Recording drums with two mics

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felix
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Recording drums with two mics

Post by felix » Mon May 12, 2003 6:54 pm

Just interested in hearing peoples various techniques when recording drums with only two mics. :?:

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trashy
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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by trashy » Mon May 12, 2003 7:26 pm

I guess the most important question is "Which two mics?" The set-up really depends on what mics you have.
But back in my four-track days I only owned two mics, and got some pretty successful drum sounds with them. Here's what I did: I figured (I was young) that since the drummer liked the way his drums sounded, you should mic what goes in his ears. So, I just put up two mics on either side of his head. I always liked the way that sounded.
Depending on your music you may want to try a couple of different placements. It's hard for me to not mic the snare; I love that big cracking sound on the third beat. I NEED it. I wish I could mainline that sound. Others are all about the bass drum, or all about the room sound. Whatever...
Good luck!

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by todd » Mon May 12, 2003 8:59 pm

in my old band we recorded a weekend of improv material with only 2 mics on the drums with all of the other instruments isolated in other rooms. this was before any of us had heard much more than a couple of cheap condensors and sm57's.
you might be suprised to know that the mics were an octava m319 and a rode nt1. we placed the rode about a foot above and behind the drummers right ear (on a stand up rock kit with a lot of metal percussion) and the octava about 6 inches above the top of the kick drum about 3 feet out into the room from it. most of the sounds were incredible! with a little compression on the 2 tracks and a bit of mixing etc on the other tracks we had material worthy of being tracks on our next album...unfortunately we broke up before most of you got to hear those songs (unless you made it to a show).
in fact, i still like to use the octava as a room mic when recording drums. it has a mellow yet dirty sound when pushed to its limits:)

todd

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by djimbe » Tue May 13, 2003 6:18 am

I'm kinda with Todd on the kick and overhead combination for a two mic job. I love a good deep kick sound thudding my chest prolly as much as Trashy loves his crackin' snare. For me, the overhead is usually a LD condensor (Sony C37P is usually my first choice), and kick is something way directional. I've also tried just a MS config on kit a couple times, but it sounded better on lighter stuff than pounding work. Like anything else the room is a big factor especially if you get the overhead far out (like 6-7 feet) in front of the kit...
I thought this club was for musicians. Who let the drummer in here??

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by Verboten » Tue May 13, 2003 6:40 am

I had some luck with this set-up: Oktava mk 219 facing the beater side of the kick (about 1 foot away and a little off axis from where the beater hits) and an Oktava mc 012 about 4-6 feet away and chest height out in front of the kit, pointing at the snare.

I didn't have any phasing issues and it gave me a nice overall view of the kit. The 219 gave me lots of toms and kick and the 012 gave me my snare and cymbals (and a little click from the kick). Also, this scheme allows for some funky compression techniques.

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by cbcmusic » Tue May 13, 2003 8:13 am

Right now, I'm at the song building stage and so I'm using a little 4-track to record with. I'm using the same mic for guitars and drums. All I've been doing is hanging a single mic (Beyer M55 / dynamic omni) over a baffle. I have two baffles in front of the drum kit, kinda angled around with a gap in the center and the back of the kit is in a corner, but not backed in real tight.

Anyway, I have the M55 hanging (I have no time to put up a stand... fool :x ) about a foot down from the top of the baffle (approx 6' up) nearest to the snare/hihat, I hung a calendar and have the mic resting on that rather than the felt, to get some reflections from the glossy paper (it may not make sense, but I do it anyway).

This is all drawn out and it's probably boring as hell to read, but that single mic put up as I suggested, kicks ass. It picks up the entire kit beautifully, maybe a little dark, but I really like it. It makes the snare sound all meaty and shit. I've always mic'd the snare and kick plus at least an overhead, but this one mic setup is impressive.
cbc

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by timbaier » Tue May 13, 2003 9:40 am

2 mics:

1. Condenser above the drummer's left shoulder (assuming he's right-handed), pointed at the snare.
2. Condenser or Sen Md421 in front of kit, 2-6 feet away from kick, about 2 feet off the floor.

I think its best to have one mic get the tops of the drums and one to get the front (=bottoms) of the drums. Usually the top mic will sound better, since that's more what the drummer hears and tunes to. However, the front mic should have good "thud" to add some bottom.

