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Dynamic microphones for recording a 70s drum sound
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Dynamic microphones for recording a 70s drum sound

Hello everyone.

I'm in the market for some Dynamic microphones for close mic recording on a Maple Premier Genista and a 1970s Chrome over brass Pearl Jupiter snare. I'm looking to keep as much of the sonic characteristics of the kit as I possibly can. I'm also wanting to experiment with record the toms from inside the shell (I only have the top head on) as I love the 1970s drum sound on Weather Report and Return to Forever's albums. I'm a big fan of the sennheiser MD-421 but they are out of my price range.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
If the 421 is out of your price range, then you can't get the sound you are looking for. You will have to settle for modern stuff.

SM57's are the best bang for buck. 421 is the next big step up.

For low cost, keep the mic count down.

Overheads CM4, BIV ribbon, CAD189
Snare 57
Kick very specific to the style, taste, and room/kit

In the early 70's it was not uncommon to use U87's for tom mic's
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
lucasanything's Avatar
For dynamics from the 1970s on a budget, it's worth looking at old AKG and electrovoice dynamics.

The more popular models like the EV RE20 or AKG D12 fetch big prices, but there are tons of other models that may suit your needs.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

EV 635a on overhead.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Perhaps you are looking for the mic's the SM57/58 replaced.
AKG D1000
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Konfus's Avatar
 

..or akg d19c. Hard to find in good condition..
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Perhaps you are looking for the mic's the SM57/58 replaced.
AKG D1000

Not sure exactly what you are saying here as the D1000e was a contemporary of the 57 and actually I think the 57 predated it by a couple of years.

Neither one replaced the other they were simply somewhat similar mics from different companies and different lands. 57's were far more common in the U.S. and I would assume the AKG's were more common in Europe back in the day until 57's even became common in studios all over the world.

I have a D1000e that I bought back around 1981 that was an old used mic even then. A bit flatter sounding than the 57 and less low end even on the full frequency setting.

The AKG isn't going to get a more "1970's" sound any more than a 57 is going to get a 70's sound (the 57 came out about 1965 and some of the similar unidyn III mics were around even a few years before that). It's about the drums and the heads, the drummers, the studios and the gear and the way that it was used.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
EV 635a on overhead.
Chris
The 635a was a broadcast / interview mic. People with home studios who ran out of money spending all their cash on an expensive Teac four track tape machine may have used them as overheads but real studios used U87's and AKG 414's or at least SM81's
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

The intention of the EV 635a, is that it can be used for artistic effect. Yes, for better sonic fidelity-if that's the aim-your suggestions are excellent. For example, if I was doing a re-recording of "Year Of The Cat"...

I'd use those kinds of studio staples, you mentioned. Ask Bob Ohlsson though how he likes the EV 635a sometime, it was very educational for me. The humble 635a can also be an excellent vocal mic for some-including me!

But I certainly wouldn't mind a pair of 4038's either. Please pass the Grey Poupon!
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
The intention of the EV 635a, is that it can be used for artistic effect. Yes, for better sonic fidelity-if that's the aim-your suggestions are excellent. For example, if I was doing a re-recording of "Year Of The Cat"...
I wasn't making suggestions just saying that those were the mics that were used frequently in professional studios while the use of 635a on drum overhead was probably close to never.

I would venture to guess that between the U87, U67, C414, KM84, and Sm81 that would probably account for at least 75% of the drum overheads used in all types of music in the 1970's. Not just super clean pop stuff but hard rock as well.

Not to say you can't get a good sound using a dynamic mic on overhead, there are plenty of pictures of an AKG D19 over Ringo's kit in the studio but bet there was a Neuman as room mic somewhere out of the shot as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Good points!

To hear how the 635a's, sound on a drum kit...

The old TV shows of the 60's/70's, are a good reference... For actual live performances.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Good points!

To hear how the 635a's, sound on a drum kit...

The old TV shows of the 60's/70's, are a good reference... For actual live performances.
Chris
I don't think the 635a was around in the 60's. What shows are you talking about?

Ya got me thinking about Buddy Rich on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show and that he had Buddy Rich on a bunch of times over the years so I went seaching youtube...


Most of these performances didn't even use overhead mics, looked like just a couple of RCA BK5a's (but it is hard to tell as youtube quality on this stuff is quite low) mic'ing from either under the kit or very close from above. Likewise for the drummer in the Tonight Show band. Saw some performances of a single overhead (hard to tell model in the ones I viewed but didn't seem like a 635a) most of the time there was no overhead so I'm assuming the mic'ing was similar to Buddy Rich.

