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Floor tom mic'ing for live sound Dynamic Microphones
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Talking Floor tom mic'ing for live sound

I have a very limited mic cabinet. I do mostly live sound, so most of my money has gone into a StudioLive 16, JBL JRX125s, Subs, Amps, a Snake, Beta 58's, Beta 57s, SM57s, and a Sennheiser 600 series drum mic kit, but i do have one Beta 56 that i got for a steal on eBay(yes it's real).

Should I use the e604 or the beta56 on the floor tom?


Just to give you an overview of the micing situation on stage....

2 middle vox mics are Beta 58s, 2 backup vox mics are SM58, guitar amps with beta 57s (or the beta 56), bass is DI'd, e602 bass drum, 2 SM57s on snare, e604s on racks, and Samson C01s in opposite Phase for overheads with a C02 on the high hats.

Pic's to come soon.
Old 17th December 2010
  #2
LX3
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My gut reaction would say the 604. For more positioning control, put it on a stand instead of using the clip.

My personal choice, given more options might well be a condenser (shock horror). Perhaps a 414. The condenser side of an AE2500 has worked amazingly well for me too.

But I find tuning and mic positioning more critical than mic choice. Close mics on toms almost always sound disappointingly 'smaller' than the drum does naturally.. to me anyhow. It's often all impact and no body. Or you get a ringy discordant clang out of the edge of the drum which reveals none of depth of tone that ought to be there.

Suggestions:

1) tune the blasted thing to sound true and not choked
2) don't put the close mic too close
3) the outer edge of the head doesn't normally make a nice sound. Try pointing the mic more at the middle.
4) No-one ever tends to do it live, but a mic on the bottom head can add back all the depth that disappears when just micing the top.
5) try compressing it to reduce the attack and bring back some sustain

You can't usually do 1 or 4 live, and if someone else is setting the mics then 2 and 3 will often go out the window as well. That's life.
Old 18th December 2010
  #3
Gear Addict
I would use the SM58. My preference for drums is actually original KM84's or other small condensers. I like the 56 on kick, but usually use it with a Countryman Isomax II O or PZM for clarity. I have used SM58's on kicks wit great results too, actually. Don't get too close, it will make the drums sound small.

I feel that mic'ing the bottoms of drums is either counterproductive or overkill. In studio and at quieter gigs I rely heavily on the overheads for the entire drum sound and stereo image and use the spot mics to fill in the spaces as needed.

Regards;
Danny
Old 20th December 2010
  #4
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

You might check local pawnshops or Craigslist for a AKG C 3000B. It's a medium diameter condenser that I really like on floor tom in live situations. Patterns are cardioid and hyper-card, with -10dB pad and bass roll-off switches. Lots of body with lots of overtones...

Between the two mentioned... try them both and choose the one you like best on your drummer's floor tom. And by all means, have the drummer tune out the "bo-innng" resonances... unless that's "his" signature sound, that is...

HB
Old 21st December 2010
  #5
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyL View Post
I feel that mic'ing the bottoms of drums is either counterproductive or overkill.
Danny,
Have you ever mic'd the back of an acoustic guitar, or stuck a mic in the back of an open-backed amp? How about on a piano, would you just mic where the hammer meets the string, or or place mics over the harp?

nearly all of the tone and resonance of a tom comes from, you guessed it, the resonant head. There is a lot to be said for mic'ing the reso head. We do it for snare and kick all of the time.

Having said that, a good boundary mic under the floor tom and low rack tom adds just the right touch when mixed in moderation. If you don't like the bleed, side chain a gate to your batter head mics.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #6
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foxyloxy's Avatar
 

The 604's are great tom mics. Even on floor tom. Often, I don't get what the rider stipulates for the floor, and because I list 604's as an option for the rack toms, I arrive and find there are 604's on ALL the toms. With a well tuned drum, you can't go wrong. Stay clear of Beta 98's on the bigger toms....

Otherwise, use a kick drum mic. If you're looking for a deep, fat, ballsy floor tom sound then a D112/MD421/ATM25 all give good results. I've even used a Beta 52

Keith
Old 23rd December 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyL View Post
I feel that mic'ing the bottoms of drums is either counterproductive or overkill.;
Danny
Couldn't disagree more...

for floor tom in particular.

