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Need mic and setup suggestion for drums Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Need mic and setup suggestion for drums

Hello all

I have 3 channels to capture the following:
4 cymbals
2 rack toms
floor tom
kick drum
snare drum
djembe
frame drum and sea drum
numerous shakers
tambourine

What mics do you suggest for this setup? This band is an acoustic style group. Violin, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Mandolin, Cello.

I won't be playing the kit the same time as when the frame drum or the djembe are being played. I want to make sure I am getting more tone from the toms than high end/attack and also bass from the djembe and frame drum. Is that possible or is this that asking too much from minimal channels?

How would you do mic placement?

Thank you!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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One dynamic, cardioid microphone like an RE20, MD421, B52 or D112 on bass drum and two cardioid, condenser microphones like the AKG C414, Shure SM81, Neumann KM184 etc for overheads, keep in mind though that mic placement and the drummer’s playing will be key elements, the drummer must play with a lot of control and balance for this to work well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Head
 

It also depends on what room you're playing in. If you're in a tiny place, I tend to make sure I have kick and toms. Placing 2 condensers as underhead close to toms can also do wonders.

If there's plenty of space I would opt for SamC's explanation. Tho if theres loads of open vocal mics or other overheads, getting the mics in closer to the toms might be the way to go.

If you had a tom less you could have opted for a Y cable with 2 tom mics and a mono overhead (or snare focussed mic)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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He also has a lot of perch that will have to be accommodated comfortably too and since I don’t know the OP's specific setup and playing style, I made the caveat about mic placement and playing control.

In fact they just need to be mindful and sensible about what they're doing to get the best out of the situation, but this shouldn't be difficult because the band is playing low volume acoustic instruments. Everything will depend on the overall setup and how they play. Using only three or four microphones on a kit live is not new or unusual, but a lot of the success of using this method will depend on the tuning of the kit and quality of the drummer.

The best sound I've heard all year was a five piece jazz band (drums, elec. guitar, baby grand piano, acoustic bass and sax) with absolutely no sound reinforcement at all except for a tiny tube amp for the guitar...nothing else. The sound was absolutely fabulous, everything was in the right place all the time and if they could put the dynamics control of these musicians in a box, it would be the best compressor ever, I wish my mixes would sound as good every time I stood behind a console.

Last edited by Samc; 3 weeks ago at 02:48 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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Thread Starter
I'm pretty flexible with how I should setup. I can swap the snare out when time to play djembe, frame drum, doumbek. Or I can have the hand drums to the left of my hihat. Or any way really. Again, very flexible. The kit is setup standard, obviously.

Speaking of kick...would it do any good to move the kick mic to the front (my playing side front)so that the kick mic may also pickup some bass from the djembe?

I do a lot of cymbal and hihat work and sometimes that alone with kick drum is the driving rhythm of a tune. I only use brushes, rods, mallets and hands, never sticks.

I'm not an expert with mics and live sound setup, so when you say underhead condenser, where are you putting these exactly? Directly over head? Center? How far from the tops of the instruments? I don't want to have to constantly move mics based on what instruments are being played. That'd probably create issues for the sound guy?

I will have a monitor that I'll need to be mindful as to where it is placed as well.

Rooms are average sized auditoriums.

There are 12 other mics on stage for the rest of the band.

Thank you for the good suggestions thus far and my apologies if this makes little sense, it's definitely not my area of expertise.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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Dutchy15's Avatar
What creates this limit of three channels? More mics is not better if you don't know what to do with them, but five or six inputs could make all the difference compared to three. Either way, a lot depends on the drummer, the drumkit and it's tuning. I've had amazing results from three mics on a 6-piece kit and I've heard terrible results from sixteen mics on a three-piece kit.


Dutchy
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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You could try it, but I would not put the kick mic in front just to accommodate the sound of the Djembe because although most of the low end comes from the bottom of the drum it’s almost never miced. Plus you might just be creating unnecessary issues by doing this.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
What creates this limit of three channels? More mics is not better if you don't know what to do with them, but five or six inputs could make all the difference compared to three. Either way, a lot depends on the drummer, the drumkit and it's tuning. I've had amazing results from three mics on a 6-piece kit and I've heard terrible results from sixteen mics on a three-piece kit.


