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Best Mics for recording drums with only 1 or 2 mics about 5 feet in front of the kit? Condenser Microphones
Old 27th August 2007
  #1
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Best Mics for recording drums with only 1 or 2 mics about 5 feet in front of the kit?

I'm wondering what are some opinions on the best mic(s) to use if you want to capture the kit as a whole from a distance of about 5 feet (each) in front of the kit and about 3-4 feet high in a treated but not so perfect room size 22 x 17 x 8. Music we play can be found at Welcome to Mantra Band Site. Looking for a mic or 2 that can pick up the entire kit in a very clean, clear, and balanced way as the room is a mediocre sounding (not too great but not too bad either) home studio (with $1000 worth of treament but nonetheless).
Old 27th August 2007
  #3
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Slaytex's Avatar
 

I never use OH's anymore. I put two mics about 12' in front of the kit and about 8' feet apart. I can adjust the height of the mic stands to get more high end or low end. I just used my new Cascade X-15 stereo ribbon for this and it really pics up a lot more low end compared to my 4047/4050 combo I was using before. They really pick up a fuller picture of the sound when put further from the source compared to a normal condensor. I only have 4 really nice pre's (API 3124), so I mic kick, snare and 2 room/OH's & use my FF800 pre's for the toms.

The trick to getting good sounds using this technique is the size/shape of the room as far as i'm concerned. The room I use is just a bit bigger than you room but it has a slanted ceiling that goes from 15' to 10'. I put my room mics under the peak of the highest point in the ceiling.

Good luck.
Old 27th August 2007
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
I'm wondering what are some opinions on the best mic(s) to use if you want to capture the kit as a whole from a distance of about 5 feet (each) in front of the kit and about 3-4 feet high in a treated but not so perfect room size 22 x 17 x 8. Music we play can be found at Welcome to Mantra Band Site. Looking for a mic or 2 that can pick up the entire kit in a very clean, clear, and balanced way as the room is a mediocre sounding (not too great but not too bad either) home studio (with $1000 worth of treament but nonetheless).
royer 121

very natural and balanced but has punch.
Old 27th August 2007
  #5
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Awesome I have a R121. I've done a lot of recording with 8 high quality mics on the drums and still some of my favorite recordings are with just one AKG C3000B chest height pointed at the drums. It seems like you are listening to the drummer (with the 1 mic) as opposed to listening to just drums. I am starting to go now in the direction of showcasing the human beings on the recording as opposed to just the sounds. So I am basically looking for a mic that can do what the AKG C3000 does but better (cleaner, clearer, etc..). Any condensors around and below $500 that would woop the AKG C3000's butt in this area?
Old 27th August 2007
  #6
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flail19's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
Any condensors around and below $500 that would woop the AKG C3000's butt in this area?
I have very good results with a blue baby bottle for drums in that respect. Give it a try.
Old 27th August 2007
  #7
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In general, Oktava mics seem very well-suited for drums in that price range. Not too clean, but lots of impact. Try the MKL-2500, maybe Joly modded.
What I have found to work well as "mic for the whole kit" is a cardioid a few inches from the drummer's right ear pointing towards the snare. This was inspired by Steve Remote's TLM103 trick (do a search). Can also work very well as an MS pair.
Old 27th August 2007
  #8
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Beyer M160, Coles 4038, AT4047, U67.

All depends on the room though.

I could imagine a pair of EV 635a's sounding bad ass by themsleves on the right song.

A pair of 4038's BEHIND the drummer sound pretty can also sound pretty damn cool and give a pretty natural image.
Old 27th August 2007
  #9
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manthe's Avatar
 

If it were me, I would not consider using anything besides a ribbon mic for this application.

Ribbons (with a good preamp) have a special sound that is very natural, yet with a ton of 'punch' and poerw. They also (generally) take EQ better than most mics. Ot is like you are working with a clean slate.

I solo's my room mic last night (Cascade Fathead with Lundahl transformer) and was AMAZED at how good it sounded. Every element was there. I could almost instantly tell which frequencies on which EQ I could gently tweak to get the perfect sound.