Thanks for mentioning live tv, got to be careful of fake perfomances cause there were some of those but now I wanna go watch old Saturday Night Live musical guests for drum mic setups. I'm guessing even in the 70's it will be stereo overheads like KM84 and LDC's but it will be interesting to look.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
If you get a chance, check out the beyerdynamic TG vocal mics, pal of mine swears by the V50 for toms. The V70 has a tighter pattern and more bottom end. Both attractively priced. The M88 for kick of course.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Papanate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast View Post
I don't think the 635a was around in the 60's. What shows are you talking about?
I believe the 635a was introduced to the market in 1965 and started to catch on by about 1970.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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I'm getting the Soyuz Launcher pretty soon.
It'll be interesting to hear how it helps, my dynamics. Generally "fuller/more presents.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Lives for gear
There seems to be some confusion about the question. I think the OP is looking for the studio sound of the 70s, but some of the replies are specific to live television capture. Obviously two different beasts.
The OP gave two specific Jazz/Fusion albums as examples of the desired sound. I wasn’t involved in either recording, so I don’t know the techniques used. In the 70s there were many different drum mic approaches by many engineers, even in the same studio.
In the 70s I did see 87s used often as tom mics, both over toms and under/inside toms. The 87 is a hard mic to replicate in any application. I have tried many different tom mics and positions. A reasonable low budget solution, either in or over toms, is the Senn 835 dynamic. You can get three of them for under $300. They aren’t 87s, but nothing budget is much like an 87, and most cheap condensers sound less like a real 87 than do good dynamics. The top end of cheap condensers usually are very hyped and “fizzy”, characteristics that are alien to a real 87.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
I'm getting the Soyuz Launcher pretty soon.
It'll be interesting to hear how it helps, my dynamics. Generally "fuller/more presents.
Chris
The $190 transformer... I’m very curious if there is any magic in that “magic box”. You should start a thread after you wear it out a bit.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
I'm getting the Soyuz Launcher pretty soon.
The Cloudlifter CL-Z is only a bit more and gives you the ability to change the input impedance between 150 ohms and 15K ohms rather than the fixed 1K input on the Launcher.

You can also just solder a couple of resistors into an xlr barrel and do the same thing if there is one particular impedance you are shooting for, of course you don't get the gain boost but it does load mics differently and changes the sound especially with 57's and 58's which are much smoother and less ringy between 300 ohms and 1k ohms rather than the more common 2-5K of most mixers and interfaces.

Also if you are gonna drop $200-250 on the Launcher or the CL-Z you could get a used ART MPA-II for not all that much more and have two channels of variable impedance micpreamps.

One more angle if you are gonma spend $200 or so is a used Golden Age Pre73 or a new Pre73jr. You get 70 or 80db of gain and actual transformer input and output and the low impedance that some dynamic mics like the Shures sound good with and a Neve style preamp with descrete components.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

There is some excellent advice on microphones here on this thread....But the real secret of a good 70's drum sound even more important than the mikes being used is to damp the drums. Back in the 70's the dead studio sound was in. (I miss the 70's with Black and white TV) Get some blankets and shove them into your kick. And tape some blankets underneath your toms and snare. This give you that Dark Side Of The Moon dead drum sound. Damp is the key!
No reverb or delay on the drums. And a nice boost at 60 hz +6 db @ a Q of 1 on the kick. In the 70's the kick was all important. Forget the mid and high bass. You want a think damped controlled low thud of BOOM BOOM BOOM!!

Some engineers back then (Elton John's engineer) went crazy with miking the drum kit:
12 microphones or more. Down mixed to 3 or 4 tracks. Some like Alan Parsons just used four: Kick, snare and stereo overhead. Then there is the way Mackie (famed engineer of ELO) use to mike Bev Bevan's kit: Two drum kits miked with only six microphones/ tracks. The first kit was kick, snare, one for toms and pair of stereo overheads. The second kit was miked with one microphone in a closet. (Not kidding.) So there is your classic ELO 70's drum sound. Do you have a big closet? Oh that one microphone is not a stereo microphone. Not 100% sure though. Experiment. If the client moans about your miking technique on line then you will know you didn't get it right.
.

Last edited by DASH3348HR; 1 week ago at 01:26 AM.. Reason: Addition. Mistskes
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
There seems to be some confusion about the question. I think the OP is looking for the studio sound of the 70s
Not confusion just a bit of side conversation about 70's recording techniques that can actually be viewed easily but yes I agree that some very different things were happening in the making of records than what was happening for sound on tv. The only thing that applies from the tv conversation is that pretty good sound was attained with just a few high quality mics, some really good broadcast gear and people who knew what they were doing recording musicians who were making amazing sounds.

