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Need advice on miking snare and floor tom Dynamic Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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danielkov86's Avatar
Need advice on miking snare and floor tom

So tomorrow I am recording a drum track with just a snare and floor tom. As those are the only two drums my drummer uses in the song, we're removing the rest of the kit and focusing all of our mics on those two drums for as powerful a sound as we can get.

Here's where I need a little help...

I'd like to get some advice for getting the best sound out of my floor tom, and also double miking the snare (which I haven't tried before.) I have seven mics to use and my plan so far is:
1) Sterling ST66 (tube LDC) overhead, over snare about 4 feet
2) Shure KSM (LDC) off the right side of the floor tom, equal distance from the snare as mic1
3) SM57 - Snare spot mic, top
4) Shure Beta 52A - Floor spot mic - Underneath?
5) Shure SM58 - Snare bottom
6) Rode SDC - room mics - Three times the distance from the snare as the overheads (mics 1 and 2)

Specifically, how and where should I put mic 4, the Shure Beta 52A? I already have an LDC there, but the Beta is a great dynamic for capturing low end (I typically use it for kicks.) SHould I place it underneath? Does it have to be measured from the bottom skin of the floor relative to the distance between the top skin and mic 2?

And the snare bottom mic (mic 5)... Is there a recommended way of positioning it relative to the top snare mic?

I'm trying to avoid phase issues while capturing the attack of both drums.

I should mention I'm running mics 1-4 through my UA 4710-D tube preamp.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
And the snare bottom mic (mic 5)... Is there a recommended way of positioning it relative to the top snare mic?
No particular position is needed. Just place them so you get the best sound out of each snare mic and always check for phase.

I would probably use 3 or 5 mics total. Forget the kick drum mic. Too many mics can lead to trouble.
2 mics for the snare, 1 mic for the floor tom and 2 overhead/room mics, if you want to use 5 mics.

That said, I do not know your room, your drums, your drum heads and style, so maybe 6 mics would be best
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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danielkov86's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
No particular position is needed. Just place them so you get the best sound out of each snare mic and always check for phase.

I would probably use 3 or 5 mics total. Forget the kick drum mic. Too many mics can lead to trouble.
2 mics for the snare, 1 mic for the floor tom and 2 overhead/room mics, if you want to use 5 mics.

That said, I do not know your room, your drums, your drum heads and style, so maybe 6 mics would be best
Yeah I should have mentioned it's a medium size bedroom with hardwood floors, couch, desk, instruments, giant rug.

I'm leaning towards more mics because last time we recorded this track we used only 4 and it sounded washed out. I couldn't get the snap and thump of the floor tom. That's where I think the Shure Beta 52A will come in handy. I just don't know if it should go on top or bottom.

Thank for your help.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
last time we recorded this track we used only 4 and it sounded washed out. I couldn't get the snap and thump of the floor tom.
It it was too washy before, them I would use less mics and make them closer to the sound source (drum heads). this will get you that thump and snap.
Less is more and more is less, in this case...
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Boogaju's Avatar
 

Sounds like a fun session...
If your room is big enough, try to find the place where the drums sound best. Walk around the room with the snare in one hand while playing it with a stick: you'll notice that there are spots in your room that kinda deaden the drum, while other spots make it sound bigger and more powerful.
Then with only two elements, make sure these are tuned and dampened to offer the best sound for your scenario. If the drummer will play rhythm on the low tom, you should probably use heavy dampening, it will make things easier to mix, make the tom more punchy and the overall sound less diffused.
I'd use the sm57 on snare top and the beta52A as tom top. Just move the mics a bit away from the heads, like 10 to 20cm.
Do a short and quick test recording before setting other mics: you should already get a really cool sound with these two mics. Check to see how they sum in mono, pay attention to the perception of power and bass, and of course other phase issues. You might need to slightly adjust them, like move them closer to the heads if you have too much ambience in the signal or away from the heads if the sound is too boomy.
Then you can add a snare bottom mic, sm58 will be dry and a bit bright/cutting, a condenser (if you have one with a built-in pad) will bring more detail if the drummer plays ghost notes and cool fills. go like 10 cm from the head, don't point it directly at the snares, more at the head next to the snares. You'll need to invert the phase on this.
I wouldn't use a bottom mic on the tom, but if you have the time and an extra mic, you can give it a try. If you do so, avoid pointing it at the center of the head, and dampen the head properly too.
I wouldn't use overheads in this scenario, but rather an LDC like two to three feet in front of the 'drums', like 5 to 6 feet up, pointing at the drummer's knee between the two drums. This should give a solid realistic mono signal, will be nicer and richer than from straight above. Could also be a stereo setup instead of a single mic, in this case use XY or blumlein, having the mic caps as close as possible to avoid phase issues.
Your room is not so big, so it makes sense to do a little trick to capture a bigger room, and probably do this in stereo to give size to the drums. Start by pointing the room mics away from the drums, to get as little direct sound as possible. I'd use the rodes. If you have hard surfaces like solid walls or heavy wood furniture, you can get pretty close with the mics, just watch out for corners were bass build-up could be conflicting with your close mics. Use your ear to find the best spots for these two mics, you don't need to think about symmetry here: close one ear with your finger, have the drummer play a beat (not too loud) and walk around the room looking for good spots for your room mics. Get pretty close to various surfaces, you'll notice how sound bounces off hard surfaces, gets boomier in certain places... just find two spots that are pretty balanced and rich, and where the drums seem more distant and rich: this way, you'll get usable signals from your room mics, which should complement the other signals well: if you get less direct sound in your room mics, it will be easier to mix too.
Have fun and tell us how it goes
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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danielkov86's Avatar
Thanks a LOT! I will be putting your advice to good use tomorrow.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielkov86 View Post
And the snare bottom mic (mic 5)... Is there a recommended way of positioning it relative to the top snare mic?
i use a senheiser 441 for that, and angle it as straight up as possible, and position about 70mm from the bottom snares.

