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Anybody record rock drums using ONLY classic condensers? Condenser Microphones
Old 19th September 2018
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Anybody record rock drums using ONLY classic condensers?

Salutations Slutz,

I am planning to record rock drums at a Canadian recording studio within a few months. The studio I am considering has a pretty stunning collection of vintage microphones, including this far from exhaustive list:

2 AKG C12s
3 Telefunken U47s
2 Neumann U67s
1 Telefunken U67
2 Neumann M49s
1 Telefunken ELA M 250
6 Neumann U87s
8 Neumann KM 84s

All vintage, no reissues, copycats or clones. Just simply a bunch of specimens of the greatest mics ever made.

In recent years, I have moved more firmly into the camp of fewer mics is better when recording a rock drum kit. I think I can achieve a competitive sound now with no more than 8 microphones, and that's including 2 tom mics that are gated most of the time in the mix. Really I can probably get the core of my sound with 6 mics.

At a studio with this kind of mic locker, and using a relatively low mic count in my technique, I would be able to mic EVERYTHING on the kit with an all-time classic condenser.. So my questions is:

Has anybody ever tried this? Anybody do a similar kind of session, going for rock drums, and using ONLY condensers, no dynamics as would be typical on kicks, snares, toms?

The studio also has access to all the classic dynamic mics, but seeing the locker I couldn't help but wonder what going ALL top shelf condensers on a drum kit would come out sounding like.

Also, if you were inclined to try this, and you were limited to 8 mics, what would you choose, and where would you put them on the kit?

Assume the paramater also of recording to 2" 16 track, through all Neve 1084 pres which are also available at this studio.


-MM
Old 19th September 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 

nice collection!

...so why not use it? - however, after 35 years of recording and mixing both in studios and live (and doing broadcasts), i can't really see the point of using any condenser mics on toms: imo it's acoustically a pretty boring instrument and - unless the drummer is into some kind of ginger-baker-style of playing - there is usually not much focus on toms anyway.

cymbal bleed into tom mics also is reduced by using dynamic mics.
regarding the km84's, they are getting a lot of love but for the wrong reasons: the only thing 'superior' to the km184's is the somewhat more smooth hf behaviour.
finally, don't use gates but expanders!

i have to admit that with this mic collection i might be tempted to go for an all vintage condenser setup on drums (except snare) and use a somewhat enhanced gj setup (l/C/r plus kick and snare): have been using something like this previously (u67/4011/u67 + u47fet and md441). swap mics and add room mics to taste...
Old 19th September 2018
  #3
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i had 2 neumann u67s which i used for overheads on many occasions whilst experimenting with that concept.

i ended up dropping that theory, and found Km84s better up there for me.

i like the hyper cardioid aspect to pencils, over LDCs for overheads, because you can zero in more on what you want, by small positional changes.

i found LDCs up top, too much like room mics, in that everything goes in.

u47 as a kik mic has been well tried and tested. i have a U47-fet and that can work on kick. some engineers use a dynamic up close and a U47 further away for kick. seperate tracks to tape, and its usually either/or in the mix due to phase.

i still have a genuine old U87 which i have never used a s a snare mic, but hey, why not, if your not afraid of repair costs if it gets wacked by the drummer.

i have used Akg-414s on snare, but for jazz not rock, but a 414 would be fine there if you don't need hypercardoid. watch out how much hats get into the LDC if its on snare though, especially if you add hi frequency Eq to tape. and compression will bring up the hat level. thats why many still use dynamics on snare and if its got to be a condenser then personally i would use a pencil.

i have seen guys use U67s on toms, but as deedeeyeah says cymbal spill will be amped up.
if you transfer from 2 inch to DAW it won't be such an issue as you can deal with it from there.
i once saw 5 U67s on toms, on a kit at the SSL studio in Gosford, owned by the INXS bass player.

i would use the U87s as room mics, and i have done so many times. they are honest in that role.

anyway just make sure the kits top notch, well tuned. and it will all be obvious at the soundcheck. you have lots of options.

and my last thought is run at 30ips. i have done countless sessions to 2 inch at 30, and back in the day only composed kick and snare to tape.

the rest can all just go in uncompressed, and at 30 the dynamics are improved to my ear, and the hi frequency as well.

some gearslutz technican, tried to tell me i was wrong about that, but my ears have always agreed upon 30ips.

