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new to drum overheads Condenser Microphones
Old 21st September 2009
  #1
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new to drum overheads

So I have recently posted a question regarding the At2020 on overheads, and from the comments and posts from other gearslutz I decided to buy the At2020...

I am very new to recording, but before I start, I would like to ask you guys if you have suggestions on how to record drum overheads...how far should the mic be from the cymbals, how far appart?..etc..

I am using a pair of OH mics, both AT2020....
and when I do record the OH and pan them on my DAW, what should the imaging be like? (in terms of like, where should the kick be in the soundfield?and snare..etc...)

I will post the results, and maybe you experts can give me input and comments...:-)

thanks
Old 21st September 2009
  #2
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dan_zero's Avatar
 

try everything you can think of!

are you close micing the kit too?

one simple thing u can do to make a big difference in sound is mic the OH from in front of or from behind the kit. generally speaking, micing from the front will yield less snare and toms, foccusing more on the cymbals. micing from behind the kit gives you more of a whole drumkit vibe... which can be cool.

u can choose how high the mics are and how wide they are, but generally you want them the same distance from the centre of the snare. you can measure this crudely with a mic cable....
Old 21st September 2009
  #3
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Ca$h Marty's Avatar
 

To expand what dan_zero said, you want both overheads equidistant from where the drummer is hitting the snare. Also, its good to keep them equidistant from the kick. Search the forums for the "recorderman technique" its a good starting point - not a perfect solution but its good to understand.

Secondly, I think placement has a lot to do with the recording space. If you have a large room that is acoustically treated, you have a lot more options. Whereas, in a humble home studio setting (less tuned room), you probably want as much direct sound and as little room sound as possible. When I record drums in my smallish bedroom - I keep the overheads low and fairly close to the middle of the drum kit.

Upon mixdown, I like to solo the OHs and get the snare in the middle and not pan anything too wide.

Just my 2 cents.
Old 21st September 2009
  #4
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
I like to get both OH mics equidistant from both kick and snare. This sounds superficially like "Recorderman", but I place both mics overhead (not one OH and one to the drummer's right side). When you place the overheads this way, equal/opposite panning of the tracks will result in kick and snare being dead centre.

One more thing: it's not always necessary (or desirable) to have stereo overheads. I've found that when I want another element in stereo (e.g. - an acoustic guitar), the drums can be fine with just a mono OH and a kick mic. It pays to plan the panning of instruments up front to avoid too many stereo elements competing with each other.
Old 21st September 2009
  #5
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maxpidge's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer Mark View Post
I like to get both OH mics equidistant from both kick and snare. This sounds superficially like "Recorderman", but I place both mics overhead (not one OH and one to the drummer's right side). When you place the overheads this way, equal/opposite panning of the tracks will result in kick and snare being dead centre.

One more thing: it's not always necessary (or desirable) to have stereo overheads. I've found that when I want another element in stereo (e.g. - an acoustic guitar), the drums can be fine with just a mono OH and a kick mic. It pays to plan the panning of instruments up front to avoid too many stereo elements competing with each other.
or you could do the funniest thing i've ever seen...

a "friend" of mine, (who calls himself an engineer), called me a few days ago to check out the new "ProTools HD" studio he is working at. I dont have time to go over how hilarious the studio was... that should be a thread on it's own.... anyway's, they must have had 20 different "room" and "overhead" mics on 1 drum kit, so they could "pick the best ones later"!!!
Old 21st September 2009
  #6
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxpidge View Post
or you could do the funniest thing i've ever seen...

a "friend" of mine, (who calls himself an engineer), called me a few days ago to check out the new "ProTools HD" studio he is working at. I dont have time to go over how hilarious the studio was... that should be a thread on it's own.... anyway's, they must have had 20 different "room" and "overhead" mics on 1 drum kit, so they could "pick the best ones later"!!!
you know that's sadder than it is funny. But yet from your description I still find myself laughing lol. thumbsup
Old 22nd September 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
you know that's sadder than it is funny. But yet from your description I still find myself laughing lol. thumbsup
thats nothing,... they replaced an entire 8ft high x 16ft long wall in the control room with the thinnest glass i've ever seen, it actually wiggles back and forth if you touch it with your finger!!!!

