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Small Drum Room...Mono Overhead Mic Suggestions?
Old 24th May 2006
  #1
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commaKaze's Avatar
 

Small Drum Room...Mono Overhead Mic Suggestions?

In our studio, we have a selection of rooms, some with 20' ceilings and 20'x18'. However we moved the entire recording operation to the basement so we can rent out the rooms upstairs hourly...this won't change BTW. $$

All rooms down there have already been treated, though I should say we left an entire wall in the live/drum room that was "basement jagged concrete" purposely for some "life." Did throw a light curtain over it, room's otherwise pretty dead.

OK, live/drum room is 11x14x8' ceiling. Also an 8x8 iso, 8x10 control room. I think it's time to revisit some mono OH action for recording drums in there?

I did read the "recording drums in a small room" thread, and seems like concensus is mono OH and/or "underheads."

I want to see if we can delve into that a little more...

Suggestions for good "bang-for-buck" mono OH mic ? Maybe go Ribbon? Shinybox C or Ls? Cheapy(Nady etc.) modded by Oktavamods.com?

Or LDCs suggestions? Thinking about Oktava Mk319(again, modded by Oktavamods.com), AT4040, or 4047, or maybe mk012 with M Lomo head? ADK Vienna?
Wasn't pleased with the GT55 for mono OH, though my V69me showed promise...

Overall suggestions/techniques welcome too...
Old 24th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I don't want to sound like a broken record BUT.....

I did a drum track in a room just as yours (7.5 foot ceiling) a couple of months ago - less than stellar ehheh . No one believes I tracked the drums in that room and when I convince them I have to show that I didn't use any samples - and these guys are very experienced engineers. I'll tell you exactly how and why I got the sounds.

I start with the recorderman set up using SDCs(c42's). I use the SDCs because they are a tighter more focused sound and less prone to get unwanted reflections (that can rear they're ugly head especially after processing). The reason I used "recordermans" set up is because you simply don't have the height or room for a nice overhead sound in a traditional set up. Also, since the HH mic is (aprox) 32" directly above the snare and the Ride side is the same distance but lower and further back from the snare - you get a sense of depth on the kit. Now if your familiar with the "recordermans" set up you'll know that the 2 OH's are also equadistant to the kick - so everything is in perfect phase.

Now here is where it depends on the style of music - but Im thinking rock and YMMV. I place a LDC (I usually use an ifet7) on the outside kick and move it around until everything sounds in phase. I don't use an inside kick mic 'cause I get enough "click" from the OH's - and in this type of room LESS IS MORE.

Now here's the two key ingredients. I use a snare mic (57) underside facing away from the HH and as opposed to conventional wisdom, I leave the pre IN PHASE. This mic will be crushed in the mix (1176) and faded into the the mix to taste. It adds a nice crisp snare sound and ambience. Lastly I put a mic about 4-6 feet in front of the kit which will also be crushed and faded into the mix. This is where you'll get focus, room ambience, and weight into your sound. I usually nuke this mic with a TG1 or 1176. My best result was with a Royer121 ribbon mic(although a cheap ribbon would probably be just fine). It doesn't hilite the harsh frequencies and is pleasant sounding therefore still useable when nuked. With this set up you get a good stereo picture with depth from the OH's and foucs from the FOKit mic. You'll have a little more ambience on the snare combined with the ambience of the whole kit. In my case I only had to add a touch of verb afterwards in the mix (UAD plate140) and it was perfect - YMMV.

What plays a huge roll here is tuning. You can't have too much of a "doo-wop" in the tom sounds or the FOK will sound bad - and you really need that mic nuked to make this work. I had the drums tuned to the same pitch for beater and resonant sides - no down tuning. Secondly, use a thin crash that has a fast decay on the HH side. It's close to the HH side OH and can be a problem. I found the Paiste Signature "Thin crash" ideal. It's not super loud, no "gong" - just crisp and clean with a fast decay - mixes nice, even when abused.

Lastly, the gear is important. Your using gear to get a good drum sound as opposed to using a good room. You HAVE to make up for that. Your pre's need weight, and your mics have to sound sweet or your a dead duck in such a room.
Old 24th May 2006
  #3
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

why not get a single point stereo mic? i use a royer sf12 on overheads all the time. fantastic mic. figure 8 ribbons require a good sounding room, though, regardless of the size.
Old 24th May 2006
  #4
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commaKaze's Avatar
 

So kats,
I'm really diggin' this...I can't even begin to think of how thrilled I'm going to be trying this out...and yeah, I read all about the recorderman setup; 2 drumsticks-length height above snare, both SDCs pointed and aimed downwards directley at kick beater, right? Will go over it again and again.

So would the SDCs be coming from in front or behind? Educated guess, doesn't matter...