Dutchy
I used to have 5 channels but they have additional instruments now taking up other channels. 3 is what I have and can't do anything about it unfortunately.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Thread Starter
Would a AKG C214 work vs a C414? I've got a limited budget.

- How close to the instruments do you recommending the mic be for this method?
- Are you recommending 1 on left half of percussion instruments and one on right half?
- Anything to keep in mind placement wise to avoid picking up monitor feed?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

There's a lot of stuff on an "over the shoulder" technique here and elsewhere which captures pretty much the whole kit with one mic. I would imagine this would place the mic in exactly the right place for handheld percs.

Add one kick mic in a traditional position and you've got a decent, flexible basic sound. This leaves another mic/channel to mop up the rest, maybe with a switched XLR and a spring clamp that can be positioned appropriately in a few seconds by attacting it to drum hardware/mic stand.

If that sounds in any way useful we can discuss choice of mics later.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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There are a hundred different ways they can mic the kit and percussions maybe they should start with the simple most obvious method before getting into all kinds of 'trick' methods that might only add complication...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
There are a hundred different ways they can mic the kit and percussions maybe they should start with the simple most obvious method before getting into all kinds of 'trick' methods that might only add complication...
I agree, and what could be simpler than a single omni and a kick drum mic?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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I should have been more precise...a simple setup that we know will actually work.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
There's a lot of stuff on an "over the shoulder" technique here and elsewhere...
We're not breaking new ground here.

Also, instead of a dynamic on a spring clamp, which may be too outlandish for some, Beyerdynamic do a great range of clip-on instrument mics that are ideal for percussion. I have a good friend who uses one on bodhran to great effect:



(Pic not loading, you get the idea).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Using two overhead microphones is simple for everybody concerned and we know it will work in almost every situation, an omni microphone on a live stage may introduce unwelcome technical problems and all the problems that the sound person is not equipped to handle.

This method also require the musician to constantly fiddle with a spot mic while on stage...will the clip fit all his instruments, and will the changing position of the mic create feedback or other problems?

And then there is this from the OP:
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightmeanslove View Post
I don't want to have to constantly move mics based on what instruments are being played. That'd probably create issues for the sound guy?

I will have a monitor that I'll need to be mindful as to where it is placed as well.

Last edited by Samc; 3 weeks ago at 12:07 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Using two overhead microphones is simple for everybody concerned and we know it will work in almost every situation, an omni microphone on a live stage may introduce unwelcome technical problems and all the problems that the sound person is not equipped to handle.

This method also require the musician to constantly fiddle with a spot mic while on stage...will the clip fit all his instruments, and will the changing position of the mic create feedback or other problems?

And then there is this from the OP:

Ok, don't use an omni (fair point), use one of the mics that would otherwise have been one of the overheads but position it so it doesn't over-emphasise the cymbals, i.e, OTS.

Anyway, much to play with, experimentation is probably the best step.

Btw:

Proposal - This method also require the musician to constantly fiddle with a spot mic while on stage

Response - No, it doesn't

Q, will the clip fit all his instruments?

A, I don't know

Q, will the changing position of the mic create feedback or other problems?

A, I wouldn't think so but a switching XLR might be a useful precaution.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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Wyllys's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightmeanslove View Post
Hello all

I have 3 channels to capture the following:
4 cymbals
2 rack toms
floor tom
kick drum
snare drum
djembe
frame drum and sea drum
numerous shakers
tambourine

What mics do you suggest for this setup? This band is an acoustic style group. Violin, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Mandolin, Cello.
)
First I'd want to hear the "acoustic style" group to determine what I'd put out for your use. If more than 3 mics are required I'd add a small sub-mixer to increase your effective channel count.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
Ok, don't use an omni (fair point), use one of the mics that would otherwise have been one of the overheads but position it so it doesn't over-emphasise the cymbals, i.e, OTS.

