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Drum Micing for a Baker/Bonham/Mitchell Sound
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Codey42091
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31st August 2010
Old 31st August 2010
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Drum Micing for a Baker/Bonham/Mitchell Sound

Hey guys, I'm a drummer and I am recording very soon.

I am part of a classic rock era/blues band, and I need a very raw John Bonham, Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell sound to my drums. You guys know how Jimi and Zeppelin sounded in studio, that's what i am looking for.

I have a DW Custom Maple kit, with a 24" Kick, 12", 14", 16", and 18" toms, A DW 5x14" maple snare, along with my Ludwig Supraphonic 6.5x14." My cymbals are a Paiste 2002 setup, 15" hats, 16" and 18" crashes, and a 24" ride.

The sound I am looking for needs to be very open, as with that eras recording. Not necessarily clean, but clean enough.

Ideally, and realistically, what would be the best mics for all of the drums, and overhead to attempt to reach that sound? Money is no worry, and your help is much appreciated. Thanks
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31st August 2010
Old 31st August 2010
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Find a big room to record in....

Tune the drums well and don't over-damp them



-tINY

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31st August 2010
Old 31st August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codey42091 View Post
Hey guys, I'm a drummer and I am recording very soon.

I am part of a classic rock era/blues band, and I need a very raw John Bonham, Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell sound to my drums. You guys know how Jimi and Zeppelin sounded in studio, that's what i am looking for.

I have a DW Custom Maple kit, with a 24" Kick, 12", 14", 16", and 18" toms, A DW 5x14" maple snare, along with my Ludwig Supraphonic 6.5x14." My cymbals are a Paiste 2002 setup, 15" hats, 16" and 18" crashes, and a 24" ride.

The sound I am looking for needs to be very open, as with that eras recording. Not necessarily clean, but clean enough.

Ideally, and realistically, what would be the best mics for all of the drums, and overhead to attempt to reach that sound? Money is no worry, and your help is much appreciated. Thanks

Big room. Minimal mics. Drums tuned up a bit higher and wide open
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31st August 2010
Old 31st August 2010
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big room for sure. you might want to try a modified glyn johns mic technique.
i like 414's.
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31st August 2010
Old 31st August 2010
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bonham? minimal mics. i believe it was an akg d20 on kick, a u67 near the floor tom and another u67 overhead. Of course there were the big rooms and the oversize kit with 16 x 26 kick drum.

the real sound is made by the drummer. fewer mics there are, the more unaltered the balance of that sound is. i'm sure bonham will sound like bonham on a toy drum kit.

BUT: John Bonham, Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell were all different sounding drummers... even their recorded sounds were all quite different from each other... So...
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31st August 2010
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drums themselves

First it's the player and will always be the player...but...

Drums were different back then. Today's DW kits with highly engineered sheels, bearing edges, cymbal stands, heads, etc...symathetically vibrate completely different than kits of that era. The way those kits created a timbre above and beyond the individual instrument being struck is how those drummers learned their craft. They had great power. But power is not loudness. These guys were (at least Mitchell and Baker) were inspired by the big band guys and also learned to play without PA system (mic'd drums).

Food for thought at least.
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Codey42091
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1st September 2010
Old 1st September 2010
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Everyone I know, and I feel as, say I sound most like Mitch when i play. Intricate fills meshed into a solid backbeat and jazzy feel. I just want a sound of that era. I know that the drums are different obviously, its been almost 50 years. Same with micing. But i want to replicate that era sound in our recording as opposed to the crisp clear drums you hear today.
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1st September 2010
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Great. If that's your sound. most any solid engineer is going to capture that! Acoustically keep hard surfaces away from sides and front of kit (at least 8' per side minimum) and it's not a bad thing to have a hard surface behind your back. Of course, this is assuming you have options. If you don't have these options, keep your ears open and chat with the engineer. Also, have two or three reference tracks on hand.
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1st September 2010
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a good start would be same sizes of drums that your favorite drummer use, same heads and cymbals (at least brandwise). If you also play in his style, with minimal mics you are IMO 90% there
Codey42091
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1st September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey Hedback View Post
Great. If that's your sound. most any solid engineer is going to capture that! Acoustically keep hard surfaces away from sides and front of kit (at least 8' per side minimum) and it's not a bad thing to have a hard surface behind your back. Of course, this is assuming you have options. If you don't have these options, keep your ears open and chat with the engineer. Also, have two or three reference tracks on hand.
Hey I really like what you're telling me, I appreciate it. Yeah I'm working on getting a giant room. Just me and the kit? Or should I throw some extra carpet or furniture in there? When the Levee Breaks is always a good choice for reference, as is White Room, and how open Mitch plays with brushes on Up from the Skies, and House is Burning Down. Thats what I'm looking for.
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2nd September 2010
Old 2nd September 2010
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I think its cool that you're doing all this research. Good for you.