I need to get a pic, you guys wouldn't believe this place!!!
Old 22nd September 2009
  #8
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

aren't there like unwritten rules that forbid this type of behavior
Old 22nd September 2009
  #9
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THanks!!a bunch!!

Sweet, so placing the mics equidistant from the snare huh?
I have been placing the mics equidistant from the kick, I guess this is why when I pan the OHs, the kick seems to be heavier on the left speaker...

I'll try it out...If it becomes successful I will post the A/B result at this thread just for Memo for whoever is having the same question as I did.

Oh yeah one more thing....what about the 3 to 1 rule..

ps. I am just recording overhead for now. but I am generally going to be using 8 mics later after my Overheads are done right(cuz direct recording seems much easier), 2 OH, 1tom, 1 floor, 1 kick, 1 snare, and maybe 1 extra bottom snare, or room.

I am using a DIGI003 rack plus.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxpidge View Post
or you could do the funniest thing i've ever seen...

a "friend" of mine, (who calls himself an engineer), called me a few days ago to check out the new "ProTools HD" studio he is working at. I dont have time to go over how hilarious the studio was... that should be a thread on it's own.... anyway's, they must have had 20 different "room" and "overhead" mics on 1 drum kit, so they could "pick the best ones later"!!!
Yeah I see a lot of people doing this here too, it's very stupid in my opinion...so much ego, and "show off factor" going on....oooooh I can use 8 mics to mic my acoustic guitar, I'm cool now!! so stupid...
Old 22nd September 2009
  #11
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrubbernek View Post
Yeah I see a lot of people doing this here too, it's very stupid in my opinion...so much ego, and "show off factor" going on....oooooh I can use 8 mics to mic my acoustic guitar, I'm cool now!! so stupid...
really stupid cuz if you were worth half your asking price you would've been able to listen to my acoustic guitar and say hey fill in the blank will work perfectly here and position the perfect mic perfectly and just lay down one really awesome track instead of 8 mediocre or worse tracks. But hey whatever floats some people's boats right lol.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrubbernek View Post
Yeah I see a lot of people doing this here too, it's very stupid in my opinion...so much ego, and "show off factor" going on....oooooh I can use 8 mics to mic my acoustic guitar, I'm cool now!! so stupid...
if you can do it then why the heck not? then you can pick the best one that fits in the mix
Old 22nd September 2009
  #13
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alehoe View Post
if you can do it then why the heck not? then you can pick the best one that fits in the mix
in theory that may work but think about it do you really think that with that many mics around a source you are going to be placing each one in optimal position.

So really (at least the times I've seen people do this) you end up with 8 subpar sounding tracks simply because time wasn't spent carefully choosing and placing gear.

I agree having options can be nice but not if all the options suck.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #14
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alehoe View Post
if you can do it then why the heck not? then you can pick the best one that fits in the mix
This is my approach on guitar amp miking. Usually I do a quick mic shootout by recording a bit with 2 mics (one on the left, on of the right side of the same woofer), eliminate the bad one (needs to fit well in the proproduction mix). If you know your mics, it's easy to find the right one after a few tries. I often end up with some exotic mic and an SM57 and just record the amp in stereo. Then I can balance it between the two mics or just use one. It can also give you a nice stereo effect: If you're doubling a guiter, just invert the channels on the double and you got a nice, wide sound without being too wide.

Same thing on mono acoustig guitar. But the perfect mic on the 12th fret an move it around until it's perfect. Then add another mic on the bridge in case you need more depth on parts of the song where it's just guitar and vocals.

Stereo tracks are easy to handle in the DAW and hard disc space is generally not a problem, so why not? Sometimes you're surprised during mixing, that the crap mic sounds much better than the one you thought was perfect (on guitar amps at least).
Old 22nd September 2009
  #15
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

The only problem with using a million mics on an instrument then picking the "best" out later is the habit that forms from that mentality. The only thing you're doing is putting the core sound decision off until later. To me, I'd rather spend 30 or 40 minutes trying mics and moving things around, then commit to the sound that I'm going to mix with. Now, if you're going to use a few mics and record them all to a single track, then fine as long as you get the phase right.