Buddha
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Old 19th September 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i had 2 neumann u67s which i used for overheads on many occasions whilst experimenting with that concept.

i ended up dropping that theory, and found Km84s better up there for me.

i like the hyper cardioid aspect to pencils, over LDCs for overheads, because you can zero in more on what you want, by small positional changes.

i found LDCs up top, too much like room mics, in that everything goes in.

u47 as a kik mic has been well tried and tested. i have a U47-fet and that can work on kick. some engineers use a dynamic up close and a U47 further away for kick. seperate tracks to tape, and its usually either/or in the mix due to phase.

i still have a genuine old U87 which i have never used a s a snare mic, but hey, why not, if your not afraid of repair costs if it gets wacked by the drummer.

i have used Akg-414s on snare, but for jazz not rock, but a 414 would be fine there if you don't need hypercardoid. watch out how much hats get into the LDC if its on snare though, especially if you add hi frequency Eq to tape. and compression will bring up the hat level. thats why many still use dynamics on snare and if its got to be a condenser then personally i would use a pencil.

i have seen guys use U67s on toms, but as deedeeyeah says cymbal spill will be amped up.
if you transfer from 2 inch to DAW it won't be such an issue as you can deal with it from there.
i once saw 5 U67s on toms, on a kit at the SSL studio in Gosford, owned by the INXS bass player.

i would use the U87s as room mics, and i have done so many times. they are honest in that role.

anyway just make sure the kits top notch, well tuned. and it will all be obvious at the soundcheck. you have lots of options.

and my last thought is run at 30ips. i have done countless sessions to 2 inch at 30, and back in the day only composed kick and snare to tape.

the rest can all just go in uncompressed, and at 30 the dynamics are improved to my ear, and the hi frequency as well.

some gearslutz technican, tried to tell me i was wrong about that, but my ears have always agreed upon 30ips.

Buddha
you are addressing several myths... - keep using what sounds right!
Old 19th September 2018
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Pick your mics based on the specific role it will play, not whether it is LDC or vintage. I would assume that a studio with that type of collection also comes with a person or two that has tried different mics on different sources, and can give you some pointers on what will work best for the particular sound you are trying to achieve.
Old 19th September 2018
  #6
I agree with the last two posts.
No one is going to care what mikes you use, so long as the drums sound good in the context of the recording.
I've had great results with U67's for overheads. KM84 on hi-hat, sometimes on snare. U87 on toms and for the room. fet47 in front of kick.
If it were me I'd be using a mix of condensers, ribbons and dynamics.
Old 19th September 2018
  #7
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Salutations Slutz,

I am planning to record rock drums at a Canadian recording studio within a few months. The studio I am considering has a pretty stunning collection of vintage microphones, including this far from exhaustive list:

2 AKG C12s
3 Telefunken U47s
2 Neumann U67s
1 Telefunken U67
2 Neumann M49s
1 Telefunken ELA M 250
6 Neumann U87s
8 Neumann KM 84s

All vintage, no reissues, copycats or clones. Just simply a bunch of specimens of the greatest mics ever made.

In recent years, I have moved more firmly into the camp of fewer mics is better when recording a rock drum kit. I think I can achieve a competitive sound now with no more than 8 microphones, and that's including 2 tom mics that are gated most of the time in the mix. Really I can probably get the core of my sound with 6 mics.

At a studio with this kind of mic locker, and using a relatively low mic count in my technique, I would be able to mic EVERYTHING on the kit with an all-time classic condenser.. So my questions is:

Has anybody ever tried this? Anybody do a similar kind of session, going for rock drums, and using ONLY condensers, no dynamics as would be typical on kicks, snares, toms?

The studio also has access to all the classic dynamic mics, but seeing the locker I couldn't help but wonder what going ALL top shelf condensers on a drum kit would come out sounding like.

Also, if you were inclined to try this, and you were limited to 8 mics, what would you choose, and where would you put them on the kit?

Assume the paramater also of recording to 2" 16 track, through all Neve 1084 pres which are also available at this studio.


-MM
Need a 57 and couple 421 for rock drums imo lol.
Old 19th September 2018
  #8
7+1
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7+1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
nice collection!

