HELP please... miking

ddave1

New member
i have to do a recording for my next project in music technology...

which would be the best sounding way to mike my drumkit, two overhead and a base mike or full drum miking...?

any advice would be perfect as im graded on the quality of the recording.

the acoustics of the room arent really perfect.

thanks, dave :D
 

Jax

New member
The more microphones you include, the worse the kit will down, in general. As we were told in our class the other night, the better the drummer is, the fewer mics they need. The problem comes in when you add microphones. they're each going to catch different frequencies at different location. thus, you'll have constructive and destructive interference that changes with each location/mic. So, the more mics, the more sound you'll lose.

I'm sure other people will have more details, since we haven't actually gotten to the point of recording drums, but our teacher is a drummer so he brought it up right away.

I wonder why this wasn't taught in your class...
 

drummert2k

New member
you'll want each voice to have its own mic (a mic on everything) so you can adjust a cymbal or rack tom without effecting the volume of anything else. hi hat and optional ride get own mic with overheads to pick up the rest of the cymbals. the key with micing each drum though is to get as little bleed through as possible. this means that when you isolate and just listen to the floor tom you dont wanna hear snare or cymbals in that mix. also consider micing the bass drum batter head and also reso head with 2 differant mics. gives the kick lots of body. also, conider doing the same on the snare. but micing the same drum with 2 mics takes someone who knows what they're doing or else the frequencies can cancel each other out and make the drum sound like crap. then your other concern is mic's. what you use to mic your kit live isnt what you want in the studio. i dont know enough about the small details of mics to recommend any but from to many studio sessions to count in tons of differant studios i can tell you, mics make all the differance.


to whoever mentions the fewer mics the better, dont do that. unless you're going for the garage quality recording sound
 

Jax

New member
Lol, the guy who explained that to me is a professional drummer and recording engineer who's been doing this for 20 years. You may need to have more mics if, as a drummer, you can't control your volume very well and will need to adjust that in the mix. But, the better you are, the fewer mics you need.

Feel free to try more, but when your drums lack depth, you'll know why.
 

Gaddabout

New member
Uh, well, this is going to depend on the size of the kit and what kind of mics you have and how many inputs you have.

The best recording I've ever done was with a Sennheiser overhead and a BD mic. I do agree with the first response to a degree about adding more mics, but I will just add that when you get to know what you're doing, there is an advantage to micing each "voice." Just realize that it takes up a lot of the board when you do that, and it could take a very long time to get good levels.
 

drummert2k

New member
Jax":2gj1a1ir said:
Lol, the guy who explained that to me is a professional drummer and recording engineer who's been doing this for 20 years. You may need to have more mics if, as a drummer, you can't control your volume very well and will need to adjust that in the mix. But, the better you are, the fewer mics you need.

Feel free to try more, but when your drums lack depth, you'll know why.
i 100% disagree. i mean no disrespect to whoever told you differantly. but after the tracks are laid down on tape or saved to the hard drive (however you record) thats only half the battle. if your in the studio you obviously should have enough control as a drummer to play solid and consistant but when your done with the drumming the engineer has hours and hours of work ahead of him gating and compressing and tweaking. when you put in a cd you bought at fye do you really think the studios at major, national recording studios consist of a kick mic, snare mic and overheads? of course not. what the engineer does to a snare drum after the track is laid is completely differant than what they do to your cymbals. And for this comment... "

Feel free to try more, but when your drums lack depth, you'll know why."

you might really want to get a second opinion from another engineer. im sure your friend is a good drummer and engineer, but if you really want what is best for your drums in a studio, you need everything mic'd with little or no bleed through just because when your in a studio theres tricks and effects you use to give your drums that "produced professional sound" but what do i know, im just a full time drummer who makes my 80% of my living off of studio sessions for other bands and solo artists.
 

drummert2k

New member
Gaddabout":2gd3s4hq said:
there is an advantage to micing each "voice." Just realize that it takes up a lot of the board when you do that, and it could take a very long time to get good levels.
when you mic everything you only have to get a level that doesnt peak or is to low to pick up. after the track is done and each voice is mic'd seperatly the engineers job is to mess with each drum, guitar, bass, vocal, and any other track to make everything perfect. of course it takes a long time. its something that you're probably going to sell to promote your band. why not take the time and do it perfect.
 

Gaddabout

New member
drummert2k":2ic45ipq said:
Gaddabout":2ic45ipq said:
there is an advantage to micing each "voice." Just realize that it takes up a lot of the board when you do that, and it could take a very long time to get good levels.
when you mic everything you only have to get a level that doesnt peak or is to low to pick up. after the track is done and each voice is mic'd seperatly the engineers job is to mess with each drum, guitar, bass, vocal, and any other track to make everything perfect. of course it takes a long time. its something that you're probably going to sell to promote your band. why not take the time and do it perfect.
In my experience, this is going to depend on whether you're recording in a live situation with the band, or if you're recording in a studio and tracking each instrument seperately. If it's the latter, your method is not only appropriate, it's desirable. If it's with a band or large accompaniment, you're probably not going to have the inputs available. And even if you did, it's a real time cruncher to get all those levels in time to record. If you ever watch the drummer in a pit crew at, say, the Academy Awards, they are often playing with one or two overhead mics and a bass drum mic.

By far the easiest way to get a good sound is a really good overhead mic and one in the BD, but it remains a situational thing.
 

