The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Drum Overhead Micing
Old 17th February 2007
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Drum Overhead Micing

Hey Kevin,

I was wondering how you mic drum overheads. Do you go with the OH has cymbals, or OH as the drum kit, or both. Depending on the drummer I have had problems both ways. Either to much Snr, or not enough cymbal, etc. How do you approach it, placement, mics.

Thanks
Old 17th February 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Also, thoughts on specific mic techniques would be great as well. ie: insights or preferences to ORTF, XY, spaced pair etc...

Thanks!
Old 17th February 2007
  #3
Kevin, do you have any tips on how to get a well balanced stereo spread in the OHs?
I always seem to get lots of hi hat in both mics rather than just the 1 that is close to the hi hats.

Thank you Kevin,
Eck
Old 21st February 2007
  #4
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Cymbals and overheads.....

To me this is often the key to a great drum sound. I have tried numerous combinations and approaches but I seem to have settled on a fairly straight forward approach. Looking at the kit from the front, I place the overheads about 4-5 feet above the kit, about 3 and 9 o clock. I try to place them so that I am getting equal amounts of snare and kick ( which is hard). This involves some re-positioning until achieved.

After listening to the kit in the room ,the overhead mics are the first ones I open up in the control room. The should sound like the kit, if they are too thin, then either change position or change mics. Either way until you are happy with this pair, DON'T MOVE ON, otherwise you will always feel that the sound is lacking. It should have warmth, detail and spread.

Once you add in the closer mics, then you will get the more impactful sound.
For overheads I have used, 251's, U67's, Coles , Royer 121, B&K 4011's. You can also try a stereo mic or a binaural head if you really want to experiment.

Hope this helps all of you,

kevin
Old 21st February 2007
  #5
Yeah thank you Kevin.

Eck
Old 21st February 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Killen View Post
Looking at the kit from the front, I place the overheads about 4-5 feet above the kit, about 3 and 9 o clock.
I'm not sure I completely follow... I take "3 and 9" to mean 180 degrees. So these are out front pointing past the kit to the sides of the room? Or are these positioned over the kit aiming down towards the snare and floor tom sides of the kit?

Thanks for your time. VERY much appreciated!

Sorry I was trying to be descriptive and not getting the point across. Positioned over the kit pointing down towards the snare and floor tom.


Kev
1
Share
Old 21st February 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Hi Kevin

How far apart are your overheads from each other or are they in XY?

thx
Jason

Jason,

Depending on the size of the kit, 3-4 feet perhaps. i never really measured it to be honest, its a feel thing. I rarely do X/Y but I did hear Tom Durak do it at Avatar in NYC recently and it sounded great .

KK
Old 22nd February 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
Mr. Killen,
Thank you very much for your input. What kind of preamps do you like for overheads?
Thank you again

I use my Neve 1064 A's.....

KK
Old 23rd February 2007
  #9
Gear addict
 
BenJah's Avatar
 

Thanks very much for sharing the info!

Do you normally use the cardoid or omni pattern for the overheads?
Old 28th February 2007
  #10
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenJah View Post
Thanks very much for sharing the info!

Do you normally use the cardoid or omni pattern for the overheads?
I will start with cardiod but if that is not working then I will try another pattern or mic position. Failing that , a different set of overheads. If it still sucks , then maybe moving the drums altogether.

Kevin
Old 28th February 2007
  #11
Gear Head
 
ampman1961's Avatar
 

Kevin...
I was wondering if you ever tried a Halo rig for overheads? The concept seems interesting and I could see how that would be cool for 5.1
Your thoughts?
Billy Yates
Venice, Ca.
Old 28th February 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 
C_F_H_13's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Killen View Post
Cymbals and overheads.....
Looking at the kit from the front, I place the overheads about 4-5 feet above the kit, about 3 and 9 o clock. I try to place them so that I am getting equal amounts of snare and kick ( which is hard). This involves some re-positioning until achieved. kevin
When trying to get the balance of kick and snare in your overheads...are you just moving your mics on the horizontal axis (for lack of a better term), or do you move then up and down as well, so that you might end up with one overhead lower then the other?