I am now (because of this last nigh) but a secong Fathead (already have a vinjet...which ROCKS), and experiment with 2 2 ribbon setup, 4 to 6 feet in font of the kit at (roughly) neck height. I have a feeling it is going to add a whole new dimension to my drum tracking abilities and options!
Old 28th August 2007
  #10
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What about the Peluso CEMC6's? Would 2 of them capture a natural balanced kit by themselves placed 6 feet in fornt of the drum kit on each side. What about avenson's?
Old 28th August 2007
  #11
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warhead's Avatar
 

At this point I don't think anything's going to work.



























I keed, I keed!

War
Old 28th August 2007
  #12
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artnoiser's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
What I have found to work well as "mic for the whole kit" is a cardioid a few inches from the drummer's right ear pointing towards the snare.
Cool tip! Thanks!
Old 28th August 2007
  #13
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soupking's Avatar
 

I was looking for something that retrieved what I heard behind the drums.

I use an RCA 74 junior as an over head, and a Soundelux e47c in front.

I could add a sm57 for snare...or not. It sounds awesome.

Make sure to point the RCA face down from above though. Otherwise, standing waves can be an issue depending on how much space/reflection you have.
Old 28th August 2007
  #14
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by artnoiser View Post
Cool tip! Thanks!
This goes to Steve Remote AKA Remoteness!!!
Old 28th August 2007
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by flail19 View Post
I have very good results with a blue baby bottle for drums in that respect. Give it a try.
That's what mainly use too. Often I put mics all over the set the end up in the mix just using baby bottle.

I put it about 2 inches from the upper side of the kickdrum. Then adjusting lover or higher depending kick vs. snare. Then compress it to a bit to push in cymbals in a smooth way.

Petter
Old 28th August 2007
  #16
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

I think a preamp plays a huge factor, but i like the 414s for the job.
Old 28th August 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
I think a preamp plays a huge factor, but i like the 414s for the job.
Which preamp(s) would you recommend for this application?
Old 28th August 2007
  #18
I would start out with my 414's. I would avoid any bidirectional mic (ribbons) unless you want that 8' ceiling to get picked up mondo. Then again, that slap off the ceiling just might be the sound you're after. Seems I'm hearing this sloppy bounce sound on a lot of commercials lately, you know, the trashy drum sound like recorded with a cassette dictation recorder from 10 feet away. We used to call that sound unprofessional. Now it's the fashion of the day.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 28th August 2007
  #19
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manthe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I would start out with my 414's. I would avoid any bidirectional mic (ribbons) unless you want that 8' ceiling to get picked up mondo. Then again, that slap off the ceiling just might be the sound you're after. Seems I'm hearing this sloppy bounce sound on a lot of commercials lately, you know, the trashy drum sound like recorded with a cassette dictation recorder from 10 feet away. We used to call that sound unprofessional. Now it's the fashion of the day.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Jim is right in a lot of cases. But, like me, you could install diffusers on the ceiling over the entire 'drum area', along with a few strategically placed absorption panels and gobos on the walls and ceiling, and then you're good to go!

That is to say...treat your room!

It has made a 100% difference for my small, home-based project studio. I can use a fig-8 ribbon (or 2) over, and in front of the kit at an 80+ degree angle with no discernible 'slap-back' issues. Just do NOT leave them like that for long periods of time...you can damage the ribbons with gravity, at that angle, over a period of time (also, ALWAYS store ribbon mics with the ribbon in a vertical position.)
Old 28th August 2007
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manthe View Post
Jim is right in a lot of cases. But, like me, you could install diffusers on the ceiling over the entire 'drum area', along with a few strategically placed absorption panels and gobos on the walls and ceiling, and then you're good to go!

That is to say...treat your room!

