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8th March 2004
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Favorite Drum Overhead technique?

hello everybody,

I'm wondering what techniques people are using for overheads.
personally i always seem to come back to an XY pair just above the drummers head. but then again XY does lose spaciousness when your not sitting at the sweet spot cos of the amplitude stereo (as opposed to time difference stereo (AB)) but i personally can't get AB to work for me. but maybe i'm doing something wrong .... please share your findings.

thanx

Thomas
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9th March 2004
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You should experiment until you get what you want to hear.

I like a close spaced pair of small condensers, only 8-10" apart, a couple feet above the drummers head, angled slightly away from each other, and also towards the cymbals.

Placement depends on the room sound and the ratio of cymbals to toms/snare that you want. Some people use the overheads for the snare sound, others point em right at the cymbals and roll them off below 400hz in the mix. Preference mostly you have to fuukk around to get the sound you want for each room, drummer, kit, etc....

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he cdog,

thanx for your reply, please don't get me wrong , i can get a decent sound when using AB but it's never great. as opposed to XY. i usually use the overheads for the main sound and "fill it in" with some close micing. the amount of "filling in" depends on what style i'm going for.

greetings

thomas
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If you find yourself liking just the sound of the overheads, trying adding a mono room mic, large diaghram condernser, a few feet back and off the floor to capture the sound of the whole kit... add a little compression 1 mic goes a long way.... (don't tell Frank Filipetti)



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what cdog said... also,

I'm very fond of the modified spaced pair aka recorderman technique... one mike directly over the snare pointing down, at bout 2 sticks+ height, and another mike over the drummers right shoulder, pointing at the snare. Both mics spaced equidistantly from the snare center and (if possible) the kick impact center. What I like about this is the image, L/R without being too wide or too narrow.
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9th March 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by heinz
what cdog said... also,

I'm very fond of the modified spaced pair aka recorderman technique... one mike directly over the snare pointing down, at bout 2 sticks+ height, and another mike over the drummers right shoulder, pointing at the snare. Both mics spaced equidistantly from the snare center and (if possible) the kick impact center. What I like about this is the image, L/R without being too wide or too narrow.
a variation on this technique that I like is to have one mic over the rack tom pointed at the snare and the other mic over the floor tom but also pointed a the snare. Carefully measure the distance to the snare for each mic and make it equal. If you play around with it you can also get the mics to be equal in their distance above their respective toms. If you have two rack toms you can set the mic above the space inbetween them.

this method gives you a little more immediacy from toms and still keeps the snare in the center of the stereo image.


(be aware also that two drumsticks in height is NOT enough for some drummers- you may need to move them a little higher than that to keep them out of harm's way
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Two Beyer M160s pointing straight down on the kit. One over the ride/floor/rack side and the other over the snare/hihat/rack side.
Placed as high up as possible.
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Quote:
Originally posted by heinz
what cdog said... also,

I'm very fond of the modified spaced pair aka recorderman technique... one mike directly over the snare pointing down, at bout 2 sticks+ height, and another mike over the drummers right shoulder, pointing at the snare. Both mics spaced equidistantly from the snare center and (if possible) the kick impact center. What I like about this is the image, L/R without being too wide or too narrow.
This has been the only method that I have been using at all. Really fond of results. I think you have to commit to driving your drum sound with the overheads for this to be really effective.
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Lately I've been using two mics at eye level in front of the drumset, pointed 110 degrees away from each other and spaced about 8 inches between capsules. I use this to capture the stereo sound of the cymbals, hat and ride mostly. Results in a rather wide and crisp image every time.... I don't like spaced pair because, unless it's done right, i can always hear a weird phasey sound on the cymbals.
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It depends on the style of music and the spread of the kit. If I want the whole kit I wind up with the Recorderman setup but placed a bit higher otherwise the mic over their right shoulder gets smacked. I've also done a regular spaced pair from time to time but they get used more as cymbal mics then for the whole kit. Sometimes I even use a mono overhead if it's a small kit and the drummer is pretty balanced.
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My favorite is always the one that works best. I start with x/y tweak patterns, a/b them with a spaced pair and if the spaced pair wins i'll roll my Sm-2 on it's side and do an M/S for shits and giggles, sometimes this mic gets moved out front...
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Lately I've been having fun with M-S in a very live room. It's also cool because it doesnt limit you to only matched mics so maybe you can try that U99 or _____ on overheads.
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10th March 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by heinz

... one mike directly over the snare pointing down, at bout 2 sticks+ height, and another mike over the drummers right shoulder, pointing at the snare.
I've been doing this a little differently with the over-the-shoulder mic, which I angle away from the snare so it picks up more of the floor/ride/rack tom(s) and less of the hat/snare/upper rack
tom(s). The close snare mic is usually enough to get the snare sounding centered, so the over-shoulder mic doesn't also have to be aimed at the snare.

I'll also often move the directly-over-snare mic back until it's at the back of the drummer's head (but not behind) and angle it a little up towards the upper rack toms and hat/crash. This gets more of the overall sound of the kit while still keeping the snare in center.

