The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
best placement for drum overheads
Old 3rd July 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 
Dougie Murray's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Talking best placement for drum overheads

My band is going into the studio next week and I was wondering if anyone could give us some pointers on overhead mic placements.

We are a thrash metal band: Metallica, Mega, Slayer, etc...

First of all there is only eight inputs. Enough to have only two overheads and these need to capture hats, two crashes, a ride and a china. The others are taken by Kick, Snare, and 4 x toms.

The setup is a Presonus Firepod into a Dell laptop running Cubase SX3 outputting through a pair of Mackie monitors and a Makie sub. There are no outboard effects and we only want to be using software effects for mixing and mastering to protect from overloading the processor and having a delayed signal.

Thanks
Old 3rd July 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
turk sanchez's Avatar
I would try x/y...it's hard to mess up. Not my favorite image but it's a safe way if you don't have a lot of experience recording drums/or are not in the greatest room. Place it right over the drummers head...maybe 12-16" above and aimed slightly foward into the toms.
Old 3rd July 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
I would try the 'Recordeman' setup.
I copied the info below from an earlier thread and I think it's 'Recorderman' himself explaining his magic method:

1. sit on the drummer's throne/stool.

2.Hold both drum sticks end-to-end so that you have a measuring device ( aprox. 16"...give or take).

3. place the tip of one end of your new double- length-drums-stick-measuring-device in the center of the snare with the "drum sticks" held vertically.

4. The other end will now(depending on how tall you are) be a little above and in front of your forehead.

5. Place a mic here. I've been aiming it down at the snare as of late...

6. With the tip of the "drum sticks" still in the center of the snare, angle the "stick back and down, so that's it's to the right of your right shoulder ( about a 45 degreee angle)

7. Use amic cable. Measure the distance of the over the snare mic to the center of the kick drum. Check that the "right shoulder" mic is also the same distance.

8. Doulble check the snare distance again.

9. As far as where to face them...experiment. I like the extra snare reinforcement, so as of late I've been facing them both at the snare. facing them at the rack and floor toms also produces good results.

10. one last thing to check. with headphones on, both "OH" mics in your cue mix (only them) .fine tune the placement (i.e. adjust their orientation...usualliy just moving the shoulder one) untill the kick is in the center of your "image"

11. When your done you'll notice that at first glance, this looks very weird and unsymmetrical. Yet it is very symmetrical in it's result. A. Rack toms are higher off the floor than floor toms, so this arrangement actually follows the contour of the toms as they really are. Standard OH micing doesn't take this into account, and as such are usually no more than "cymbal mics". Most of them time you see mixers pulling the OH's down to -10 or more in the mix because of the over abundance of cymbals and badly phased snare/kick/toms in the "OH's". I tend to focus my OH on being a cornerstone of my whole kit sound, and as such, and have spent great pains into making the snare/kick/tom elements speak as well as possible. I guess you could say I'm a "drum bigot". It's just that if you "ignore" the cymbals you actually are going to hear them anyway...like the
hat, there just so damn loud.



Ever since starting to record drums, I stayed with this setup though I might use a mono OH too once in a while. I often tried something else but always came back to it, it works just great, especially in smaller rooms.

The 'Recordeman' setup (when done right) gives you a very punchy, direct sound due to the phase coherence of the 2 OHs. The rest are 'spotmics' so snare/kick/toms can be brought in a bit.

I never use a hat mic and it's prefectly possible to skip the tom mics too, in the digital world you might cut the tom fills out of the OH tracks and create extra tom tracks in the mix.
Old 3rd July 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Matti's Avatar
Recorderman if the drummer has good balance.
The pic. isn`t mine
Matti
Old 3rd July 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
nathanvacha's Avatar
 

What mic's do you have?
Old 3rd July 2006
  #6
Gear maniac
 

Do you pan the two mikes hard L/R after recording?
Thanks,
Macmod


Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker
I would try the 'Recordeman' setup.
I copied the info below from an earlier thread and I think it's 'Recorderman' himself explaining his magic method:

1. sit on the drummer's throne/stool.

2.Hold both drum sticks end-to-end so that you have a measuring device ( aprox. 16"...give or take).

3. place the tip of one end of your new double- length-drums-stick-measuring-device in the center of the snare with the "drum sticks" held vertically.

4. The other end will now(depending on how tall you are) be a little above and in front of your forehead.

5. Place a mic here. I've been aiming it down at the snare as of late...

6. With the tip of the "drum sticks" still in the center of the snare, angle the "stick back and down, so that's it's to the right of your right shoulder ( about a 45 degreee angle)

7. Use amic cable. Measure the distance of the over the snare mic to the center of the kick drum. Check that the "right shoulder" mic is also the same distance.

