The best Mics for recording a complete drum kit
Qronik_dakid
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#1
21st October 2012
Old 21st October 2012
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The best Mics for recording a complete drum kit

What are the possible best mics for recording a live drum kit? I'm looking for hi end mics and the budget will go up to 10k. Thanks for the input


The mics are for use in a professional recording studio
#2
21st October 2012
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I'm no pro at all but considering the styles you usually record and techniques you use, how many do you think you need? 3, 5, 15? This will to some extent dictate your per/mic budget.
I'd figure that out before the snowball of semi-random suggestions starts
Qronik_dakid
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21st October 2012
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Originally Posted by Sanchez View Post
I'm no pro at all but considering the styles you usually record and techniques you use, how many do you think you need? 3, 5, 15? This will to some extent dictate your per/mic budget.
I'd figure that out before the snowball of semi-random suggestions starts

I'm learning the techniques now, I would like to have one mic for each piece of the kit so maybe 12 mics.

The style of music is: Jazz, Pop, Gospel and Rock. Geee Thank you
#4
21st October 2012
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Gentlemen, start your engines.
These folks LOOOOVE spending other people's money
#5
21st October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qronik_dakid View Post
What are the possible best mics for recording a live drum kit? I'm looking for hi end mics and the budget will go up to 10k. Thanks for the input


The mics are for use in a professional recording studio
There are no 'best mics for recording a live drum kit'. What works best will be affected by what sound you are shooting for and what the kit sounds like in the room you are working. What are you shooting for?
#6
21st October 2012
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That seems to be a question whose answers could be all over the map - drum micing approaches can be as different as fingerprints. Some people choose to mic every component of the kit as individual, isolated instruments; while others rely on "zone" micing in an effort to consider the entire kit a single instrument. The "best" mics for the task are really going to depend on the approach that you want to use... and that may be very different from one session/drummer/room to the next.
Is there a specific example you could site that would illustrate your ideal drum sound?
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21st October 2012
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I am going to say that you might want a few different mics for snare. Sennheiser MD421, SM57, and Audix i5 come to mind. Also, spend the most on overhead mics. If you want LDC overheads, AKG C414 XLS mics are good, and Neumann KM184s are good SDC's. For kick, Audix D6, AKG D112, Shure Beta 52A, and Avantone Mondo kick drum microphones are decent. Back on overhead's, you may want tube SDC's. Tube SDCs on Drum Overheads | recording hacks
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21st October 2012
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Telefunken Elam 251's, make sure you get enough to mic both top and bottom snares. And don't get any of that new crap, only vintage mics. And get some spares in case your drummer smacks one.
#9
22nd October 2012
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I am assuming the $10k is the total budget and not $10k a mic. Differemt strokes for different folks but 12 mics on a drum kit might be too many. If you use that many mics so close together you could easily start to have phase problems as some of the mics will not only pick up the specific drum you want but also the drums next to that and then some of the overheads as well. This can easily make the drums sound smaller and not larger. More mics is not always better. You need to experiment but you should start off with 4-5 mics and then listen to the results. Then you can add more mics one at a time, record the drums again and see if adding that additional mic made the things sound better or worse.

As several posts state, there is no right answer for every situation as it depends on the drums, the drummer, the room, the song etc. Jazz, pop, Gospel and rock may require different set ups. For example, people tend to use fewer mics on jazz drums compared to rock. A typical jazz set up might be 2 overheads, 1 snare mic and 1 mic for the kick. The toms may not have a dedicated mic and the overheads will be used to pick up the toms. That may effect your mic choice. For example, if the overheads are going to pick up the toms then you might used something like Neumann U87 mics for overheads because the large diaphram will get more of the "meat" (low and low mids) of the toms than a small diaphram condenser. If you have dedicated tom mics, then you don't need the overheads to pick up the toms and the small diaphram condensers might sound better as they will have less of the low and low mids the large diaphram mic will pick up. Although rock drums tend to use more mics than something like jazz, it's always important to mention some of the greatest rock drums ever recorded (John Bonham, Led Zeppeling "When the Levy Breaks) was actually recorded with only 2 mics on the entire drum kit.

Some industry standards (which may or may not be best for you) would include. Overheads: Neumann U87/U67/U47, Neumann KM84/86/74/64 (maybe even Neumann 184), AKG 414, AKG 451, Shure SM81 + more. Snare: Shure SM57 (maybe 1 or 2 with 2nd one on the bottom with the phase reversed). Hi-hat: Neumann KM84 Toms: Sennheiser 421, Electro Voice RE20, Shure SM57. Kick: Electro Voice RE20, AKG D12, AKG D112, Neumann U47 FET. These are just the first mics that pop into my mind but I am sure I left off lots of standards and other good choices.
#10
22nd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunjji View Post
I am going to say that you might want a few different mics for snare. Sennheiser MD421, SM57, and Audix i5 come to mind. Also, spend the most on overhead mics. If you want LDC overheads, AKG C414 XLS mics are good, and Neumann KM184s are good SDC's. For kick, Audix D6, AKG D112, Shure Beta 52A, and Avantone Mondo kick drum microphones are decent. Back on overhead's, you may want tube SDC's. Tube SDCs on Drum Overheads | recording hacks
There are no "best" microphones for drumkits.

