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3 options for new Drum Overheads
Old 30th September 2008
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

3 options for new Drum Overheads

I'm tired of how harsh and brittle my drum OH's sound using the AT4040 or AT4033, and am looking for an alternate. I have narrowed my search to 3 options. Please help me decide. Keep in mind sound quality (most important), price vs performance, future value/devalue, etc.

Option 1: AKG 414's. Had a chance to demo these on a record I just did. I liked them. They sound a lot smoother than the AT's to my ears. Gives a good overall picture of the kit without sounding harsh. My cost on a pair: $1550.

Option 2: Neumann u87ai. I have one, I'd be purchasing another to use as stereo OH. I used these as OH's on a project years ago but forget how they sounded. My cost: $2150

Option 3: KEL HM-1. Has anyone A/B'd these cool little mic's with the 414 or u87? I'd be curious to hear how they compare. I have one of these mics now, and would be purchasing another to use for drum OH. Have NOT heard these used as OH. Although I do occasionally throw my hm1 up on a floor tom and I enjoy how it sounds. My cost: $175



Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for replies!
Old 30th September 2008
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I haven't got any experience with the U87 on overheads, but the HM-1 is my favourite of the two remaining. But then again, I cannot stand the C414 (any version) on overheads while you seem to like it, so maybe my taste is too far from yours to be of any help. I think the C414 is harsh and not pleasing, while the HM-1 is smooth and full. It picks up a full kit beautifully.

Listen here. That's a pair of HM-1 as overheads and nothing else (except a bit of compression and EQ). (The hihat is a 12" and a bit aggressive sounding)

In fact the HM-1 is my favourite OH mic of all mics I know, except for the Sennheiser MKH8040.

Last edited by Dog Boots; 1st October 2008 at 08:08 AM.. Reason: EDIT: spelling
Old 30th September 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Greg Curtis's Avatar
 

Why not try a pair of ribbons? 4038s...

I'd just use the 414s and get on with it! Lots of great, great recording used them.

U87s are cool, and it's nice to have a pair, anyway.

Don't know anything about the KEL, sry.

Let us know what you choose to do and how it sounds.

Greg

.
Old 30th September 2008
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Shure SM 81's
not sexy but they work

I am very interested in trying the gefell's 295's or 296's
got a good feeling about them
a bit more than your budget but thought I would mention
Old 1st October 2008
  #5
Gear Nut
 
radicalron's Avatar
 

Over Head

I would say the AKG 414uls is the smoothest of the bunch. U87's have a bit of High Freq Rise that may bring out the harshness you are trying to reduce.
I would also take a close look at your Mic Pre's. Couldnt hurt to try some different pre's on those Overheads.
Ceiling? Is your Ceiling acoustically treated? A Hard flat ceiling will not help in capturing that killer drum sound.
Old 1st October 2008
  #6
Here for the gear
 

I like 414s as overheads personally. I like to use a u87 as a mono room mic actually. I don't know if this is common but I put it in front of the kit (right in the center) maybe about 10 feet back at ear level and every time i've done it it just makes my drums sound better

Someone mentioned Coles though and I've heard 4038s as overheads before and they rocked so maybe look into them as well
Old 1st October 2008
  #7
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thermos's Avatar
Sorry for the esoteric response. But having used KSM 32s for years, and recorded with Beyer MC 930s, 67s, 87s, Schoeps, Km84s, Km 54s, 414 I am super happy with these Elation KM 201s I bought. Super smooth and detailed (without any trace of hype). Not using a smidge of eq on the ohs on the current project I'm mixing.
Old 1st October 2008
  #8
451s are pretty fool-proof, and useful in a lotta other applications. Plus they ain't too expensive.

