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Bottom Tom Mics, and comments.
Old 20th April 2006
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Bottom Tom Mics, and comments.

question one: Who here mics the bottom of toms as well as the top? if so, which mics do you like for the bottoms? how do you use them in the mix?

The reason I ask is because I NEVER mic the bottom of toms anymore, the reason for that is because I only have 16 inputs into protools.. so I need to use them sparingly..


extra question :-) ... when I was young, and recording my band in my parents' basement, our drummer didn't have skins on the bottom of his toms.. So what I did to mic them was just stick a mic right inside, usually pointing where the skin meets the shell.. ... WOW... I mean, they really booooomed!! ever since then, I've yet to run into a drummer that doesn't use bottom skins on the toms.. Am I competely alone? I mean, I'm not an idiot, I've worked on platnium selling records etc etc etc.. I know what I hear and everytime I bring it up, people pretty much laugh at me!


discuss :-P
Old 20th April 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
tubejay's Avatar
 

I've only done it a few times as it is such a huge hassle, and every time I did it, or watched others do it, I preferred the sound of one mic.
Old 20th April 2006
  #3
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The only way I've gotten good results was by gating the bottom mike and triggering it off the top.
Old 20th April 2006
  #4
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Apemandan's Avatar
 

I read that Ken Nelson, Coldplay's producer, mics the bottom of toms. I have never had any success with it myself. I prefer to get the bulk of the information from my overheads or room mics and just 'firm up' the sound with a spot on the top skin.
Old 20th April 2006
  #5
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PhilE's Avatar
Yep I do it. I tend to use the Samson clip Qtoms- dont laugh at me here... better than the Senhieser, AKGs etc that I've tried there- I like 421s on top and Q-Toms under for rock n roll.

I have also gone with the single skin thing you mentioned if I cant force what I want from a drum with a dodgy shell or hoop... been a long time since though.
Old 20th April 2006
  #6
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

I have used an RE-20 on the bottom of Floor Toms on occasion to get more bottom end. Tom Allom (ala Judas Priest producer) use to use sm58's ONLY, on the bottom of concert toms (no bottom heads). At least that is the way he did it on an album I played on.

www.bluethumbproductions.com
Old 20th April 2006
  #7
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by-tor's Avatar
 

I have only done it once. I used e609's on the bottom sounded really cool. It added some nice depth. I wanna try a subkick on the bottom of a floor tom.
Old 20th April 2006
  #8
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phelbin's Avatar
 

A mic under the snare adds more of the chain sound. What kind of sound do you get from the bottom of the toms?
Old 20th April 2006
  #9
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phelbin
A mic under the snare adds more of the chain sound. What kind of sound do you get from the bottom of the toms?
More depth of tone. I am a big fan of micing underneath the toms. I started doing it again a few years back. I just mic the top and bottom, buss them together [flip the phase relative to the top mic, obviously], and then blend it to 'tape'. There's still plenty of attack, but there's more body to it. I don't mix in a ton of it with the top mic -- just enough to give it some girth. Then again, i like three mics on the snare...

JP
Old 20th April 2006
  #10
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blackcom's Avatar
 

Top AND Bottom micing demands a better tuned kit. Remember to set the bottom mic a little lower then the top mic in the mix (3/4 of the top mic level).

This method IMO provides bigger toms with less attach and focus and it don't allways fit in too well in a mix.

I've seen lots of engineers using sm57, MD421 or AKG414 for bottom micing.

When I need toms that are simply "moore" I use samples in addition instead of bottom mics.....make shure to tune the samples according to the mic signal and set them a little lower then the mics....
Old 21st April 2006
  #11
I used to be a sceptic, but now I find I like top and underneath mics on the toms.
They do sound bigger. I hate micing under the snare. Mic the side instead.
Old 21st April 2006
  #12
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adamcal's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phelbin
A mic under the snare adds more of the chain sound. What kind of sound do you get from the bottom of the toms?

