SDC Overheads advice
Old 17th July 2008
  #1
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SDC Overheads advice

I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I'm debating about revising my mic cabinet as far as SDC's are concerned, and am having a hard time making a decision.

I have a matched pair of Neumann KM184's. I've only used them on a handful of projects, but I haven't done anything yet where they've really just made me go WOW!. I'm starting to think that maybe they just aren't what I'm looking for in overhead mics.

In the past I have used SM-81's and gotten some very usable results. The A-T ATM450's have also come very highly recommended on this site. I'm also curious about the Avant CK-1, as I have read a very favorable review on them. Finally, I have become a fan of 414's as overheads, so a possibility is a pair of these second hand, or a pair of the new 214, if they seem to be of comparable quality.

I'm just not sure what to do. Should I keep the 184's. Should I sell them and use the money to invest in another pair of mics, and if so, which ones? Right now I am ignoring the other various sources they can be used on and focusing on drum overheads, as this would be my primary application for them.

What do you guys think?
Old 17th July 2008
  #2
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I just bought a BeyerDynamic MC930 matched pair and sold my KM-184s because, like you, they just weren't good enough at anything to get much use.

The MC930s aren't here yet. I hope they are better than the 184s. At least they are cheaper!
Old 17th July 2008
  #3
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what drum sound are you looking for?

What are your favorite drum recordings in relation to the sound you hope to achieve?

I've also been looking for new overheads, and after reviewing my music collection and doing some research, I realized that most of my favorite drum sounds use large diaphragm condensers as the overheads. Can you give examples of what you're looking for?

-Jaguar
Old 17th July 2008
  #4
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I really like the KM184 on acoustic guitars but for drum overheads I find it a bit too bright and aggressive. I use AKG 414's for drum overheads.
Old 17th July 2008
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God, that's a tough one. I can quantify the sound in my head, but as far as actual recordings, I'll have to take a quick look through my music library to find some examples. One that imediately comes to mind though is the latest Lenny Kravitz album, especially the song Love Love Love. I'll be back in a few minutes with a few other examples.
Old 17th July 2008
  #6
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I'm a big fan of the 184's personally, but not everyone is. Maybe try different stereo miking techniques. My best results with the 184's as overheads weren't with "standard" OH placement; usually they were placed front right and rear (behind the drummer) left.

414s are killer as well, but way different.
Old 17th July 2008
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbc459 View Post
I'm a big fan of the 184's personally, but not everyone is. Maybe try different stereo miking techniques. My best results with the 184's as overheads weren't with "standard" OH placement; usually they were placed front right and rear (behind the drummer) left.

414s are killer as well, but way different.
Yeah, I've mostly just used them as XY and ORTF. Haven't tried setting em up recorderman style or any other non-traditional ways.


As far as the Lenny recordings, I have a feeling that it was 414's. If anyone knows a good source of how this album was recorded, I'd be forever greatful, haha.
Old 17th July 2008
  #8
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For overheads I love the ATM450. They work real well for me and I've had almost no complaints from anybody trying out a pair in their own place.

However for an all purpose SDC pair I would highly recommend checking out the Oktava MK-012 or sE Electronics SE3. Those mics excel way past their asking price and do more things better (I consider the ATM450 more of a drum & overhead mic).

n/a

War
Old 17th July 2008
  #9
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I just did a drum session in my room with a producer friend (and fellow gs'er) who came in from LA. he was lucky enough to score a pair of km84s which I believe were never used and still shrink wrapped.. they are consecutive serials as well.

he's been raving about them for the months he's had them, and I was finally able to take them for a spin to hear with my own ears.

I should mention also that I purchased a pair of avedis MA5's for this session (thanks tony and avedis!) to use as the pres for the mics which we were gonna throw on drum overheads.

in a nutshell, these mics (combined with the pres) were absolutely stunning! we literally threw them up, plugged them into the MA5's, and that was it.. the best drum OH sound I've heard... the high end was just gorgeous. I should add that we had a tremendous drummer, and my room is treated quite well, and the MA5's are wonderful. but nonetheless, I've used a lot of different mics in that room and I can say that nothing has come close to what I heard. (they were also mind numbing on acoustics - also combined with an MA5).

I've used km184s as overheads and hated them.. nothing about the km84s reminded me of the 184s. something annoying about the high end in the 184's whereas the 84's were singing.

if you have the dough, find a pair and buy them.. if not, maybe look into the mercenary edition (I believe km69s)... from what I hear they are close cousins.

just my 2 cents.. I'm only pissed now because I have to find a pair for myself.

oto
Old 17th July 2008
  #10
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Other recordings that impress me with the drum sounds and specifically cymbals:

David Gilmour's latest album On An Island, especially the song "This Heaven"
Coldplay - Parachutes "Everything's Not Lost"

And on the more aggressive side of things:

Godsmack - Awake
anything off Incubus's Make Yourself and Morning View albums
Trivium - Ascendancy
Old 17th July 2008
  #11
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i've been using and really loving the km69 mercenary
Old 17th July 2008
  #12
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hey numrologst, have you used km84's before?