It has made a 100% difference for my small, home-based project studio. I can use a fig-8 ribbon (or 2) over, and in front of the kit at an 80+ degree angle with no discernible 'slap-back' issues. Just do NOT leave them like that for long periods of time...you can damage the ribbons with gravity, at that angle, over a period of time (also, ALWAYS store ribbon mics with the ribbon in a vertical position.)
I just spoke to auralex and they said diffusors over the drums on an 8 foot high ceiling isn't gonna do much. I bought and placed about $1300 worth of absorbtion around the room per auralex's specifications as well as 6 diffusors on the back wall behind the mixing area. So the room is already about as good as it's gonna get.
Old 28th August 2007
  #21
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manthe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
I just spoke to auralex and they said diffusors over the drums on an 8 foot high ceiling isn't gonna do much. I bought and placed about $1300 worth of absorbtion around the room per auralex's specifications as well as 6 diffusors on the back wall behind the mixing area. So the room is already about as good as it's gonna get.
Thats strange, because when I was designing the room, I made an accurate, to scale drawing of the room w/autocad, including placement of racks, instruments, furniture, console, ISO booth, etc, etc.

I faxed it to a consultant at Auralex, and spent a week, off and on, over the phone, going over each aspect in great detail. Ultimately, I spent close to 3k in room treatment with them and a big part of what the 'engineer' had me do was to put diffusers (each stuffed with a bit foam) over the entire drum area, as well as to mount different types of absorption on all of the walls near and around the drums.

Perhaps the over-all shapes of our rooms influenced the engineers comments. Because, regardless of the money spent, it works very, VERY well in my room. I am in a room that *should* be pretty hostile for drums, yet they sound great and are under complete control!

I mean. it is bone dry, but I have no choice. Since I am not working with a great sounding room to begin with...my only choice is to kill it. Auralex's recommendations have been excellent. The diffusers appear to work really well on my ceilings. I've hung fig-8 ribbons over the kit countless times. I never get a slap-back or any other weirdness. My OH mics always sound very good (I use cardioid LDCs usually...sometimes SDCs).

I am NOT an expert (or even much of a novice, for that matter) on acoustics. I guess it is a fair trade....free consulting from Auralex in return for spending a small fortune on highly over-priced room treatments. heh

I'm not trying to be adversarial at all. But I certainly wanted to point out that I received opposite advice and it has worked very well for me.
Old 28th August 2007
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manthe View Post
Thats strange, because when I was designing the room, I made an accurate, to scale drawing of the room w/autocad, including placement of racks, instruments, furniture, console, ISO booth, etc, etc.

I faxed it to a consultant at Auralex, and spent a week, off and on, over the phone, going over each aspect in great detail. Ultimately, I spent close to 3k in room treatment with them and a big part of what the 'engineer' had me do was to put diffusers (each stuffed with a bit foam) over the entire drum area, as well as to mount different types of absorption on all of the walls near and around the drums.

Perhaps the over-all shapes of our rooms influenced the engineers comments. Because, regardless of the money spent, it works very, VERY well in my room. I am in a room that *should* be pretty hostile for drums, yet they sound great and are under complete control!

I mean. it is bone dry, but I have no choice. Since I am not working with a great sounding room to begin with...my only choice is to kill it. Auralex's recommendations have been excellent. The diffusers appear to work really well on my ceilings. I've hung fig-8 ribbons over the kit countless times. I never get a slap-back or any other weirdness. My OH mics always sound very good (I use cardioid LDCs usually...sometimes SDCs).

I am NOT an expert (or even much of a novice, for that matter) on acoustics. I guess it is a fair trade....free consulting from Auralex in return for spending a small fortune on highly over-priced room treatments. heh

I'm not trying to be adversarial at all. But I certainly wanted to point out that I received opposite advice and it has worked very well for me.
How tall is your ceiling?
Old 28th August 2007
  #23
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manthe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
How tall is your ceiling?
Well, it is a little out of the ordinary. This room was a garage that was converted before I bought the house. The bulk of my house is 8' ceilings, but this room's floor is lower than the rest of the house and they modified the ceilings when they converted the room. So, this room is all 9' ceilings, except the bathroom (which has been gutted, save for the toilet and turned into a storage room with a mic locker, et al.).