Me, personally, I really like tube mics; the Blue Bottles are one of my favorites for OHs. I also like Manley Golds (I'm spoiled, I knowheh). I've had good luck with some other mics, too, but they seem to be hit-or-miss depending on the drummer/room/genre. Those include:

- Neumann KM184s
- Gefell M300s
- Audix SCX-25s

Fool-proof, non-tube mics for me include:

- Royer 122s
- Neumann TLM170s
- AKG 414s (the old, silver ones from the 70s with the brass capsules)

If you can find a pair of Calrecs, those are pretty kick-ass. But they're hard to come by.
Old 1st October 2008
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Deuce 225's Avatar
 

Drum OH's

FWIW - we have recently been tracking with a Royer SF12 into an NPNG pre for OH's with very good results. Depending on what pre's you have, (the ribbon mics seem to perform better with higher ohm pres), for about the same money as an 87, you could get the stereo Royer SF12 and use one of your existing LDC mics positioned in front of the kit wherever it sounds best in your room.

Prior to this we were using two Telefunken M16II's into BAE 1073's for OH's. It sounded OK but the cymbals and highhat sounded kinda "crispy". With a little eq, the SF12 smoothed out the cymbals and highhat.

Best
Tim

"I love the smell of solder and tubes in the morning"
Old 1st October 2008
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

definitely thought a lot about ribbons as well, although my room as it stands is not the best room. its treated, but has parallel walls and some weird reflections. no ceiling treatment as of now, although that would be an easy fix. tried once but couldnt figure out how to mount the 703 to the ceiling! that would probably help a lot for something like a 4038. thoughts?
Old 1st October 2008
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce 225 View Post
FWIW - we have recently been tracking with a Royer SF12 into an NPNG pre for OH's with very good results. Depending on what pre's you have, (the ribbon mics seem to perform better with higher ohm pres), for about the same money as an 87, you could get the stereo Royer SF12 and use one of your existing LDC mics positioned in front of the kit wherever it sounds best in your room.

Prior to this we were using two Telefunken M16II's into BAE 1073's for OH's. It sounded OK but the cymbals and highhat sounded kinda "crispy". With a little eq, the SF12 smoothed out the cymbals and highhat.

Best
Tim

"I love the smell of solder and tubes in the morning"
Man oh man...I gotta make one or two more purchases this year to keep my tax issues in line (now THAT'S a great problem to have, right?!?heh), and the SF-12 is very high on my list.

I gotta talk to my local gear pimp about demoing one of those for the next month or two. How are they on guitars? What other sources do you find yourself aiming it at?

Jeez oh man, that SF-12 has got me all hot 'n bothered. I love 121s in XY on OHs...mmmm....
Old 1st October 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 
turk sanchez's Avatar
You might want to consider Beyer mc930's...I LOVE these on overheads. Not at all harsh...they sound fantastic.
Old 1st October 2008
  #13
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by waffle waitress View Post
You might want to consider Beyer mc930's...I LOVE these on overheads. Not at all harsh...they sound fantastic.
Yeah, they are great. The Elations are better though. (Smoother).
Old 1st October 2008
  #14
Lives for gear
 
seaneldon's Avatar
 

Royer SF12 is one of the easiest stereo overhead sounds you'll ever get. Point the logo badge where the drummer is hitting the snare drum, and pan left and right. Good to the point of hilarity. The R122V is as close to perfect as you can get for an overhead mic, though two of them can get pricey. I don't know why a stereo version of this mic doesn't exist.

If there isn't an SF12 available or I want to be able to tweak the stereo image with mic placement, a pair of AEA R84's a few feet in front of the kit and under the cymbals is a force to be reckoned with. NPNG is my personal favorite pre here, but this will work with any good mic pre. Get them wide, pointing in at the kick drum. Move the mics around until the kick drum lands in the middle of a hard L/R image and get on with your life. Cymbals will seem rich instead of harsh, drums will have great natural ring. The R88 will do a similar job centered on the kick drum, 4ish feet out.

The Josephson C720 is a recent discovery of mine for capturing an entire drumkit. You might not be able to get one anymore (they were limited to 20 units) but if you ever come across one, put it somewhere in the general vicinity of the drumkit and get your balance/width by mixing the front and back capsules.

I'll use cardioid small diaphragm condensers if I'm using a lot of close mics and a pair of room mics. These mics become more for focus of image rather than straight up L/R pickup of the drums.