There are "industry standards" or "common options".

eg:

Kick - D12 or D112.

Snare - 57/KM84/Beyer 201

Toms - Sennheiser 421 is by far most common, occasionally U87s/414s/RE20s.

Overheads - no "one size" standard, often LDCs (eg 87s), often SDCs (eg 84s), equally common to use ribbon mics (Coles 4038 is probably the most common, although Royers and AEAs also used a lot).

Rides/Hats - usual to use SDCs eg KM84s.

Rooms - totally individual. Ribbons, LDCs, or PZM mics common.

Bear in mind that the "best" mics will only be as good as the preamps they're running into, and the room and kit they're recording. which will run you a lot more than 10K!

I own a pair of coles, a D12, a pair of KM84s and a few preamps, and that's more than half your 10k budget.
#11
22nd October 2012
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D112 kik, (plus a sub or kik tunnel) 57 snare top and under, 421 or audix for toms 421 being the more money. Akg 414/214 overhead sound great I use a bayer m201 on hats and I swap between the akg's and rode nt1 for a big room sound. But at the end of the day a d112 and a bunch of 57 's with a good player and placed write it will sound great, spending shed loads on Neumans in my view won't make a better sound.
#12
22nd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qronik_dakid View Post
What are the possible best mics for recording a live drum kit? I'm looking for hi end mics and the budget will go up to 10k. Thanks for the input


The mics are for use in a professional recording studio
My typical setup is:
Kick - Shure Beta 52/Beta91 (sometimes D112 if I'm doing metal or a Beyer M88 if I'm doing jazz)
Snare Top - Shure SM57
Snare Bottom - Shure Beta 57
Hat - Shure SM81
Rack toms - Sennheiser MD421's
Floor Toms - EV RE-20's
Overheads - AKG C414EB (these specifically, find on the used market) for large diaphragm or Shure KSM141's for small diaphragm. I also use DPA 4006's if I'm in a great sounding room and I'm just doing a kick, snare, OH thing or a Neumann RSM191 if I just want a single point Mid/Side OH.
Room - Neumann U87 (not U87ai, find on the used market) or Coles 4038
#13
22nd October 2012
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I've Got a smaller budget and bought the AKG rhythm pack for ~$700. any comments on mics? I also bought the shure drum pack with sm57s Im still waiting on shipping
#14
22nd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxxy View Post
I've Got a smaller budget and bought the AKG rhythm pack for ~$700. any comments on mics? I also bought the shure drum pack with sm57s Im still waiting on shipping
Why did you buy two mic sets specified for drums? Anyway, can´t commend on those particular sets, but the D112 is a standard mic for BD, and AKG is a good company, so I guess the D40 for snare and toms would work well.
Same for the Shure-Set, SM57s are THE standard for Snare and will do well on toms, too. And the Beta 52A is a respected BD mic too.

So I guess you can´t go wrong with both sets, except maybe with the overheads. I usually find that the close mics are not as critical as the overheads. You can get away quite well with a lot of decent dynamic mics on snare, tom and kick, no matter if it´s AGK, Shure, Sennheiser, Audix etc.
Overheads can be more tricky, and if the work or not can vary more from situation to situation. I never worked with the AKG C430, so I can´t tell you if they are good allrounders.

I like my Oktava MK-012 a lot for overheads, the work most of the time, and I´ve got a pair of AT 3035 that work well too, if I think I need LDCs.
Still saving for a pair of ribbons to add to my collection.
#15
22nd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qronik_dakid View Post
What are the possible best mics for recording a live drum kit? I'm looking for hi end mics and the budget will go up to 10k. Thanks for the input


The mics are for use in a professional recording studio
I know that feeling, but what your trying to figure out with this threat won't work. It's a long process to find Mics that are great for your individual type of recording. You can't say - hey, a AKGD112 is great for BD, buy one and I'll stick with it. Sure many people use it, but that doesn't mean it is a mic that will fit your style/equipment... I would use the AudixD6 nine times out of ten against the D112, but that's just me...many would prefer the D112.