Thanks for doing this.

-Chris
Old 1st March 2007
  #13
Gear maniac
 

This is the subject I, and maybe a lot of other people really need help on, as I think this pretty much makes or breaks my recordings, and it's always hit or miss for me. When this falls into place, it seems like everything else does too.

If you could elaborate on what you meant by "3 and 9", the horizontal and vertical axis thing, and what pattern you tend to use, that would be amazing. Thanks for all your help.
Old 1st March 2007
  #14
Gear addict
 
(DC)'s Avatar
 

Hey Kevin, I was wondering whether you ever work with only one mic as an overhead, rather than the typical stereo pair.
Old 1st March 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Rednose's Avatar
Good advice about listening to OH's first!
I allwasy start with the kick, I think I should spend more time on OH.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Killen View Post
Cymbals and overheads.....

To me this is often the key to a great drum sound. I have tried numerous combinations and approaches but I seem to have settled on a fairly straight forward approach. Looking at the kit from the front, I place the overheads about 4-5 feet above the kit, about 3 and 9 o clock. I try to place them so that I am getting equal amounts of snare and kick ( which is hard). This involves some re-positioning until achieved.

After listening to the kit in the room ,the overhead mics are the first ones I open up in the control room. The should sound like the kit, if they are too thin, then either change position or change mics. Either way until you are happy with this pair, DON'T MOVE ON, otherwise you will always feel that the sound is lacking. It should have warmth, detail and spread.

Once you add in the closer mics, then you will get the more impactful sound.
For overheads I have used, 251's, U67's, Coles , Royer 121, B&K 4011's. You can also try a stereo mic or a binaural head if you really want to experiment.

Hope this helps all of you,

kevin
Old 2nd March 2007
  #16
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by C_F_H_13 View Post
When trying to get the balance of kick and snare in your overheads...are you just moving your mics on the horizontal axis (for lack of a better term), or do you move then up and down as well, so that you might end up with one overhead lower then the other?

Thanks for doing this.

-Chris
Chris,

I will experiment with their placement if the initail perspective seems out of balance. From experience my left to right balance is usually pretty accurate so its more of the vertical plane that I would tend to adjust. Particularly if the drummer is using brushes or rods as opposed to sticks or I am just trying to get a specific detail.

I have this on a number of threads in the forum this month about how much of a successful recording is due to the musicain. I just had the absolute pleasure of recording Nir Z for a Darlene Love album over tha last four days and his touch, feel and inventiveness allowed me to record the drums basically flat. Of course it did not hurt that I was recording him in studio A at Avatar studios in NYC through a wonderful Neve 8048, but it still reinforces that point home to me !

Kevin
Old 3rd March 2007
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB872 View Post
Hi Kevin

How far apart are your overheads from each other or are they in XY?

thx
Jason

Jason,

Depending on the size of the kit, 3-4 feet perhaps. i never really measured it to be honest, its a feel thing. I rarely do X/Y but I did hear Tom Durak do it at Avatar in NYC recently and it sounded great .

KK
Hey Kevin!

Thanks for the kind mention. I've been enjoying this Q&A immensely. To the many thanks you've received for all your time and teaching here, let me add my own. The breakdown of your 'top down' mix technique and the philosophy behind it in particular is some of the best discussion of music mixing I've ever read.

In addition to saying that, I wanted to jump in with a word about that session you're recalling. If it's the same one I'm thinking of (I was recording Shawn Pelton in Studio A, you were mixing in B?), then I'm sure my overhead mic configuration was Mid/Side. A pair of 414s, I think. I've been recording drum overheads pretty much only with M/S pairs for many years now. So many engineers achieve great results with X/Y & spaced pair configurations but I've just never been able to get the overall kit balance & phase-coherent stereo spread I want from either.