reverseing the phase is normal, but you can do that off tape if you like.

then gate it, with an expander, and key trigger from the top snare mike.

set it up so that when the top snare mike is hit, it triggers the expander to open therefore letting through the bottom mic signal.

expanders work better than gates in this situation, as the open closed artifacts are reduced, relertive to a hard gate.

10 to 12 Bd igain reduction s a good setting when the expander is closed.

might be a bit hi teck but thats the theory.

Buddha
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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jwh1192's Avatar
add an EFX mic too .. we used to put One Mic inside a Conga upside down .. adds a flavor that is not tied to the room .. or the old Down the Hallway a Piece too .. always Mono !!! a Fun mic .. you can send just that to a reverb for a way cool signature sound ..
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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jdier's Avatar
 

I like your plan.

I would probably set up everything but the 52, then have him play and move around the room until you find a place where everything sounds great (in the room, not through the other mics) and then put the 52 there.... for me, in a larger room with a larger, but still small kit, I usually end up with that last mic about waist to chest high about 5-7 feet in front of the kick.

Good luck and have fun.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 

I would not bother with a floor tom 'under' mic. These days I rarely even bother with snare under mic.

I would recommend you try the dynamic and condenser on floor tom and decide on one or the other.

I am all for paying lip service to the "minimal miking" philosophy - especially since many people have little choice anyway, but contrary to other advice here, I would always mic the kick drum. You can pick up the "whole kit" from above, but the kick will be lacking.

1. the kick is lying on its side, not facing up like all the other drums
2. the kick occupies a 'special' place in the mix of most modern popular music - having an isolated kick can be super important at mix time.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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jwh1192's Avatar
assumng a Big Heavy Massive Beat for this .. with some soft Ballad type playing at times and building up .. yada yada .. ???

you could try a Knee Mic as ... that gets a good balance of Kit .. and since you just have 2 drums .. might work out cool for a solid single mic technique .. and then expand from there ... add a out front of kit / room mic to that for well, room !! haha .. 57 on the snare and 52 on the Floor-above yes ... KSM's if you want to capture a stereo image of the space ..

1) One Knee Mic - Sm58 or a KSM in Omni - maybe pad if Floor is too much for it .. might be cool to have a slight edge of distortion .. as long as it sounds good of course - you can really Compress that mic as much as you feel like .. bring up all that fun room and pedal noise- (use it) or Lose it !!
2) snare - 57
3) Floor - 52 (above)
4) FOK (front of kit) - try your Large Tube mic
5) SDC's as your room mics - you can try pointing them at the corners of the room ..
6) Alterbnate - use the SDC's as way far out overheads .. half room / half OH

my vote is get "One Mic" working for the Tune and listen to that only while tracking .. then have the others as FX later during mix .. not a rule, as you might land on a combo of mic's while checking Phase that is FAT - a -TAT and ALL That - go for it !!

and Tuning is where it all starts .. tune for FAT !!! none of that Whimpy Police Snare - tight has all get out .. loosen um up a little .. let'm breathe !!!

sounds like tons of Fun !!!
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Addict
I concur with the condenser on the floor tom- I usually prefer it. Also when doing single room/overhead I would suggest trying from behind the drummers as well as in front, often one will work better than the other
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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danielkov86's Avatar
Lots of solid advice in this thread, thanks!

The session went smoothly and I got the exact sound I wanted and expected. I mostly stuck to my original mic placement plan with the exception of placing the Shure Beta 52A on the top skin of the floor tom, rather than underneath. This was the first time I've ever double miked a snare and I wish I had been doing it all along because I love the extra detail it gives to the snare now. Next time I record a full drum set I think I'll double mic the kick as well, with a mic pointed at the beater.