...so why not use it? - however, after 35 years of recording and mixing both in studios and live (and doing broadcasts), i can't really see the point of using any condenser mics on toms: imo it's acoustically a pretty boring instrument and - unless the drummer is into some kind of ginger-baker-style of playing - there is usually not much focus on toms anyway.

cymbal bleed into tom mics also is reduced by using dynamic mics.
regarding the km84's, they are getting a lot of love but for the wrong reasons: the only thing 'superior' to the km184's is the somewhat more smooth hf behaviour.
finally, don't use gates but expanders!

i have to admit that with this mic collection i might be tempted to go for an all vintage condenser setup on drums (except snare) and use a somewhat enhanced gj setup (l/C/r plus kick and snare): have been using something like this previously (u67/4011/u67 + u47fet and md441). swap mics and add room mics to taste...
id use condensors on the Toms. They are the soul to the drum set..
Old 19th September 2018
  #9
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

It's disingenuous to say I "do" this...I've done this. Once.

But it was a totally kick-ass drum sound! The only reason I don't do it regularly is A) most of the studios I've worked at don't have enough classic condensers to mic up a full kit; and B) a not-insignificant number of the drummers I've recorded shouldn't be trusted near classic condensers.

But iirc it was:
- KM84 on snare top & hihat
- C451EB x2 for overheads
- U-87 on all 3 toms
- U-67 on kick

(I may have also stuck an MD421U on that kick, can't remember, it was a long time ago.)
Old 19th September 2018
  #10
Gear Nut
 

What is your usual 6 or 8 mic method - where do you place them? And maybe define what you mean by (paraphrasing) "competitive rock sound."

U87's on toms are nice. KM84 on snare. KM84 on high hat and/or ride, if you mic it/them. U47 FET on kick is one of the standards for good reason.

The big question is overheads, and you'll get very different sounds from U67's vs C12's, for example. I think there was just a thread where someone was making this decision, so maybe check that out. I kind of like using brighter, like C12's, on the overheads and then something more aggressive/mid-range, like a U67, as FOK (Front Of Kit, not specifically kick). So the sides are bright and clear, and the center is more forward and pushed.
Or, if you're the type that prefers SDC's on overheads, then KM84's.

U47's on room could be nice, but so could others, depending on the room and what you want from it.

Thread asking about U67 vs C12 for overheads: which would you choose for OH's?

Last edited by dirker; 19th September 2018 at 10:42 PM.. Reason: adding link omitted originally
Old 19th September 2018
  #11
I’ve never had a good snare sound using a KM84 when the snare is hit hard.
Old 19th September 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 

max. spl for km 84 is 130db
max. spl for km184 is 138db

self noise for km 84 is 17dbA
self noise for km184 is 13dbA

frequency response for km 84 is 40-20'000hz
frequency response for km184 is 20-20'000hz

km 84 doesn't take much of a beating,
km184 seems to withstand some abuse better .

what do you guys like so much about the km84 (besides the somewhat more flat hf behaviour)? the way it clips and distorts sound when used on loud sources? or the noise on soft sources?
Old 19th September 2018
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I’ve never had a good snare sound using a KM84 when the snare is hit hard.
It's worked for me with the pad switched in, but, yeah, it's not the best super up-close on the hardest hitters. Even a couple inches further back can make the difference between unusable and good.
Old 19th September 2018
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
max. spl for km 84 is 130db
max. spl for km184 is 138db

self noise for km 84 is 17dbA
self noise for km184 is 13dbA

frequency response for km 84 is 40-20'000hz
frequency response for km184 is 20-20'000hz

km 84 doesn't take much of a beating,
km184 seems to withstand some abuse better .

what do you guys like so much about the km84 (besides the somewhat more flat hf behaviour)? the way it clips and distorts sound when used on loud sources? or the noise on soft sources?
The high-end boost on the KM184 starts in the upper midrange, at something like 4kHz, and the KM184 also starts rolling off the highs a little bit lower than the KM84. And on the lows, the KM 184 starts rolling off at a higher frequency, above 200 Hz vs around 100Hz on the KM84. Basically the KM84 is just smoother and flatter throughout the entire frequency range. The KM184 may arguably be better if you're trying to capture/boost the highs, especially on an incredibly quiet source,but for an all-rounder, the KM84 is better, IMHO.
Old 19th September 2018
  #15
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
max. spl for km 84 is 130db
max. spl for km184 is 138db

self noise for km 84 is 17dbA
self noise for km184 is 13dbA

frequency response for km 84 is 40-20'000hz
frequency response for km184 is 20-20'000hz

km 84 doesn't take much of a beating,
km184 seems to withstand some abuse better .