The alternative is this kinda wishy-washy process that never really figures out what the character of a particular mix should be. It never really settles in and decides what it *is*. I limit myself on purpose. I love mixing drums to a mono track in the middle, and I don't often track with more than six or seven mics. I hardly ever track guitars more than one to a side. Bass goes DI or gets a single mic. Vocals get bussed together and compressed on a mono channel. Mixing is *so* much easier when I actually leave myself space to work with.

Frank
Old 22nd September 2009
  #16
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Ca$h Marty's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
The only problem with using a million mics on an instrument then picking the "best" out later is the habit that forms from that mentality. The only thing you're doing is putting the core sound decision off until later. To me, I'd rather spend 30 or 40 minutes trying mics and moving things around, then commit to the sound that I'm going to mix with. Now, if you're going to use a few mics and record them all to a single track, then fine as long as you get the phase right.

The alternative is this kinda wishy-washy process that never really figures out what the character of a particular mix should be. It never really settles in and decides what it *is*. I limit myself on purpose. I love mixing drums to a mono track in the middle, and I don't often track with more than six or seven mics. I hardly ever track guitars more than one to a side. Bass goes DI or gets a single mic. Vocals get bussed together and compressed on a mono channel. Mixing is *so* much easier when I actually leave myself space to work with.

Frank
Weasel - again, you're the man. Mic placement is SO underrated - spend time doing it. Simplify your life, get 1 good track rather than several OK or crappy tracks. I think a lot of people would be amazed with the different sounds they can get from 1 mic due to angle, spacing, etc. People probably wouldn't need to focus on purchasing new mics if they spent time moving and listening to what they already have.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #17
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
[...] Now, if you're going to use a few mics and record them all to a single track, then fine as long as you get the phase right.

The alternative is this kinda wishy-washy process that never really figures out what the character of a particular mix should be. It never really settles in and decides what it *is*. I limit myself on purpose. I love mixing drums to a mono track in the middle, and I don't often track with more than six or seven mics. I hardly ever track guitars more than one to a side. Bass goes DI or gets a single mic. Vocals get bussed together and compressed on a mono channel. Mixing is *so* much easier when I actually leave myself space to work with.

Frank
A goniometer (http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may09/images/QA_09.jpg) really helps for phase. The more rounded the shape is, the better in phase you are. If it's spazzing out like crazy, move the mic or do a phase reverse.

I'm very interested in your drum mic setup with "six or seven mics". I imagine one or two Overheads, Kick, Snare top + bottom, HiHat and maybe a stereo mic for the toms (I like panning those to make the fills go from one side to the other). Keeping the mics for drums under 8 would greatly influence my next preamp purchase for the home studio.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #18
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
I'm very interested in your drum mic setup with "six or seven mics". I imagine one or two Overheads, Kick, Snare top + bottom, HiHat and maybe a stereo mic for the toms (I like panning those to make the fills go from one side to the other). Keeping the mics for drums under 8 would greatly influence my next preamp purchase for the home studio.
Kick, snare, OH-L, OH-R, T1, T2 and mono room...or I'll do a single OH and stereo room. I don't love two mics on a snare and I always get enough HH from a combination of the OH(s) and the snare mic. I could get a usable kit sound from one mic though. I could get a *great* sound from three. If you spend time listening you'll be shocked at the amazing sounds you'll get from fewer mics because it'll force you to make better decisions out of necessity. That's how it works for me anyhow.

Frank
Old 22nd September 2009
  #19
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
Kick, snare, OH-L, OH-R, T1, T2 and mono room...or I'll do a single OH and stereo room. I don't love two mics on a snare and I always get enough HH from a combination of the OH(s) and the snare mic. I could get a usable kit sound from one mic though. I could get a *great* sound from three. If you spend time listening you'll be shocked at the amazing sounds you'll get from fewer mics because it'll force you to make better decisions out of necessity. That's how it works for me anyhow.

Frank
Interesting, thanks so much! I assume T1 and T2 are the two small toms that are mounted on the kick drum? Some mic suggestions for a 70s era drum sound (rather dry, warm kick, soft snare) would be greatly appreciated. I mean really budget stuff like Rode mics or even drum mic kits.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Interesting, thanks so much! I assume T1 and T2 are the two small toms that are mounted on the kick drum? Some mic suggestions for a 70s era drum sound (rather dry, warm kick, soft snare) would be greatly appreciated. I mean really budget stuff like Rode mics or even drum mic kits.
This has more to do with room and tuning than mic choice. Not that the mics won't influence it...but you have to get the drums to sound 70's acoustically first.