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by eeldip » Tue May 13, 2003 9:47 am

cbcmusic wrote:(Beyer M55 / dynamic omni)
what do you think of that mic? have you tried it on guitar cabs. i was thinking of picking one up. as far as i can tell, they are the german ev 635a's. maybe a little fuller? but they look a million times cooler!

anyway, for two mics, with one being an omni and the other a cardiod try this technique (i use this is bad sounding rooms) omni between the floor tom and the kick. cardiod over by the snare.

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by cbcmusic » Tue May 13, 2003 10:15 am

Hey eeldip,

I really dig that mic. It's my most recent purchase and have had it for about 3 or 4 months now. I have been using it on my amp a lot and I think it works great. Much like I posted above about hanging the mic from a baffle, I hang this mic from over my amp so it rests on the grill of my amp. the real reason I hang that mic is because I don't have the mic clip for it, yet I also like the SM57, but I've been using this mic exclusively as of late. Also and obviously, slight adjustments of where the mic sits make a dramatic change to the sound.

Anyway, I play a pretty mean guitar along the likes of Melvins, Slayer and I love this mic for it. Sometimes I'll put it on a chair nearby myself and the amp and it picks up my picking on top of the amp (cool effect) I also like my amp at low, low volumes (it's too hissy otherwise) and my amp just sounds better at low levels.

So I've not tried it on loud amps but it rocks on my Laney at low volume. It completey rocks as an overhead and I bought it for around $50 if I remember correctly. Awesome mic! :^:
cbc

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eeldip
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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by eeldip » Tue May 13, 2003 10:39 am

damn. none on ebay right now.

i am pretty much sold on it. maybe rockngroll has one tucked away somewhere...

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by cbcmusic » Tue May 13, 2003 11:10 am

that's where I got it from, rockngroll... crazy
cbc

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by cbcmusic » Tue May 13, 2003 11:20 am

Here's the pic taken from ebay of the Beyer M55, just for you folks who may be trying to find out what it looks like:
http://www.vintagemics.com/ebay/51a.jpg
cbc

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by clodock » Tue May 13, 2003 11:34 am

My take on this:
Lawson L47 on omni, about a foot above the drummer's head (and a stern conversation about standing straight up, I don't do this for other bands:)
Blue Baby Bottle about 2-4 feet in front of the kit, 2 feet off the ground, pointed parallel to the floor straight at the center of the kick.
Sometimes I put the lawson on figure 8 and point it at the snare, when I want brighter sounds, sometimes I put it on cardoid when I want it more in your face.
Some of the best drum sounds I've ever gotten. Using more mics starts to screw things up for me.
john.

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by cheslix armhole » Tue May 13, 2003 1:07 pm

as far as condensers go, what do people like?

i'm looking for something cheap and am considering an AKG C1000S

any thoughts :?: :???: :^:
Rock n Roll

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Re: Recording drums with two mics

Post by AnalogElectric » Tue May 13, 2003 1:09 pm

I've had really good luck with a few methods:

Two Neumann CMV563 w/omni capsules - I'd place them according to the room and found that keeping one further away from the high hat gets a nice overall tone and space. The CMV's have a very specific sound that works well for drums. It's not a 'tight' sound but I do get enough bottom and top end as long as the drums are tuned properly and the drummer is consistent. Hardcore music doesn't work very well for this application cuz the cymbals are usually hit pretty hard and cut through way too much. For Jazz/Blues or mid tempo pop it works like a charm, if that's the sound they're after.

A binaural head (2 mics in a dummy head) works okay. I'll position it about 5 to 6 feet high and 3 to 8 feet from the kit (depends on the player's dynamics). The only thing about the binaural head is it really likes to emphasize 10kHz to 16kHz. The bottom end is pretty good but tends to distort if the drummer is a heavy hitter.

Two Neumann KM184's at about 4 to 5 feet high and 4 to 8 feet away works pretty well. They did have a tendency to saturate a little too much of the cymbals and would lose the snare now and again. The kick drum didn't have enough attack but had some good sub lows. Not my first choice for a two mic set up.

Two mod'ed U67's above the set about 4 to 8 feet in XY and about 2 to 5 feet from the kit. Everything sounded good enough and intimate (not as much room ambience as the CMV563's). I'll use these for a little more of an intimate sound.

I've also used an Audio Technica C-87 about 10 to 15 feet away and a Shure SM81 about 25 to 30 feet away for some seriously huge sounds. If the kick isn't tunes properly I've run into a 'basketball' sound. It takes a little extra time to tune drums for that amount of space and to make sure the room delay time is just right for each song but I can't help but fall in love with the sound.

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