A LOT of mics will work for drum overheads. The right pair for YOU is another story...one that can only be written by you.
Old 1st October 2008
  #15
Gear Head
 

HM1's

Hey Dog Boots, that clip of yours sounds really good. I like the mic's. How did you position the mics and what EQ/Comp edits did you make. Gees if my drums ever sounded as close as that I would be quite happy.
Cheers
Old 1st October 2008
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Rednose's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by destiny brandon View Post
I'm tired of how harsh and brittle my drum OH's sound using the AT4040 or AT4033, and am looking for an alternate. I have narrowed my search to 3 options. Please help me decide. Keep in mind sound quality (most important), price vs performance, future value/devalue, etc.

Option 1: AKG 414's. Had a chance to demo these on a record I just did. I liked them. They sound a lot smoother than the AT's to my ears. Gives a good overall picture of the kit without sounding harsh. My cost on a pair: $1550.

Option 2: Neumann u87ai. I have one, I'd be purchasing another to use as stereo OH. I used these as OH's on a project years ago but forget how they sounded. My cost: $2150

Option 3: KEL HM-1. Has anyone A/B'd these cool little mic's with the 414 or u87? I'd be curious to hear how they compare. I have one of these mics now, and would be purchasing another to use for drum OH. Have NOT heard these used as OH. Although I do occasionally throw my hm1 up on a floor tom and I enjoy how it sounds. My cost: $175



Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for replies!
Look into the Nueman KM84i's. I too hate harsh overheads and these are darker. There also small diaphram and easy to manuver.
Old 1st October 2008
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Funny how this thread once again became just another "post your personal favourite overhead mic", when the OP asked about specific options...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HA_DA_JA View Post
Hey Dog Boots, that clip of yours sounds really good. I like the mic's. How did you position the mics and what EQ/Comp edits did you make. Gees if my drums ever sounded as close as that I would be quite happy.
Cheers
The mics were position "along the lines" of the famous "Recorderman" technique, though the kickdrum has not been centered, as you can also hear in the clip. This means one mic is directly above the snare 2,5 sticks height up and the other pointing down on the snare over my right shoulder, but not as close to my right ear as it would have been in Recorderman, which is the only problem with the Recorderman to me - the mic gets really close to your head....

I don't recall what was actually done to the sound afterwards - just a little EQ and comp, nothing much!
Old 1st October 2008
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
TTatman's Avatar
 

I've used 87s and 414s and KM84s for OH many times with good results, but right now, Peluso P12s are my favorites by far. They cost a little more than 414s, but a lot less than 87s. My first inclination was to buy another AKG C12 to go with the one we already have, but the idea of putting roughly $18,000 worth of vintage mics anywhere near a pair of flailing drumsticks didn't work for me. So, I went with the P12s and got a C12 style OH sound with mics that aren't quite so precious, and definitely not harsh or brittle.

Catamount Recording
Old 1st October 2008
  #19
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Boots View Post
I haven't got any experience with the U87 on overheads, but the HM-1 is my favourite of the two remaining.

any experience with that mic on acoustic guitar? that clips sounds like more than $189 worth of mic.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 1st October 2008
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Benmrx's Avatar
 

I know it's not on the OP list, but I've got to give another "thumbs up" for the Royer SF-12. It really takes to cymbals nicely. Sometimes I'll throw up an extra hi-hat mic when using the SF-12 to get a little more presence if there's lots of fancy hat work going on.

Slightly OT, but I've also got an ELUX 251 here for a month, and man, that thing is nothing short of amazing as a mono room mic
Old 1st October 2008
  #21
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Man oh man...I gotta make one or two more purchases this year to keep my tax issues in line (now THAT'S a great problem to have, right?!?heh), and the SF-12 is very high on my list.

I gotta talk to my local gear pimp about demoing one of those for the next month or two. How are they on guitars? What other sources do you find yourself aiming it at?

