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Glyn Johns method for drums Condenser Microphones
Old 10th October 2010
  #1
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Glyn Johns method for drums

Hi all,

I have been reading quite a lof about Glyn Johns method for tracking drums lately.

But there's one thing I'm not quite sure:

If one uses the Glyn Johns method, is that above-the-snare mic 40" straight above the snare pointing at the bass drum pedal or is it actually straight above the bass drum pedal & 40" from the snare center? Or is it straight above the snare but pointing at the bass drum pedal?

I made a picture of the mics.

http://www.student.oulu.fi/~salmivil/glyn-johns.png

Which is the right way to place that overhead mic (1., 2. or 3.)?

Some instructions seem to say that (1.) the mic should be straight above the snare & pointing at the snare, some say that (2.) the mic should be straight above the snare & pointing at the bass drum pedal, and some that (3.) the mic should be straight over the bass drum pedal but 40" from the snare center.

Thanks a lot!

(I'm going to try this method for the first time the next month. I'm going to use 2 x Neve Portico 5012 preamps, and 2 x Beyerdynamic M 260 ribbons for the overheads, 1 x Shure SM57 for the snare and 1 x AKG D112 for the kick.)
Old 10th October 2010
  #2
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evangelista's Avatar
 

The important thing is that the "overhead" mics are equidistant from the snare. Doesn't have to be exactly 40", as long as the distance is the same for both mics.

There is some leeway/differing opinions on exact placement, but I've done all the permutations you suggest. It takes only a few minutes to experiment with the placement, just choose the one that sounds best to you.
Old 10th October 2010
  #3
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I'll leave the technical expertise to others, tho I've seen it about 40" directly above the snare, and the other mic exactly the same distance from the snare but over the floor Tom/ ride cymbal.
But, non-technically speaking, the Glyn Johns only works if you have a really good drummer who can balance his kit, in my experience. Those ain't so common...
It's way cool when you do!

Good luck!
Sean
Old 10th October 2010
  #4
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bigbone's Avatar
 

This is how the mic should be place for the Glyn Johns drums set-up....
Attached Thumbnails
Glyn Johns method for drums-image-9957a7fa8a9211d8.jpg  
Old 10th October 2010
  #5
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Thanks all for your replies.

I think I'm probably going to try all the mentioned variations.

(But further replies are welcome in any case!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfurry View Post
But, non-technically speaking, the Glyn Johns only works if you have a really good drummer who can balance his kit, in my experience. Those ain't so common...
It's way cool when you do!

Good luck!
Sean
Cheers! Yes, I suppose I've a very, very good drummer.
Old 10th October 2010
  #6
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andychamp's Avatar
Personally, still taking the snare as a reference point, I like to place the top mic above the rack tom(s).
There's always enough snare and floortom, but the rack toms often got short-changed when aiming that mic at the snare.
Old 10th October 2010
  #7
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
Personally, still taking the snare as a reference point, I like to place the top mic above the rack tom(s).
There's always enough snare and floortom, but the rack toms often got short-changed when aiming that mic at the snare.
Do you then point the mic at the rack tom or at the bass drum pedal? (It's been said on a lot of places that the bass drum pedal is a good place to aim at, that's why I'm asking.)
Old 10th October 2010
  #8
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bigbone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
Do you then point the mic at the rack tom or at the bass drum pedal? (It's been said on a lot of places that the bass drum pedal is a good place to aim at, that's why I'm asking.)

Both mic should point the snare to start with, then you listen and adjust to taste.........
Old 10th October 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
Cheers! Yes, I suppose I've a very, very good drummer.
Aha! Perhaps the engineer is stepping onto the throne himself! Very good...
Old 10th October 2010
  #10
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
Do you then point the mic at the rack tom or at the bass drum pedal? (It's been said on a lot of places that the bass drum pedal is a good place to aim at, that's why I'm asking.)
The mic is right above the rack tom and aimed at it, so there is no line-of-sight between the mic and the BD pedal.