in my current studio i have moved to the KM-184s.

i use them as my standard drum overheads these days.

i instantly noticed a little more down low when i made the switch.

thanks for the specs. Buddha
Old 20th September 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirker View Post
The high-end boost on the KM184 starts in the upper midrange, at something like 4kHz, and the KM184 also starts rolling off the highs a little bit lower than the KM84. And on the lows, the KM 184 starts rolling off at a higher frequency, above 200 Hz vs around 100Hz on the KM84. Basically the KM84 is just smoother and flatter throughout the entire frequency range. The KM184 may arguably be better if you're trying to capture/boost the highs, especially on an incredibly quiet source,but for an all-rounder, the KM84 is better, IMHO.
hm, i don't fully agree on the frequency response: by just looking at the curves, the km184 seems to start rolling of at a higher frequency but when overlaying the sheets plus comparing by listening and measuring, the km184's reach down noticably lower (a full octave) and i'd say that any potential effects of a slightly steeper slope in the lf attenuation are (more than) made up by the extended bandwith.

i notice more of a difference between km84's while i can hardly even measure any between km184's. also, most any modern sdc's have a slight (or massive) hf boost (not that i really like this!), so by comparison, the km84 sounds somewhat dull. and the funny thing about the difference between the mics is that the characteristics of the newer km184 could have been useful in the days of analog tape and the older km84...

but hey, use what you like! i guess i've used almost every mic i ever got to try also on drums, sometimes (and to my surprise) with great success, sometimes not. finally, i have to admit that i do have a knack for specific mics on bd, sd, hh and oh too; not the km84 though!
Old 20th September 2018
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirker View Post
What is your usual 6 or 8 mic method - where do you place them? And maybe define what you mean by (paraphrasing) "competitive rock sound."

U87's on toms are nice. KM84 on snare. KM84 on high hat and/or ride, if you mic it/them. U47 FET on kick is one of the standards for good reason.

The big question is overheads, and you'll get very different sounds from U67's vs C12's, for example. I think there was just a thread where someone was making this decision, so maybe check that out. I kind of like using brighter, like C12's, on the overheads and then something more aggressive/mid-range, like a U67, as FOK (Front Of Kit, not specifically kick). So the sides are bright and clear, and the center is more forward and pushed.
Or, if you're the type that prefers SDC's on overheads, then KM84's.

U47's on room could be nice, but so could others, depending on the room and what you want from it.

Thread asking about U67 vs C12 for overheads: which would you choose for OH's?
By 'competitive rock sound' I mean:

A kick that punches you in the gut with dense low end and is defined and tight and consistent in its location in the stereo field, not an amorphous blob.

A snare that is also defined and consistent in size in the center of the stereo field and goes 'CRACK!' not 'bonk', and has very little to no ringing/overtones, making it much easier to process/effect (if so desired) yet still sounds good if left dry, and doesn't eat up the center of the stereo field with nasty ring, distracting from the vocal.

Cymbals that are very detailed and crisp, don't wash out the rest of the instruments and don't clang, and hi hats that never overpower any of the drums.

Toms that sound round, and aren't ringing and resonating the whole song despite not being hit very often.


Obviously much of this depends on the drummer and how he has tuned his drums and how he hits them. But in terms of getting things really defined in certain spots in the stereo field, that to me is all down to mic technique.

-MM
Old 20th September 2018
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
nice collection!

cymbal bleed into tom mics also is reduced by using dynamic mics.
regarding the km84's, they are getting a lot of love but for the wrong reasons: the only thing 'superior' to the km184's is the somewhat more smooth hf behaviour.
finally, don't use gates but expanders!

i have to admit that with this mic collection i might be tempted to go for an all vintage condenser setup on drums (except snare) and use a somewhat enhanced gj setup (l/C/r plus kick and snare): have been using something like this previously (u67/4011/u67 + u47fet and md441). swap mics and add room mics to taste...
Ahh of course.. Don't know how I didn't think of something so obvious as to why the all condensers thing doesn't get done too much: too much high end spilling in from the cymbals. Thanks for pointing this out.