...Just like recordinghopkins said.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #8
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Beta52 can work really well, and a +1 on the AE2500, or a more common 421..
It depends on the style/results that I want but for rock and pop I usually i compress the bejesus out of tom and floor tom,
saturation can work much better than compression (used more for tone here) for taming the attack peak level and yet still make it pop,
as well as a Transient Designer work wonders for the sustain
Mostly is a matter of tuning the floor tom right and make it sound good at the source
Old 23rd December 2010
  #9
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

When it comes to drum recording, experiment. But as recording the resonant head, I too agree that this is something if you do not do---you don't know what you're missing. Personally I don't record the bottom of the toms just due to lack of channels in a live setting, but I do place a PZM microphone underneath the kit in front of the toms. What this is capturing is a resonance that by itself is really unusable, but mixed in with the rest of the kit really adds some magic. The same is true when I mic the bottom of a snare---by itself, blah---but mixed in with the top snare mic and the rest of the kit---it's wonderful.
Old 30th December 2010
  #10
Gear Addict
 

I'd also say go with the e604 - fine mic for toms, also large ones. My personal favourite is the Audix D4.

I wouldn't worry about the bottom of the tom. I've recorded it a few times, but IMO not worth doing. Certainly not for live sound reinforcement.
Old 30th December 2010
  #11
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scanner View Post

Couldn't disagree more...

for floor tom in particular.

...Just like recordinghopkins said.
Recording?

Maybe.

Live sound re-enforcement?

NO.

(There's too much mung from other instruments, monitors, spill from mains, etc.)
.
Old 30th December 2010
  #12
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
Recording?

Maybe.

Live sound re-enforcement?

NO.

(There's too much mung from other instruments, monitors, spill from mains, etc.)
.
gates gates gates gates gates!

I have some y cables I made where one of the splits is polarity reversed. I like to use them with two of the same dynamic mics, say e604's where they're easy to clip on, then throw a gate on it as usual. Spill is a non-issue, but tuning is a lot more important. I wouldn't do it unless the kit is really well tuned. - not always the case with live gigs
Old 10th January 2011
  #13
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If you can afford it, and have the space on the riser for the small weighted stands go with Sennheiser MD421s, if not the get the E904s. Also if space is an issue for snare bottom mic, use an E904 or E905. That way you only need a stand for the top mic.
Old 15th January 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
 
BFSound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LX3 View Post
My gut reaction would say the 604. For more positioning control, put it on a stand instead of using the clip.

My personal choice, given more options might well be a condenser (shock horror). Perhaps a 414. The condenser side of an AE2500 has worked amazingly well for me too.

But I find tuning and mic positioning more critical than mic choice. Close mics on toms almost always sound disappointingly 'smaller' than the drum does naturally.. to me anyhow. It's often all impact and no body. Or you get a ringy discordant clang out of the edge of the drum which reveals none of depth of tone that ought to be there.

Suggestions:

1) tune the blasted thing to sound true and not choked
2) don't put the close mic too close
3) the outer edge of the head doesn't normally make a nice sound. Try pointing the mic more at the middle.
4) No-one ever tends to do it live, but a mic on the bottom head can add back all the depth that disappears when just micing the top.
5) try compressing it to reduce the attack and bring back some sustain

You can't usually do 1 or 4 live, and if someone else is setting the mics then 2 and 3 will often go out the window as well. That's life.
+1 to micing bottom skin, tried it the other night because our drummers ride is too close over the 1st floor tom to get a clip on it without hitting or a mic on a stand in there, so i clipped it to the bottom and couldn't be happier!
Old 28th February 2012
  #15
Gear Head
 

wow, looking back on this, I was such a n00b.

as of now, pretty much always use the 602 on the floor for live, 602 when it shouldn't sound too boomy. ended up getting rid to the 56 cus i never used it.
Old 28th February 2012
  #16
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edva's Avatar
Beyer M88 is the best floor tom mic I personally have ever heard. Can be found under $300.
Old 28th February 2012
  #17
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubRuss View Post
wow, looking back on this, I was such a n00b.

as of now, pretty much always use the 602 on the floor for live, 602 when it shouldn't sound too boomy. ended up getting rid to the 56 cus i never used it.
56 makes an ok snare mic, pretty lame on toms, tends to sound too thin, so was definitely not what you needed for your floor tom. The 604's are fine on flr toms too, with a bit of eq, you can get plenty of low end, going to the 602 is possibly a bit overkill, but if it works for you that's great.
Old 2nd March 2012
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxyloxy View Post
The 604's are great tom mics. Even on floor tom.
Agreed. Add the built in mic clip for quick and easy set up and it is a no brainer for me for live use.
Old 2nd March 2012
  #19
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johndykstra's Avatar
 

