Looking for suggestions for drum overhead mics with an emphasis on cymbals. I use a lot of drum sample replacement for the drums themselves, so my focus is on some mics that deliver great cymbal sounds. These mics will be used with a Sebatron VMP 4000 preamp. Looking in the $1000-$1500 range.
Yeah, imho a sdc would be my choice. I just recorded some parts for a friend in a commercial studio. The music was like jam band stuff. Lots of cymbal crashing around. The engineer chose the Shure SM81 in that session and the cymbals sounded good...and not overbearing. I use all zildjian cymbals.
If you want the focus to be the cymbals you may want to use the roll-off switch on the mic you chose. If your mics don't have a roll-off, you can use the high-pass filter or roll off 10 or 12 dbs @30 or 60Hz.
It might be years of old habits, but I still like my two 4141 BULS up there!
I used to have my "zebra" 414s which were older nickle/silver 414s that had a new body frame. A dumbass intern used them on toms and the amature drummer busted the tops of each mic. I rescued them from the studio, re-built them (not an easy task) and they became mine, but alas... I traded them in a package deal.
I have really only used 414s, U87s or TLM 103s over the years.
I just like a large disphragm condenser up there.
I want to capture everything I can.
I guess that I dreaming and hoping that I can avoid the tom mics.... never happens though!
I have used both AKG 451s and sm81s (we use sm81s for OHs on our p.a. rigs.)
The last time I used sm81s to track OHs was with a Chandler Neve 1073 clone and they were a bit crunchy for my taste. They worked out OK, but it wasn't my best OH sound.
I kept checking to see if they were distorting. They weren't, but I still hear a wierd "compression" on the cymbals on that CD everytime I play it.
IMO, small diaphragm condenser do seem to work for jazz kits. They will work for old school C&W and stuff that really doesn't require a big/aggresive drum sound.
I say, go for a large diaphragm condenser because you can always EQ it down.
With triggered samples you need all of the kit's and room's ambience possible to keep it real sounding.
I certainly haven't used everything or even close to. My favorite is the Peluso CEMC-6 SDC. I also like the AT 4050 for a LDC. I also like the 414. Didn't really like the SM81. Didn't like the 451 -- too bright for digital. 121 were cool, but ribbons for overheads are a speciality. Not for every application. I love the Peluso CEMC-6 matched pair. Not too bright or harsh. Very neutral and covers the spectrum well.
I might get bashed for this by the high-end slutz, but I'm LOVING my ATM450s as OH and then putting my Sterling Audio ST77 near the ride cymbal. Absolutely amazing, even in a crappy room.
Ihear a lot of people bash the Sterling Audio (GT) stuff, but I love the ST77 for this app almost as much for acoustic guitar. Every source I use it for seems to sit really well in the mix whether it's through a pre or just straight into the ProjectMix.
I was weary about spending $600 on a "Sterling Audio" microphone too, until I heard it. Might be my favorite mic in my modest locker.
Thanks all. Interesting options. I usually run a spaced pair on my kit. I'm not overly concerned about having the drums sound "real". Since much of the music is electronic based, many of the drum sounds get heavily manipulated. The live performance though helps to "humanize" things a bit which is cool. I have one AT 4050...Perhaps getting a second would be another option for LDC cymbal/overhead duty....so many options. Overall I am looking for wonderful cymbal mics.
I actually have been using a Shure VP-88 stereo mic for years as an OH and love it. Single point XY stereo, 100% phase coherent, easy placement, very full. I would love to pick up a Royer SF-12 or SF-24 this year. I have used my 121 as a mono OH and loved it. Definitely try a stereo mic and see if you dig it.