The OP is hoping for some magic mic recommendation that is going to somehow produce the sound of a couple of 70's recordings he is hoping to emulate. As somebody else mentioned it's as much or more technique and how the drum kit actually sounds as much or more than specific microphones. On a super low budget it's not going to matter much if the tom mics are 421's 57's or 835's. If the room sounds like crap or there isn't some skill in both the playing and the recording technique it's going to matter even less.

Deadish sounding drums, double ply heads (or dots), close mics with gates, along with overheads and/or room mics would probably be a good starting point.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
The $190 transformer... I’m very curious if there is any magic in that “magic box”. You should start a thread after you wear it out a bit.
Generally, the effect of the Launcher, is to add some fullness/presence...
To the dynamic microphone capture.

I knew I had to try/sing though it firsthand at NAMM directly, to better understand it.

Yes, I could try those other options JLast mentioned, but IMHO The Launcher had a rather unique tonal enhancement "thang" going on.

(best "Bones McCoy"/Star Trek voice) "Damn it Jim" "I'm a singer, not a drummer"

So... I probably should help contribute/start a Launcher thread, from the Singer's perspective-once I put some mileage on it.
I've been getting good sound out of my LDC's (at work after hours), but sometimes I just want to stay home and record.
Chris
P.S. I may eventually also put the TAB Funkenwerk T58 transformer in my 58, to further extend the high end/make it even smoother-"SM7-ish".
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

I did do an informal "rehearsal" recording of a talented amateur Teen "Power Trio" recently, using just the 'umble EV 635a.
We were actually astonished at how well the 'lil mic did as a room mic.

There was a budget drum kit being used, and the cymbals were harsh enough, to make the typical Chinese LDC...
Sound like a 44 ribbon! But the smoothness/rolloff of the 635a, really helped tame that treblemaker.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DASH3348HR View Post
(I miss the 70's with Black and white TV)
Did you not have color TV in the 70s?
I’m a little skeptical about a first time poster on Gearslutz telling us all about how drums were recorded in the 70s.
Did you work in a pro studio in the 70s? Did you ever set up mics for a session with Elton John’s drummer?
By the way, Elton John didn’t have an engineer. Gus Dudgeon, Elton John’s producer, picked studios and engineers. Gus was very picky about drum sounds. I once saw him and Kevin Beamish try every snare drum Studio Instrument Rentals in Hollywood had before picking a snare for a session.
I’d like to believe that you have some secrets to tell GS members about recording in the 70s, but excuse me for being skeptical.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Gear Head
 

Well there were some black and white sets still kickin in the 70's and plenty of old reruns and movies from 10+ years earlier on the UHF channels but that is some pretty specific stuff to quote without a source.



Chris, you don't have to convince me on the 635a it's a good mic, I've owned one for many years as well as a 654a which looks somewhat different but is a very similar sounding omni dynamic with a bit lower frequency extension.

I'm still waiting on the examples of the 635a on tv as drum overhead.

I haven't heard about the Launcher before so that's interesting to me, I was just trying to add some other ideas about using dynamic mics like the old basic SM57. The Launcher has a tranformer but the input impedance is just the beginning of the low range. There is a youtube vid of the Cloudlifter CL-Z that surprised me as when set to the lower impedances it sounded thinner while my Golden Age Pre73 actually sounds even bigger and thicker on it's 300 ohm setting than it's regular 1200 ohm.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Hi J. That was something (635a/overhead) I seemed to recall, as I've seen tons of those old shows. It has also been an occasional suggestion, from AE's.
Chris
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Head
 

The 70's are probably my favorite musical era!
Of course, just as important as the mics and gear used were the instruments themselves, specific tunings, musical arrangements, and players themselves.

Going back to mics though, yes the '57 is a staple, but keep your eyes peeled for a Unidyne III. You can find these around eBay sometimes for a steal although the price is definitely going up for a vintage pair.

To my ears, it's everything I want the SM57 to be from the start. I adore it on guitars and it really works well on any part of the kit I've put it up in front of.

Old school EV mics are a dream but prices for those have absolutely skyrocketed (not worth the price today IMO, but if you can find a deal don't hesitate)
My favorites are the:

EV-RE10
RE15
RE16
635A

And as others have mentioned above, we do make "magic box" called The Launcher. It's essentially meant to give you that classic desk sound like the front end of a signal chain straight out of the 70's

We hand-wind a toroidal core transformer (similar to the ones we wind in our condenser mics) and pair that with a burr-brown op-amp. The result is a large boost but also a solid bit of texture, color, and character. It responds pretty dynamically to how hard you hit it and can really reshape the sound of your mics.

I found that on the '57 for example, it gives a lift across the mids (without being pokey or overly aggressive), tightens up the low end with more definition, and opens up the top end until it gently tapers off.