I guess it's a long process of try and error. Buy a basic setup - the posts above give a good overview. Then you'll have to change some mics, some might stay...but you'll spend a lot of time at your music store/ eBay..;-)

Godspeed;-)
#16
22nd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne View Post

I guess it's a long process of try and error. Buy a basic setup - the posts above give a good overview. Then you'll have to change some mics, some might stay...but you'll spend a lot of time at your music store/ eBay..;-)

Godspeed;-)
Agreed

Try the industry standards, its all going to come down to technique, taste, the room, the player.

Theres a lot you can do with your outboard gear as well .. phase, gain, impendance settings that are going to change things up sonically and help to achieve the sound your going for, as well as mic placement and all the staples. its not just about the mic.
Qronik_dakid
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24th October 2012
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Basically i can buy most of the mics listed here with the 10k, i already have the Neumann a U87, U47, AKG C414's, Sure 57's, 58's, SM81 and Sennheiser MD 441U's. Let's say all i need to do is to buy some few more mics for the kick and start from there and later on i can buy whatever i think is missing.


THANKS THANKS GUYS I REALLY DID APPRECIATE THAT.

One more thing. What are mics placements and tecniques for recording the whole kit with just 2-5 mics?
#18
24th October 2012
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Ok, I got this. Get 90 SM57's and then two SDC for overhead.

Put 3 to 5 57's on each head and cymbal in different locations, then record them all. Now you can "change" and play with your mic positioning in post! :P
#19
24th October 2012
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It's crazy to think that someone would commit $10,000 to purchase something with which they have little familiarity or willingness to research.
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Qronik_dakid
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#20
24th October 2012
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Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
It's crazy to think that someone would commit $10,000 to purchase something with which they have little familiarity or willingness to research.
How do you get familiar to things? You have to try everything you can out then choose to keep whatever works for you in your studio!!!!!
Qronik_dakid
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24th October 2012
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Originally Posted by x_25 View Post
Ok, I got this. Get 90 SM57's and then two SDC for overhead.

Put 3 to 5 57's on each head and cymbal in different locations, then record them all. Now you can "change" and play with your mic positioning in post! :P
Did you just say 90 Sure 57 Mics?
#22
24th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qronik_dakid View Post
What are the possible best mics for recording a live drum kit? I'm looking for hi end mics and the budget will go up to 10k. Thanks for the input


The mics are for use in a professional recording studio
which style?
modern / natural / retro ?
Qronik_dakid
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24th October 2012
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Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
which style?
modern / natural / retro ?
Modern, Natural and Retro!!!!
#24
24th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qronik_dakid View Post
Modern, Natural and Retro!!!!

lol, ok
you need different setups :-)
#25
24th October 2012
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M149 does a good job in that application.
.
.
#26
24th October 2012
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Try this thread:

Pictures Of Mic'ed Up Drum Kits In The Studio

You'll get pictures of how the mics are set up and then the people will list what mics are used for what. You'll notice very quickly that it's more or less the same thing every time.

Pairs of U87s have been used as overheads on every style of music in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and are being used on sessions at this very moment.

As far as the kick, an AKG D112 should be fine. There are all sorts of other options which you can explore later.

Most common snare mic is still an SM57.

Sennheiser MD421 is the standard tom mic. Just put one on each.

Hi-hat is most often a small diaphragm condenser like a Neumann KM184, but often times can be a dynamic like an SM57. More often than not, the hi-hat mic doesn't get used in the mix anyway.

There, you're done.

A much more important factor to the sound is the room in which it's being recorded, the way the kit is treated and tuned, the manner in which the drummer plays it, and the way you mix it and process it.
#27
25th October 2012
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If I could only use one mic to mic a drum kit it would be a AKG 414: older ones. Are there better choices to mic each drum? Sure. Giving the restriction it sounds great on overheads and toms. Snare?... there too. Just set it a little ways from the kick drum and you're good too.

YPM
#28
25th October 2012
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THERE IS NO BEST MIC!!!
For the rest, when recording I usually tend to use:
bassdrum: M88
Snare top: KM140/M201/MD441
Snare Bottom: KM140
Hihat: M201/KM140/C414/
OH's: KM140

Sometimes toms, but not with jazz. I like the m201 and md421 on toms, or C414.

And something nice in the room. A dpa4006 a/b works nice for me, or a ribbon. depends on the room :-)
Han
#29
25th October 2012
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Han
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After using MD421's for many years, I swapped them for Beyer M201's on toms and M88 on floortom. Less bleed and a very nice sound.

Actually one could use only 201's on drums, no joke, on kick, snare, toms and OH and you'll be surprised how that mic sounds.
#30
25th October 2012
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Some of these answers are hilarious. If you are doing jazz, why would you need 90 mics? Most jazz and much gospel has been recorded live to two track, which is the best format for that type of music in my opinion. I would buy a ribbon mic (Coles 4038/4050 or AEA) and a U87 and learn how to track in mono, then stereo and get the whole kit sounding decent and then start worrying about adding additional spot mics.
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