Anyone want to share drum kit miking techniques?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by manosaurus, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. manosaurus macrumors 6502

    manosaurus

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    #1
    I'm recording a drum track this Thursday. I've done it before and what I did worked I think. But I thought I'd ask around here.

    Here's what I have previously used:

    - sm57 inside the bass drum and the snare as well
    - condenser on the hi hat
    - condenser near the ride cymbal
    - condenser near the crash
    - no mics on the toms

    This time I was thinking of trying this:

    - sm57 in the bass drum and the snare again.
    - left and right overhead condensers some cymbal sounds
    - ambient mic several meters away from the kit (will be in a huge open empty warehouse, fortunately or unfortunately, for the tracking.

    Anyone ever tried anything like this or have any sugestions?
     
  2. 119576 Guest

    119576

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #2
    If you can get hold of an AKG D112, that would be a lot more suitable for your bass drum.

    Two overheads (Samson C02s in my case) at 2 meters high, 2 meters from your kit and 2 meters apart.
    (angled diagonally; ie. the left mic should face the right-hand side of the kit and the right mic should face the left-hand side)

    Snare, I always used a Samson QSnare, but any cardioid dynamic mic should get a decent sound.

    For Toms, you're best to mic them up separately (if you use them a lot). sm57s are good for that.

    Hats; Use a condenser (AKG 451 for example) one just above the gap angled toward where you hit the hat with your sticks.

    Your ambient mics will need to be extremely good if you're in a warehouse, but you probably won't get much out of them apart from a horrible echo.
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #3
    briefly:

    consider your overheads to be *the* main source of sound. however you set them up -- and there are several different ways of doing that -- bring a tape measure and make sure 1) they both have line of sight to the center of the snare, and 2) they are *exactly* the same distance from the center of the snare. this'll keep your snare image in the center. do it right, and there's no need to mic the cymbals or toms individually (unless the toms are in focus a lot, then i'd do it).

    sm57 on kick won't make you very happy.

    lower your expectations for the room mic; don't eat up a good mic and free channel for that unless you have them to spare.

    most of your snare sound should come from the overheads, but a support mic for the snare is a good idea. a 57 is fine here. when playing with placement, don't forget to try placing it so it points at the snare body. also try to keep the hats out of it, as much as possible.
     
  4. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #4
    The amazing Steve Albini has some tips here:
    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep05/articles/albini.htm

     
  5. -igor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #5
    I am going to buy a kick drum mic. Which one should I get? How do they compare?
     
  6. 119576 Guest

    119576

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #6
    I would definitely use an AKG D112. A brilliant kick drum mic.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #7
    haven't used one in a while, but i recall liking it more on bass cabinet than on kick. it is a standard, though.

    igor: budget? i prefer the sm7 on kick.
     
  8. -igor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #8
    I have heard the d112 has more of a clicky sound and the beta 52 has more of a warm sound, and warm and rich is what I'm looking for. my budget is 200-250.
     
  9. Gallick macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    #9
    I've never used the SM7 on a kick drum; what kind of results are you getting?

    We recently used some on a viola and cello and a french horn and got some really nice results, I'd be really interested to try it on the kick drum--we usually stick with the D112 or the RE20.
     
  10. SRSound macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #10
    I dont know if anyone said this or not but in my opinion the Audix D6 is THE best kick drum mic around (beats the D112, 52A, 421, or e902). HOWEVER, the best drum sound I ever got (assuming you actually want to hear the drums as they are) was from the Earthworks drumkit system. The imaging is incredible. Of course, if you want to be a controlling engineer, you'll need your standard 57 for snare, 421s for toms, 184s for cymbals etc...
     
  11. cschreppel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #11
    Gotta agree with Zim. Your overheads are your main source. So spend the most time with them to get the best stereo image. Don't put them too high, otherwise you'll get a sound that's too mushy.

    As far as a snare mic is concerned, the 57 is fine. I prefer the Audio Technica ATM450. Gives me much more definition with a far more balanced sound that blends with the overheads much more.