Using expanders instead of gates though... Please tell me more.. Why and how?
Old 20th September 2018
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Deuce 225's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Salutations Slutz,

I am planning to record rock drums at a Canadian recording studio within a few months. The studio I am considering has a pretty stunning collection of vintage microphones, including this far from exhaustive list:

2 AKG C12s
3 Telefunken U47s
2 Neumann U67s
1 Telefunken U67
2 Neumann M49s
1 Telefunken ELA M 250
6 Neumann U87s
8 Neumann KM 84s

All vintage, no reissues, copycats or clones. Just simply a bunch of specimens of the greatest mics ever made.

In recent years, I have moved more firmly into the camp of fewer mics is better when recording a rock drum kit. I think I can achieve a competitive sound now with no more than 8 microphones, and that's including 2 tom mics that are gated most of the time in the mix. Really I can probably get the core of my sound with 6 mics.

At a studio with this kind of mic locker, and using a relatively low mic count in my technique, I would be able to mic EVERYTHING on the kit with an all-time classic condenser.. So my questions is:

Has anybody ever tried this? Anybody do a similar kind of session, going for rock drums, and using ONLY condensers, no dynamics as would be typical on kicks, snares, toms?

The studio also has access to all the classic dynamic mics, but seeing the locker I couldn't help but wonder what going ALL top shelf condensers on a drum kit would come out sounding like.

Also, if you were inclined to try this, and you were limited to 8 mics, what would you choose, and where would you put them on the kit?

Assume the paramater also of recording to 2" 16 track, through all Neve 1084 pres which are also available at this studio.


-MM
We are fortunate to have a good selection of vintage mics (very similar to your list) and we frequently use our Neve 8014 to record to 2 inch 16 track tape for our Trace Horse "Live 2 Tape" Video Series. A typical set-up for these sessions is:

O/H Coles 4038's
Tom's Senn 421's
Snare Top - Sony C37 or C38
Snare Bot - AKG 451E
Kick In - AKG D12
Kick Out - Neumann FET47 or Royer 121

You could easily use the C12's for O/H, KM84's on snare, U87's or U67's on toms. If you are truly committed to using only the mics in your list, then I guess you could use the U47 or M49 on kick (though I would never use either). I am sure the well-equipped studio you will be working has great choices for the Kick in/out. Personally I would choose something else more suitable - for example AKG D12E, D20 or D36 or even an EV RE20 for "Kick In" and a FET47 Kick Out.

You really can't go wrong...Neve to decent mics (presumably a good sounding room) to 2 in 16 track. Should sound great. Have fun!
Old 20th September 2018
  #20
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce 225 View Post
Personally I would choose something else more suitable - for example AKG D12E, D20 or D36 or even an EV RE20 for "Kick In" and a FET47 Kick Out.

Should sound great. Have fun!
i agree with all of that. well said.

i have a AKG D12E and the D36 as my standard set up for kick in.

and my U47 for kick out, when i feel like going there.

Buddha
Old 20th September 2018
  #21
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Using expanders instead of gates though... Please tell me more.. Why and how?
expanders are like gates but with adjustable negative gain reduction.

gates are like on/off switches. full signal or zero signal

expanders are still on/off switches but the volume of signal passed in the off position can be regulated negatively and set as required..

so it might be like full signal open, and minus 10db when closed.
or full signal when open, and minus 20 db when closed.

SSLs have expanders and they were often used to lower the noise floor from Tape.

most DAWs have software expanders, and lately i find they work well, so if you transfer the 2 inch to DAW its ok to expand non destructively off the DAW files.

gating to tape is a no no for me.

Buddha
Old 20th September 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Using expanders instead of gates though... Please tell me more.. Why and how?
the thing that bugs me with gates is that they are pretty dumb devices, essentially on/off switches with a 'variable' threshold, but set to a fixed position - which only works ok if you are gating signals with constant volumes: with just very few db's of dynamics, the threshold is always wrong: the one setting doesn't fit all the varying signals and the gate either cuts off way too much or stays open too often. lowering the amount of attenuation doesn't help regarding the threshold either and can even lead to strange effects on signals with strong moduation.

also, most gates imo don't have the hysteresis well implemented: that's essentially a slightly lower threshold at the release compared to the attack of the signal - a feature one cannot adjust on any gate i know (or maybe gml?) but which makes all the difference regarding 'clicking' and double/multiple triggering of the threshold when fed with a signal other than a constant sine wave (so: with all signals we might feed into a gate)!