8. Doulble check the snare distance again.

9. As far as where to face them...experiment. I like the extra snare reinforcement, so as of late I've been facing them both at the snare. facing them at the rack and floor toms also produces good results.

10. one last thing to check. with headphones on, both "OH" mics in your cue mix (only them) .fine tune the placement (i.e. adjust their orientation...usualliy just moving the shoulder one) untill the kick is in the center of your "image"

11. When your done you'll notice that at first glance, this looks very weird and unsymmetrical. Yet it is very symmetrical in it's result. A. Rack toms are higher off the floor than floor toms, so this arrangement actually follows the contour of the toms as they really are. Standard OH micing doesn't take this into account, and as such are usually no more than "cymbal mics". Most of them time you see mixers pulling the OH's down to -10 or more in the mix because of the over abundance of cymbals and badly phased snare/kick/toms in the "OH's". I tend to focus my OH on being a cornerstone of my whole kit sound, and as such, and have spent great pains into making the snare/kick/tom elements speak as well as possible. I guess you could say I'm a "drum bigot". It's just that if you "ignore" the cymbals you actually are going to hear them anyway...like the
hat, there just so damn loud.



Ever since starting to record drums, I stayed with this setup though I might use a mono OH too once in a while. I often tried something else but always came back to it, it works just great, especially in smaller rooms.

The 'Recordeman' setup (when done right) gives you a very punchy, direct sound due to the phase coherence of the 2 OHs. The rest are 'spotmics' so snare/kick/toms can be brought in a bit.

I never use a hat mic and it's prefectly possible to skip the tom mics too, in the digital world you might cut the tom fills out of the OH tracks and create extra tom tracks in the mix.
Old 3rd July 2006
  #7
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Metal? Probably a spaced pair, making sure the overheads are spaced evenly with the snare.

War
Old 3rd July 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie Murray
My band is going into the studio next week and I was wondering if anyone could give us some pointers on overhead mic placements.
Let the engineer take care of it. Tell him the sound you are going for, then trust his judgement. Focus on your job, which is performing and having fun.

Unless you're engineering it yourself, in which case, you could follow any of the advice here, along with hundreds of other possible setups that would work. Read up on how your favorite bands were recorded, and start there. I think there were a couple of threads here recently on how Metallica recorded their drums, try searching!

Good luck in the studio, let us know how it turns out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougie Murray
There are no outboard effects and we only want to be using software effects for mixing and mastering to protect from overloading the processor and having a delayed signal.
P.S. This makes no sense, by the way...outboard effects will have no strain on the CPU, where software effects will. You will also get latency with most software effects, you will get virtually none with outboard. I'd suggest using as much outboard gear as possible as long as it is good for tracking, mixing, and mastering (although I would also suggest handing it off to a mixing engineer and then to a mastering engineer if your budget permits.)
Old 3rd July 2006
  #9
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker
I would try the 'Recordeman' setup.
I copied the info below from an earlier thread and I think it's 'Recorderman' himself explaining his magic method:

1. sit on the drummer's throne/stool.

2.Hold both drum sticks end-to-end so that you have a measuring device ( aprox. 16"...give or take).

3. place the tip of one end of your new double- length-drums-stick-measuring-device in the center of the snare with the "drum sticks" held vertically.

4. The other end will now(depending on how tall you are) be a little above and in front of your forehead.

5. Place a mic here. I've been aiming it down at the snare as of late...

6. With the tip of the "drum sticks" still in the center of the snare, angle the "stick back and down, so that's it's to the right of your right shoulder ( about a 45 degreee angle)

7. Use amic cable. Measure the distance of the over the snare mic to the center of the kick drum. Check that the "right shoulder" mic is also the same distance.

8. Doulble check the snare distance again.

9. As far as where to face them...experiment. I like the extra snare reinforcement, so as of late I've been facing them both at the snare. facing them at the rack and floor toms also produces good results.

10. one last thing to check. with headphones on, both "OH" mics in your cue mix (only them) .fine tune the placement (i.e. adjust their orientation...usualliy just moving the shoulder one) untill the kick is in the center of your "image"

11. When your done you'll notice that at first glance, this looks very weird and unsymmetrical. Yet it is very symmetrical in it's result. A. Rack toms are higher off the floor than floor toms, so this arrangement actually follows the contour of the toms as they really are. Standard OH micing doesn't take this into account, and as such are usually no more than "cymbal mics". Most of them time you see mixers pulling the OH's down to -10 or more in the mix because of the over abundance of cymbals and badly phased snare/kick/toms in the "OH's". I tend to focus my OH on being a cornerstone of my whole kit sound, and as such, and have spent great pains into making the snare/kick/tom elements speak as well as possible. I guess you could say I'm a "drum bigot". It's just that if you "ignore" the cymbals you actually are going to hear them anyway...like the
hat, there just so damn loud.