For super budget, you could get one of the CAD drum mic sets (in descending order of price):

Buy CAD Premium 7-Piece Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend

Buy CAD Premium 4-Piece Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend

Buy CAD PRO-7 7-Piece Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend

Buy CAD Pro-4 Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend
Old 22nd September 2009
  #21
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draw the Moral View Post
This has more to do with room and tuning than mic choice. Not that the mics won't influence it...but you have to get the drums to sound 70's acoustically first.

For super budget, you could get one of the CAD drum mic sets (in descending order of price):

Buy CAD Premium 7-Piece Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend

Buy CAD Premium 4-Piece Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend

Buy CAD PRO-7 7-Piece Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend

Buy CAD Pro-4 Drum Microphone Pack | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend
Oh, so sets do work in the studio?
I was thinking around 500 to 600 EUR (I'm in Germany, Thomann Cyberstore is where gear is cheapest) for the drums mics. Would you say the overheads are the most important mics? I'm thinking a pair of Oktava MK012 (cardioid) for overheads, an SM57 for snare (you always have some of those anyway) and basically garbage on the kick and toms.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #22
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Weasel9992's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Interesting, thanks so much! I assume T1 and T2 are the two small toms that are mounted on the kick drum? Some mic suggestions for a 70s era drum sound (rather dry, warm kick, soft snare) would be greatly appreciated. I mean really budget stuff like Rode mics or even drum mic kits.
Again, I'm a big proponent for simplicity. Unless the drummer has a rack full of toms, I'll get the small and mid toms with one mic and the floor tom with another.

Warm, dry drum sounds are all about the room. When I want that I track in my mix room, which has *very* short but even decay times across the frequency spectrum.

Frank
Old 22nd September 2009
  #23
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

if you want a 70's drum sound make your kit sound like a 70's kit and use some 70's style miking techniques. Make sure you're room is treated.

Now would be an appropriate time to purchase a pair of LDC use Glyn Johns technique with either 4-5 mics (or more).

SM57 or PR-20UT on snare drum.
ATM25 on kick drum.
2xLDC on overheads CAD M179 work wonderfully. In all honesty you could do a 3 pack and use the 3rd as a room mic/FOK or as your bass drum mic in place of the ATM25.

You won't find many of those 70's sounds you describe close miking the entire drumset. The fewer mics the better. Honestly I have good luck on my kit with a pair of overheads and a kick mic to get that type of sound, but my snare is pretty exceptional right now and cuts through anything.

But regardless of the gear you use to capture the performance if your kit doesn't sound how it should on it's own nothing will really change that later.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #24
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
The only problem with using a million mics on an instrument then picking the "best" out later is the habit that forms from that mentality. The only thing you're doing is putting the core sound decision off until later. To me, I'd rather spend 30 or 40 minutes trying mics and moving things around, then commit to the sound that I'm going to mix with. Now, if you're going to use a few mics and record them all to a single track, then fine as long as you get the phase right.

The alternative is this kinda wishy-washy process that never really figures out what the character of a particular mix should be. It never really settles in and decides what it *is*. I limit myself on purpose. I love mixing drums to a mono track in the middle, and I don't often track with more than six or seven mics. I hardly ever track guitars more than one to a side. Bass goes DI or gets a single mic. Vocals get bussed together and compressed on a mono channel. Mixing is *so* much easier when I actually leave myself space to work with.

Frank
I agree with you entirely Frank. It breeds a mentality of putting things off and procrastinating. Like both of us said yeah you can setup a million mics but the results will never be as good as if you had spent time trying different things before laying the track and spending time tweaking it to perfection.

I'd much rather have 1-2 totally awesome sounding tracks on a source such as a guitar or amp than have like 8+ tracks of mediocre garbage that don't really sit right because instead of spending 40 minutes setting up one or two mics well suited and voiced for a situation I was crowding 8 mics around the sweet spot on an acoustic guitar.