most digital gates seem to lack this feature entirely (or got it implemented very wrong) while many analog gates simply cannot open up fast enough to let the transients go through and hence kill (some of) the attack. there are few nice exception such as the more sophisticated 2 channel version from rebis/klark (which also can be used to convert to midi!) or from aphex (possibly the fastest analog gate) while thise from drawmer and bss are (almost) usable but ain't special. don't really remember the gates from ssl or calrec. - i could use the gates on my beloved digital studer vista desk as it's got 4 dynamics (lim, comp, exp and gate) in every module, so no need to chose between different dynamic tools (and the gate performs well).

---

you cannot make a gate to behave like an expander but you can make an expander behave like a gate (in every regard but one). some gates are labelled expanders but are not. manufacturers providing just gates but no expanders are copying each others faults imo...

---

an expander works like a compressor but attenuates signal below a threshold, not above a theshold like a compressor does. other than this, they are identical.

(maybe worth mentioning that the ratio setting and the threshold are also kind of 'reversed': to attenuate a tom with an expander, you set the threshold maybe between -45 to -30db and the ratio somewhere between 1,3:1 and 2:1 - more severe settings lead to more attenuation and the expander behaves almost like a gate)

what happens when you feed an expander with varying signals (as we do) is that, regardless of dynamics, it always just attenuates signals but never cuts them off (unless you set the ratio to infinity). also, attack times don't matter much as we're talking about the lower part of the dynamic spectrum which gets affected, not the peaks, so no issues with killing the transients.

with lots of condensers on a busy stage (or on a very large drum kit) you might end up with just too much stage noise/tom ringing when not using any kind of noise suppression - even if a single expander may only reduce level (on quiet moments) by just 3-6db's, if used on dozens of mics, it makes a huge difference!

i'm using expanders daily on multiple and many different sources (so not only drums but even on strings in classical music: i mention this to illustrate how much smoother expanders work compared to gates) while i can only recall very few times that i felt the need for a gate within the last 35 years: if so, it was to trigger samples or to tighten the rhythm guitar or the rhythm section using the side chain input - other than this, gates are a bug, not a feature! what a waste of dsp resources...

---

(sorry for the lengthy post and ok if moved to moan zone)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 20th September 2018 at 08:42 AM.. Reason: slightly edited and typo
Old 20th September 2018
  #23
One of the advantages of Pro Tools is to be able to intelligently lower or cut tom tracks when the toms aren't playing.
Definitely don't have gates on recording!

We use KM84 on hi-hat all the time, sometimes on snare.
I have nothing bad to say about the mic and people love our recordings.
Old 20th September 2018
  #24
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crosscutred's Avatar
I like a U87 on snare.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
By 'competitive rock sound'

Toms that sound round, and aren't ringing and resonating the whole song despite not being hit very often.


Obviously much of this depends on the drummer and how he has tuned his drums and how he hits them. But in terms of getting things really defined in certain spots in the stereo field, that to me is all down to mic technique.

-MM
With this and the price in mind have you considered taking the bottom heads off the toms and micing from there? Can sound awesome and no risk of dead-by- drumstick for the mic and a chain reaction along the lines of drummer-dead-by-engineer.
Old 24th September 2018
  #26
C12's for overheads
67's for toms
47 outside for kick a dynamic would be nice inside or you can the telefunken 67 pointed in the sound hole or on the beater side.
km84 on snare top and bottom. I would do room mics too. M49 for stereo room and an 87 in omni for mono room
Old 24th September 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I’ve never had a good snare sound using a KM84 when the snare is hit hard.
I think Mason's snare was a KM84 for DSOTM, possibly as late as Animals, but that's not really a hard-hitting drum album by any stretch.

I still find that mic positioning (and spending time getting it right) trumps mics all day long. Tuning even more so.