Do you think the extra foot would really make a difference? I guess it could...as I said, I'm no expert.
Old 28th August 2007
  #24
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I don't think 1 foot will make any difference. The guy at auralex told me that diffusors are only really effective at a distance of at least 10 feet+ so the distance from the drums to the ceiling is only 4-5 feet or in your case 5-6. Although theories and reality are not always one and the same so it is definitely worth a shot. Any suggestions on the most practical way to attach the diffusors to the ceiling (with the foam inside) by the way?
Old 28th August 2007
  #25
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manthe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
I don't think 1 foot will make any difference. The guy at auralex told me that diffusors are only really effective at a distance of at least 10 feet+ so the distance from the drums to the ceiling is only 4-5 feet or in your case 5-6. Although theories and reality are not always one and the same so it is definitely worth a shot. Any suggestions on the most practical way to attach the diffusors to the ceiling (with the foam inside) by the way?
Very odd. Especially coming from the same company...in fact, the guy even sent me a drawing (edited mine) depicting the location of ~8 to 10 diffusers over the kit???

I will say this...when I make a judgement using my ears...it works. I've heard the before and after. The after is DEFINITELY way better! I'm inclined to believe my ears, at this point. Although, I must say, if I had not already done it and received the advice you've been given, I'd also be weary about spending money.

Also, since I am not an expert, I will not even begin to try to give advice or act like I know what I'm talking about...all I can do is tell you that I bought 10 T-Fussors, put pieces of foam in each one, installed them on the ceiling above the drums and it sounds great.
Old 28th August 2007
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manthe View Post
Very odd. Especially coming from the same company...in fact, the guy even sent me a drawing (edited mine) depicting the location of ~8 to 10 diffusers over the kit???

I will say this...when I make a judgement using my ears...it works. I've heard the before and after. The after is DEFINITELY way better! I'm inclined to believe my ears, at this point. Although, I must say, if I had not already done it and received the advice you've been given, I'd also be weary about spending money.

Also, since I am not an expert, I will not even begin to try to give advice or act like I know what I'm talking about...all I can do is tell you that I bought 10 T-Fussors, put pieces of foam in each one, installed them on the ceiling above the drums and it sounds great.
Well I got 6 T fusors so enough to cover a 6x4 area over the drums so I am gonna go do that now and let you know how it works in a little bit
Old 28th August 2007
  #27
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manthe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
Well I got 6 T fusors so enough to cover a 6x4 area over the drums so I am gonna go do that now and let you know how it works in a little bit
I'd be very curious to get another perspective on this.

Ever since I got it all set up, I have not considered experimenting with moving anything.
Old 28th August 2007
  #28
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diegel View Post
Which preamp(s) would you recommend for this application?
it depends if you want clean or a preamp with some gusto.Api,Studer,Trident s20 can be great.also it depends on the gain you put to it as well.
Old 28th August 2007
  #29
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Coles 4038's
Old 29th August 2007
  #30
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If you can afford it, I would use a pair of Neumann U87 mics. Buy them used, any version. You may have to add some eq in places, but these mics really shine on drum overheads or as room mics for drums. Nice and punchy, but well balanced and warm sounding, and they have magic mojo when recording cymbals. In my opinion, most people use WAY TOO MANY MICS on drums and in a small room this creates phase issues. You are probably best with 3 mics, 2 over the top of the kit in some way and one in front of the kick drum somewhere. There are no exact rules as to where to place them and you need to experiment until you get the best balance. I would pan the 2 over the kit right and left and put the kick drum mic in the center.

The main thing to remember with a minimumal drum mic set up is to make sure your drums sound WELL BALANCED AS A UNIT. If the kit does not sound right to your ears by itself, a minimal drum mic set up will not work well. If the kit sounds good as a single instrument to your ears, then a minimal mic set up is the BEST way to record it. Also, some drummers are much better than others at getting the correct balance when playing. If possible, I would have a couple of different snares available (wood and metal) as the snare sound is the main variable in getting the correct balance. It may be a bit of work to get this right, but its well worth it in my opinion. With so many drum samples out there, you want yours to sound LIKE REAL DRUMS and the best way to do that is a minimal mic set up so they BLEND together like one instrument. Samples don't do this like the real thing.

J. Mike Perkins
jmikeperkins.com myspace.com/jmikeperkins
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