I'm posting two of the tracks we did for those of you who were interested in hearing how it turned out. The drums were processed with compression and some light EQ. Disregard the guitar, as I recorded it live just to keep my drummer in line with the feel of the song (I prefer not to record to click tracks.)

Whiskey Dick

Your Home Is Far Away

Last edited by danielkov86; 1 week ago at 08:14 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielkov86 View Post
Lots of solid advice in this thread, thanks!

The session went smoothly and I got the exact sound I wanted and expected. I mostly stuck to my original mic placement plan with the exception of placing the Shure Beta 52A on the top skin of the floor tom, rather than underneath. This was the first time I've ever double miked a snare and I wish I had been doing it all along because I love the extra detail it gives to the snare now. Next time I record a full drum set I think I'll double mic the kick as well, with a mic pointed at the beater.

I'm posting two of the tracks we did for those of you who were interested in hearing how it turned out. The drums were processed with compression and some light EQ. Disregard the guitar, as I recorded it live just to keep my drummer in line with the feel of the song (I prefer not to record to click tracks.)

Whiskey Dick

Your Home Is Far Away

Here's two pics from the session as well.



happy to hear it went well .... when i click on either of the two links .. all i see is the word GONE in the upper left corner ...

has anyone else had good or bad luck trying to access link .. and also, do you see the pics or just a Blue square ??
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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danielkov86's Avatar
I fixed the links.
Old 6 days ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

I know it's a bit late, but I was wondering if you have any mics that can do a figure 8 pattern (a ribbon would be preferable. You can get the top AND bottom of a snare with one mic if you if you use a figure 8 mic. And you don't have to worry about phase cancellation, because it will combine the sound of top and bottom. It will also pick up the hat and beater side of the kick, which is why a ribbon would be preferable.

Also... Instead of lining both your OH mics up equidistant to the snare (which would make the kick off center in your stereo mix) you might want to try drawing an imaginary line diagonally through the center of the snare head and the kick drum beater and positioning your mics along that axis. You'll be surprised how that tightens things up. You can move the mics back and forth along that axis and also widen/narrow the stereo field. You can also raise/lower either side. This would work great for your floor tom. You could use a close mic just to add some snap to the hits.
Old 6 days ago
  #17
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danielkov86's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammiedodger666 View Post
I know it's a bit late, but I was wondering if you have any mics that can do a figure 8 pattern (a ribbon would be preferable. You can get the top AND bottom of a snare with one mic if you if you use a figure 8 mic. And you don't have to worry about phase cancellation, because it will combine the sound of top and bottom. It will also pick up the hat and beater side of the kick, which is why a ribbon would be preferable.

Also... Instead of lining both your OH mics up equidistant to the snare (which would make the kick off center in your stereo mix) you might want to try drawing an imaginary line diagonally through the center of the snare head and the kick drum beater and positioning your mics along that axis. You'll be surprised how that tightens things up. You can move the mics back and forth along that axis and also widen/narrow the stereo field. You can also raise/lower either side. This would work great for your floor tom. You could use a close mic just to add some snap to the hits.
Yeah I have an MXL R40 ribbon mic but didn't use it. How would I position it to capture the top and bottom of the snare? Pointed to the side? I feel like that wouldn't give me a solid top or bottom sound, but I am interested in trying it next time. Thanks.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielkov86 View Post
Yeah I have an MXL R40 ribbon mic but didn't use it. How would I position it to capture the top and bottom of the snare? Pointed to the side? I feel like that wouldn't give me a solid top or bottom sound, but I am interested in trying it next time. Thanks.
You can watch this video to see more about using a figure 8 on snare. Also goes into much greater detail on setting up overheads that keep snare and kick dead center.

YouTube

Basically, you just need to face the front part of the figure 8 mic facing up and have the other side facing bottom. It gives you a combination of both and having used it as the sole snare mic before, I can say it really gives a nice full snare sound.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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danielkov86's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammiedodger666 View Post
You can watch this video to see more about using a figure 8 on snare. Also goes into much greater detail on setting up overheads that keep snare and kick dead center.

YouTube

Basically, you just need to face the front part of the figure 8 mic facing up and have the other side facing bottom. It gives you a combination of both and having used it as the sole snare mic before, I can say it really gives a nice full snare sound.
To me it seems like that method would get as much hi-hat as it does snare, but I'm open to trying it next time anyway. I love trying new drum tracking methods.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielkov86 View Post
To me it seems like that method would get as much hi-hat as it does snare, but I'm open to trying it next time anyway. I love trying new drum tracking methods.
It doesn't. You can try it with your other mics as well. Won't hurt. Actually the ribbon smooths the rough edges of the hi hat. You just angle it in a bit.
Old 5 days ago
  #21
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Side rejection.
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