figure 8s as drum overheads

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ethansnew
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figure 8s as drum overheads

Post by ethansnew » Sun May 29, 2011 8:23 pm

hi

i dont have that much gear, so i have been recording a drum kit just with 1 figure 8 ribbon mic (Electro Harmonix EHR1). I place it kinda over the top of where the drummer sits, with the figure 8 pointing left and right, essentially. The mic picks up the pieces of the kit real nice, but it def sounds like its being recorded with 1 mic (also, its picking up a ridiculous amt of the kick compared to the rest of the kit). I was wondering if i rented or bought a 2nd of the same mic, how would you set that up as far as having 2 of the figure 8 patterns picking up the kit in the way that would make the most sense?


thx

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Post by Theo_Karon » Mon May 30, 2011 3:53 am

I really like using an XY pair about 3 feet out in front of the kit, 2-4 feet off of the ground depending on the balance I want to get... a spacing similar to ORTF can also be nice for a wider image in this application. My ceilings are not that high, but my live room is large, and both of these applications can yield a nice roomy sound without picking up gross early reflections from the ceiling. There are an infinite number of ways you can do this, really- keep in mind that ribbons do an excellent job of rejecting sound at the null of the mic, and use this to your advantage. With a single ribbon overhead it is very easy to emphasize and de-emphasize different parts of the kit based on position.
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Post by fossiltooth » Mon May 30, 2011 9:19 am

Some good info in Theo's post.

You can try all the placements with two bi-directional mics that you might try with cardiod or omni mics: Spaced pair, ORTF, MS, XY. Out of these, the pattern that seems to be most popular for figure-eight mics might be XY, which is often referred to as "Blumlein". http://bit.ly/mfmUqc It can give a very natural "you are there" impression of the stereo-field. I also find it lots of fun to play around with positioning instruments between the speakers by moving them around the array in an intuitive way while tracking.

Anyway, keep tying stuff on your own. Maybe someday you can name a pattern after yourself too.

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Post by vvv » Mon May 30, 2011 9:48 am

At the above wiki-link, they linked this, what looks way cool.

Image

I reckon a witha cuppla cheap ribbons you could make one ...
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Re: figure 8s as drum overheads

Post by ofajen » Mon May 30, 2011 10:37 am

ethansnew wrote:hi

i dont have that much gear, so i have been recording a drum kit just with 1 figure 8 ribbon mic (Electro Harmonix EHR1). I place it kinda over the top of where the drummer sits, with the figure 8 pointing left and right, essentially. The mic picks up the pieces of the kit real nice, but it def sounds like its being recorded with 1 mic (also, its picking up a ridiculous amt of the kick compared to the rest of the kit). I was wondering if i rented or bought a 2nd of the same mic, how would you set that up as far as having 2 of the figure 8 patterns picking up the kit in the way that would make the most sense?


thx
Sounds like you may have the null plane pointed roughly toward the snare, and that would explain why it's not well represented (assuming the drummer is even playing the snare loud enough to give a balanced sound with one mike.) That orientation will also tend to pick up a lot of room tone.

If you want a relatively tight, dry sound, you will need to deoouple the drum space from the room by a combination of acoustics and pattern choice. I prefer an omni overhead within the Quick Sound Field of early reflections. A figure-8 overhead can be OK, especially if it is pointing down at the snare. Of course, you would need a really high ceiling and/or broadband absorbers overhead, since the rear lobe would pick up annoying reflections from a close, reflective ceiling.

Also, I find the kick drum sound at the overhead location is not usually that satisfying, and I usually add a second mike out in front and low to get more body for the kick. Conversely, I usually don't find a single mike out front entirely satisfying, because it tends to lack the body of the snare and toms and the clear cymbal sounds available from an overhead.

Lots to consider and a lot of experimentation is helpful.


Cheers,

Otto
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Post by drumsound » Mon May 30, 2011 11:18 am

I just used spaced figure 8 overheads on Friday. It was a gospel session and I was under the impression that we'd use the Hammond M3, and even though I run it through the Leslie, it also has a speaker. I thought if I set up figure 8 OH, I'd be able to use the null to give me less organ sound. It turned out that the player brought his Triton for a piano sound, but I left the OH anyway. There had been NO rehearsal, or even learning the songs*. I took a DI from the keyboard, and bass, but ran them through my small practice PA, and the 5 singers were in the live room as the instrumentalists learned the first song. I had the guitar in a small hall iso, with the door open.

As I was getting sounds as they rehearsed, I noticed how Little bleed I was getting in the drum mics. So I cut the basics for two songs with no headphones, and 5 singer, and the PA in the live room with the guitar in the hall. No one was playing or singing super loud, and the tracks sound GREAT. The spaced figure 8 (AT4050s) were a really great choice for this session.






