instruments in their own frequency range in foldback can help to ensure intelligibility at high volume levels.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Chris H » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:50 am

GlennS wrote:
ChrisW wrote:
GlennS wrote:when I play in church we have a perspex shield around the drums so that the drummers can play uninhibited & not be too loud for the hall, considering the overall volume is required to be softer than a regular gig. I usually have to have the drums, especially bass drum, cranking through my stage monitor so that I can lock in to the timing............


This sort of thing cracks me up, especially as I read about elaborate on stage monitoring set ups in American places of worship.
It's really backwards logic. Kill the drums on stage, then have them blasting through monitors so people can play in time with the drums.
THE best set up is acoustic drums played appropriately (unscreened), then everyone plays at the right level so they can hear the drums WITHOUT having them in monitors. Musicians themselves have always been better able to make instant adjustments to their playing so they can hear the drums on stage, which is far, far preferable to communicating multiple up and down signals to a sound person who isn't on stage and isn't playing the music.


I totally agree & have pushed this argument. The problem is that the demographic is so broad you have to accommodate pensioners alongside teenagers, and younger drummers refuse (or perhaps don't know how) to play appropriately. You have to compromise to strike a balance. At least we avoided using PODs and/or in-ears for guitarists by carefully placing the amps.

Anyway, I also agree with Chris H wrt the band playing closer to acoustic levels. Or get an electric Cello!


Yes, playing or doing sound in a church environment, like most where the participation is volunteer based, can be a hard gig and diplomacy together with maintaining positive relationships often mean putting personal preference aside in the way you would like things done.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Wiz » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:29 am

I am certainly no genius in this (or any other) area...

but I approach soft band gigs thus.

I get the drummer to play. And substitute stick for rods or brushes as needed.

I get the bass player to play and put his volume coming from his amp to sit with the kit. Then guitars.

Then keys.


All this stuff is coming from stage. NO PA yet

I make sure the players can hear from their own amps at just enough stage volume to do the job and move amps around and point at them as needed.

Once setteled, I then do vocals through the PA to just "sit" over the stage volume.

Then I "tonally" re inforce .

Sometimes because of an amp postitioning for the player onstage, it might not throw out into the audience, so mic it and bring it up in the PA.


I find doing it this way, makes everyone (generally) happy.

At the very least, the players on stage are comfortable.

has worked for me.

People generally play too loud for one of two reasons

1. They cant hear themselves

2. They are wankers.

I can fix no 1.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Chris H » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:42 am

People generally play too loud for one of two reasons
1. They cant hear themselves

2. They are wankers.

I can fix no 1.

CLASSIC!!!!
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby gigpiglet » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:12 pm

there are definitely two sides to this story.
and ive been on both.

I've used drum shields A LOT (and i own and hire a good one - much thicker than 8mm)

i dont think they make drums sound good.
exactly the opposite.
i am always very picky about exactly where/ how/ height/ etc they are positioned - i dont need to screen the whole kit, it may well just be the hi hat in the piano vocal (or whatever) thats giving me huge problems.

i have certainly mixed gigs that could hardly have happened without them.
and happy to post links to those if people want

one interesting thing i have found, is that BECAUSE they sound bad, the drummer often ends up playing softer (so not hear the slap) so you get a quieter drummer (not because he/ she is forced to, but cause they want to) AND isolation.

also agree they dont usually work when people are on wedges.
its only really a solution when the band is on ears (which - to comment on the previous posts - in most houses of worship they are)
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Chris H » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:08 am

Actually, there is a third side to this story........
in the 70's at the Greyhound Hotel in St Kilda, drum shields more or less saved my life.........a huge fight broke out among the punters and the action somehow was spilling onto the stage so I grabbed the nearest zephyr cast iron mic stand.... you know the ones....hastily dropped the 57 on the carpet, and used the feet to push the punters off the stage, back onto the dance floor and the kick and floor tom where employed to the same effect by the drummer and singer. Chris Pascoe, our keyboard player used to lug his upright piano in bits to the gig and reassemble it there, so it was hurriedly angled to prevent side access to the stage.Guard duty on the other side of the stage was admirably taken care of by the bass player's skillful use of his fender precision! When the police arrived rumour spread that white powder and a shotgun in the boot of one of the punters cars was a contributing factor to the high state of excitement among the punters that evening. After a beer and a breather of moderately fresh...... somewhat smoke laden air out the back of the pub we carried on with our gig as normal....... or maybe abnormal...... It was hard to tell what was normal in those days.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Wiz » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:37 am

[quote="Chris H"] so I grabbed the nearest zephyr cast iron mic stand.... you know the ones..../quote]


There is one 5 feet from me, holding up my Beesneez T1 :D

I wish they were still around
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Sammas » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:12 pm

Thanks for the comments, gents! Definitely stuff to think about.

Any suggestions on possibly something other than leaving it in other peoples hands? I am completely open to having a friendly chat with the musicians and FOH engineer... but at the end of the day I can hardly blame them if they see more importance in the job that they have been hired to do, rather than mine.

"It would have sounded great if such-and-such didn't do what he did" isn't a sentence I really want to mumble... ever ;)
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby GlennS » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:45 pm

How about a contact mic on the cello?
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Chris H » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:56 pm

GlennS wrote:How about a contact mic on the cello?


A great option for when the many variables are not likely to be under your control or influence, which is most of the bloody time! :(
For that reason I started my original response with "In an ideal world" ...... So it's good insurance to have a contact mic in the mic case and use it as insurance even when going for the ideal scenario and often a mix of the two will save the day when the mic by it self isn't quite achieving its place in the mix.
One thing to be carefull though is that if it's a high qhality instrument the player may be very sensitive about the finish being blemished by whatever is the means of contact, but often you can place them on the maple bridge.
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Re: Anyone used drum shields before?

Postby Sammas » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:51 pm

Ooh! A contact mic is a great idea.

Have you guys ever tinkered with shotgun mics for super-directional pickup?
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