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Is 8 mics enough for drums? Audio Interfaces
Old 14th March 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Is 8 mics enough for drums?

Hi all,

I have the option of either -

4 x Daking inputs and 4 x API inputs. 8 in total for drum recording.

Or,

4 x Daking and 8 x ISA 828 inputs. 12 in total for recording drums.

I've heard great things about the API's so my question is - will 8 inputs be enough? For all round session 5 peice kit recording? For different styles.

How would you use the inputs?

Or do expereinced engineers find that they often use 10 or more?!

Any advice is much appreciated.

G
Old 14th March 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
WinnyP's Avatar
Depends on how many room mics, whether you mic the hat, under snare mic? 8 can do the trick though: snare, kik, tom 1, tom 2, overhead 1 & 2, mono room. The 8th channel can be a second room mic, outside kick, 3rd tom etc. Depends on what you are recording.
Old 14th March 2014
  #3
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
depends how many mics, and what mics, you use. And what sound you want, and what the room sounds like, and what the drummer sounds like.

I did a session the other day, and there were four mics on the kit. Two overheads, kick and snare. (plus rooms that didn't get used). I could have done without the snare mic. This only works with the right mics and room.

matt
Old 14th March 2014
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Thanks both.. I'm planning on 2 x coles 4038 s as overheads. I've got one and it sounds great. With the usual close mics.

I'm thinking the 8 would be -

2 x overheads
1 x in kick
1 x Out Kick
1 x Snare
1 x Tom 1
1 x Tom 2
1 x Tom 3 (or room if not being used)

I guess the best scenario is 12 inputs of APIs. But I cant afford them.


The room will never be great. So 1 x room mic will be enough.

Would you recommend the 8 input option or the 12?

The ISA 's don't sound too bad on drums, do they?

Thanks
G
Old 14th March 2014
  #5
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKG View Post
Thanks both.. I'm planning on 2 x coles 4038 s as overheads. I've got one and it sounds great. With the usual close mics.

I'm thinking the 8 would be -

2 x overheads
1 x in kick
1 x Out Kick
1 x Snare
1 x Tom 1
1 x Tom 2
1 x Tom 3 (or room if not being used)

I guess the best scenario is 12 inputs of APIs. But I cant afford them.


The room will never be great. So 1 x room mic will be enough.

Would you recommend the 8 input option or the 12?

The ISA 's don't sound too bad on drums, do they?

Thanks
G
The coles work best in a good sounding room too.

You don't need a good room for a room mic, you can even put it in the corridor outside. I'd typically prefer a room over an inside kick.

There is nothing wrong with the Focusrites, but the API is more forward and punchy sounding. However, the way you tune/play the drums and the way you mic them will have more difference than the difference between the preamps.

matt
Old 14th March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 
MusicJesus's Avatar
 

It might be 7 too many. Just depends on what you are after.
Old 14th March 2014
  #7
Gear Nut
 

I know I know.. It all depends on the aim. BUT, its a question of quality or quantity. A quality 8. Or a quality but not quite so 12.

I'm leaning towards 12… it's more options. The ISA's can sound perfectly decent I'm sure with good mics.

I'd guess that on average engineers are using 10 or more on most modern styles.. ? Thats a complete guess though.

Thanks again
Old 14th March 2014
  #8
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKG View Post
I know I know.. It all depends on the aim. BUT, its a question of quality or quantity. A quality 8. Or a quality but not quite so 12.

I'm leaning towards 12… it's more options. The ISA's can sound perfectly decent I'm sure with good mics.

I'd guess that on average engineers are using 10 or more on most modern styles.. ? Thats a complete guess though.

Thanks again
A typical rock session in a pro studio will use:

Kick in
Kick out
Snare top
snare bottom
hihat
one for each tom
stereo overheads
at least one pair of rooms.
Generally one spot mic placed in the engineers favourite spot.

So with 3 toms, and only one set of rooms, that is 13 channels.

Of course, not all sessions will use this. Some may mic the bottom of the toms too for example, some may record it all on one mic. But this is what is probably the most normal setup.

matt
Old 14th March 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
8 inputs is absolutely enough. You should be able to great a great drum sound with 3-5 mics and then the other inputs are just for creative fun.