Anyway, much to play with, experimentation is probably the best step.

Btw:

Proposal - This method also require the musician to constantly fiddle with a spot mic while on stage

Response - No, it doesn't

Q, will the clip fit all his instruments?

A, I don't know

Q, will the changing position of the mic create feedback or other problems?

A, I wouldn't think so but a switching XLR might be a useful precaution.
Like I said seven posts ago...a simple no fuss method that we know with reasonable certainty will/can work. A method that offers good, even pickup for the kit and all the instruments that will be played...adding more unknowns and potential problems does not qualify in my opinion, plus the OP already stated he did not want to be messing with microphones while playing. This makes the whole thing moot as far as I'm concerned.

A method that won't require the musician to keep changing the mic from one instrument to another and won't require different clips to attach it to some instruments, and a method that won't require a switch during the several changeovers that will have to be made. If the microphones are placed over his sholder or not is not the most important thing to worry about since this will depend a great deal on how the kit is setup and played. Finally, a method that will work in all or most acoustic environments and won't require them to reinvent the wheel every day.

Unless they're going for a modern attack sound he really does not need more than three microphones to get the performance he needs...we shouldn't forget the other instruments that are a part of the mix too, his setup and playing style will have more influence than adding more microphones. If it can't work well and with relative ease with three microphones, it probably won't work well and with relative ease with ten microphones my opinion.

Last edited by Samc; 3 weeks ago at 03:41 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Like I said seven posts ago...a simple no fuss method that we know with reasonable certainty will/can work. A method that offers good, even pickup for the kit and all the instruments that will be played...adding more unknowns and potential problems does not qualify in my opinion, plus the OP already stated he did not want to be messing with microphones while playing. This makes the whole thing moot as far as I'm concerned.

A method that won't require the musician to keep changing the mic from one instrument to another and won't require different clips to attach it to some instruments, and a method that won't require a switch during the several changeovers that will have to be made. If the microphones are placed over his sholder or not is not the most important thing to worry about since this will depend a great deal on how the kit is setup and played. Finally, a method that will work in all or most acoustic environments and won't require them to reinvent the wheel every day.

Unless they're going for a modern attack sound he really does not need more than three microphones to get the performance he needs...we shouldn't forget the other instruments that are a part of the mix too, his setup and playing style will have more influence than adding more microphones. If it can't work well and with relative ease with three microphones, it probably won't work well and with relative ease with ten microphones my opinion.
I don't disagree with anything you're saying except that the method I've suggested is somehow complicated or untested.

Lifting a clip-mic from one instrument to another is not a difficult or problematic thing to do. The OP has, quite rightly, asked for a hassle free, reliable setup. Yours is fine - mine is fine although I would suggest a little more flexible.

This is all quite simple.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
I don't disagree with anything you're saying except that the method I've suggested is somehow complicated or untested.
I have not said it is untested, I'm saying its MORE complicated to manage and there are too many unknown...we still don't know if there is a single clip that will work well with all the percussion pieces.

Quote:
Lifting a clip-mic from one instrument to another is not a difficult or problematic thing to do.
Says you...the person who asked the question however is unwilling to do it.

Quote:
The OP has, quite rightly, asked for a hassle free, reliable setup. Yours is fine - mine is fine although I would suggest a little more flexible.
I disagree with this and I think anybody with the right experience would disagree with you too...but I'll stop now.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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Wyllys's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
...I think anybody with the right experience would agree with me...but I'll stop now.
As the asylum caretaker said to his wife in the 1934 movie Dracula, "They're all crazy 'cept for me and you...and I has me doubts about you."
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Head
 

Quote:
...the right experience...
There are many routes to wisdom. That doesn't mean we're all wise but I've done enough variety of kits to feel some confidence in what I suggest.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
There are many routes to wisdom. That doesn't mean we're all wise but I've done enough variety of kits to feel some confidence in what I suggest.
Herein lies the problem, this is not just about a kit...like I said, the 'right' experience. The fact that you can’t see the flaws in your suggestions is telling.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Head
 

There are flaws, issues and positives in all these suggestions, depending on kit, venue and band. Can you spell out for me exactly what problems you foresee in using a single over the shoulder mic on the kit described which aren't apparent with an overhead pair?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
There are flaws, issues and positives in all these suggestions, depending on kit, venue and band. Can you spell out for me exactly what problems you foresee in using a single over the shoulder mic on the kit described which aren't apparent with an overhead pair?
Maybe, but the method you suggest have more complications and issues than the others...It's like a machine with way too many moving parts and complexity to be reliable.