With the Glynn Johns setup, he BD usually gets its own mic, which CAN be placed on the beater side of the drum, if that's the sound you're going for.
Just make sure both top and side mics are equidistant from the snare.
This premise alone will give you plenty of options to place them.

The BD beater only becomes a factor when using the "recorderman" setup, which requires both mics to be equidistant from BOTH the snare AND the bass drum, but OTOH, doesn't require a separate BD mic.
Old 10th October 2010
  #11
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hey,
i personally dont like to have the snare in the center of my stereo image. will this work just as good when using the kick as a center reference?
Old 11th October 2010
  #12
{-}
Here for the gear
Just fudge around with it. Have some fun, learn some things. Screw measuring distances -listen w/yer eaaarz.
Old 11th October 2010
  #13
This link provides the best explanation of the setup, but there's no way to verify if Glyn Johns had anything to do with it.

I've also tried thsi technique with good success.
Old 11th October 2010
  #14
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfurry View Post
Aha! Perhaps the engineer is stepping onto the throne himself! Very good...
Hahaa, fortunately that's not the case - it'd be a disaster with my drumming skills!

He's the drummer I was talking:

Old 11th October 2010
  #15
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CB_Photo View Post
This link provides the best explanation of the setup, but there's no way to verify if Glyn Johns had anything to do with it.

I've also tried thsi technique with good success.
Yeah, that's the one I've been reading.

"Overhead 1
: in front of the drummer, 36-40” above the snare, pointing directly downwards at the bass drum pedal between the bass drum-mounted toms."

It seems that the mic is then straight above the bass drum - as it's pointing directly downwards, right?

***

Actually, when I look at the images, it seems that the case is probably the case 2. in my first message (the mic is straight above the snare but aiming at the bass drum pedal).
Old 11th October 2010
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
Yeah, that's the one I've been reading.
"Overhead 1[/SIZE][FONT=&quot][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2]: in front of the drummer, 36-40” above the snare, pointing directly downwards at the bass drum pedal between the bass drum-mounted toms."

It seems that the mic is then straight above the bass drum - as it's pointing directly downwards, right?
When I've used this method (less than a dozen times), I placed the left-most overhead directly at the snare, about 34" high. I then used string (as shown in the Recorderman video to locate the position of the right-most mic. My aim was to get a good balance between the floor tom and right-hand cymbals, with more emphasis on the tom. To me, using the string to assure phase between the snare, kick & mics is crucial.

The shorter the initial distance from the snare to the mic above it, makes for a cozy placement of the right-hand mic, almost too close to the drummer. But the closer the mic position give a better sound, and reduce the sound of the room.

Your best bet is to experiment with mic position to get a sound you like.
Old 11th October 2010
  #17
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CB_Photo View Post
When I've used this method (less than a dozen times), I placed the left-most overhead directly at the snare, about 34" high. I then used string (as shown in the Recorderman video to locate the position of the right-most mic. My aim was to get a good balance between the floor tom and right-hand cymbals, with more emphasis on the tom. To me, using the string to assure phase between the snare, kick & mics is crucial.

The shorter the initial distance from the snare to the mic above it, makes for a cozy placement of the right-hand mic, almost too close to the drummer. But the closer the mic position give a better sound, and reduce the sound of the room.

Your best bet is to experiment with mic position to get a sound you like.
Thanks for the advice!

I will use that kind of string to assure phase.

Would you like to send me a sample or two of your recordings with the Glyn Johns method? I'd be very interested in hearing what kind of sounds you've gotten. :-)
Old 11th October 2010
  #18
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dave gross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
Personally, still taking the snare as a reference point, I like to place the top mic above the rack tom(s).
There's always enough snare and floortom, but the rack toms often got short-changed when aiming that mic at the snare.
I find the complete opposite, especially when using big ribbons as OH's. The rack tom usually jumps out...sounds great though!
Old 11th October 2010
  #19
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Lumin One's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbone View Post
This is how the mic should be place for the Glyn Johns drums set-up....

is that a cmv563 on kick? i asked a few days ago if anyone used that mic like i do on kick and didnt get a response. i personally dig it a lot.
Old 11th October 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumin One View Post
is that a cmv563 on kick? i asked a few days ago if anyone used that mic like i do on kick and didnt get a response. i personally dig it a lot.
I can't answer about the mic, it's not my set-up. It came from J.J. Blair set-up
Old 11th October 2010
  #21
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Mark D.'s Avatar
 

This is going to be a great thread to follow.
Old 11th October 2010
  #22
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nobtwiddler's Avatar
On a light rock project.

