Drum Mics, etc...

I’m about 90% finished writing my next project, and have 80% of it demo’d with Fruity Loops as drums. However, this time around I plan on using a real drummer could use some advice from those that have been there already…

Can anyone point me to some web-based guides for mic’ing drums?

I’ve got a few mics, but I don’t think any of them are right for a good kick-drum sound, and I also need to get ahold of a pair of
overheads.

The drummer has a handful of “Beyer”(?) drum mics that we could use for the toms.

I’ve got an SM58, SM57, SP-C1, SP-B3

I’m thinking about a couple of things:


The Shure drum pack – comes with a standard PG52 kick drum mic, three PG56’s, and two PG-81’s for overheads. ($400) The PG-81 doesn’t seem to get very good reviews, and I’m not sure about the others… Does anyone have any experience with these mics?

Another alternative is the Shure Beta 52A (more $$$, but I can sell it on eBay in a few months when I’m done with it)

A pair of overheads… Studio Projects C4 ? Not that I know anything abotu this particular mic, but I do own some other SP stuff and it’s never let me down yet.

It’s been suggested that the SP-C1 works well on snare…

Any mic suggestions?

I bought the audix dp5 kit a while back (d6 for bass drum, d1 for snare, 2 d2 for toms, d4 for floor tom) added two marshall electronics mxl603’s for overheads. cost me about $650 total off ebay brand new.

d6 is pretty nice for the bass drum-doesn’t need too much eq. the d1 sounds good-similar to a sm57 really. the d2 and d4 are ok I think-I’ve yet to record a decent tom sound, but I think that has more to do with the toms than the mics so far. and the mxl603’s work great for overheads. some people have said they’re kinda’ harsh in the top end, but I haven’t found that at all, they seem to sizzle just fine without hurting your ears as I would picture “harsh” would do.

Walk before you run if you’re setting up mics on a kit for the first time. Use a limited amount, it’s much easier. You got some good candidates now; I’d save your money and do some experimenting before you decide you need new gear. Maybe start with:

SP-C1 on kick
SM57 on snare
SP-B3 in omni as an overhead

You’ll have to move mics around to get things to sound good, but that’s pretty normal. Working with a few mics means fewer chances for bad phase relationships, and a higher likeyhood of getting a good balance of drums and cymbals with a minimum of fuss. I got me piles of nice microphones, but I still like using only 3-5 for a whole kit. A whole kit for me is usually 4 drums, a hat, and 3 cymbals. My starting point is often a LD dynamic on kick, a LDC on snare, and either a pair of SDC or a SDC and a ribbon overhead. I’ll only mic toms if the song or production warrants. I’m lazy like that…
Also remember, an enormous part of capturing a kit is the quality of the room. If you’re working in a square environment with a low ceiling, it’ll be hard to get good drum sounds with an arsenal of $1000 mics. Not impossible, but hard, and it takes practice and experimentation regardless of the quality of gear you’re working with.

Take a gander at this link:

http://www.mercenary.com/3micdrumstuf.html

This article discusses some drum mic techniques. It references seriously expensive and hard to find mics, but don’t let that faze you. You’re reading it for the placement ideas presented, not 'cause you have a pair of U47’s to use! The point is that with creative placement, and good use of your ears, you can fully capture a kit with a minimum amount of equipment.

If you absolutely feel the burning desire to feed your G.A.S. then consider a pair of SDC mics, like 2 MXL 603’s or 2 Oktava MC-012’s. These are both quite servicable and affordable models, you don’t have anything like them currently, and they can be used for many things beside drum tracks. Good luck…you’re in for some fun and learning…

I think the micing positions more important than the brand of mic. Read a lot of tips and try them out in test recordings in your room, making minute adjustments after each test take.

THis week, I pulled out an old TapeOp magazine and tried some different setups. I liked micing the snare shell instead of the head, near the hole in the side.

I had been micing the OHs pretty wide so I did an X-Y configuration with the capsules almost touching and that sounds cool also. The overheads will give you the main sound of the kit, and then blend in the close mics to taste for punch and presence.

For the record, I am using a 57 on the kick, Sennheiser E604 clones on snare and toms and Behringer ECM8000 omni “reference” condensor mics for overheads.

Quote (Tom Hicks @ May 05 2005,08:15)
I think the micing positions more important than the brand of mic.

Yup, moving a mic a few inches can totally change the character of recorded hihats for instance form very trashy to crisp to sounding like trash can lids.

Quote (clavastudio @ May 04 2005,19:39)
SP-C1 on kick
SM57 on snare
SP-B3 in omni as an overhead

This was mentioned a while back when I brought up this topic.
I’m kinda nervous about putting my C1 in front of a kick drum… Can the large diagphram really handle the pressure? Maybe if it was like three feet back from the kick…

As for my GAS… heh… I’ve got it pretty bad the past few months:

MOTU 828 MKII
8-channel recording snake
Soundcraft Spirit FX-16 (used)
7200RPM 60G HD for my laptop
Schecter Bass (BTW, this thing almost plays itself, only $500 new)
Misc other junk…


…So I don’t mind going for a couple of extra mics - mainly something decent for the kick, and a pair of overheads that will also serve well to record acoustic guitar. I had a pair of Oktava’s once and didn’t like how they sounded on guitar…
Quote (Tom Hicks @ May 05 2005,08:15)
I had been micing the OHs pretty wide so I did an X-Y configuration with the capsules almost touching and that sounds cool also. The overheads will give you the main sound of the kit, and then blend in the close mics to taste for punch and presence.