If the tom has 2 heads, the bottom mic will pick up more of the bottom head, it makes a sound too!!
Old 21st April 2006
  #13
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Lately I've been micing top and bottom of the toms again and love it. Fletcher reminded me of that method when we worked on the King's X drums together during the MOAW. I had done it in the 80s/90s and then kinda forgot about it. We used Josephsons 22s with great results. But 8 Josephsons (for 4 toms) are quite an investment, so I now mostly use SM58s on the top and Sennheiser 504s (now 604s) on the bottom. Since both mics are recorded out of phase it takes out quite a bit of the cymbal bleed as well. I mix them together to one track per tom.
Old 21st April 2006
  #14
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rainsinvelvet's Avatar
When doing a record with Steve Albini last year I was blown away by the number of mics he sets up. TOp and Bottom mics for everything..! I always thought he got his drum sounds using minimal micing, but atleast on this session there had to be like 14 mics on this 4 piece kit. How did it come out sounding?
Total huge drums ala Albini heh
How did the toms sound? HUge. (e22's top and bottom)

After that session I've messed around with it abit myself. I like the results and will do it if the time / sittuation permits..

ERic
Old 21st April 2006
  #15
Gear Addict
 

tuning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainsinvelvet
When doing a record with Steve Albini last year I was blown away by the number of mics he sets up. TOp and Bottom mics for everything..! I always thought he got his drum sounds using minimal micing, but atleast on this session there had to be like 14 mics on this 4 piece kit. How did it come out sounding?
Total huge drums ala Albini heh
How did the toms sound? HUge. (e22's top and bottom)

After that session I've messed around with it abit myself. I like the results and will do it if the time / sittuation permits..

ERic
how do you tune the bottom skin compared to the top? I heard 1/2 step down? is that true?
Old 22nd April 2006
  #16
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rainsinvelvet's Avatar
Sorry, I wasn't involved in tuning or playing the drums on the session. I do know that the drummer was going for the Keith Moon / John Bonham Type tones and get it pretty easy. Kick had a solid front head (no hole).

Anyhow, Sorry I can't comment more on the tom tuning. I usualy tweek em till they sound good heh

ERic
Old 22nd April 2006
  #17
Gear Addict
 
phelbin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab
I hate micing under the snare. Mic the side instead.
Where? And what does it do?
Old 22nd April 2006
  #18
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phelbin
Where? And what does it do?
in my experience it gets the woody slap sound. good job for a small diaphragm condenser. avoid pointing the mic at a hole on the side of the drum, which many drums have.
Old 8th January 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon View Post
in my experience it gets the woody slap sound. good job for a small diaphragm condenser. avoid pointing the mic at a hole on the side of the drum, which many drums have.
I have a Royer R10 there. Sounds great: gets some snare like a bottom mic but more shell/tone, not just rattle.
Old 8th January 2019
  #20
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

THIRTEEN YEAR-OLD THREAD ALERT!!!!!





just sayin'......
Old 8th January 2019
  #21
Top and bottom mics with a y cable and bottom XLR wired out of phase (or with a barrel connector). Goes to one channel. Been doing it for years - almost as many years as this thread is old. Huge!
Old 9th January 2019
  #22
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
personally i dont bottom mic toms.

i have discoverd the less is more principal regarding drum mics.

these days i am down to 8 microphones for most Drum sessions/

Kick, Snare, Hats, 3 toms and 2 overheads.

sometimes i add a room but not often.

Buddha
Old 9th January 2019
  #23
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Why is this thread in "High End" ?
Old 9th January 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead57 View Post
Why is this thread in "High End" ?
'cause ya gotta be high to mic top and bottom toms. Personally I'm all for concert toms making a come back. Bwoooooyuymmmmmannnnggggg!
Old 9th January 2019
  #25
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead57 View Post
Why is this thread in "High End" ?
'cause that's how they did things around here 13 yrs ago...
Old 22nd January 2019
  #26
Here for the gear
I actually prefer to mic the bottom / "resonant head" of the toms only, because that's where the majority of a tom's sound comes from. However, as I'm sure we all know, getting a good clean mix using this method can be difficult depending on the recording situation we're presented...

Because I prefer my kick drum and tom tracks be as clean and distinct as possible, my ideal drum recording setup is one where the drummer has a metal rack to float toms on, and cymbals are mounted on floor stands. IMHO, this option most effectively reduces unwanted rumbling of toms when the kick drum sounds; which in turn yields the greatest benefit in post should I desire to employ options such as: drum replacement/layering, noise gating, sidechaining, etc.

I usually use 9-10 mics on drums: 1 on the high hat, 2 on the snare, 1 on the kick, 1 mic for each tom, and 2 overheads. I tend to get enough bleed from the toms in my overhead mics that micing the top / striking head of the toms isn't a necessity.