Actually I'd go as far as to say that setting up 8 mics is a complete waste of time and money. I don't want to pay some know it all cocky sound engineer by the hour when he probably spent at least an hour setting up a bunch of **** that's not even gonna get used.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
if you want a 70's drum sound make your kit sound like a 70's kit and use some 70's style miking techniques. Make sure you're room is treated.

Now would be an appropriate time to purchase a pair of LDC use Glyn Johns technique with either 4-5 mics (or more).

SM57 or PR-20UT on snare drum.
ATM25 on kick drum.
2xLDC on overheads CAD M179 work wonderfully. In all honesty you could do a 3 pack and use the 3rd as a room mic/FOK or as your bass drum mic in place of the ATM25.

You won't find many of those 70's sounds you describe close miking the entire drumset. The fewer mics the better. Honestly I have good luck on my kit with a pair of overheads and a kick mic to get that type of sound, but my snare is pretty exceptional right now and cuts through anything.

But regardless of the gear you use to capture the performance if your kit doesn't sound how it should on it's own nothing will really change that later.

And having 70's size drums is helpful too.

classic sizes are 5X14 snare, 8x12, 9x13, 16x16, 14x22

BTW, my mics are also ATM25 on bass, sm57 on snare

for overheads I use 2 SDCs the equivalent of the CAD e70 - I would love to try a pair of the m179 - no money right now for that - oh well....

Even though I've got an AT pro25 for floor tome and a pair of audix D2 for small toms. I find myself rarely using any mics on the toms. The set comes through quite well without them.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soul&folk View Post
And having 70's size drums is helpful too.

classic sizes are 5X14 snare, 8x12, 9x13, 16x16, 14x22
oh yeah definitely heh

gotta love the 14 inch deep kicks
Old 22nd September 2009
  #27
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
SM57 or PR-20UT on snare drum.
ATM25 on kick drum.
2xLDC on overheads CAD M179 work wonderfully. In all honesty you could do a 3 pack and use the 3rd as a room mic/FOK or as your bass drum mic in place of the ATM25.
Damn, the only ones out of that list I can get here in Germany are the SM57 and the ATM25. :-)

But now that I know that 8 channels of D/A are plenty for drums, I guess I can choose fewer but better mics. This way, I can spend more on the studio and the place it's gonna be inside of. I'm going for the live-room/mixing-room in the same place because I like being close to the musician. Works out nicely so far but couldn't even fit a drum kit in the current room. Plus, it shares one (brick) wall with the neighbor's apartment.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the suggestions!
Old 22nd September 2009
  #28
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by alehoe View Post
if you can do it then why the heck not? then you can pick the best one that fits in the mix
Why not? Because if you know what you're doing, you have a pretty good idea of what will work without having to wade through all of those tracks later.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #29
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Hammer Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post
The only problem with using a million mics on an instrument then picking the "best" out later is the habit that forms from that mentality. The only thing you're doing is putting the core sound decision off until later. To me, I'd rather spend 30 or 40 minutes trying mics and moving things around, then commit to the sound that I'm going to mix with. Now, if you're going to use a few mics and record them all to a single track, then fine as long as you get the phase right.

The alternative is this kinda wishy-washy process that never really figures out what the character of a particular mix should be. It never really settles in and decides what it *is*. I limit myself on purpose. I love mixing drums to a mono track in the middle, and I don't often track with more than six or seven mics. I hardly ever track guitars more than one to a side. Bass goes DI or gets a single mic. Vocals get bussed together and compressed on a mono channel. Mixing is *so* much easier when I actually leave myself space to work with.

Frank
+1

You've saved me the trouble of elaborating on my previous post.
Old 22nd September 2009
  #30
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Damn, the only ones out of that list I can get here in Germany are the SM57 and the ATM25. :-)

But now that I know that 8 channels of D/A are plenty for drums, I guess I can choose fewer but better mics. This way, I can spend more on the studio and the place it's gonna be inside of. I'm going for the live-room/mixing-room in the same place because I like being close to the musician. Works out nicely so far but couldn't even fit a drum kit in the current room. Plus, it shares one (brick) wall with the neighbor's apartment.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the suggestions!
well you can substitute plenty of mics....in all honesty my favorite LDC overhead mic is the AT4050...of course that's a bit more expensive than the CAD M179 but hey it's also a much nicer mic (I'm pretty sure you can get that AT in Germany)
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