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How many mics on a drum kit? Condenser Microphones
Old 24th March 2017
  #31
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
The revelation came when I got a new pair of mics to use as an M/S pair. I started trying them all over the place and found that 3-4 feet in front of the kit, between waist and chest height, sounds pretty surprisingly good (still not like my sounds from great rooms, but good for a basement at least.)

I have been experimenting with using a single microphone at about that location out in front of the kit to see how good it could sound. Actually, it sounds pretty good. I've been spoiled though, and find that I always go back to a four or five mic set up. My days of using 12 mics are over, however.

My mentor, Malcolm Chisholm who I worked with at Chess Records, used to use only four mics: an EV RE20 on the floor tom, a Neumann cigar mic out in front (Km54/64/84), a Shure Unidyne on the snare (545/SM56/SM57) and a U47/FET47 on the kick. The mic out in front gives the kit a roomy sound and the others, when balanced properly, help to define the sound with a little bit of stereo separation. Simple, but quite extraordinary.

My change to Malcolm's set up is using a coincident pair out in front of the kit instead of a single mic. I'm thinking that the X-Y vs the MS would render similar results, although the spot mics would offer additional options.

Last edited by Scullyfan; 24th March 2017 at 03:07 AM.. Reason: grammar
Old 24th March 2017
  #32
Lives for gear
Starting out, you will get the best results with 2.

Mono overhead and a kick. Do a recording using that.

Then try one with two overheads and a kicks until to you get good stereo imaging.

Then try Andy johns method---look it up

Then try the first two adding a snare.

The next big step up is a mic for each tom.

Do not be afraid of mono, or left right balance. Do check for phasing issues.

When mixing, check how things sound w/ the phase flip.

How do you check for phasing? Here is the cleanest example. Say you are using 2 other mic's and a kick. As you add more kick to the other two mic's, the sound of the kick actually get's less focused or not as loud. Then flip the phase button of the kick, hopefully it solved the issue.

KISS-----Keep it simple stupid.
Until you are good at the basics, no point in making it complicated.
Old 24th March 2017
  #33
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
I basically agree with you here, but I've recently had a bit of a revelation on this subject. I'm not saying I get good drum sounds in bad rooms now, but I have just made a dramatic increase in quality.

Most of my drum recording work has been good drummers playing jazz in decent rooms, and almost always at live performances where room mics would be useless. As such, I almost exclusively record kick, stereo overheads, and occasionally snare, and it usually sounds exactly how I want.

However, when I try to record my own drums in my free time at home, it's always in a basement room with low ceilings, and it always sounds boxy and weird. Better drums and a better drummer would certainly help, but the room is clearly a big part of the problem.

The revelation came when I got a new pair of mics to use as an M/S pair. I started trying them all over the place and found that 3-4 feet in front of the kit, between waist and chest height, sounds pretty surprisingly good (still not like my sounds from great rooms, but good for a basement at least.) At first I credited my new awesome mics, but then I tried them as overheads and got the ultimate boxy sound. I think maybe the problem is that they're too close to ceiling when used as overheads, and that they work much better at mid heights, father away from all reflective surfaces.

Again, I'm not claiming to get a great sound out of a small room, but the improvement was stunning when I went from overheads to mics out front.
if it is indeed a ceiling issue,

Put good broadband absorption on the ceiling above the overheads.

This dramatically helps the low ceiling issue and makes it act like an infinite ceiling. no comb filtering etc if you kill those reflections.

the whole issue with overheads and low ceilings is that the source sound hits the mic, and then reflections from the ceiling(which is very close to the mics) reflect back and hit the mic almost immediately after the source material does.

all sorts of non enjoyable things can happen in this situation and it is primarily due to the reflective surfaces just above the overhead mics(simply due to distance).

so yeah good absorption right here above the kit/overheads can be really worthwhile
Old 24th March 2017
  #34
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_moreira View Post
if it is indeed a ceiling issue,

Put good broadband absorption on the ceiling above the overheads.

This dramatically helps the low ceiling issue and makes it act like an infinite ceiling. no comb filtering etc if you kill those reflections.

the whole issue with overheads and low ceilings is that the source sound hits the mic, and then reflections from the ceiling(which is very close to the mics) reflect back and hit the mic almost immediately after the source material does.

all sorts of non enjoyable things can happen in this situation and it is primarily due to the reflective surfaces just above the overhead mics(simply due to distance).

so yeah good absorption right here above the kit/overheads can be really worthwhile
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. Given that we're in a rental house right now, I probably won't attach anything to walls or ceiling, and will continue experimenting to see what I can do with FOK mics instead of overheads... at least for now. If I decide at some point that I really need the overheads back, I'll look into some ceiling treatment options.
Old 24th March 2017
  #35
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scullyfan View Post
I have been experimenting with using a single microphone at about that location out in front of the kit to see how good it could sound. Actually, it sounds pretty good. I've been spoiled though, and find that I always go back to a four or five mic set up. My days of using 12 mics are over, however.

My mentor, Malcolm Chisholm who I worked with at Chess Records, used to use only four mics: an EV RE20 on the floor tom, a Neumann cigar mic out in front (Km54/64/84), a Shure Unidyne on the snare (545/SM56/SM57) and a U47/FET47 on the kick. The mic out in front gives the kit a roomy sound and the others, when balanced properly, help to define the sound with a little bit of stereo separation. Simple, but quite extraordinary.

