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the effect of mono overhead with hard panned close miked toms
Old 13th January 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
the effect of mono overhead with hard panned close miked toms

yes, the title suggests it all.

If I have a mono overhead over the relative centre of my mix, and then take my close mics of the toms and pann them hard lefts and rights, will this create too much confusion in my mix? the toms become ambiguous, losing their definition?
if my mono overhead says the toms are in the centre, and my close mics say those same toms are hard left and right...... hhmmm.
I couldnt seem to find a straight answer to this online, maybe its because its so basic and one should know!
But, as I prepare to buy my first mics and monitors, I guess I havnt and cannot experiment.
would like to know now so I can choose the gear for specified creativity.

I will have the option of stereo overheads too, but was wondering about just chucking one up, and close miking toms, if it would smear the definition....
cheers I appreciate any info, slutz.
Old 13th January 2018
Here for the gear
DamnFineCoffee's Avatar
Hey grasshoper,

I think you have to do what it takes to make the record sound great. That's really nice to ask yourself these kind of questions but even if you read some guys on forums telling you that this is (or is not) a good idea, you should still experiment with it and see what it's like. Experimentation is a huge part of a good mix and also the fastest way to learn. Sometimes you will literally put a frying pan between the beater and the kick drum and it's gonna sound amazing in the context of the record (you might or might not try this but if you do, tell me what it's like, haha). So, don't overthink this too much, in the end you'll save time trying by yourself when you get your mics . Sorry, my answer might sound casual but honestly I believe that it's all in the context of the mix. So just try it out if you are willing to and let us know what it sounds like .

Old 13th January 2018
Lives for gear
That was damn fine coffee, and intelligent advice. From your question, you already seem to know that there are a number of drum miking schools. You have to try a school to know which school suits you. The catch 22 is that you have to have the mics to try the technique, but if the technique doesn’t suit you, you are stuck with the wrong mics.
In a general sense, putting a center (overhead) mic in a mix with two or more panned mics won’t confuse the mix any more than adding a stereo pair of mics. Often it will cause much less confusion. Less sources=less confusion.
Old 13th January 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
yes, thanks heaps, very useful responses so far. Yes and your so right damn fine coffee, experimentation.
I guess part of the theory, was if a mono overhead spans and pans to its natural spread say between 10:30 and 1:30 on a clock, (with toms amongst it),
and Then add to this, my closed mic toms, panned hypothetically at 8:00 - 4:00 oclock, which is out of the mono range, will this create a smudge of non location? I mean it basically sounds like iv answered it myself. On paper it should. but has anyone experienced it?
having stereo overheads and matching the spot mics to the same location as the overheads seems doable and creates location... hmmm but although bushman you say its not any difference? My duty is to buy the mics and try it I suppose. any chime in welcome.
Old 13th January 2018
The Left/right skewing is less pronounced, so you ultimately will wind up panning your toms a bit more.

The bonus is that those panned tom mics also pick up a fair bit of cymbal in my experience, so it does create a semi-stereo sound on the cymbals, albeit less pronounced.

You can also do something goofy like create a faux-stereo off the overhead that nulls down in mono. Take two copies of the track, offset them so they're like 20ms late, pan hard right and left, invert polarity on the right. Make those a bit quieter than the mono, but it'll open up a bit.

If it's to save on inputs, I'd personally skip the tom mics and stick to kick, stereo overheads, snare (optional). I like to do XY on my overheads even though you don't get the widest sound, but you get a predictable mono fold down.

This only had a mono overhead and then a mic on each drum: Live At The Highball | Get Off My Lawn Records
Old 13th January 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Thanks ya'll, your all knowledgeable slutz of gear. After eating some dinner and doing some more online listening I discovered my answer.
A mono overhead, with spot mics on toms panned left right, will have a 'defined sound of location' of side action - yet sounds thicker overall due to the nature of its mono counterpart...
But stereo overheads, if you line **** up, can really take on the vibe its coming from the sides. heavy in a different way.

I could be right i could be wrong.
I could be left i could be right.

Old 13th January 2018
Gear Guru
Brent Hahn's Avatar

It's just knobs. Do what you want.
Old 13th January 2018
Lives for gear
The “line things up” in stereo comment is a little misleading. Stereo overheads give you a more stereo image overall, but the nature of “more stereo” is that it is also almost inevitably less mono compatible. As you say, there are different kinds of audio appeal in every successful implementation of live drum capture. You have to decide which you favor, or perhaps which approaches, plural, you favor for different styles, drumsets, drummers and rooms.
Old 14th January 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Thanks bushman, and everyone....

yes I guess what i mean of to line things up, im referring purely about toms coming from the sides.
lets pretend there are no close mics for a sec - ok the mono overhead on its own is doing a tom fill, and i hear it equally in both sides of my headphones.
now we play a 'spaced pair of stereo overheads' on its own, and the tom fill goes from left to right, distinctively.
question becomes - when i add my close 'tom' mics, which excerpt will compliment the 'location' more so? stereo OH, or mono OH?
ahhh, penny drop
is everyone catching my drift yet?
is the my question less muddy this time.

Im about 98% sure people will write back saying how it wont matter, just experiment... yes thats more valid in the end, is the experiment and end result sounding good or in context... but that aside, can anyone see my specific question here?
cheers. just truly curious, and would love your pro knowledge.
Old 14th January 2018
Lives for gear
Too many variables... How high are the overheads? What is the distance between the two overheads? What is their exact placement relative to the drums, the cymbals and each other? What kinds of mics are involved...what are their patterns, especially over the frequency spectrum?
If you get very firm answers about which choice is best at this point, my thought is those answers are not based on your facts, because we don’t know them. Firm answers to your question are just strong personal preferences based on that person’s mics, room, drums, cymbals and mic placement. Their preferred method may work for you, it may not.
Old 14th January 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
I love it man, I love it. i get you
this drum world is such a candle in the wind.... nothing is on paper because each environment sets a different bar. cool.
Well if I ever get interesting results, I will for sure share the audio, and explain what i did.
Thanks again. over and out
Old 14th January 2018
Here for the gear

Maybe choose a pair of condenser mics that you can afford and 2 or 3 dynamic mics- then you can run many hypothetical configurations. It's not going to happen until you have a compliment of serviceable mics in hand and a room with a drum kit. At that point you will find out how many variables there are to what may seem to be a straight forward situation. Start basic and try to evaluate the cause and effect of the given circumstance. You're always limited by some things, like the room. Do you only have one room? One limitation. Can you move the kit between reflective and absorptive parts of the room? A variable. Then, the number of mics, their placement, distance, axial direction and all of a sudden you've got enough situations to flood your options. Once recorded- there are more variables of panning, levels, cancellation and how it interacts with the rest of what you have. There have been so many things done with drums- there are practically no hard fast rules. Maybe you'll discover something you like that has never been done. Start simple so that you might realize what effect is had by what you change. Sometimes small changes cause unexpected outcomes. A pair of good condensers that push the budget and one to three dynamics.
Old 15th January 2018
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Thanks mmboom,
yeah thats the final call, like you say, one wont know till its outcome. I appreciate all the non straight answers in this forum, it really hints you in the right direction, without a sense of limitation. I have a clearer picture for sure.
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