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Suggestions on where to start with underhead mic'ing
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exit143
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#1
14th July 2013
Old 14th July 2013
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Suggestions on where to start with underhead mic'ing

First... I'm not 100% going to do it. I am the audio director at a large church and I want to experiment. I have Audix SCXone cardioid mics that I use for overheads right now. I have them in an XY to prevent volunteers and drummers messing with positioning. I'm happy with the config, but I would like to isolate the cymbals more. I'm not sure if undermic'ing will do this.

Would I need more mics? One for each cymbal? My main goal... like I said... is to isolate and define the cymbals, but I'd also like the cleaner look for our visual friends in the booth.
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14th July 2013
Old 14th July 2013
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Nobody goes home singing the IMAG. But, if you want to appease the video guys, go with under cymbal mic'ing.

As for people messing with stuff, people ALWAYS mess with stuff. Besides, you are working for a church. The more people need you, the longer you will stay around.

Now, your sound is as good as the cymbals, player and room. Nobody can say which technique will help improve your sound. You have to experiment. Find similar churches to yours and research what they are doing.
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15th July 2013
Old 15th July 2013
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We don't do IMAG... it's all for streaming/video venues. Leading my team well will keep me employed.

I've gotten our team trained well enough to not mess with most things. Drummers sometimes bring in their own snares, but they understand that FOH engineer chooses mic position.

We have mid to high level Sabian and Zildjian cymbals... they fit the kit and the room nicely. We have a Tama Starclassic Bubinga kit as the house kit. I'd post a photo, but I can't find one on this computer (new laptop)
exit143
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15th July 2013
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With that said, let me post another clarifying question: Would two mics (3 if we took the SCXone HC from the hi-hat) be enough to cover our brass? (see what I did there?) A typical weekend has the hats, 2 crashes, and a ride. Most of the time, it's a typical setup with a 14" crash above the snare/rack tom, the 19" ride low in the middle, and the bigger 16" crash high over low floor tom.
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15th July 2013
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Why not just give it a go and see how it sounds? Start by pointing them at the stuff you want end away from the stuff you don't want.

Any particular reason you want more isolation?
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15th July 2013
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What kind of a sound are you going for? You said you wanted to isolate the cymbals a bit more. I take it you're trying to get an "in your face" direct drum sound.

Mic choice is key with underhead micing. I've had the best luck with shure beta 98s. The tone isn't the best, but they had a good combination of rejection and pickup. With some eq work they can sound great.

You will need a mic per cymbal. That's kind of the point. You're looking for isolation, and you get it.

Don't point a mic at the middle of a cymbal, it sounds washy. Halfway between the center and the edge gives a better result in my opinion.

I have experimented, but I still prefer overheads. It sounds more natural, and I find that you can actually get a better kit balance with overheads; the drummer still has "a say" over volumes.

Keep in mind with underheads OR overheads, to be mindful of phase relationships with all open mics.
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15th July 2013
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The biggest issue for me with why not to experiment is we are so busy that I'd like to start in the ballpark, rather than try and move and try and move.

As for isolation, our overheads sound great with the entire kit... many cymbal hits fall flat... If you solo the overheads, the kit sounds fantastic... I just want more cymbals.
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15th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
What kind of a sound are you going for? You said you wanted to isolate the cymbals a bit more. I take it you're trying to get an "in your face" direct drum sound.

Mic choice is key with underhead micing. I've had the best luck with shure beta 98s. The tone isn't the best, but they had a good combination of rejection and pickup. With some eq work they can sound great.

You will need a mic per cymbal. That's kind of the point. You're looking for isolation, and you get it.

Don't point a mic at the middle of a cymbal, it sounds washy. Halfway between the center and the edge gives a better result in my opinion.

I have experimented, but I still prefer overheads. It sounds more natural, and I find that you can actually get a better kit balance with overheads; the drummer still has "a say" over volumes.

Keep in mind with underheads OR overheads, to be mindful of phase relationships with all open mics.
Perfect reply... exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. Does anyone else have thoughts/experience?
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15th July 2013
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Question 1... How good is the drummer?

Question 2... Have you tried a bit of compression on the overheads? Fast attack and release, 4:1 compression with about 4 db of reduction on snare hits can really make them come alive.


Maybe, the drummer just needs to hit the brass like he had a pair. Usually it's the opposite, but odder things have happened.
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15th July 2013
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Under-cymbal micing can be fine as long as you're happy with the rest of the kit. You'll probably lose a bit of snare, but if you've got top and btm snare mics you should be able to re-adjust those to make up any loss. Make sure you have 1 mic dedicated to the ride, you shouldn't need to mic every cymbal, just comp it a bit and you should be fine.

The other thing to take into account when switching from over to under is if/when the drummer brings out something like a shaker.
exit143
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16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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For Thumper... 1 - We have a mix of drummers... 3 main drummers. Two are excellent, one is very good. 2 - I have done compression... exactly what you've suggested (I have a fast release, but not super quick... :D

For both Jhana and Thumper... I don't want the snare to come alive more... My snare sounds AMAZING without the overheads. I tune it low, and it has a great tone to it... I am THRILLED with the rest of my kit... which, I think is a reason why I want to highlight the cymbals more.

Thanks for the suggestion on the ride... and GOOD call with the shaker... I didn't even think of that. :/ You all have given me a lot to think about... (And you've reinforced my confidence).

You guys are awesome... thanks so much.
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16th July 2013
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Just curious, how big is your venue? Are you using a drum shield?
The church I'm working at is in an 800 seat auditorium, and even with a drum shield I'm rarely even using the OH mics even with a ~95dB mix. I've been taking one of the OH and using it as an under-ride for the softer parts, but the cymbals are just so flipping loud in that room already
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