For the record, I am using a 57 on the kick, Sennheiser E604 clones on snare and toms and Behringer ECM8000 omni "reference" condensor mics for overheads.

Ever think about one of these for X-Y'ing the overheads:

Twin Mic Mount


So are you saying that the famous "Tom Hicks Drum Samples" were done with an SM-57 on the kick?

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For the record, I am using a 57 on the kick


Hall + Oates, “Sarah Smile”, the whole kit was done with 57’s. I’ve never had much luck with a 57 on the kick though. I’ve got an ATM25 that I quite like for kick, although I plan on trying my NT1 out about 3-5 feet away from the kick sometime…

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I’m kinda nervous about putting my C1 in front of a kick drum… Can the large diagphram really handle the pressure? Maybe if it was like three feet back from the kick…


My first call engineer has been favoring an MXL 2001 on the kick lately, and he gets a great sound with it. Right up on the thing too. If you use a vented resonant head, don’t put the capsule in front of it, that’s all. (The vented head is great for the speaker kick mic, however…another super cheap solution you might want to investigate). I’ve even put ribbons on a kick, though you do need to be a bit more careful with placement with a ribbon.

Obviously, don’t do anything you’re nervous about, but as you learn your mic’s, you’ll probably find that they’re more robust than you may think. I always seem to run into mic pre input distortion long before I hear capsule distortion…

Here’s the first question: what do you want the durms to sound like? A LD C back 3 feet from the kick will sound quite different than one inside the drum, or one right on the beater. Placement really makes the difference, in my short but enthusiastic experience. :)

I know clava and Tom H and others have tons more experience that I do on this, but I will offer this obvious piece of advice: good sounding drums in a decent room - that’s most of the battle.

And I do like my rode nt5 mics for overheads. :) But what Clava said is totally on - it is really a good idea to start minimally. I can’t believe how hard drums are. Right now I am totally satisfied with an sm57 on snare set up in a very traditional way, and cheap superlux PRA-218 LD dynamic on kick (front head off, mic pretty close to the head inside the drum), and the two rodes overhead. Gonna get a better kick mic, but for what I want this setup is totally satisfactory.

Although having heard you music I would bet you would want what you get with mics on everything - big round full sounding close-miked toms in particular. ???

I have used different varieties of big diaphragm condensor mics on the kick, I have an NT1 and a V67, with no problems with the SPLs.

The “tunnel” gives an interesting sound, where you use sofa cushions to make a tunnel extending out from the kick drum and place the mic at the end of the tunnel. The idea is that really low (and long) wavelengths needs all that room to “bloom”.

Another cool way to mic a kick is to mic the shell from the inside, about an inch or two away from the shell there is supposed to be a pressure wave you can tap into.

Experiment!

[quote=TomS,May 05 2005,10:08][/quote]
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Here’s the first question: what do you want the durms to sound like?


I don’t know yet, but I’ll know it when I hear it. :laugh:



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I will offer this obvious piece of advice: good sounding drums in a decent room - that’s most of the battle.


Therein lies the challenge… I haven’t seen the “room” yet. I think we’re going to do the drums in someone’s garage. Supposedly the guy has his garage insulated, but we’ll see. I’m thinking that a trashy garage sound might not be so bad this time around, as opposed to the sterile perfection of sequenced drums. ??? In fact, I’m thinking that this project will be done in several different locations… The garage for the drums, wherever the lead player can set up his amp, possibly my girlfriend’s mother’s baby-grand in the hardwood floor living room… (still have to talk to that piano player…) I figure that in the end, this could sound really neat, or like total trash. Go for the gusto, eh?

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Although having heard you music I would bet you would want what you get with mics on everything - big round full sounding close-miked toms in particular. ???


Well… tracks are cheap; may as well mic everything when tracking. In the end I may wind up only using three tracks for the drums if that’s what sounds right… I guess.

:cool:


BTW - I just ordered the Studio Projects C4 matched pair. They’re on sale. That should be enough to get me going. I’m going to try the C1 on the kick and see how it sounds.

Now comes the really hard part… I need to finish writing two songs and re-arrange two others… then the drummer needs to learn how to play all 11-12 of them.

:O

Yes, it’d be interesting to hear your music sort of “trashed up.”

A garage… almost as bad as my basement, I’d bet. :)

those C4 mics look very, very nice.

Recording in a crappy room?

Try a boundry mic or PZM. You WILL be amazed how good that sounds.

Quote (Tom Hicks @ May 05 2005,11:05)
Recording in a crappy room?

Try a boundry mic or PZM. You WILL be amazed how good that sounds.

You're talking about those little flat thingys... How do you use them? What is the purpose?
:cool:
Quote (John @ May 05 2005,11:58)
Quote (Tom Hicks @ May 05 2005,11:05)
Recording in a crappy room?

Try a boundry mic or PZM. You WILL be amazed how good that sounds.

You're talking about those little flat thingys... How do you use them? What is the purpose?
:cool:

Boundry mics isolate a little condensor mic in a little box that only allows sound to enter from a single direction, eliminating echoes, standing waves etc.

Even a room with crappy acoustics is more or less bypassed for the direct signal.