Drum micing techniques with 6 mics or less.

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Post by jakeao » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:19 am

I mainly use 6 mics when I record drums, (depending on the sound I want)
snare, kick, three toms, anda mono overhead. I agree with the previous posters though. Try getting a good sound with one mic (mono overhead), and then fill in the rest for fine tuning mix options.
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Post by chris harris » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:33 am

If you're trying to get a great drum sound with one mic, how the hell do you do it with an overhead? Is the bass drum not important to you?

I start with the sound of my "room" mic, which is actually more of a FOK mic. About 6' out in front, and a foot and a half off the ground, pointed right at the bass drum. That gives you a great bass drum sound, plenty of snare and toms, and is low enough to the ground to keep the cymbals smoothish and not overbearing.

That is probably 80% of my drum sound. Then, I use the close mics to get a little more definition on the individual drums and the OH to get more cymbals and "body" from the snare and toms.

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Post by scott macdonald » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:43 am

I'd say screw the toms and go with this:

snare top
snare bottom
kick in
kick out
overhead left
overhead right

Or, if you're getting a good kick sound with the inside mic and have a good sounding room, then use a room mic instead of outside kick. Depends on the type of music, too.

But I'd definitely include a snare bottom mic.

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Post by ott0bot » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:06 pm

subatomic pieces wrote:If you're trying to get a great drum sound with one mic, how the hell do you do it with an overhead? Is the bass drum not important to you?
I agree, the bass drum is important. It does depend on the style of music. I've recorded a couple jazz drummers who want a more blended sound and use a kick with a covered front head. You cant' mic inside, but the techiniqe you described about using a front kit mic, works great for that too. And unless you have a tom heavy song...which depending if you can overdub the tom part or not....you don't need extra tom mics. This also depends on the style. I'm sure if the guy want to be Neil Peart...you need some tom mics, but generally you can capure a good tom sound with the overhead/s or the front mic.

that being said i think drum micing is very subjective to the style of music and there is no magic fomula. But my favorite way to capture the kit is like this:

1) ldc omni room mic - behinds the drummers shoulder a few feet back. I don't know why but i've done this lately and really liked the sound. I've built the mix off this a few times instead of the over heads. You have to have a pretty big room or you don't get alot of natural reverb. If I don't use the this I'll use a ldc in front of the set as described by subatomic pieces.
2) dynamic - snare top
3) dynanic - kick
4) sdc (spaced pair)- oh right
5) sdc (spaced pair)- oh left
6) dyn (usually 421) - on tom if needed. or add a bottom snare mic instead

also...been experimented with augmented glynn johns technique by adding a bottom snare mic. Works quite well for a great " full kit" sound, just wish I had some more quality ldc's so I could do this properly.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:29 pm

you can get some pretty good bass drum with an omni overhead in the right spot.

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Post by T-rex » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:03 pm

I have seen the subatomic light on this one recently. I bought an R84 and I was testing it out on drum kit. I placed it about 2 feet out from the rack tom, about rack tom height and it captured the entire kit AMAZINGLY well, I was blown away. I ran that with a parallel compression track and I swear if it were a mix that could have easily been my entire drum track and it would have sounded great. So anyway, long story short I am going to try this as my startong point on the next few tracks I record for my band and see what the results are.

To answer your question it would depend on the song. I know that is the typical pat answer but when you are limitied by something, in this case number of mics, you have to make decisions based on what you want to capture; for instance if there was a cool hi hat part I would mic the hi hat. If the snare sounded like a thud, I would mic the bottom of the snare to bring the snap out. If I have limited mics I would skip the toms and concentrat on picking them up in the overheads. Basically it would depend on the song.
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Post by Joe P. » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:29 pm

If you have a ribbon or some other figure eight mic, I'd use a mid/side setup for the overheads (effectively giving you three mics for the price of two.) I've been using one on the snare top and then unders for the two toms (with the polarity flipped on the toms and kick mics.) I've been getting a really nice sound with this in my small room.

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