Ever since starting to record drums, I stayed with this setup though I might use a mono OH too once in a while. I often tried something else but always came back to it, it works just great, especially in smaller rooms.

The 'Recordeman' setup (when done right) gives you a very punchy, direct sound due to the phase coherence of the 2 OHs. The rest are 'spotmics' so snare/kick/toms can be brought in a bit.

I never use a hat mic and it's prefectly possible to skip the tom mics too, in the digital world you might cut the tom fills out of the OH tracks and create extra tom tracks in the mix.
I just gave this set up a try. It works well. I like the balance between the toms.
The spacing I was using before left the small tom lacking in volume and the floor tom really boomy. Overall, the kit sounds pretty much like it does in the room when I'm playing it. I only use 2 OH's......... snare......... and kick for my recordings.
For me it is simple and usually effective for my stuff. Thanks for the tip!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rico
Old 4th July 2006
  #10
Gear Head
 
Dougie Murray's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis
Let the engineer take care of it. Tell him the sound you are going for, then trust his judgement. Focus on your job, which is performing and having fun.

Unless you're engineering it yourself, in which case, you could follow any of the advice here, along with hundreds of other possible setups that would work. Read up on how your favorite bands were recorded, and start there. I think there were a couple of threads here recently on how Metallica recorded their drums, try searching!

Good luck in the studio, let us know how it turns out!



P.S. This makes no sense, by the way...outboard effects will have no strain on the CPU, where software effects will. You will also get latency with most software effects, you will get virtually none with outboard. I'd suggest using as much outboard gear as possible as long as it is good for tracking, mixing, and mastering (although I would also suggest handing it off to a mixing engineer and then to a mastering engineer if your budget permits.)
The engineer is a frind of mine that I met whilst doing my recording course, thus we know as much as each other, which is very limited because we didn't get too much time in full scale studo to experiment.

Also what I mean't by no out board effects is just that. It's a very simple system as I've described that has no outboard effects and only a few VST effects.

thanks for all the suggestions and keep 'em coming.
Old 4th July 2006
  #11
Gear addict
 

"best placement for drum overheads"

For slow thrash metal till 320 BPM slightly below the central forward portion of the lower jaw. From 420 BPM on between the legs, and above 480 BPM you don't need a overhead at all. But put the drummer into a cabinet for 30 minutes, with low temperature also known as refrigerator, so he shakes involuntarily that fast. And give him a spot to play a double kick solo, as from excitement he can't stop the solo by himself, shoot him.

No Kidding - Believe me!!!

.
Old 4th July 2006
  #12
Gear maniac
 
TheRigaletto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
Metal? Probably a spaced pair, making sure the overheads are spaced evenly with the snare.

War
Emphasis on the "PAIR" that doesnt mean same brand that means they are matched freq mics
Old 4th July 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
nathanvacha's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRigaletto
Emphasis on the "PAIR" that doesnt mean same brand that means they are matched freq mics
Well, technically a matched pair refers to two of the same model of microphone that were either consecutive (or very close) serial numbers or individually checked for frequency and imulse response and packaged with another that is almost identical...

bbbuuttt.... don't get too hung up on that.

but I thought spaced pair first too when i saw "metal". spaced pair technically meaning 2 mics, one over each side of the drumkit... and probably small diaphragm condensers for metal...
Old 6th July 2006
  #14
Gear Head
 
keithrt99's Avatar
 

general consensus on the sneap forum is spaced pair, or recorderman style.
Old 6th July 2006
  #15
Lives for gear
 
AdamJay's Avatar
 

i'm a recorderman method fan myself.

it makes recording in less than great rooms quite feasible, also fantastic for live stuff when the PA only has room for 3 channels from the drums (i give them OH and kick usually)
occasionally i'll modify this setup as well and take the mics up away from the drummer another foot or two, per mic (but still measure to snare and kick for phase coherency)

as for panning. i pan L and R, but not HARD L and R. tutt
YMMV but i think it sounds a little wierd panned all the way hard.