Get a pro drum tech in if you're not comfortable doing so, because you'll remember that sympathetic rack tom ringing all over the tracks much longer than the U87 vs. U67 you went with.
Old 24th September 2018
  #28
Lives for gear
 
balanceman's Avatar
 

unless you have used these mics before, it will slow down your setup time considerably.
I would say go with what you know and use something fancy on overheads.
Also, as a studio owner, there is nothing I hate to see more than a freelance engineer get excited about my most expensive microphones and immediately want to put them inches from a drum!! Hell no!! There are many reasons why a lot of the mics WON'T work on close drums. $$$ is only a small reason but is also a HUGE reason!!
"Sorry the drummer killed your U87. I guess he just hits really hard!"
"I thought your u47 would work great on the kick but it stopped making sound after a few minutes... what? a FET 47? Oh! my bad!"

etc etc

Dynamic mics work so well on close mics. I spent a year or two with 414s on toms and similar, but at what cost? And is it an "improved" sound? in some ways yes and others no....
Old 24th September 2018
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
the thing that bugs me with gates is that they are pretty dumb devices, essentially on/off switches with a 'variable' threshold, but set to a fixed position - which only works ok if you are gating signals with constant volumes: with just very few db's of dynamics, the threshold is always wrong: the one setting doesn't fit all the varying signals and the gate either cuts off way too much or stays open too often. lowering the amount of attenuation doesn't help regarding the threshold either and can even lead to strange effects on signals with strong moduation.

also, most gates imo don't have the hysteresis well implemented: that's essentially a slightly lower threshold at the release compared to the attack of the signal - a feature one cannot adjust on any gate i know (or maybe gml?) but which makes all the difference regarding 'clicking' and double/multiple triggering of the threshold when fed with a signal other than a constant sine wave (so: with all signals we might feed into a gate)!

most digital gates seem to lack this feature entirely (or got it implemented very wrong) while many analog gates simply cannot open up fast enough to let the transients go through and hence kill (some of) the attack. there are few nice exception such as the more sophisticated 2 channel version from rebis/klark (which also can be used to convert to midi!) or from aphex (possibly the fastest analog gate) while thise from drawmer and bss are (almost) usable but ain't special. don't really remember the gates from ssl or calrec. - i could use the gates on my beloved digital studer vista desk as it's got 4 dynamics (lim, comp, exp and gate) in every module, so no need to chose between different dynamic tools (and the gate performs well).

---

you cannot make a gate to behave like an expander but you can make an expander behave like a gate (in every regard but one). some gates are labelled expanders but are not. manufacturers providing just gates but no expanders are copying each others faults imo...

---

an expander works like a compressor but attenuates signal below a threshold, not above a theshold like a compressor does. other than this, they are identical.

(maybe worth mentioning that the ratio setting and the threshold are also kind of 'reversed': to attenuate a tom with an expander, you set the threshold maybe between -45 to -30db and the ratio somewhere between 1,3:1 and 2:1 - more severe settings lead to more attenuation and the expander behaves almost like a gate)

what happens when you feed an expander with varying signals (as we do) is that, regardless of dynamics, it always just attenuates signals but never cuts them off (unless you set the ratio to infinity). also, attack times don't matter much as we're talking about the lower part of the dynamic spectrum which gets affected, not the peaks, so no issues with killing the transients.

with lots of condensers on a busy stage (or on a very large drum kit) you might end up with just too much stage noise/tom ringing when not using any kind of noise suppression - even if a single expander may only reduce level (on quiet moments) by just 3-6db's, if used on dozens of mics, it makes a huge difference!

i'm using expanders daily on multiple and many different sources (so not only drums but even on strings in classical music: i mention this to illustrate how much smoother expanders work compared to gates) while i can only recall very few times that i felt the need for a gate within the last 35 years: if so, it was to trigger samples or to tighten the rhythm guitar or the rhythm section using the side chain input - other than this, gates are a bug, not a feature! what a waste of dsp resources...

---

(sorry for the lengthy post and ok if moved to moan zone)

No, no my friend thank you for this excellent and comprehensive explanation. The idea makes a hell of a lot of sense over gating now. I can't wait to try this out in a few days on my next drum session.

Thanks alot!

-MM
Old 24th September 2018
  #30
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
I'd use em.

C12's or 67's on OH depending on kit and drummer technique
84 on snare top and side of snare (for crack)
47 FET on kick - resonant head
87's on toms
49's in fig8 blumlein for room
84 on HH if you feel you need it and/or depending on song

I'd also have a dynamic inside the kick up near the beater head.
Maybe a dynamic also on the snare head. 545, or M201 or i5.

Last edited by drBill; 24th September 2018 at 09:08 PM..
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