I would consider the mercenary km69's if any users of both out there agree they sound quite similar.

thanks.

otz
Old 17th July 2008
  #13
SRS
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Gonna have to throw a vote in for Josephson C42... Being as no one has mentioned this fine OH mic.
Old 17th July 2008
  #14
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Right now I think I am leaning towards the C214 or SM-81. The Mercenary KM69's look nice, but are a bit over my budget. Thanks for the sound clips Warren. I'm a bit torn on the ATM450's. I listened to the clips but I can't really decide if I do or do not care for them. The SE and Oktavas sound great though, to my ears. I'm listening right now to a project I recorded with 81's and am loving the cymbals, so I think things are leading me in that direction.
Old 17th July 2008
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TocaLaGuitara View Post
Right now I think I am leaning towards the C214 or SM-81. The Mercenary KM69's look nice, but are a bit over my budget. Thanks for the sound clips Warren. I'm a bit torn on the ATM450's. I listened to the clips but I can't really decide if I do or do not care for them. The SE and Oktavas sound great though, to my ears. I'm listening right now to a project I recorded with 81's and am loving the cymbals, so I think things are leading me in that direction.
Are you using close mics on the toms? I used 81's for years with good results but I do not mic toms. Using a 4 mic set up gives a good balanced sound of the kit. All the stuff I use is low end and the room is pretty dead because as of yet I am to lazy to treat it properly. The drums are tuned well though. I generally set them up in some sort of variation of recroderman or spaced pair. Recently I have put a pair of Rode tube LDC's up and I am pleased with them as well. The pre you use will also effect the tone greatly.
Old 18th July 2008
  #16
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coldplay parachutes

Here's some info on Coldplay's Parachutes:


Ken Nelson's fondness for classic recording techniques leads him to place great emphasis on proper mic placement. He explains some of the techniques used on Coldplay's album: "I tend to use quite a lot of mics on drums, although we may just use the overheads and a bass drum mic in the mix. But I'm the kind of person who'll try to cover every eventuality. I'll mic toms top and bottom, for example — obviously this causes you more problems with phase and the phase relationship between the mics, but with a little bit of time and a patient drummer, it works. For snares, it'll be an SM57 top and bottom. They have some little Sennheiser mics at Parr Street that you can actually clip on to the drum, which are handy. I can't remember the model number, but they're quite good for, say, underneath the snare drum. On hi-hats I'll use a Sennheiser 451, or we have Neumann KM84s here, which I like. Generally I'll use AKG C414s over the kit, or Neumann U87s, depending on what's around, and AKG D12 or D112, or Neumann U47 on bass drum. For toms I tend to use Sennheiser 421s, top and bottom if I've got them, and if I've got a room like the big one at Parr Street I'll have a couple of room mics — U87s, or I like B&K omnis. Also, here they have Beyerdynamic pressure-zone mics — big wooden boxes. They're really good, you just put them on the floor. "I don't like the sound of DI'd acoustic guitar. I'll usually use KM84s, again, or a U87. They're all good mics, it's just a case of placing them. What I tend to do sometimes is have something like a KM84 cardioid mic, and I'll have say a 414 set on figure-of-eight as a room mic, that way you get a bit of the room sound.

I'm pretty sure he meant to say AKG451 for hihat. Sounds like you may need to get both some KM84's and 414's!!
By the way, some interesting similarities between that and AC/DC's Back In Black (from Tony Platt, engineer):
--------------------------------------------------------
O.K. - the details about the recording of B in B are quite widely documented but the basics are.

I do have various preferred microphones but will always vary my choices to suit the room and the particular instruments.

The drums mics were O/H - U87 or U67, Snr top - KM86, Snr under - Shure SM57, Toms - Shure SM7, Kick - U47, Hats AKG 414 or 451.

Gtrs - 1 x U87 & 1 x U67 on each

Bass - AKG D12 & DI

Room U87

Vocals U87
------------------------------------

So there's some info to go on. FWIW, for something like Incubus' "Make Yourself", it sounds like they're doing that thing where the overheads are almost exclusively used for cymbals on the chorus. On the verses, it sounds like kick and snare close mics with a close mic'd hihat often moved off to the side. On "Morning View" it sounds like they've got more room mics to work with, especially like on the toms for "Wish You Were Here". On Coldplay's Parachutes it sounds like a lot more full kit from the overheads. Just two different approaches to using overheads - I tend to think that the choice of overheads has much bigger impact in the second approach.

-Jaguar
Old 18th July 2008
  #17
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warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TocaLaGuitara View Post
Right now I think I am leaning towards the C214 or SM-81. The Mercenary KM69's look nice, but are a bit over my budget. Thanks for the sound clips Warren. I'm a bit torn on the ATM450's. I listened to the clips but I can't really decide if I do or do not care for them. The SE and Oktavas sound great though, to my ears. I'm listening right now to a project I recorded with 81's and am loving the cymbals, so I think things are leading me in that direction.
The ATM450 have a presence and punch to them that shines through without EQ etc. That is why I dig them, fairly low over the kit they are one of the few mics I am satisfied without using close mics except kick.

War
Old 19th July 2008
  #18
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The KM84 is not as bright as the 184 and I like it a lot on overheads. Got mine cheap for almost nothing .
Claus
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