My room mic has also turned into an OH of sorts. I've been going about 7 feet up, and only 3 feet in front of the Kit. Centered, aimed right at the rack toms. Squashed with a Distressor and lightly mixed in with the 2 OH's, adjust timing for phase issues, and you can really play with how forward you want the drum mix to sound, almost entirely with that one FOK/OH fader.
Old 6th July 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 

I can't wait to try this recordman mic setup on my next CD project!!!
I went to hear them play live to get an idea of what they are all about, and to generate ideas on how I could best record them.
This drummer's kit is kind of "out of balance" for traditional spaced pair overheads, so I have been thinking about how to do the overheads....and I was going to start with SM81's in X-Y...
I think this recordman setup makes sense, so I will try this too.
Thanks for the tips and pics doornocker and AdamJay!!
Old 6th July 2006
  #17
Gear maniac
 
tgrokz's Avatar
 

my question with the recorderman setup, the the stereo spread of the cymbols. i love hearing a nice space between crashes and hi-hat.
Old 10th July 2006
  #18
Gear Head
 
Dougie Murray's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
The over head mics we will use will be a pair of Rode NT5s

And they were the best I could get my hands on

I live in Newcastle australia and for all the hire company's here, none of them had a decent matched pair of overhead mics. An aquaintance of mine is letting me borrow the NT5s
Old 10th July 2006
  #19
Gear maniac
 

here's some of the things i might do to record drums:

1:use real tape or a tape-saturation plugin rather than compression or distortion. use it on everything to varying degrees, except maybe bass drum. if you're using 24-bit, record low to catch all the transients so that the saturation can do its thing properly. if using tape , record hot hot hot! if using 16-bit, get as good a level as you can without limiting.
2:mic under the snare(phase-reversed) as well as over. gives you a big, big snare!
3:make the drums sound good in the room - tune them, change the heads, and find a good, super-resonant place to put them in the room - usually in the middle but not the dead centre is a good starting place
4:don't pan too wide
5:use automation on the toms for crazy pans/echos to make the tom fills more exciting. also mute tom mics when not in use to minimise phase issues.
6:for metal, time-delay the close mics to match the overheads. i would be less inclined to do this for other genres - it gives you a very high-impact drum sound.
7:you don't have to point both mics at the snare, although you may want the capsules to be equi-distant from the snare. i might turn the one above the floor tom towards that, and the one above the snare between the snare and the rack toms, to get more of a picture of the kit as a whole. don't worry about aiming at the cymbals - you'll get more than enough of them if you're using condenser mics.

in your situation, i would try:
channels 1&2 - overheads(ld condensers)
channel 3 - kick(ld dynamic)
channels 4&5 - snare(over and under - 57s or similar sd dynamics will do)
channels 6,7&8 - toms(use ld dynamics if available, sd's will do for the smaller toms if you're stuck)

there's a great chapter in mike stavrou's 'mixing with your mind' book about setting up drums for recording - it's improved my drums 100%. prevously i was using the recorderman method with mixed results.
Old 11th July 2006
  #20
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Since we're just kind of talking about results of drum mic'ing in general now, I got FANTASTIC results on a blues drummer the other day by putting two small condensors about 2' off the floor and 4' from the snare on both sides of the kit pointing in. Not above, just right into the middle height of the kit. Absolutely wonderful sound, picked the spot by moving around and listening and those two spots were just smokin'. The imaging was great, if you don't mind things not being perfectly centered like kick and snare...the kick was a bit right and the snare was a bit left of course!

Those are side address pencil mics on eval from Audio Technica so no...they're not pointing at the ceiling! New mic coming out called the ATM450.

War
Old 11th July 2006
  #21
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

The other day I put Brauner Phantom Vs in omni on the toms (1 tom and a floor tom) M260s directly, over the ride the crash and the hat, an AT3000 on sn up and an e604 on the bottom and I had image out the ass, I put another Phantom V in a tunnel and a Stedman N90 on the beater. The only eq was on the direct kik mic. This was a very "drum booth" sound , but a good one.

I would hire a mixer and get some more mics on the drums

I would take some trigger tracks (kik and sn)

For this type of music over and under micing of the drums is important as well as spots on each group of cymbals. It's important to capture faithfully your lo freuencies in the recording and not rely on in the box stuff to get good tight bass.

a bad room won't sound good with any speakers or mics.

The largest surface in almost any room is the floor to ceiling combo, the easiest to treat is the floor, carpets and chairs and tables bookcases can help. put the drums in the middle of a househood item valley
Old 12th July 2006
  #22
Gear nut
 

hi all
The Recorderman setup is permanently setup in our drum room (using 2 Josephson 42's) It works GREAT.
I also use the same setup for live recording. It's really amazing what a no brainer it has become to get terrific overhead sound.