Jax

New member
To each their own. But this guy isn't just some guy off the street. He was the head engineer at one of the top studios in the country, in addition to being a drummer who's toured and recorded extensively. He also specifically told us that we may think we want to go in there and put 20 mics on the kit, but when we play it back it'll sound weak. This is especially true when you're just beginning to learn recording. Sure, you learn to get the mics isolated properly, and find the point where you're happy with it all, but the person asking this question definitely doesn't sound like they have that experience. Therefore, less is more.

But in the end, there are no rules to recording. Try things, see what happens. But if you find your drums sound weak, cut down on the mics and play with it that way. After all, it's all a big experiment anyway.
 

drummert2k

New member
Jax":i7zpt3qx said:
Sure, you learn to get the mics isolated properly, and find the point where you're happy with it all, but the person asking this question definitely doesn't sound like they have that experience. Therefore, less is more.
when you go into a studio you shouldnt have to touch the mics. if you set up your kit (unless the studio has a kit they make you use) and the engineer sets up all the mics and the board and everything and should know where it all goes and how to isolate it and everything. why would you hire an engineer that doesnt know how do work every little thing in his studio?

still, i'd talk to more than just this one person. talk and listen to other peoples recordings and ask them about it. im not trying to argue or anything. im just telling you what i know from experience so you can have the best sounding drums possible
 

Jax

New member
Well, this was all just in our overview/first class. When we learn micing, it will be with his drumset, so I'll chime in more then. Plus, our final project will be mixing the drums that are recorded in the class, by him. So then we can really start to feel things out.

There are always tons of exceptions in music, that's what makes it fun. :) But I think the person originally asking the question is doing the recording themselves for a project, so there won't be an engineer or anyone else.
 

Mistajohn

New member
Okay folks. Here's the deal:

THERE'S NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO GET DRUMS SOUNDS!

You can make anything work, as long as it fits the context of themusic.

Sometimes I use four mics (two matched condensers overhead), an AT 2500 on the kick (gives both condeser and dynamic signals) and n SM 57 on the top of the kick).

This give a good simple sound for recordings, and control over the kick and snare sound (important for dance music and rock).

Now, I feel that if possible (and time permitting) it is good to MIC EVERYTHING, but it is not always necessary.

If you mic everything, you get more control over the individual sounds, but you have to remember to seet your peak levels on each channel at -2 Db. Got t that?

This way you won't have a lot of distortion.

Take your time when mic-ing the drums. Take the time to play around and move mics for the best tone.

Remember that you don't want phase cancellation. That is another subjet worthy of hours of discussion. Try to set mics at 90 degree angles to avoid this. If you want to knwo more techniques about that, come to my myspace page :
( www.myspace.com/mistajohndrums )

Now, as far as mics go I recommend the basics:

kick- At 2500 or Shure Beta 52. Tape a SM 98 to the front head at the beater for more attack (that is a cool thing to do)

snare - an SM 57 does nicely

toms- 421's if you go 'em, otherwise 57's give a good range. SM 98s are cool, and don't take too much space. S-604's are bitchin' too. I think 421 are best though.

Over head - 414's kick ass to this day. But Rode makes a bounch of good condensers that aere inexpensive... Shure 91's are good too.

Try a cool trick: Take a PZM (the flat, square pressure mics) and tape it to the outer wall of the studio. You will be amazed at the room shakin g sound you will get (use this as an extra room mic).

What else do you want?

Oh, I know, go online and look for a tip sheet for improving your mix. There are certain frequencies you can take out or put in on each channel (depending onthe drum) that will enhance the sound, and make the mix pop out. Use the tips for guitars and vocals too, your mixes will be much better and suffer less frequency "clashing."

Above all, be willing to stop improving the sounds when you are smiling over how good it sounds.

And if you mix on Pro Tools or other digital programs, go back and clean up those tracks. Remember, that even though you arenot hitting a tom, that channel is open and contributing sound to the mix. If you go back and delete data that is not important, your mix becomes less noisy and more transparent..

If any of you are in LA, and want to learn more, I do teach and consult for recordings, just contact me through myspace...

And keep it fun, eh?
 

Mistajohn

New member
OH YEAH!

I guess it does matter if you are recording just drums or a whole band.

If you are just getting drums down, try just to mics, condensers, and mix in stereo, eqing the frequencies you like).

You can get an even sound that way, and it should slam, but if there are other instruments, this is when control over the sound becomes an issue.

And remember, "addition by subtraction." When eq-ing, look for frequencies you can take out FIRST! By taking stuff out, you leave more room for the ear to hear.

Dontcha just love drums?
 

The Heel

New member
I think it all depends on the situation. The type of sound you are attempting to get, the drums you are using and the quality of the gear.

This is too much a loaded question.

I've heard of guys micing the bottom AND tops of all drums with up to four overheads.

At the same time Bonham has recorded with one mic and we all know the legendary sound he got during that track.

It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Theres no better... theres different, and theres bad. It all depends on your ability to mix once the mics do their jobs.

A not bad idea might be to mic the entire set with two overheads and then just mute the set mics, or level them in as you think is needed.

With any new room, its trial and error.

I still like the old Senheiser on the bass drum and a 57 on the snare with a few Shure 91s as overheads.

I've also seen (Believe it or not) 58s do very well on toms, with the old Sennheiser on any tom 16 or bigger.

It also really depends on how you tune this kit, how boomy the room is... theres just too many variables to give a definite answer here.
 

pooJken

New member
I think it also depends on the music

Jazz/ Blues only overhead and a kick drum mike

If it's rock than put mikes on all the drums

but don't put them to close on the drum head, drums are loud
intruments and made to make noise, so put the mike so 5 cm
(about 2") above the head
 
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