Lets say you have these mics....

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Evergreen
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Lets say you have these mics....

Post by Evergreen » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:45 am

Ok, lets say you have these mics....

*Gefell UMT 70S
*(2) Audio-Technica 4050
*Beyer m160
*Audio-Technica 4047
*(2) Tape Op/PPA mics
*Shure SM-57
*MXL 603
*Oktava 319
*Studio Projects B1
*Radio Shack PZM

How would you mic up a drum kit? This Saturday I'm recording my first band and I have never recorded a drum kit before and I don't want to look like a total noob. I have recorded myself a billion times so I have no problem recording the things I play its just that I don't play drums.

We were thinking a simple four mic setup...2 overheads, snare and kick....

I have a few ideas as a starting point but I would love to hear yours!

Tim

PS...any ideas on a male vocal mic and female backup singers? :D

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MikeCzech
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Post by MikeCzech » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:44 am

Here's the most crutial thing you should do, IMHO, use one TapeOp ribbon under the snare. It sounds so natural on the snare, and you'll also get some good natural sounding kick beater.

So here's what I'd do:

Kick: Radio Shack PZM
SnareT: SM57
SnareB: TapeOp Ribbon Mic
Overheads L&R: AT4050's in ORTF behind the drummer
I'd also consider your Oktava 319 for a room mic...

It might be 6 tracks as opposed to the 4 you were planning, but you could always leave them out of the mix; though I'm confident you'll keep that ribbon mic in once you hear it.

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Post by jv » Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:27 am

MikeCzech wrote:Here's the most crutial thing you should do, IMHO, use one TapeOp ribbon under the snare. It sounds so natural on the snare, and you'll also get some good natural sounding kick beater.
Hey MikeCzech-
How do you position the ribbon? Do you have it angled between the snare and the kick so that one side picks up the kick beater, and the other side picks up the snare bottom? Or is it more directly below the snare? And then do you switch the phase of this mic? I've never had very good results micing under the snare, but I have a TapeOp ribbon and this sounds interesting.

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Post by Mark Alan Miller » Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:27 am

jv wrote:
MikeCzech wrote:Here's the most crutial thing you should do, IMHO, use one TapeOp ribbon under the snare. It sounds so natural on the snare, and you'll also get some good natural sounding kick beater.
Hey MikeCzech-
How do you position the ribbon? Do you have it angled between the snare and the kick so that one side picks up the kick beater, and the other side picks up the snare bottom? Or is it more directly below the snare? And then do you switch the phase of this mic? I've never had very good results micing under the snare, but I have a TapeOp ribbon and this sounds interesting.
With a ribbon like that you might get some good stuff. Yes, flip the polarity and see if it sound better. Most likely, compared to the kick PZM and the top-snare 57 it will. But, it might not. Gotta try to find out.
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Post by dokushoka » Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:18 am

What kind of sound are you shooting for? Modern, close miked "radar blips" or big roomy sounds?

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Post by MikeCzech » Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:23 am

I generally don't get phase issues between snare top and bottom, they're practically 2 different instruments. I use different compression types which probably helps too. The top is generally pretty close to the head - focusing on attack while still trying not to get too much proximity effect, the bottom head has a much greater amount of distance - focusing on sustain.

As far as positioning, I generally have a 45 degree angle (I know it sags the ribbon... blablabla). It sits about in the middle of the snare - maybe a pinch closer to the left side drummer prospective - the bright side facing upward toward the kick beater and dark side toward the floor.

I always flip the polarity on the kick mic (usually a D112 inside, faceing toward the shell NOT THE BEATER). Havent had any problems here either..

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Post by Mark Alan Miller » Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:35 am

MikeCzech wrote:I generally don't get phase issues between snare top and bottom, they're practically 2 different instruments. I use different compression types which probably helps too. The top is generally pretty close to the head - focusing on attack while still trying not to get too much proximity effect, the bottom head has a much greater amount of distance - focusing on sustain.
That last sentence there explains why you probably don't need to flip the polarity. Distance changes phase relationships, and alters the need/effect of a polairty flip. Many, many times, it should be noted, that a lot of low end from the snare will be lost due to the polarity difference between top and bottom mics, and while that might be just fine, people should at least be aware of it, and the options it presents.
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Post by dokushoka » Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:49 am

I use different compression types which probably helps too.
If I do use a bottom mic, I generally find that bussing the top and bottom mic into the same compressor generally help them make more sense together.

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Post by Professor » Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:46 pm

I agree that the 4050 pair would work best on overheads, and I'd put them up in any of the standard stereo configurations, XY, ORTF, M/S, spaced omni, whatever feels the most comfortable to you. If the OHs are going to be the only stereo source in the final mix I'll often go with something that gives me more stereo action like ORTF or spaced omni, but if I'm looking at lots of other instruments and voices to fill the space I'll usually keep the drums narrow and minimize potential phase issues with an XY or Blumlein pair.
For snare, I like the sound of condensers, small or large. If the guy has a really nice sounding, well-tuned drum, especially a wooden shell drum, I might reach for something like that Gefell UMT 70S. For a bright, metallic, pingy snare, I might put on something like the MXL 603. And if you're at all in doubt, or if the drummer seems like he'll be hitting whatever mic you put up, maybe just stick with a 57 on the snare - he will recognize the mic from live sound setups and think you're really doing it right.

As for kick, I tend to reach for large diaphragm dynamics, but you don't have any. Out of that collection, I'd choose the LDC that gives you a nice full bottom end, maybe the Gefell if it's not already on snare, the 4047, the Oktava, maybe even the B1. Set it out in front of the drum with a blanket or similar covering draped over the drum to help reject some of the other drum sounds, and if there's lots of air pushing at a delicate mic, put a windscreen on it.