A recent 3 mic set up....Once again using my buddies Gretsch set.
1 - Coles 4038 above & behind drummers right shoulder.
1 - Coles 4038 on the kick
1 - EV 630 mic under the snare

All recorded with my portable rig, using Helios type 69 pre's > SH Optograph Comps > summed into one channel using the API 8220A.
Very cool!
Absolutely amazing sounds..
Attached Thumbnails
Glyn Johns method for drums-drums-32.jpg   Glyn Johns method for drums-rac-2-1.jpg  
Old 12th October 2010
  #23
Gear Head
 

When I use this set up I tend to use the "three stick" rule. Place the top OH and Floor tom mics exactly three drum sticks away from center of snare drum... I don't like fumbling around for a tape measure while setting up As stated before I think the important thing is that they are equal distant from snare.
Old 12th October 2010
  #24
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Zep Dude's Avatar
 

-3 mics on a kit really locks you in to a sound
-Having the snare perfectly in phase between the mics really locks you into a sound.

Make sure you want that sound.


I've tried phase locking various mics to the snare -overheads, near rooms etc, and I never like it. Try turning those mics up to get more ambience and air around the kit and all you get is that snare.
Old 12th October 2010
  #25
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
-3 mics on a kit really locks you in to a sound
-Having the snare perfectly in phase between the mics really locks you into a sound.

Make sure you want that sound.


I've tried phase locking various mics to the snare -overheads, near rooms etc, and I never like it. Try turning those mics up to get more ambience and air around the kit and all you get is that snare.
Have you tried aiming at the toms as adviced above? Is that still too snare-centric sound?
Old 12th October 2010
  #26
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herrvlad's Avatar
 

By the way, it'd be absolutely fantastic if you could post some audio examples of the Glyn Johns method. If it's not too much a bother!

(And this is aimed at everyone who's used the method.)
Old 12th October 2010
  #27
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Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by herrvlad View Post
Have you tried aiming at the toms as adviced above? Is that still too snare-centric sound?
One of the mics aimed at the hi tom, the other at the snare angled towards the hi hat a bit.

I'm referring to the recorderman method here.
Old 12th October 2010
  #28
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Kris's Avatar
Here's a track from several years back using this method. http://www.logcabinmusic.com/audio/HumanPaperNew.mp3

The only hard 'rule' for this technique (IMO and which has already been mentioned) is you must have a GREAT drummer (and a decent sounding room). If you have that you're set. (p.s. The guy on this track is now the drummer for this band: Soulphonics & Ruby Velle - Element Records | Atlanta, GA USA )

I can't imagine Glyn Johns pulling out a tape measure and measuring exactly 40" everytime he miced up a kit or sweating whether the mic was pointed precisely at the snare or bass drum pedal. Consider allowing your ear to guide you in determining those fine details.

I used km184s up top and an at4047 in front of the main bass drum with a sm57 on the second bass drum for this track.

(p.s. just listened to this track for the first time in ages... the reason that the snare leans to the left in the beginning of the second section is because he was using two snares... one set up off to the left of the hihat...)
Old 12th October 2010
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris View Post
I can't imagine Glyn Johns pulling out a tape measure and measuring exactly 40" everytime he miced up a kit or sweating whether the mic was pointed precisely at the snare or bass drum pedal.
Old 12th October 2010
  #30
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris View Post
(...)I can't imagine Glyn Johns pulling out a tape measure and measuring exactly 40" everytime he miced up a kit or sweating whether the mic was pointed precisely at the snare or bass drum pedal(...)
His "method" only happened by accident, anyway.
Read the George Massenburg interview in "the mixing engineer's handbook".
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