When it's time to mix, I start off with a powerful tom recording and use a low shelf to tame any excessive boominess. I tend to do a lot of sidechaining to tame my drums: (1) at the end of the signal chain for my kick drum, I always duck the kick drum 6db under the snare whenever the snare drum is struck, (2) using a multi-band compressor, I side-chain everything below 80-100hz on my tom bus to duck anywhere from 4 to 6db under the kick drum. Using this method I'm able to set my snare drum at a lower and more comfortable level in the mix, without having to worry about it disappearing anytime the kick and snare are played at the same time; and my kick drum never gets lost when the drummer gets creative on the toms. I usually mix my toms a little bit quieter than the snare and whenever the kick drum sounds, it gets priority over the toms.

I began mixing like this after a conversation with a drummer friend of mine who explained to me that the top head of a tom is called the "striking head", because that head is struck to make a drum's initial sound; and that the bottom head of a tom is called the "resonant head", because that part of the drum is where the resulting combined sound of both drum heads 'resonate' from. After his explanation and the recording gigs that followed, it just made $en$e.

This entire post may be the subject of a later debate, for those of us that record straight ahead jazz, because there's no right or wrong when talking about art; but I do know I've got my work cut out for me when I'm hired to record a drummer with toms that are connected to his kick drum... Best wishes on the journey!

Last edited by DrStrangeBeat; 24th January 2019 at 02:03 AM.. Reason: Grammatical error.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #27
This showed up in my inbox, thought y'all would get a nice laugh from it...
The Best Microphones For Recording Drums • Vintage Logos
Old 23rd January 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkbirge View Post
This showed up in my inbox, thought y'all would get a nice laugh from it...
The Best Microphones For Recording Drums • Vintage Logos
Everybody and their dog has protips nowadays... can't wait for my accountant to start sending me tips on parallel compression.

Also, that dude looks like a tiny child behind that enormous kit. I'm all for huge kits, but I think there should be a "you must be this tall to ride" sign beside the kit in situations like this.
Old 19th July 2019
  #29
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrStrangeBeat View Post
I usually use 9-10 mics on drums: 1 on the high hat, 2 on the snare, 1 on the kick, 1 mic for each tom, and 2 overheads. I tend to get enough bleed from the toms in my overhead mics that micing the top / striking head of the toms isn't a necessity.

When it's time to mix, I start off with a powerful tom recording and use a low shelf to tame any excessive boominess. I tend to do a lot of sidechaining to tame my drums: (1) at the end of the signal chain for my kick drum, I always duck the kick drum 6db under the snare whenever the snare drum is struck, (2) using a multi-band compressor, I side-chain everything below 80-100hz on my tom bus to duck anywhere from 4 to 6db under the kick drum. Using this method I'm able to set my snare drum at a lower and more comfortable level in the mix, without having to worry about it disappearing anytime the kick and snare are played at the same time; and my kick drum never gets lost when the drummer gets creative on the toms. I usually mix my toms a little bit quieter than the snare and whenever the kick drum sounds, it gets priority over the toms.
I'm planning on doing something similar on an upcoming recording: set up the OHs either as Glynn Johns or spaced, equidistant from the snare (or whatever variation sounds best) with a focus on getting the whole kit, not just cymbals and specifically making sure the attack of the toms and snare is present (2 U87s). Either single mic the BD (EV N/D868) or add a subkick mic, both under a blanket tunnel. 1 snare mic on the shell (Senn. 421). If the toms need more fullness (double-headed, well-tuned and well-placed in room which is decent but not fantastic), add SM-57s & 58s underneath.
My hope is that the OH sound will be good enough that the snare & tom mics are just filler for extra body. The tom mics especially should not need to be very far up in the mix.

Then 2 room mics - Senn 441 (4 ft. in front) & AKG 414 (find best sounding spot in room). My hope is that the unique colors that these mics provide will be useful in the mix. If for some reason the 421 doesn't sound right on the snare I could swap with one of these.

Obviusly will be checking phase often during mic setup.

Curious if anyone has thoughts.
Old 19th July 2019
  #30
Gear Nut
Hey! A tip for you all who have a limited number of channels. Use DIY XLR Y-cable for 2 mics.

Find 2 mics that have a nice balance mixed together with equal gain & level settings. I used Shure Beta56 (top/hot) & Shure SM58 (bottom/cold). The natural gain difference gives you the balance between top and bottom. Having the 2 mics parallel does not mess the frequency response because the load impedance is still ok.
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