Yeah rock...Clash-like with some groove(or whatever, I know that word is so tacky)

Kit, Pearl Export and a British made vintage Premier. On my own ears, the Pearl sounds a lot bigger, thicker and better. Pork pie snare. Thin Sabian HHX thin crash, Sabian hand hammered hats and ride: that's all for cymbals...

My current mic locker:
-buttload of SM57s, 1 TapeOP SM57 mod, beta58
-Studio Projects C4 pair
-EV RE-20
-Groove Tubes GT55
-MXL V69me
-Shure KSM27(most likely unusable)
-AKG c3000(I know unusable, I didn't buy it!!! ha)
-random AT dynamics that came in "kit"
-some Audix dynamics

I know my LDC cabinet needs work...going with this setup and my budget, I think the safest bet is the Oktava MK319->oktavamods.com. 40hz-16khz, dark russian LDC modded up to snuff...I like. I'm thinking this as the 6' foot back room mic. I've been doing a lot of research, experimenting.

The other "usuables" are the V69me for the front kick, or GT55...one of those may do the trick. I'm looking at a good offer for the ADK Vienna. Hmmm...I'm buying the MK319 as soon as I'm done posting this.

My A/D and pres aren't too sloppy:
-G5, PTLE 7, Logic Pro 7
-Black Lion "full mod" digi002(those four pres now on par if not better than Syteks)
-Mytek 8x96 A/D
-Apogee mini me
-Focusrite Red 1(4 channel, essentially a version of Neves)
-Groove Tubes "The Brick" + random others, but those are the go-to preamps

Thanks so much for that advice! I know the room has potential, and I like the idea of working in that room. It's kind of pure, no frills, rock n' roll and the size can be celebrated if done correctly. Sweet!!
Old 24th May 2006
  #5
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I often as not end up in ****ty, small rooms (don't ask!), and what works best for me are my pair of M160's (usually in Recorderman). All the advantages of a ribbon, but they're not figure-8, so you get a nice, tight sound without all that ceiling/rear wall spill.

If the budget will stretch to new mics ...
Old 24th May 2006
  #6
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Quote:
2 drumsticks-length height above snare, both SDCs pointed and aimed downwards directley at kick beater, right?
HH OH straight above the snare pointed straight down at the center of the snare. The ride side mic, I play with a bit. but it's always mic'd from behind the drummers right shoulder, usually slightly angled down facing forward. It depends on how the kit and floor tom are set up.

PS, is the Pork Pie the "black beauty copy" - if so, I found it to work the best with this set up and style of music (I have the deep one). Such a distinctive sound though - so I switch it out with a supraphonic with equally good results just so I don't get bored once in awhile. But in both cases the snare will be prominant in the mix. If I need a more traditional sound I go with a standard maple snare that doesn't try and steal the showheh.
Old 25th May 2006
  #7
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commaKaze's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats
HH OH straight above the snare pointed straight down at the center of the snare. The ride side mic, I play with a bit. but it's always mic'd from behind the drummers right shoulder, usually slightly angled down facing forward. It depends on how the kit and floor tom are set up.

PS, is the Pork Pie the "black beauty copy" - if so, I found it to work the best with this set up and style of music (I have the deep one). Such a distinctive sound though - so I switch it out with a supraphonic with equally good results just so I don't get bored once in awhile. But in both cases the snare will be prominant in the mix. If I need a more traditional sound I go with a standard maple snare that doesn't try and steal the showheh.
Hey kats,
My Pork Pie snare isn't the deep one, it's the "little squealer 12x5," and it's tight with serious crack...I love it, but not for all things. The 14x5 snare on the vintage Premier goes where the Pork Pie doesn't, and as you put it, isn't as much of a "show stealer."

So I had the recorderman's technique a bit off. I thought the right side mic was completely aimed down at the beater, but rather over the shoulder slightly angled down, but basically pointing away from the drummer. A good visual analogy maybe(?)...if the drummer seated were to take his right hand and point at somebody across the room with his index finger(like he's pissed or something?)

Right mic about how much lower than HH mic? Is this to taste?

Should the drummer's back be to a corner? There's a spot in the room that's not a full right angle corner, would that be preferable?

I can't thank you enough for your advice and time taken to detail all this for me...that's priceless advice...
Old 25th May 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 

The angle of the right mic is to taste BUT the tip must be the same distance from the snare as the HH mic as well as the same distance from the kick as the HH mic. By default this will set the Ride mic lower and further back.

As far as the kit position in the room, YMMV. In my case I had it pretty close to the center of the room. I should mention that the room should be treated. The room I was in had broadband bass traps all over the place. One wall was diffused, the opposite side had broadband & HF treatment as well as bass traps in all the corners. You might want to experiment with your ceiling. If your floor is reflective - deaden the ceiling, it kind of mimics a big room (early reflections from floor, and not much from ceiling).
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