Three Coincident Overheads

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Post by ckeene » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:21 am

Has anyone done this? Although I like the way a mono LDC OH can bring out the drums and body of the kit, I sometimes feel the cymbal articulation and shimmer doesn't translate. I'm starting to wonder what it would be like to put up an X-Y SDC pair in addition to a single LDC.

Thanks, sorry if this has been covered already but didn't find anything UTSF.

-Chris

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Post by RoyMatthews » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:52 am

It sounds like M/S might be a possible alternative. Adding a 3rd mic to an XY setup may be cool but there may be some phase issues. With M/S you'll get XY and the mid mic can essentially be the mono OH you normally like. HEck you can even ride the side mic signals in and out a bit just
on cymbal crashes.
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Post by ckeene » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:01 am

Yeah I thought about M-S, but I want the spread to be with SDCs and I don't have any that'll do fig-8. Also, with X-Y, it's nice to be able to nail the cymbals right on-axis.

Theoretically, this 3 mic OH deal would have all capsules aligned and hopefully phase wouldn't be a big issue.

(But yeah, I'd def like to try an M-S OH config, as well)

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Post by delo054 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:46 am

an xy, and a ldc all in one place should rule out any phase issues.....just follow the 3:1 rule from the center of the kit...or the snare with a ldc out in front

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Post by delo054 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:47 am

those were meant to be two seperate alternatives....sorry that wasnt clear

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Post by RoyMatthews » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:50 am

delo054 wrote:an xy, and a ldc all in one place should rule out any phase issues.....just follow the 3:1 rule from the center of the kit...or the snare with a ldc out in front
How would the 3:1 rule apply if all the mics are coincident?
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Post by metanoiastudios » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:03 am

Would a spaced pair of omnis and an LDC in the center give you a more phase-coherent image? maybe...?
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Post by RoyMatthews » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:10 am

What I've been doing lately is close micing the cymbals (or at least the 'main' ones) and using a mono OH for the kit. I get a lot of the meat of the sound and plenty of crash and ride in the mono OH and don't even need the spot mics most of the time. When I do use them it's usually just to add a bit more stereo excitement when the cymbal is hit.
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Post by ckeene » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:19 am

Spot micing cymbals seems good to me in concept, but when I get the mics in close enough to become "spot mics" the cymbals get a little brash sounding and the rocking of them in the stand makes them sound a little funny.

This is not something I'm averse to trying again, either. I just seem to be able to get good results fast with XY.

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Post by cgarges » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:26 pm

metanoiastudios wrote:Would a spaced pair of omnis and an LDC in the center give you a more phase-coherent image? maybe...?
I've done this a bunch with good results.

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Post by ott0bot » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:55 pm

cgarges wrote:
metanoiastudios wrote:Would a spaced pair of omnis and an LDC in the center give you a more phase-coherent image? maybe...?
I've done this a bunch with good results.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Me too. You get a pretty awesome sound depending on the room. Recording in a rather large room can give you a nice sound with the omni's and a little bit of refected sound that gives a nice natural reverb. Then you can use the center mic in cardiod to give it a kit a more meaty sound without all the room sound. I haven't had trouble with phasing as long as the mics are panned in the mix correctly. Although for some crash heavy drummers/songs this just doesn't work for me. The kit gets a bit drowned out or the omnis are so low in the mix they just don't give you the desired effect.

RoyMatthews wrote:What I've been doing lately is close micing the cymbals (or at least the 'main' ones) and using a mono OH for the kit. I get a lot of the meat of the sound and plenty of crash and ride in the mono OH and don't even need the spot mics most of the time. When I do use them it's usually just to add a bit more stereo excitement when the cymbal is hit.
What mics are you using for the close micing? I'd assume you need to pad them or have the gain set pretty low...plus make sure your drummer isn't a wild man to avoid the cymbals smacking the mics. I've had some succes doing this with a pair of Sudio projects c4's with a pad and the high pass filter on. Sometimes I have overdubed some of the cymbal tracks so the drummer can get the perfect hit. Them as long as you pan them in the mix you can get a very clean dynamic cymbal sound and still have your live track doing most of the work.