My change to Malcolm's set up is using a coincident pair out in front of the kit instead of a single mic. I'm thinking that the X-Y vs the MS would render similar results, although the spot mics would offer additional options.
The floor tom mic seems pretty necessary with FOK instead of overheads. I always got a reasonable amount of floor tom in my overheads, but with the FOK method, it's seriously lacking. Makes me wonder about the sound propagation patterns from drums; are they like figure 8 mics, pushing and pulling really well perpendicular to a plane, and with a null in the plane of the drum heads? If so, that would explain anemic floor tom when my FOK mics are almost exactly in the same plane as its top head.
Old 24th March 2017
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. Given that we're in a rental house right now, I probably won't attach anything to walls or ceiling, and will continue experimenting to see what I can do with FOK mics instead of overheads... at least for now. If I decide at some point that I really need the overheads back, I'll look into some ceiling treatment options.
you could always get creative and build an arbor like fixture that you simply stand up over the drum kit, and build the treatment into the top of the arbor.

then you've got a free standing thing that doesnt require you to hang anything or mar the walls/ceilings in any way.

Id venture to guess it would be about an extra 60 bucks tops in lumber and screws etc from your local home improvement store
Old 24th March 2017
  #37
Old 25th March 2017
  #38
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
Not all pros. Some will do whatever it takes to produce good authentic recordings without the use of samples.
Someone needs to post a great drum sound recorded in a 12'×10'x7' square bedroom and I'll be a believer. Maybe a guy playing jazz with brushes could pull this off using a lot of blankets around.
Old 26th March 2017
  #39
First off what kind of sound are you going for?.. What kind of room are you recording in?

More mics give you more control... And potentially more phase issues..

What style of blues is it? Modern? Oldschool? Bluegrass?
Old 26th March 2017
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
Cover all the bases so you can solve more problems while mixing, and consider getting some assistance on the session.

1 Kick (inside or beater side)
2 Kick (outside)
3 Snare (top)
4 Snare (bottom)
5 Hi Hat
6 Rack Tom 1
7 Rack Tom 2
8 Floor Tom
9 OH Left
10 OH Right
11 Room Left
12 Room Right
I'd generally agree with this. Sometimes you don't need all those mics but you can always mute channels you don't need; you can't go back and add mics.
Old 26th March 2017
  #41
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I love that Chess method I'll have to give that a shot.

Yes, the floor tom was the main thing lacking with my front of kit single mic method. I didn't even really need the snare mic, but I did add a subkick for low end on the kick drum.

These days I'm using stereo overheads (SDC, XY) with a bunch of close mics, George Massenberg type of setup, and I have a Blumlein pair of ribbons about cymbal height a few feet in front of the kit for that ambience and whole kit sound. About 9 mics. Once all the phases are flipped correctly on the channels it's a clean, crisp sound. The Blumlein pair and the overheads both need to be carefully adjusted to keep the snare and kick very close to the center of the stereo image when panned left and right.

Instead of a subkick I'm experimenting with a ribbon mic in front of the kick for a more full range sound. Also my kick has no hole, so there is a dynamic mic on the beater side also, which ends up picking up a bit of snare bottom as well, which is OK by me, since I never use an under snare mic.

When I was just starting out, or had limited channels, the 4 mic method of left OH, right OH, snare, kick was a good place to start. Also a mono overhead with a kick mic is a good starting point for 2 channels.
Old 3rd April 2017
  #42
Gear Addict
 

3 mics is the basic for me. One on kick, a mono overhead and a room. Or one on kick and two overheads. I like what a room mic does to bring out the tone of my bass drum.

Here's something I did just messing around with 3 mics. One on kick, snare, and a ribbon as mono OH.
https://soundcloud.com/adampalmore/steady-goin

Recently I've been using 6 mics. Two on kick, one on snare, stereo sdc overhead, and one to tie the room together. I first found two mics on kick were cool, but the 2nd time I didn't like the combined kick mic sound and muted one of them.
Old 3rd April 2017
  #43
Lives for gear
 
Ol' Betsey's Avatar
First session on drums? Don't over-complicate it. Start here.

Old 4th April 2017
  #44
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
YouTube guys be like, hey, check out my drum groove, etc. Apogee's like, hey, we got Clearmountain! Lol.
Old 4th April 2017
  #45
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 

How many pepperonis on a pizza?



Sorry, couldn't resist... Start with your limitations, how many inputs do you have available? How many mics do you have? That will narrow down the discussion really quickly.
Old 4th April 2017
  #46
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
I have 16 microphone inputs and preamps located right in my drum room, so why do I only use eight?

Because it sounds better with less microphones in the drum kit area. Previously I used 13 mics on the drum kit but then one day I reduced it to eight by mic'ing rack and floor toms in pairs. Immediately the sound became more focused, clear and 3D when I reduced the total number of open microphones.

I'm not using a bunch of low-end microphones either, every one of my mic's has been customized and rebuilt with new large diaphragm capsules and electronics.

I'm a huge fan of John Bonham style, real acoustic drum sounds. I've spent an extreme amount of money and time on my drum set and drum mic technique.

Back in the late 70's when I only had eight tracks total I would record the drums on two tracks, kick and overhead, it sounded very natural, much better than close mic'ing everything individually and mixing them together.

One of my early learning experiences was to take an Auratone monitor into the drum room and have someone move it around the space while I played pink noise through it and listened from the control room, as the speaker was moved around the space it sounded like a wah-wah pedal was processing the audio (tho not super extreme boost), it was an interesting study in phase-cancellation and microphone technology. It led me to use LDC microphones for virtually everything in the drum room. The off-axis response of LDC is so much more natural and smoother than something like an SM57 or 421.

Wishing everyone happy drum recording and good music to all!
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