604's are great. Make them lower profile by flipping the mic back wards on the clip and spin it 180 degrees around the side. Hard to describe... hope this makes sense. Essentially take the mic off the clip, mount it backwards, and figure out a way to make the mic point at the drum again. You'll want it anchored as low on the clip as possible. It's living right off the rim now and way lower, as opposed to 5 inches in the air and halfway to the center of the drum. As a result of this, you generally have to use the second notch on the clip to get a good axis. Sometimes this means the front edge of the clip will hit the drum head. I modded my clip by removing some of the front edge to prevent this, but it makes no more contact than a moongel.
Old 2nd March 2012
  #20
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MixBuss's Avatar
 

Try the shure beta 98 .. Its a condenser that sounds amazing on most toms, it brings up that high end attack. Great for pop and rock drums (Gate them tight)
Old 3rd March 2012
  #21
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Enginearing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MixBuss View Post
Try the shure beta 98 .. Its a condenser that sounds amazing on most toms, it brings up that high end attack. Great for pop and rock drums (Gate them tight)
As long as it's an amazing sounding kit...then yeah. They tend to translate very true, so if your kit doesn't sound fantastic, your drum sound can easily turn quite rubbish.
Still, since we're talking about the floor tom in particular, most people would use something with a larger diaphragm than a 98.
Old 3rd March 2012
  #22
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
I recently used 414's, B-ULS cardioid on the 14", XLII's in fig8 on the 10" and 12". Recorded to Studer A827. Sounded great! I think I already mentioned in this thread that I sometimes like to put a boundary mic under the floor tom in addition to the top mic choice. Beta 91a is great if you put it about a foot away from the rim (Half Cardioid). With or without the bell curve low mid filter engaged.
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Floor tom mic'ing for live sound-sn852077.jpg  
Old 3rd March 2012
  #23
Old 7th March 2012
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
I recently used 414's, B-ULS cardioid on the 14", XLII's in fig8 on the 10" and 12".
You did this for live sound? That was the original question. I can't imagine using a figure 8 mic live like that as it would increase the odds of feedback significantly, not to mention picking up a lot of stage sound.

To me, "best" live drum mics are combination of 1) great sounding, 2) durable, 3) easy to set up and place, and 4) have little chance of feedback. That's why I will take a dynamic clip on mic any day (e.g., e604, Audix D2 or D4).
Old 7th March 2012
  #25
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
That shot was a studio gig, but I've done it live as well. How much feedback do you anticipate? We're talking placing a mic 6 inches or so from a drum. Gain before feedback isn't a problem. I've used small countryman omnis on low toms before. You're plenty close enough to the sound source that there's not a lot of audible bleed, and the XLII has the smoothest response in fig8 and it keeps cymbal bleed out of the tom channels.

Inverse square law, my friend. The closer you get to the sound source the less gain you need on the mic, therefore reducing ambient sound and increasing the signal (tom) to noise (mains speakers) ratio.
Old 7th March 2012
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
That shot was a studio gig, but I've done it live as well. How much feedback do you anticipate? We're talking placing a mic 6 inches or so from a drum. Gain before feedback isn't a problem.
I would not be concerned by the distance from the toms, but the direction of the mic aiming at either side of the kit where stage monitors, amps etc. are situated.

That being said, it is interesting that you find it works well. Maybe I need to try it myself one day.
Old 8th March 2012
  #27
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12ax7's Avatar
 

.
Sometimes a figure-8 CAN be a good thing on stage (depending).

Some folks forget that a figure-8 rejects a helluva lot more from the side than a cardioid does from the rear!
.
Old 8th March 2012
  #28
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
fig8 can be your friend live. I find it useful on more than just toms; it works well on any source where you want extreme rejection of directly adjacent sound sources. If it's a close mic on a loud instrument, the amount of room or monitor spill that will be picked up by the rear lobe is virtually irrelevant, compared to the spl of the close mic'd source on the front lobe. The same goes for omnis. Get it close enough and on a loud enough source, and it behaves much like a directional mic, with the benefit of a smoother response and less off axis coloration.
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