I had cool results with using my usual overhead mics placed 8' out in front of the kit and spaced 12' apart, at about ear level when standing, angled to pick up approximately half the kit from either side. The crashes were very smooth sounding with a long decay and less attack, and the whole kit was well represented, especially the toms, while the snare was relaxed on attack but big and 'boppy' sounding. Combined with the close mics = very nice for the right song.
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i dont like too much wash so often prefer to XY the little josephsons about a foot above the rack tom, roughly parallel with the edge of the kick with the snare offset slightly to one side of the image. (placed within a 1' sphere of options per kit)

then a pair of room ribbons, a side of snare dynamic, and a front of kick condenser (or in kick dynamic).

this position hears the darker body, side tone of the cymbals as well as the attack, plus toms. and the mic's bright curve makes up for being there vs higher overhead.
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This week alone I have done three OH set-ups for my own bands new record. For day one I started with the Recorderman setup with AT Pro37Rs. Room mics were spaced 4050 in Omni. Day two was like the three-mic Tom Dowd/Fletcher etc. A single room mic about three feet from the snare was used, I think it was an Alesis/GT AM52. Tom mics were used on some songs but not on others, snare mic used on all songs for day two. Day three went to a mono 414 b/ULS just higher than my head and slightly beyond my right shoulder aimed slightly at the snare. Room mics were 4050 in M/S with flexible Mylar tubes feeding the sides ala Tchad Blake.
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10th March 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Drumsound
Room mics were 4050 in M/S with flexible Mylar tubes feeding the sides ala Tchad Blake.
Sounds interesting. Got a picture?
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I will have a few. I use an analog camera (surprised?) so I have to finish the roll and have it developed.
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Dude.

Even I have a digital camera.

I just get lazy with taking the pictures off it.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Dude.

Even I have a digital camera.

I just get lazy with taking the pictures off it.
I know, I know....
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Well, there is no one technique that is better than the others.

The approach has to change depending on what the soundscape of the song has to be.

The 3 mic technique(s) is good if you are setting up the mix/recording to be more of a representation of the reality of a band playing.... where you can hear "where" each player is on a soundstage.

I will setup more multi mic techniques stuff when the drums need to accomplish things differently. If there is a "tom riff" you may want to be able to bring that up close. Or maybe you want to have the hi-hihat and kick really upfront and dry, while the rest of the drums sound like they are in a garage. Thinking those things out ahead is what allows you to achieve extra depth and interest. And many times it will inspire the player..... kind of like the difference between playing a clean electric guitar and then switching over to this sweet overdriven electric guitar, you know?

When I setup though, I do the mono over behind the head, but I augment that with a spaced pair. The spacing of the pair would vary, and they could even end up on the sides pointing in.

The over all message of this post is "work out the arrangement ahead of time and it will dictate your choices"... but be open to happy accidents, of course.
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ive started to just spot mic the cymbols(baby blue/147/nt1's/184's) then use a couple of pairs of room mics for ambience. one set not to much further away than overheads, maybe 6 feet away. and the other pair maybe 15 feet away up high. anyone try this?
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my current thing is:
an ev635a above the drummers head, moved to taste
d112-type mic in the kick, pointing at beater
beta 57 under the snare(phase reversed) - although i'm going to try the side of the shell next time
rb500 inside floor tom, gated(no phase reverse required due to weird wiring)
and then i bounce the whole lot to mono, saturate to taste(ie as much as i can get away with usually!). there's no need to use a compressor unless you deliberately want that swimmy pumping sound that you hear on stuff like the beatles 'tomorrow never knows' - real tape saturation sounds better than any compressor i've heard on drums.
it gives a very in-focus, roomy, powerful, late 60s-like drum sound, perfect for vintage-flavoured funk, hard rock, stoner, garage punk, psychedelia, and, with a little less saturation, soft pop, jazz and acoustic stuff. would also be fantastic for breaks-based music like trip-hop. it would be no use for metal, disco, new wave or 80s/90s-style indie whatsoever - you need to use more mics for that kind of thing.
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Ortf for starter. Looks wierd, because you should make as the snare is in the centre line, but sounding the best I've ever heard.

Regards Tamas Dragon

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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
one mic over the rack tom pointed at the snare and the other mic over the floor tom but also pointed a the snare.

I did something very similar to this on a drum session this week with 4033's as OH's with a Mojave MA-200 as a room mic placed about 4 feet back from the kit at drummer's height, and it was pure awesome.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
Two Beyer M160s pointing straight down on the kit. One over the ride/floor/rack side and the other over the snare/hihat/rack side.
Placed as high up as possible.
Agreed. And with good mics, you can still get a good stereo image at this height instead of everything sonding like its coming down the middle.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
Two Beyer M160s pointing straight down on the kit. One over the ride/floor/rack side and the other over the snare/hihat/rack side.
Placed as high up as possible.
Any considerations regarding equal distance to the snare?
Does it even matter after a certain distance?
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I'm really like Recorderman at the moment for a very dry sound with a punch on the drums (as opposed to too much cymbals)
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M/S all the way, baby.
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Originally Posted by ears2thesky View Post
M/S all the way, baby.
I'd love to... I just need to pick up a ribbon or fig-8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog View Post
You should experiment until you get what you want to hear.

I like a close spaced pair of small condensers, only 8-10" apart, a couple feet above the drummers head, angled slightly away from each other, and also towards the cymbals.

Placement depends on the room sound and the ratio of cymbals to toms/snare that you want. Some people use the overheads for the snare sound, others point em right at the cymbals and roll them off below 400hz in the mix. Preference mostly you have to fuukk around to get the sound you want for each room, drummer, kit, etc....

Agree 100%.
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