Even pickup of all elements of the kit is one potential area of problem, compared to using two microphones you will probably need to get the microphone higher above the kit to get a better balance and this can have an adverse effect on consistency in different rooms, create feedback problems and pickup more ambient noise from the other instruments on the stage or the FOH system.

The big problem with your suggestion is that there are too many ifs in the equation...if you don't have a mic clip that works well on all instruments it won't work. The musician needing to change the microphone from one instrument to the next is another very real potential for big problems, and the fact that the musician is reluctant to do this makes it all moot.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Even pickup of all elements of the kit for one, compared to using two microphones you will probably need to get the microphone higher above the kit to get a better balance and this can have an adverse effect on consistency in different rooms, create feedback problems and pickup more ambient noise from the other instruments on the stage or the FOH system.

If we look at your suggestion in it's entirety, not having a mic clip that will fit all the percussion instruments is an obvious problem. The musician needing to change the microphone from one instrument to the next is another very real potential for big problems, and the fact that the musician is reluctant to do this makes it all moot.
I don't think we're talking about arena concerts or a widely spread kit here (assumption alert).

My initial suggestion was to have a third mic which offered flexibility when required. I memtioned the clip-on Beyer range as an afterthought as I've found them remarkably good and unobtrusive in the past. While I think of it I have a fantastic little switched gooseneck Beyer which might also be considered for spot placement.

How does the twin (stereo?) overhead setup cater for a frame drum? This can't be miked from distance or, when held vertically, from above.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
How does the twin (stereo?) overhead setup cater for a frame drum? This can't be miked from distance or, when held vertically, from above.
Says who? I didn't get the memoranda about this rule and the last time I did something similar...three mics on a drummer playing the kit and bunch of percussion instruments by hand, including a frame drum and clay jars the overheads worked flawlessly.

The only times I ever get good results with a single mic on the kit is in a studio with very good acoustics... Have you ever done this live?

Like I said, the right experience...it beats guessing every time.

Last edited by Samc; 3 weeks ago at 01:42 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Head
 

Have I done this live? Yes, a jazzy/country band with a compact kit and limited inputs. One mic towards the centre of the kit so cymbals were slightly off-axis. Kick drum polarity reversed, there was quite a lot in the top mic.

Small gigs, as I think we're discussing here so there was a fair amount of acoustic sound anyway and we were adding attack and definition, but it sounded bloody great. A setup for a specific requirement but this situation sounds similar.

There is no "rule" about frame drums except put the mic where the sound is and (in my experience) there's precious little travelling up from a vertically held drum.

I don't know any better than you do how the drummer concerned is set up so there's absolutely no point in prescribing a mic setup til we know where to point the mics.

We were asked to suggest some options, the OP will know what suits and what doesn't.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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The OP already indicated that he/she did not "want to have to constantly move mics based on what instruments are being played" since post number 5, and you don't know of a clip that will suite all the instruments etc. but here you are still flogging the horse.

On the other hand we can suggest two overhead mics because we KNOW with reasonable certainty that it can be made to work well regardless of the specifics of the OP's setup.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
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You have three methods that should be tested. see what works best.

1. The Glynn Johns Three Mic Drum Recording Setup — Jon Stinson

2. kick and stereo pair try a few--- (spaced pair, blumien, XY) ---either over or in front of the kit. err six setups here really.

3. Kick, Mono overhead, one room mic...could be anywhere!

There are no rules except one....check the phasing of the kick with the other mic's!
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