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Post by palinilap » Mon May 30, 2011 9:04 pm

Figure 8 ribbons also work pretty well in M/S out in front of the kit. I've done this with a Fathead and SM81 with decent results.

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Post by jnTracks » Tue May 31, 2011 3:34 am

yea M/S with another condenser often sounds good out in front of the kit.

i'm a big fan of using 2 figure of eight mikes in blumlein. i do this with my cascade fathead II's. very realistic image, sounds just like if you were listening from that same spot and perfect mono compatibility for easy phase alignment with the other mikes.

i haven't tried a spaced pair of ribbons, the blumlein always sounds so good i never felt the need to. but in a different room, it might sound better that way.

EDIT: just re-read the post. am i right that you've been doing the drumset with just a single ribbon? no other close mikes or anything? in that case i would suggest the blumlein or M/S with a condenser out in front, rather than overhead. i think the problem you're having is the "ring" of rejection in the figure 8 pattern is aimed at the snare. i'd say get another matching mike, for blumlein, or a condenser for M/S. walk around the kit and find the best sounding spot and put the array there. maybe 4 to 6 feet in front and up is a good place to start.

or hey, try placing the ribbon there by itself!
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Post by Scodiddly » Tue May 31, 2011 4:40 am

The two big things to remember about figure-8 mics is that:

A) The side null really are that deep, much better rejection than say the rear of a cardioid. And while almost all cardioids are nearly omni at low frequencies, the side null of a figure-8 is still there at low frequencies.

B) The sound coming in the rear of the mic has inverted polarity compared to the front.

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Post by decocco » Tue May 31, 2011 5:40 pm

If going for mono drums, I like a single ribbon above the kit, just up high enough to pick up an even balance of the whole kit. The front of the mic would be aiming down at the kit. I do not put any part of the kit in the nulls. This technique really benefits from the addition of a close mic on kick drum.

If drums must be stereo, I like a spaced pair above the kit. Mics aimed straight down at the cymbals.

OR

Underheads. A ribbon on either side of the kit a few feet away, close to the floor (under the cymbals).
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Corey Y
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Post by Corey Y » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:23 pm

I've used pair of figure 8 mics spaced or in XY placement for drum overheads. It really depends on the room though. In all those cases it was a big room with a 14ft+ tall ceiling. In a smaller room it can sound pretty terrible. I've also used one figure 8 in front of and perpendicular to the kit for a sort of cheater stereo room mic (using MS type decoding) with a single omni for an OH. That again was in a big live room with a high ceiling though.

Experiment and keep in mind the null spots and reflections.

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Post by tonewoods » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:53 pm

decocco wrote:If going for mono drums, I like a single ribbon above the kit, just up high enough to pick up an even balance of the whole kit. The front of the mic would be aiming down at the kit. I do not put any part of the kit in the nulls.
+1...
And then I line (for example) the bass and guitar amps up with the nulls to reject 'em as best I can....
Works great!

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Post by Dominick Costanzo » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:00 pm

A figure 8 mic on a kit can work extremely well in a large enough room.eg. Norman Smith's work with this drummer named "Ringo".
Your use with the null over the snare is quite unusual.
Kinda like the "S" half of a M-S setup.
If you have a not overly live room with more than 11' of ceiling height, try the mic with the "front" facing where the kit sounds balanced to you when you are standing at the kit.
This is often directly in front of the kit, 18" away from the front rim of the bass drum,, 5' off the floor, angled down toward the snare.
But depending on how your drummer balances himself, it can be behind or to the side of the kit as well,
If you have a low ceiling, try setting it behind the drummer about 30" above and parallel to the floor so the null points face the floor and ceiling.
Dominick Costanzo

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Post by SafeandSoundMastering » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:59 am

At low frequencies it is probably almost omnidirectional so you get plenty of kick.

I imagine for fig 8 lobes are not picking up a particularly "crisp" sound" + being a ribbon it will be fairly lacking in upper mid/HF presence.

I thought you might mean you had 2 fig 8's as a stereo pair, if you have a good room/ the right ceiling height that might work, but there are a lot of if's and buts.

cheers
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Post by rickshawrecords » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:45 pm

vvv wrote:At the above wiki-link, they linked this, what looks way cool.

Image

I reckon a witha cuppla cheap ribbons you could make one ...
You can!
The above is a photo of a one-off mic I made for a friend, packed inside a Chinese OEM chassis. I've since replaced the low-quality Chinese chassis and one-sided connector for a powdercoated center-point Brass chassis and Switchcraft connectors (Below). The concept has now become my DIY "True Blumlein" Kit, available at the link in my signature.

Image

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Complete DIY Ribbon Mic Plans & Kits available from:
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