Dan
www.iswstudios.com
Old 16th July 2006
  #23
Gear Head
 
Dougie Murray's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Ok her it goes:

Initially the channels were to be as follows

1 kick
2 snare
3/4/5/6 toms
7/8 overheads

but on the day of the recording the drummer realises that the songs that we will be recording he doesn't use the floor tom. Unfortunately we didn't have another condenser to mic the hats so we mic'd under the snare.

now the channels became (plus mics)

1 Kick AKG d112 (plastic beaters hitting a danmar metal kick-pad)
2 Snare top Shure SM57
3 Snare Bottom Shure SM57
4/5/6 Toms Shure Beta 57s (top skin only, mic'd from inside)
7/8 Overheads Rode NT5s

The room was unusual to work with. It was about 10m x 5m with a tapering roof starting at the narrow ends of the room at about 2.5m and meeting in the centre at about 5m. Half of the room was fully exposed to the roof while the other had a mezzanine floor and from it you could look into the other half from 2.5m above. All the walls were covered with wood pannels and the roof was plaster. I instantly knew that this would summon the comb filering demons that would kill my overheads. Out came the gaffa tape,a ladder and a sh*t load of blankets. We ended up creating a small space about 5m x 3m with the blankets hung by one edge on the edge of the mezzanine floor and roof opposite it with blankets flat against the walls and roof. In here we tracked the drums.

We planned to do some experimentation with the over heads, but happened upon a great sound upon the secdond mic set up. We tried X/Y first using a mounting bracket, but it was too tight. Then i reversed the position of the mics in the bracket so that the rear ends of them met, not the capsule end. Halleuja, great spread and great mix of the cymbals, plus as an added bonus this set up didn't have as much tom or snare spill as A/B or X/Y mic'ing.

I'm sure someone with more experience could have pulled a better sound, but we also had to deal with the fact that the engineer and I are limited in our experience and we had to get the tracking started ASAP because the drummer was good with his technical skill, but his timing needs work, thus there was going to be many overdubs.

14 hours later we had our four tracks

Mixing:

All tracks were compressed, but not to today's extreems, we just wanted to restrict some of the bigger peaks. We wanted the drums to sound human.

Kick has some shelving EQ for the top and bottom end. Nice and clicky with a bit of thump.

Snare top and bottom has a gentle peak at about 3.5k for some crack. When mixed together there is much more top than bottom for body.

Toms had a rounded peak at 100Hz for resonance and a relativly steep peak at 16k for some tick.

Overheads had a HPF at 100Hz and were panned 80 L and R

In about two weeks I will post the mp3's of the tracks on our mySpace page.
visit www.myspace.com/sabretung for the demos that are currently there.

Thanks for all the advice
Old 18th July 2006
  #24
Gear Head
 
Dougie Murray's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
bump

Old 18th July 2006
  #25
Gear nut
 
bachconnelly's Avatar
 

ok... i must be slightly mental

but then again.. who on this sight isn't.. I am having a hard time getting the recorder man setup. I think what I need is to have it explained differently. Could someone just describe how to set it up in a different way. I'm just not following the way he stated it and I would love to try the set up!! Thanks guys

D-
Old 18th July 2006
  #26
Lives for gear
 
AdamJay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bachconnelly
but then again.. who on this sight isn't.. I am having a hard time getting the recorder man setup. I think what I need is to have it explained differently. Could someone just describe how to set it up in a different way. I'm just not following the way he stated it and I would love to try the set up!! Thanks guys

D-

explained in video!


http://sfrecording.com/videos/DrumRecording.mp4
Old 18th July 2006
  #27
Gear nut
 
bachconnelly's Avatar
 

Thanks a ton! This site pretty much rocks!
Old 18th July 2006
  #28
Gear nut
 
bachconnelly's Avatar
 

Oh.. one more thing.. what is this placement called... i will forever know it as the recorderman placement.. but if someone else asks.. what do I call it?

D-
Old 18th July 2006
  #29
Lives for gear
 
tamasdragon's Avatar
 

Nobody loves a beautiful ORTF setup from behind the drummer? It sounds soooo gooood.
Regards Tamas Dragon
Old 18th July 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Matti's Avatar
You like those new AT mics, I notice.
samples for us?
Matti
Loading mentioned products ...
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+  Submit Thread to Reddit Reddit 
 
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get instant access to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
jbuntz / So much gear, so little time!
44
cannibalbritney / Low End Theory
4
SLy_drums / So much gear, so little time!
7
audioslave / So much gear, so little time!
19

Forum Jump