If money isn't an object, I'd spring for an old Ludwig kit as close to the spec of the sound you're trying to emulate. I see alot of those kits come up on craigslist around me and sometimes with decent prices.

Makes me pine for that yellow vistalite Ludwig set I used to look at in the music store window when I was about 5!

Good luck!
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2nd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
Big room. Minimal mics. Drums tuned up a bit higher and wide open
Right, can hear that higher pitch on Mitchell's snare, plus the action is better too IMHO, being a part time drummer..kinda...
Love all three of those guys...
Was just listening to Mitchell the other day...
Bill Bruford liked his snare opened..

No doubt the snare plays a big part in this..But tuning is at the top of the list IMHO..
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Codey42091
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2nd September 2010
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Hey thanks guys. I definitely plan on picking up a vintage Ludwig set, but I would almost be too scared to play it haha. I like all the tips guys keep them coming.
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3rd September 2010
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Someone mentioned the Ludwig Acrolite, tuned up well these can really sound good and add to your "Choice's" with out a lot of $$..
Some snares are really $$$..would still love to own several..
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3rd September 2010
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To me, an Acrolite seems like a waste of money, and here are my reasons. I have played on one before, and I hated the feel AND sound that it produced. As amazing as it looks, it just didn't have it for me. Plus, with the tendency to crack, especially when tuned high, I don't see why I would buy one. I might though eventually, not necessarily to play, but to have.

Snares are always expensive, well the nice ones. I have a black beauty and a brass supra and really they are so subtle in differences that I can't make up my mind of which I like more. They both have their positives, and difference that set them apart. No matter how low you tune the heads, they are thee most sensitive you will ever find.

As for serious micing, does anyone have any ideas? Sennheiser 421's, 441's, Rodes, Audix, Shure???
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3rd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codey42091 View Post
To me, an Acrolite seems like a waste of money, and here are my reasons. I have played on one before, and I hated the feel AND sound that it produced. As amazing as it looks, it just didn't have it for me. Plus, with the tendency to crack, especially when tuned high, I don't see why I would buy one. I might though eventually, not necessarily to play, but to have.

Snares are always expensive, well the nice ones. I have a black beauty and a brass supra and really they are so subtle in differences that I can't make up my mind of which I like more. They both have their positives, and difference that set them apart. No matter how low you tune the heads, they are thee most sensitive you will ever find.

As for serious micing, does anyone have any ideas? Sennheiser 421's, 441's, Rodes, Audix, Shure???
I have played a few Acrolites, sounded good to me..Tuning is a big thing..

Mic's? Depends...
421's would be at the bottom of the list for me Mainly because of $$, size/positioning is a pain.
Audix D2 and D4 are nice on toms, Kick..D6, D112, RE20...
Snare; sm57, I5, M201..
OH's; SD condenser, Ribbons...PZM's..
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3rd September 2010
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Oh yeah I'm sure it is. They are loud and nice I am sure, but since they weren't mine I probably couldn't get what I wanted. Damn metal players.

(For the record this metal player never used it. But for some reason had it, since Bonham was his idol. Although he played nothing like him)
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7th September 2010
Old 7th September 2010
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kik, EV868, Stedman N90, RE20 if it's close, you might want to put an LDC in omni, close (1/8th") to the floor about 3 times the distance as the tom mics are from the toms
snare, pointed at the drum from the side, M160 really close
LDC (I would choose Brauner Phantom V in fig 8) a little less than a foot over each tom, if you have 2 rack toms, put just one mic between them, if that bothers some one, use 3 mics, same for 2 floor toms (these will pick up the kik and snare too)
LDCs in omni close to the walls
M 260n for the cymbals and hat (with the LDCs in fig 8, you'll need a little for definition)
Mix as close to mono as possible, leave the sides for the room mics (which you'll probably have to move around to match their sounds)
Think of a line between the center of the snare and the beater of the kik, (extend this line at a 45 degree angle to a corner to get even expanding reflections from the room, the longest line in a quadrangle is from corner to corner) if you have 2 kiks, forget about this and put your back to the corner
whack the shit out of your drums and go light on the cymbals and hat
have a blast
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7th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codey42091 View Post
To me, an Acrolite seems like a waste of money, and here are my reasons. I have played on one before, and I hated the feel AND sound that it produced. As amazing as it looks, it just didn't have it for me. Plus, with the tendency to crack, especially when tuned high, I don't see why I would buy one. I might though eventually, not necessarily to play, but to have.