Thanks again for doing this!

Very best,
Tom
--------------
http://www.tomdurack.net
http://myspace.com/tomdurack
Old 4th March 2007
  #18
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampman1961 View Post
Kevin...
I was wondering if you ever tried a Halo rig for overheads? The concept seems interesting and I could see how that would be cool for 5.1
Your thoughts?
Billy Yates
Venice, Ca.
Billy,

Are you referening to the Halophone? I have heard that being demonstrated although I have not had an opportunity to try it myself. It should sound amazing in 5.1, that infact was the demo I heard at last years AES show in San Francisco.

KK
Old 4th March 2007
  #19
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom durack View Post
Hey Kevin!

Thanks for the kind mention. I've been enjoying this Q&A immensely. To the many thanks you've received for all your time and teaching here, let me add my own. The breakdown of your 'top down' mix technique and the philosophy behind it in particular is some of the best discussion of music mixing I've ever read.

In addition to saying that, I wanted to jump in with a word about that session you're recalling. If it's the same one I'm thinking of (I was recording Shawn Pelton in Studio A, you were mixing in B?), then I'm sure my overhead mic configuration was Mid/Side. A pair of 414s, I think. I've been recording drum overheads pretty much only with M/S pairs for many years now. So many engineers achieve great results with X/Y & spaced pair configurations but I've just never been able to get the overall kit balance & phase-coherent stereo spread I want from either.

Thanks again for doing this!

Very best,
Tom
--------------
http://www.tomdurack.net
http://myspace.com/tomdurack
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the kind words. Infact I was in B mixing Amos Lee and infact you were recording Shawn. It was the 414's and when I heard the playback in the control room I was blown away by the clarity and dimension of the kit. You have cetainly mastered that approach. Perhaps you need to give master classes on that topic, it seems to elicit a lot of confusion.


Keep up the stellar work

Kevin
Old 4th March 2007
  #20
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by briefcasemanx View Post
This is the subject I, and maybe a lot of other people really need help on, as I think this pretty much makes or breaks my recordings, and it's always hit or miss for me. When this falls into place, it seems like everything else does too.

If you could elaborate on what you meant by "3 and 9", the horizontal and vertical axis thing, and what pattern you tend to use, that would be amazing. Thanks for all your help.
Okay , so imagine you are standing in front of the drum kit, by the kick drum. Assuming the drummer plays right handed , the hi hat is to your right , the floor tom to your left.

Now imagine for a moment you are hovering over the drum set , looking DOWN on the kit. The kit is arranged in positions that are superimposed on a 12 hour clock . The overheads are at 3 o clock (for the postion nearest the hi hat) and 9 o clock ( for the position nearest the floor tom). Now return to your earthbound position. Standing in front of the kick drum, your overheard mics are your head height about the width of your arms apart. The verticla axis will be moving those positions up and down relative to your head, the horizontal axis will be shortening or elongating the spread of your arms.

Does that clarify it for you?

Kevin
Old 4th March 2007
  #21
engineer / producer / mixer
 
Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by (DC) View Post
Hey Kevin, I was wondering whether you ever work with only one mic as an overhead, rather than the typical stereo pair.

Only if I am trying to record a mono drum kit !

KK
Old 4th March 2007
  #22
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Killen View Post
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the kind words. Infact I was in B mixing Amos Lee and infact you were recording Shawn. It was the 414's and when I heard the playback in the control room I was blown away by the clarity and dimension of the kit. You have cetainly mastered that approach. Perhaps you need to give master classes on that topic, it seems to elicit a lot of confusion.


Keep up the stellar work

Kevin
Thank you, Kevin. High praise indeed.

Tom
----------
http://www.tomdurack.net
http://www.myspace.com/tomdurack
Loading mentioned products ...
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
ersheff / Low End Theory
11
Tempest19 / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
8
tamasdragon / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
3
sadworld / So much gear, so little time!
6
Slaytex / So much gear, so little time!
10

Forum Jump