As for voices, that's hard to say. I've been known to use 5 different mics on the same singer for 3 different songs. Though for that collection, I'd probably start with the 4047 or Gefell.

-Jeremy

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Post by I'm Painting Again » Sun Jan 08, 2006 1:32 pm

drums are pretty tough..or can be at least..have you heard drums in your space at all yet? because if they are not tuned and sound bad in there its going to be hard..if the room is too weird you can deaden it around the kit..not ideal but it will be under control..if your getting paid..even if your not..give em a little more time..in fact as much time as you need to make it the very very best sounding you can..in reality a mic is a mic and no specific one will sound best for in your specific situation..this is not science its 100% subjective..you can get ideas but don't concrete-ize them in your actions while doing the job..try stuff..anything..keeping it simple 4 mic thing is probably smart..its a bit of a trick to get defined toms that way sometimes though..

for me the rules XY ORTF Blumlein, etc. never give me what I like in my space..its always the weirdest possible things I couldn't even imagine working..so now i Just say screw those approaches..and have the drummer play the kit and place the overhead/rooms with iso-phones to where they sound like what I want then use the phones to fill in the rest..actually its more like tune-place-tune-place again actually..the positioning of the kit in the room has a big affect too..if you like the way it sounds in the corner or the middle or whatever thats up to you..but do the work to move it around like that..

ok now some ideas..honestly this is how i would start.."tape"(spiritually) the gefell and the m160 together and use that combo for the room/overhead sound..not necessarily stereo or mono..you could pan them if it works..but more just to have two choices to pick for the overhead sound..that pretty much rules out a "true" "even" stereo thing though(if you dont put up other mics too)..the 4050 pair is a good idea for this app too i think and will give you an even response..but i like the way cymbals sound with ribbons and like the crispness of LDC's..Ive been using an ML-19 and U195 recently and similarly with good results..so I'm biased with this advice..what works for me wont necessarily work for you in other words..i would try the 4047 on kick..then use whatever get you off for the snare top and bottom..and dont rule out not close micing the snare either or rather you should probably do it anyway but dont rule out not using it full strength in the mix..but at times its great in there fully too..the snare you will have to work and see whats good for you..i couldnt even guess..you should put up all the mics you can just because..you dont have to use them after all..its a bit hard to manage if you do them all at once..BUT if you select and execute the 4 mic setup first and forget about the rest till you have an awesome sound..then throw the others up..maybe even using a comp on those additional ones you will have more options and thats always a good thing..

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Post by tonewoods » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:19 pm

Beyer m160 on the OH...

Shure SM57 on the snare...

And the Gefell UMT 70 (one of the great underrated mics of all time IMHO) on the kick...

I only posted because I happen to use a modified setup like this for drums a lot....

M260 OH, an old 545 (like a 57) on snare, and the Gefell on kick....
Sounds great....
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Post by AstroDan » Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:25 pm

I agree with Bruce. That M160 could cover tight sounding drums or a bombastic kit. It also depends on the style, like mentioned. I would use this set-up for dry and tight, but also throw the pair of AT-4050's which ask no questions when tracking a colossal sounding drum kit.

Since you've already planned on using just 4 mikes, I won't mention that I'd recommend not additionally miking the toms.

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Post by Evergreen » Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:07 am

THANKS everybody for the GREAT advice!

I didn't mention the style we were going after because I wanted to leave it a bit vague to get a bunch of different ideas... for this project and others in the future. Once you get a Tascam 388 everybody becomes your friend. :D I already have a few more things lined up after this.

As for this project the guy says he is going after a 60's soul/r&b sorta sound. Think Smokey Robinson. The room we are recording in is not mine. It's the local practice space to put a kit. We have to shlep all my equipment there but it is only a few block away so it's ok. I can't record drums in my apartment because they are just to loud and I just don't have any extra space. The room is about 30x35 with about a 9 foot ceiling. I have seen a bunch of bands play there and the room sounds ok. Not great but not awful either.

I am not expecting a great kit so I know this will be an extra challenge. I really like Tonewoods idea (with maybe a 4050 in the room)...sounds really simple and I'm going after simple but I'm a bit scared to put the Gefell on the kick. :D The TO ribbon mic thing sounds like a fun thing to try too.

I was just looking for a few ideas to get started and work from there. I'm not getting paid to do this and he knows he's kinda my guinea pig but I still want to do the best most efficient job I possibly can. Plus he is thinking of putting a couple songs on a 7 inch which would be soooooo cool.

Tim

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Post by Phiz » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:03 pm

Professor wrote:As for kick.... Set it out in front of the drum with a blanket or similar covering draped over the drum to help reject some of the other drum sounds
Professor, can you give a little more detail on your blanket technique? Are both the kick drum and the kick microphone under the blanket? Are you only trying to cover the side of the kick that is away from the drummer? Thanks!

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Post by Professor » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:17 pm

Actually I tend to put mics in the kick drum, and if I'm placing a condenser out in front I use a couple of Clearsonic 2" thick rigid fiberglass panels to build a little box around the kick drum. But lots of guys use packing blankets etc. and often refer to it as 'building a tunnel' in front of the kick drum. They simply set the mic in front of the kick, place a chair or short stand out a little further in front, and then drape a blanket over the top of the kick and the chair/stand to build a little tent or awning over the front of the drum. Some guys do it figuring the drum projects more forward, but I always think of it as providing some isolation from the cymbals, toms & snare from leaking into the kick mic, so I can push the channel a little harder without getting more of the stuff I don't want to bring up in the mix - you know, 'cause if I want more kick, it's because I already have enough cymbals, toms and snare.

-Jeremy

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