Choosing drum overheads for small room

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Phobos
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Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Phobos » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:19 am

I have a session coming up in a small, well-treated room with an arched ceiling. The drums are in a treated corner -- not ideal but there is no place else for the kit. See pic. I can use Shure SM81s (cardioid) or Earthworks TC25s (omnis). I will try both and listen of course, but I have heard that omnis are not the best choice in a small room. I have them about 4" above the kit, equidistant from snare.
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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Recycled_Brains » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:37 am

Phobos wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:19 am
I have a session coming up in a small, well-treated room with an arched ceiling. The drums are in a treated corner -- not ideal but there is no place else for the kit. See pic. I can use Shure SM81s (cardioid) or Earthworks TC25s (omnis). I will try both and listen of course, but I have heard that omnis are not the best choice in a small room. I have them about 4" above the kit, equidistant from snare.
IMG_1540-quarter.jpg
Based on the picture, whichever you choose... I would try lowering them so they aren't so close to the ceiling and to balance the direct-to-off-axis/ambience ratio. I would try draping some blankets over those curtain rods to dampen those sidewalls a little bit (esp. if you choose the omnis) and see if that helps. OR, maybe you're fine already. ha. Don't overthink it.

Try the omnis. Don't listen to the internet jive. Just listen and see what you think.
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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by drumsound » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:43 pm

I agree with Ryan about closing the curtains.

On the omni v cardioid situation, I think is more based on what you're looking for in the sound. Omni overheads have less directional focus, but also make you feel the space more. Cardioid place things more specifically and put you more in the middle of the action.

Are you using a room mics? If you are, the cardioid OH might be better, because you can balance the space, to drums ration a little more clearly and easily.

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:13 pm

I have a similar room and have the kit in a similar place for exactly the same reason. I'd suggest taking those 2 gobos and putting them on the walls behind the kit. They're not going to do much as is to tame drums in the room and with all the close mics more or less pointed into the corner reflections off of those back walls will be a bigger issue than bleed coming from the front of the kit.
Beyond that, I like a fig 8 OH in my place. The deep null helps take the corner walls out of the picture and also helps reject some of the bleed in the room (if you're tracking more than just drums at one time).

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by losthighway » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:15 pm

Lots of good advice here on your flavor of mic, try and see.

I'd add that an x/y or an ortf setup might work better than a spaced pair if you feel the room is tight. In fact those two setups are always my safest bet, even though they're not the most exciting option.

For spaced pair, while I've seen plenty of heavy hitters with that mirror image of each at identical heights on opposite sides, I've come to prefer a setup I learned years ago on a video that George Massenburg did. You focus the overheads so that one is pointed right between the tom and snare, the other pointed right at the floor tom, pretty much ignoring the cymbals which will be totally audible anyways. Then measure so they're equidistant from the snare, putting the floor tom/ride side mic visibly lower than the snare/hi hat side. It's given me my most 'in focus' sounding spaced pair with a bit more oomph for the toms in the big picture.

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by mwerden » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:00 pm

All good advice so far, I'd definitely be looking to get the OH as low as feasible. The main thing you I'd do is reach out to the house engineer or whomever else is in that room regularly and ask them what they'd do. No substitute for someone with ears who's already spent the time figuring shit out.
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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Rodgre » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:36 am

When I am working in a small room with a low ceiling and want as big and lively a drum sound as possible, I also tend to use omnis. For a long time I would use Stapes (or Avenson STO-2 https://avensonaudio.com/sto2/) microphones for this purpose. Personally, I like the overheads to pick up a good balance of the kit as a whole, and not too separate of a sound. I want stereo imaging, but I don't want it to sound like direct outputs on a drum machine, where the ride is OVER HERE and the hat is OVER THERE. The omnis help get a better blend for me, as well as pick up a bit of space around the drums. A little compression will bring out the room a bit more.

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:50 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:13 pm
I'd suggest taking those 2 gobos and putting them on the walls behind the kit.
Agreed.

If it were me, I'd use the SM81's as overheads and have the omni's on the floor ~5/6' in front of the kit.

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Snarl 12/8
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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Snarl 12/8 » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:08 am

Make sure you give underheads with the omnis a try.

For me it would all depend on the sound you're going for and what you're hearing when you're moving the mics around. Like on some songs a kick drum mic between the snare and kick drum is all you need.
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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:12 am

Hey Snarl, I actually want to try that next time I'm recording drums, what do recommend as a starting point for placement? Thanks!

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:53 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:12 am
Hey Snarl, I actually want to try that next time I'm recording drums, what do recommend as a starting point for placement? Thanks!
Sorry for the delay. I only have one device that I can post to tapeop from.

And I don't really have a good answer for you. It's been years since I tried them. I haven't used omnis in years. When I did try them it was because the room was so small that I was recording in. And the ceiling was so low that the overheads sounded all comb filtery to me (coulda totally been my imagination/bad monitoring situation) that it sortof drove the overheads down to between the toms and cymbals. Then you move them to balance out between how the drummer hits the toms and cymbals to get the balance you want to hear. It's a very "present" sound for both toms and cymbals equally, IIRC. I feel like you have to have certain type of kit setup for it to work, but maybe I'm wrong. Like basically your typical drum setup with high horizontal cymbals above some toms. Anyway, I quit doing that almost immediately when I realized that the underhead height that was optimal vis-a-vis the drums was right spang in the middle height-wise between floor and ceiling.

I found my version of glyn johns pretty soon after that and been doing it ever since.
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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:46 am

Cool, yeah I mostly do my own version of GJ too, just wanted to try something different.

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:04 am

If you have not done the session yet (you posted Oct 18th)

Remember this basic principle:

Microphones should pickup MORE of the DIRECT sound, than of the surrounding reflections and ambience.

Also:

Start your mic placement with ONE mic. Is your music going to rely most on the kick? Snare? Hihat? Make that the FOCUS
of your multi mic technique. As you add a second and subsequent mics, ALWAYS check them against your first, and most
important microphone. Because you will have phasing issues, which you can solve one mic at a time, IF you add only
one mic at a time, and check for a few minutes of listening BEFORE adding another mic. Otherwise, you'll be all day
with shitty phasing issues.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Choosing drum overheads for small room

Post by Magnetic Services » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:34 pm

Those gobos are on fleek. Whatever that means.

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