Jeez oh man, that SF-12 has got me all hot 'n bothered. I love 121s in XY on OHs...mmmm....
Dude you need an SF12 pronto. It is seriously the easiest, most stress-free, best imaging overhead mic I've had the pleasure of using. Setup is a breeze. I always put mine at eyeball height (~6ft. from the floor) directly over the snare drum. Done. I've been tracking with a little high shelf at 5k and a slight dip at 500Hz. It can take heaps of high shelf EQ without ever getting crispy. Cymbals sound smooth and real every time. I go back and forth between using it in MS and in XY. Both produce excellent imaging and to switch from one to the other is just a matter of rotating the mic 45 degrees.

The SF12 is also divine on any kind of brass instrument like trumpet or trombone. Keep in mind you can use it as a mono mic too (just ignore one side). I use mine almost religiously to mic any and all violins, cellos, choral groups. It's also killer on classical guitar or a singer/songwriter type that is playing acoustic guitar and singing. If you place the mic horizontally you can rotate it such that one ribbon is aimed at the guitar and the other is aimed at the singer's mouth. The two signals will have absolute phase coherency and mono compatibility and you will have incredible rejection due to the figure 8 pattern. Easy cheesey.

Get one...NOW!

Brad
Old 1st October 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
No secret that I'm a huge gear snob, however, to anybody on a budget, I could not more highly recommend the Chameleon TS1 tube condensers on OHs. I was super impressed when I tried them for my article. They are only $539 MSRP each, as well.

I'd chose them over any current 414 or any version U87 for OHs.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #23
Lives for gear
 

I really don't get the dislike for 414s here. If it sounds bad using one - you are doing something wrong.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #24
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Check out this shootout I did.

Drum Mic Madness!!!!

Most of the mics you mentioned along with many others were used. It ought to give you an idea of what you like. Two of my faves were the Gefell M71S's and the Cascade X-15 stereo ribbon. (Although I'd like to upgrade it with Lundhals.)
Old 2nd October 2008
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
No secret that I'm a huge gear snob, however, to anybody on a budget, I could not more highly recommend the Chameleon TS1 tube condensers on OHs. I was super impressed when I tried them for my article. They are only $539 MSRP each, as well.

I'd chose them over any current 414 or any version U87 for OHs.
really? i have a pair of these and have used them on OH and disliked them. they do sound great on acoustic guitar though.
Old 2nd October 2008
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Boots View Post
I haven't got any experience with the U87 on overheads, but the HM-1 is my favourite of the two remaining. But then again, I cannot stand the C414 (any version) on overheads while you seem to like it, so maybe my taste is too far from yours to be of any help. I think the C414 is harsh and not pleasing, while the HM-1 is smooth and full. It picks up a full kit beautifully.

Listen here. That's a pair of HM-1 as overheads and nothing else (except a bit of compression and EQ). (The hihat is a 12" and a bit aggressive sounding)

In fact the HM-1 is my favourite OH mic of all mics I know, except for the Sennheiser MKH8040.
do you have any more clips of these as OH's? i'm doing a lot of rock with lots of heavy crashes and would love to hear a clip where the drummer is playing more cymbals. that way i'd be able to compare better for what they'd actually be doing.

this clip did sound nice. cant believe how big the toms sounded in it. thanks for posting!
Old 2nd October 2008
  #27
Lives for gear
 
matskull's Avatar
 

I'd be interested to hear some more of those as well!
They seem to sound very good, myabe they're not mind blowing but at first listen there's nothing wrong with them at all.
I don't have any overhead for now and I got lots of things to take care of right now so at that price that'd be nice.
Old 3rd October 2008
  #28
Gear Nut
 
RobbyPowell's Avatar
 

Always Royer, always perfect!
Old 3rd October 2008
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theSoundFactory View Post
Always Royer, always perfect!
another vote for the royer huh? stereo mic for you or two 121s?
Old 3rd October 2008
  #30
Gear Nut
 
RobbyPowell's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by destiny brandon View Post
another vote for the royer huh? stereo mic for you or two 121s?
I use two 121's.. but I will get the SF24 very very (very) soon!
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