Snares are always expensive, well the nice ones. I have a black beauty and a brass supra and really they are so subtle in differences that I can't make up my mind of which I like more. They both have their positives, and difference that set them apart. No matter how low you tune the heads, they are thee most sensitive you will ever find.

As for serious micing, does anyone have any ideas? Sennheiser 421's, 441's, Rodes, Audix, Shure???
I am a drummer and gearslut and very obsessed with my perfect drum sound recorded. Having said that, I would suggest you tune both your very nice snares to your taste and then try each one in the room you end up recording in.......and use the one you prefer. As for drums, Ludwigs, Rogers, Slingerland or Gretsch from the 60s or 70s will sound good if well tuned. The room will dictate how big/live they sound. As long as they are well tuned and well played, you should be fine.

I would suggest close miking the kit as well as ambient and room miking. Use the close mics to activate any post-prod comps. & reverbs you may want to use in the mix. I find they are always good to have in case you need them.

Good luck.
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7th September 2010
Old 7th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codey42091 View Post
To me, an Acrolite seems like a waste of money, and here are my reasons. I have played on one before, and I hated the feel AND sound that it produced. As amazing as it looks, it just didn't have it for me. Plus, with the tendency to crack, especially when tuned high, I don't see why I would buy one. I might though eventually, not necessarily to play, but to have.

Snares are always expensive, well the nice ones. I have a black beauty and a brass supra and really they are so subtle in differences that I can't make up my mind of which I like more. They both have their positives, and difference that set them apart. No matter how low you tune the heads, they are thee most sensitive you will ever find.

As for serious micing, does anyone have any ideas? Sennheiser 421's, 441's, Rodes, Audix, Shure???
If you are cracking an acrolite you don't know what your doing. There are a LOT of quality players using acro's and sound great doing so. I must conclude then that there is a flaw in your hypothesis
#21
9th September 2010
Old 9th September 2010
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I've had the hardest go at "tuning" old kits. Shell resonant frequency and optimal skin tension often don't match
Old school trick: slice up some newspaper and put a couple inside the drum, so it rests on the bottom head, and moves around freely (just enough, 2 or 3 pieces ripped to the diameter of the drum), for the top heads, get the sound you want. Crumple up a bunch of dailies to put inside the kik,mutes but does,nt take up much space (the density of blankets or cushion eats up volme and decreases the low freq response.
I ilke the unison theory, there are others who like the bottom head a fifth or an octave up. You can really hear if the top head goes out if you tune the bottom to a fifth (ugly, sounds like a sheep in heat).
The most important thing is that your mics are in phase or complimentary phase with each other. You can check this with out of phase proof (flipping the phase of every mic against a proven in phase mic, and moving it until it has the weakest response, then reflip it) you may have to move some things around, but you'll never be able to compress or EQ your way out of a bad take, in fact it only makes things worse.
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1st July 2013
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Codey ,im pretty much on the same boat as you, im trying to get that 67'-72' witch Mitchell being my main influence, here's some of the things I've done.....

As far as my set goes, I have a tama silver star (birtch) with a 12" rack tom 16" floor and I currently have a spare Ludwig 18" floor tom and my snare is the Ludwig epic(aka the brick)my kick is a 22 x 18 and I got a super Aquarian supper kick 2 and just the generic tama resonant side head..

Normally with these size drums it would be very difficult getting a Mitch kinda sound but what I do is, I use hydraulic heads on both sides of my toms, I have the Aquarian 2 on the top and the Evans on the bottom, I have them tuned low, and both at the same tension, and I've had numerous people come to my studio and just fall in love with the sound of my toms. I'm personally fond of the vintage A on the snare too..

I know you looking for mostly mic placement engineering kind of stuff, but like I saw on an earlier reply, once you have approximately the same set up as say someone like Mitch Mitchell, and play like the dude, your about 90% there..

I'm sure nothing I said wasn't new to you but have you seen some of the rack toms Mitch used, I was looking through a Hendrix book and It looks like the man has like a 18" rack tom then like a 20" floor tom, then another 22" floor tom or some crazy crap.

I'm about to start making a mahogany stave set in the next couple weeks, anyone think that would be good for some proto metal?
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