The secret is to get the drums sounding good in the room and get the player to play right for the song. after that things are easy.
Old 24th March 2014
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Thanks both. I suspected a normal if there is one would be in excess of ten mics. I've noticed on the few recordings I've done that a few great quiality mics and pres can get close to a great drum sound. I guess I'm in the funk sound arena so not the close mic sounds. A whole kit sound. I'm even starting to think that a Coles 4038 in the right place could get really close to a great drum sound.

Thanks again!
Old 24th March 2014
  #11
Gear Nut
 
XMaramena's Avatar
 

I generally use 13, but 8 will do you just fine. One thing you might want to do (if it could help the genre) is to place a mic on the front of the kick where the beater hits - when mixing, high pass and compress it for your snappy kick top end.
Old 24th March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UKG View Post
Hi all,

I have the option of either -

4 x Daking inputs and 4 x API inputs. 8 in total for drum recording.

Or,

4 x Daking and 8 x ISA 828 inputs. 12 in total for recording drums.

I've heard great things about the API's so my question is - will 8 inputs be enough? For all round session 5 peice kit recording? For different styles.

How would you use the inputs?

Or do expereinced engineers find that they often use 10 or more?!

Any advice is much appreciated.

G
In short, I say yes with caveats.

Most kits you see miked to hell and back are done that way so that the engineer can get exactly what he wants from every piece of the kit. It's not uncommon to see close-miked cymbals, six or eight overheads and two or three mikes per skin (so four to six mikes on each drum). This is because mic choice and mic placement does matter; the engy wants as many "raw" options as possible so he can give the band the sound they want. This also applies to the guitar amps (often miked front and back from several angles and distances), bass (ditto) and even vocals (not uncommon to see two or three mics behind a breathscreen).

The problem with more mikes is a greater chance of having phasing issues. These usually get sussed out during setup, but that means that each additional mic placed on a source has to be sound-checked in combination with every other mic that picks up that drum, to make sure that no matter what mix of these source mics the engineer ends up using, various phase-related issues like comb filtering are minimized.

Contrasting this "more is better" model, there have also been wonderful drum tracks recorded for albums by major bands and labels with just two overheads and a kick mic. Adding a snare and a close-mic on each of four toms (or an over/under and 3 toms) gives you eight mics. For the average home recordist I wouldn't bother with too many more; as I said, setup time increases exponentially with each additional mic you put on the kit, with dramatically reducing returns.

The caveat is when you're miking a large drum set. A double kick, over-under snare, 5 toms, hat, crash, splash, china and ride could take 12 mikes or more to cleanly capture each piece. If that becomes a need down the road, you can do one of three things:

1. Trade up. 8 pres is about the limit of most "prosumer" equipment, but that's mainly from a cost-benefits standpoint; lower-pricepoint users typically don't need more than that at once, or aren't willing to pay for the ability. Higher-end gear is available with more pres in one box, and the ability to rack it all together.
2. Add on. Most systems extending beyond 8 pres are modular; you buy banks of pres and hook them together. Focusrite's Scarlett 18iX series are like this; the ability to pull in 18 simultaneous source channels is achieved by daisy-chaining an OctoPre to the main interface via ADAT (giving you 16 pres, the last two channels are from a stereo SPDIF input most often fed from an already-digital source like a keyboard, sampler or playback machine).
3. Split up. Instead of recording the entire kit, you can record one piece of the kit at a time, either as full tracks or as "samples" that you'll assign to a sequencer. This process is tedious, but single tracking maximizes isolation of each piece of the kit (as no other piece is playing), and sampling can be advantageous in that once you've spent the time and effort to collect a good set of samples, the drummer can play an e-drum kit in the studio to record the MIDI tracks that will trigger them, virtually eliminating the acoustic volume of his rig and decreasing the level of effort needed to get good isolation between other instruments being played in ensemble.
Old 30th March 2014
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Thanks Liko, useful info to know. I'll be recording myself so will hopefully be able to figure out best mic placements etc as time goes on. My budget is maxed out at the moment but another Coles 4038 is definitely on the cards at some point.

Thanks again
Old 30th March 2014
  #14
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