Minimalist micing thoughts

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curtiswyant
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Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by curtiswyant » Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:26 am

Last night I went on the quest for a "perfect" drum sound. I set up an ATM25 inside the kick, SM57 on the snare, two Oktava 012 overheads, and a SP B1 out in front of the kick. The first thing I did was turn the 57 off. Next, I recorded a few things and found myself listening to just one overhead and the B1 together, and it sounded fantastic.
My thoughts are that distance or room micing will achieve a more natural sound. I've spoken to people who say that they have used 13 mics on a drum kit...to me that is just inviting all sorts of phase problems and abnormalities that don't sound like a "real" drumset. I mean, when you're listening in the room, you don't have your ear right up on top of the snare or two inches away from the kick beater? I like the fact that, if I want the kick louder in the mix, I have to PLAY harder on the kit. Just a few thoughts...

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by MAR » Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:43 am

WOW!! What a revelation!!! You're right, minimal mics on drums can sound great. I wonder why no one has thought of this before. Thanks so much for this exciting tidbit.

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by Greenlander » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:02 am

MAR wrote:WOW!! What a revelation!!! You're right, minimal mics on drums can sound great. I wonder why no one has thought of this before. Thanks so much for this exciting tidbit.
Way to stifle someone's enthusiasm. Good work.
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by Rigsby » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:13 am

MAR wrote:WOW!! What a revelation!!! You're right, minimal mics on drums can sound great. I wonder why no one has thought of this before. Thanks so much for this exciting tidbit.
Is that sarcasm at work?

Yeah, i think that minimal micing techniques work best when recording to tape so you can push it into the red a little, a little bit of tape compression and you're golden, i've had great results with a 57 in front of the kit with a really well-balanced sounding drummer. One of my favourite drum sounds actually. With digital you just don't get the compression and feeling of excitement IMO, more distance and things disappear further once you overdub.
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by Dot » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:21 am

curtiswyant, the B1 is an excellent mic on drum OH's and toms. Really killer. You oughta try a pair of B1's on the OH's.
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by joel hamilton » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:28 am

Try putting the room mic up FIRST, then puting the close mics up and get the phase right, so they are additive, rather than subtractive elements in the mix.

poor phase relationships really kill more recordings than people like to admit.

(or are aware of).

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by KennyLusk » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:40 am

cutiswyant, what capsule pattern were you using on the 012's?

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by rafter » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:43 am

i'm into it! a special recording to me will always be the one where i set up one mic (a CAD E-100 {my best mic at the time}) and then did every track layer by layer, from drums to bass to vox to marimba to all of it, without moving the mic - just by positioning myself in different places in the room. the way the whole track came together was pretty amazing - it sounded GREAT.

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by cgarges » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:44 am

Joel Hamilton wrote:poor phase relationships really kill more recordings than people like to admit.

(or are aware of).
Cha-ching!

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by brian beattie » Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:10 am

personally, I couldn't be more pleased that more and more folks are using less mics on drums. My formative studio experiences are from the days when the engineer ALWAYS put a mic on every damn drum, and you're using piles of mics and pre's and compressors and then you need gates to partially solve the problems you've created. And meanwhile, the engineers would swear up and down that you could get a GREAT drum sound with just one mic...... (but they were just too scared and well endowed with equipment to bother trying..)
and then, of course, after all that 100,000 dollars worth of equipment was squandered on the precious drums, most of the time the drums sounded poopy anyway.
I DO, however, like the cognitive dissonance in my mind caused by steve albini's techniques. That guy uses more mikes than ANYONE!!! let's see.... 2 on each drum, top and bottom, that's 8 so far for a 4 piece set, maybe a high hat mic, then an m/s pair in front, then another stereo pair in the room.... At LEAST 13 for a minimal kit. And how do HIS drums sound? uhh...... good.... hmm......
well, I don't have that many preamps to spare, and my brane wilts at complimications, so I'll just stick with one to 5 mics for now. Sounds drummy to me.....
good job, curtis. Now all you have to do is set up 50 mikes on each drum, (but only record the o-h and the kick), and then when the drummer comes in and gushes over the drum sound, you can say "it only sounds so badass cuz I'm using 193 more microphones than steve albini"
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by joeysimms » Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:13 am

brian beattie wrote:...good job, curtis. Now all you have to do is set up 50 mikes on each drum, (but only record the o-h and the kick), and then when the drummer comes in and gushes over the drum sound, you can say "it only sounds so badass cuz I'm using 193 more microphones than steve albini"
:D
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by Red Rockets Glare » Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:23 am

I've said this before, but having a LOT of room sound in your drums has become something that will make the recordings of the late 90's and early 00's very identifiable in the way heavily gated toms and snares make you think of the 80's.
I really like hearing the drum room in a song when it calls for it as much as the next flaming llips fan, but there are times when a song really just calls for a very dry, close mic'd sound.
Some of the songs on Wilco's latest are a good example of how great this can sound.

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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by Devlars » Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:24 am

curtiswyant wrote:Last night I went on the quest for a "perfect" drum sound. I set up an ATM25 inside the kick, SM57 on the snare, two Oktava 012 overheads, and a SP B1 out in front of the kick. The first thing I did was turn the 57 off. Next, I recorded a few things and found myself listening to just one overhead and the B1 together, and it sounded fantastic.
My thoughts are that distance or room micing will achieve a more natural sound. I've spoken to people who say that they have used 13 mics on a drum kit...to me that is just inviting all sorts of phase problems and abnormalities that don't sound like a "real" drumset. I mean, when you're listening in the room, you don't have your ear right up on top of the snare or two inches away from the kick beater? I like the fact that, if I want the kick louder in the mix, I have to PLAY harder on the kit. Just a few thoughts...
...and now for my obligatory reference to Glyn Johns and his method for recording drums which is pretty much all that I use or less. I'm happy that you are finding it a joy to make the drummer part of the sound by having to use more control of self balance when using a minimal mic set up. It does sound great doesn't it!
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by brian beattie » Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:43 am

Hey redrockets
You CAN use minimal mic'ing techniques to get a close, up front 70's style sound, you know. boom and fatness and dryness and all. I haven't heard the wilco record, but I'd bet a large part of that sound is the room the drums were tracked in.
and ANYWAY, the 80's are already coming back. And , THIS time around, the snare drums will sound as HUGE AS THE SUN!!!! HAIR will be MOUSSED with even BETTER FRAGRANCES!!!! PLUS, there will be TREBLE ENOUGH for even the WRETCHEDEST RAGAMUFFIN!!
mark my word!!
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Re: Minimalist micing thoughts

Post by joeysimms » Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:44 am

Is there an UgLY SOG in the house?
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