My favorite use so far has been snare top (or side miking) ---> dynamic mic ---> Launcher
It just gives that instant thwack and has that natural compression thing going on.

Also, these links below may not line up exactly with what you're after sonically, but I think it's an amazing approach to recording/mixing/processing drums.

UBK/Kush Audio made a 3 part series that I'm sure you can find useful no matter the genre. Some big ah-ha moments for me was viewing the mic placements as essentially forms of EQ.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxjOLwwoMVM

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdgSSzhq30A

Part 3: You have to pay for this but well worth the 99cents.

Hope this helps!
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I have a couple of RE16s and a bevy of 57s, although I’m not going for a 70s sound, I hope! Lol. But in many ways that was my era. The RE16 you can find for reasonable prices used.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Not drums (forgive me!) but FWIW getting this kind of vocal tone out of an EV 635a (635a>Mbox2 Mini), was the "tipping point" for me...
To decide on the Launcher. Brief acapella audio clip below...

Chris
P.S. The other dynamic that will work very well with The Launcher, is my (major sleeper vocal mic BTW) AKG D790. Similar to M88. Cheap as chip$!
Attached Files

Song 104howsoonisnowev635a.wav (1.72 MB, 558 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #29
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Did you not have color TV in the 70s?
I’m a little skeptical about a first time poster on Gearslutz telling us all about how drums were recorded in the 70s.
Did you work in a pro studio in the 70s? Did you ever set up mics for a session with Elton John’s drummer?
By the way, Elton John didn’t have an engineer. Gus Dudgeon, Elton John’s producer, picked studios and engineers. Gus was very picky about drum sounds. I once saw him and Kevin Beamish try every snare drum Studio Instrument Rentals in Hollywood had before picking a snare for a session.
I’d like to believe that you have some secrets to tell GS members about recording in the 70s, but excuse me for being skeptical.

Never mentioned anything about snares or choosing of drums so that is irrelevant. Do you disagree about how Alan Parsons miked the kit? That is easy to verify. Do you disagree about how Mackie miked the drums for ELO? Easy for you to verify. Please don't insult me by calling me a liar.

Sorry if you got the wrong idea from my post. But there is no need for all the aggression aimed at me. First off first time poster doesn't mean new engineer. Been working in my Father's studio for 12 years (not credited unfortunate)

Yes, colour TV was around since 1964. (Might be year or to off) but many families still had Black and white TVs up until the late 70's. They were still expensive. Our family didn't have one until 1979. Never said I mixed in the 70's. That is a conclusion you came to on your own. Born in 1969. I was 7 when I saw Star Trek in colour for the first time at my Uncle's place. Sorry to burst you bubble but a lot of families did not have a colour TV in the 70's. Even as late as 1980. I lived in that decade so please don't lecture me on it. O.k. What, you think everyone bought a colour TV the year they came out? I suppose you think everyone went out and purchased a VCR in 1977. At $1500 a pop?!
Nope. Or every person with a stereo went out and bought a CD player in 1981.

He was asking about how to get that 70's drum sound. Damped drums was a big part of the 70's sound. I thought this was general knowledge. The comment about Elton John came from Classic Album episode for GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD where one of the band comments that, "Even then we were using a million microphones on the drums..."

So are first timers limited to thumbs up only or something? Do I need your future approval? Should I check with you first? Why the disrespect? We are all audio engineers here. Apparently to some I don't count. I was transferring 1/2 and 1 inch DASH tapes for the last 7 years at my Father's studio until I got fired for telling a client what do go do with himself. He wanted the remaster really loud. We don't participate in the loudness war. Anyway long story short- I lost my studio job. Sorry my response was not 100% perfect for you sir with dozens of links to everything.

Is this the way you treat new members! Please be civil in future. That is all ask.

Last edited by DASH3348HR; 1 week ago at 02:25 AM.. Reason: Mistake
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DASH3348HR View Post
Please don't insult me by calling me a liar.
there is no need for all the aggression aimed at me.
Never said I mixed in the 70's. That is a conclusion you came to on your own.
Why the disrespect?
Interesting response...
Reread my post. It isn’t aggressive in language or content. And I didn’t call you a liar.
You were writing about studio practices in the seventies. I was skeptical that you had direct knowledge of studio practices in that decade. Your post confirms that my skepticism was warranted.
You aren’t a liar, and that wasn’t my point. My point was and is that you need to realize you are posting in a forum with a number of writers who have direct experience of pro studio practices going back to the sixties. I am constantly learning things and getting questions answered here.
So...
Don’t tell the forum what you learned from reading unless you are asking if it’s true, because there are probably people here who were in the rooms where it happened.
So “disrespect” isn’t happening in the direction you assume. I respect anyone who is trying to understand and work with audio on any level.
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