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Post by RoyMatthews » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:12 pm

ott0bot wrote: What mics are you using for the close micing? I'd assume you need to pad them or have the gain set pretty low...plus make sure your drummer isn't a wild man to avoid the cymbals smacking the mics. I've had some succes doing this with a pair of Sudio projects c4's with a pad and the high pass filter on. Sometimes I have overdubed some of the cymbal tracks so the drummer can get the perfect hit. Them as long as you pan them in the mix you can get a very clean dynamic cymbal sound and still have your live track doing most of the work.
I've been using KM84s mostly. I start with out the pad and put it on if I need it. I suppose I should clarify that the 'spot' mics are still about a foot away but placed with the cymbal in mind not the kit. I'm really just trying to rip off Nigel Godrich. I've seen him do it so I thought I'd try it. Now if a blues band or rock trio comes in I'd probably switch to Glyn Johns or just a mono OH.
As for the OP, I'd say try it and let us know how it turns out. No one will die. And if they do, please warn us. There may be some phase issues dependin on how close you can get the capsules but it's hard to say without trying.
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Post by ckeene » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:46 pm

Yeah I'll def try this the next time I get to track.


Also, I like hearing about the other techniques, so if anyone wants to elaborate on spot micing, or doing 3-or-more overheads in any sort of spaced config, I'd def consider trying that.

-ck

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Post by Corey Y » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:23 pm

I've done a couple projects with a drummer that has more cymbals than drums, spread fairly wide. I used one mono LDC OH and two SDC spot mics, one on the ride and one on the hihat. Similar to what Roy is talking about. It worked fairly well but I wouldn't use it on most projects.

M/S in front of the kit or spaced omnis with a mono OH would both get a good stereo image, but I suppose it depends on the room and how much of it you want to capture.

Food for thought if you have time to mess around and record some drums without the pressure of being on the clock.

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Post by Professor » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:11 pm

We should probably clear up a few things here real quick...

First up, if the mics are placed in a coincident array then there would be no phasing concerns. Phasing (of this type) happens when the sound of an instrument (one of the drums) reaches two or more mics at different times. If the mics are in the same point in space then there should be no timing difference between them. Yes, it's important to note that they can't really occupy the same point in space, but if the capsules are as close together as possible and all within about an inch of each other then any phasing that might occur would be pretty high up.

On the other hand, it's important to note that the two ways we as humans determine the stereo placement of sounds around us are through timing differences and volume differences of a sound arriving at each of our ears. A coincident mic array by definition does not deliver any timing cues to our recording and so the stereo placement is given entirely by volume differences. Two omni mics at the same location should (at least in theory) provide no stereo imaging and just sound like mono. Two cardioid mics in the same location and aimed in the same direction would provide no volume difference and so again it would just sound mono. Turning those cardioid mics out to an angle allows for a volume difference between them based on the sound arriving on-axis or off-axis to each mic, and that's why an XY pair works as a stereo pair.
Now the catch with all of this would be if you tried to do something like adding in a third microphone. You might well get a great tone from the three mics all stacked up with a 90? XY pair and a cardioid LDC in the middle, but you're not really going to get much of any kind of stereo action because there will be no timing cues, and most of the volume cues would be minimized because the cardioid mics just don't drop off fast enough at only 45? off-axis. So you would probably get just about the same result by using a nice LDC omni as your mono mid.

The spaced pair option that was mentioned would add timing cues back in (while the omni mics would remove most of the volume cues) but you will have to be careful with phasing.
If you are going to try this, I'd suggest reading up on the mic technique called the "Decca Tree" which specifies three omni mics in a large T formation. The true spec for that setup calls for 3 Neumann M-50 omnis and spacing of 2 meters wide with the middle mic placed 1 meter in front of the others, and while it's great for orchestras it's a little impractical for drum sets. But that doesn't mean it can't be modified. I personally have used a smaller Decca that is roughly an 18-inch radius (3ft wide) over drums, piano and other instruments or small groups in the studio lots of times. Sometime I run it as 3 omnis, sometimes 3 cardioids for a little more stereo action, and sometimes with an XY center plus the omni outriggers. In all cases, I get lots of stereo action, a great sense of space, and very little in the way of phasing problems (because 3 mics clear up lots of phase issues caused by just 2 mics).

Either way, there are lots of ways to go about experimenting with new mic placements, but it never hurts to remind yourself of what is going on with the mics and standard configurations first. This way you go after new techniques with an expectation of what the results will be, and not just with a little hope that maybe it will work.

Happy Listening.

-Jeremy

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