    Regarding a kick mic, I'm a fan of the Audio Technica ATM250DE. It has both a condenser and dynamic capsule built in with "perfect" phase alignment. It has a special breakout cable that splits the two mic signals. As far as the Beta52 vs D112 debate, I prefer the 52. It's more versatile. The D112 is too hyped sometimes and doesn't always posses the subtlety one needs...at least in my experience.

    Let us know how you made out!
     
  12. manosaurus thread starter macrumors 6502

    manosaurus

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    #12
    It's done! And I think it actually turned out rather well. So well actualy that, and I know this sounds ridiculous, I am actually going to copyright the matireal before I go posting it anywhere. When that's done in a day or two I will post the final track for everyone's critique.

    Anyway here's what I ended up using for the drum kit:

    - 5 tracks.
    - Two Samson c02 condensers as the overheads.
    - Audio technica MB 2K dynamic mic on the bass drum.
    - Shure SM58 on the snare.
    - Shure beta 87a on the crash.

    I placed the Samsons about 1.5 meters away from the kit and about 3 meters high both aimed directly the middle of the snare.

    My drummer's bass drum does not have a hole in the front and the best sound we could get actually came from placing the mic on the opposite side of the drum, near his kick pedal. On the front side of the bass drum we couldn't get rid of the basketball quality of sound. This miht be from the lack of damping matireal inside of the bass drum, I don't know.

    Anyway, we thought we had a pretty good and powerful drum sound but after adding the other tracks, guitars and vocals, the drums sound a little weak.

    BUT!

    For some reason, after adding global compression on the "master track" in Garageband the drums really shinned and sounded like the real thing. And indeed everything else sounded like the real thing as well. Anyone can explain why compression (a Garageband preset called "fast and smooth" is what we ended up going with) made the drums adn everything else sound so damn awesome?
     
  13. pauliej macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
  14. -igor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #14
    why is there completely contradictory opinions on kick drum mics all over the internet! I'm completely baffled at which one to buy. surely they must be different for specific sounds. I want a rich, full sound kind of like abbey road. is there no absolute truth about one having more of an ability to get that sound over the others?
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #15
    the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.

    getting a specific sound depends on so many things that no one specific component will render a consistent recommendation. the d112 works for many people, but i think it's just okay. what we're not taking into account are factors such as the kit, the room, the player, how he's playing, how the mic's set up, what pre is feeding it, the song, the song style, cabling, the mood, what time of day it is, who's offering opinions, the talent of the engineer, etc etc etc.

    i am always happy to offer an opinion on what's worked for me in a given situation, but everyone is always encouraged to take that with a grain of salt and try it for themselves. audio message boards are full of posts about people who took others' advice and walked away disappointed.

    specific to your abbey road request, maybe it depends less on the mic and more about how you treat the kick. perhaps you need to fashion a tunnel in front of the kick and mic that. all you can do is experiment until you get the sound you want.
     
  16. -igor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #16
    ok i thought one of them might be better at capturing a specific sound. it's just, i have no idea what to get between the akg d112, shure beta 52a, audix D6 and sennheiser e602. I am going to the store today and I will force myself to arbitrarily decide i guess.
     
  17. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #17
    i haven't looked, but i reckon they have at least slightly different response curves, which one could interpret to mean they're better / worse at capturing a specific frequency.

    still, i think that's minor compared to how the mic is used and how the sound is subsequently treated. compression and EQ, at the mix stage, can do a lot to change your kick sound.
     
  18. manosaurus thread starter macrumors 6502

    manosaurus

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    #18
    For sure!

    I feel confident using any mic on a bass drum now. I am sure that with ample attention given to mic placement one could achiveve a fantastic result even before mixing, compression etc. I'm NOT saying fix it in the mix though. One has to have a good ear in the beginning to hear what is workable and what is not.

    I think it can help as well to find some isolated drum kit moments from various "real" songs in APPROPRIATE styles and have them imported into your DAW on a separate track. Frequent comparisons with your sound and a commercial result will help. This way there is no lying to yourself about where the bar is set. I attempt to approach the kit sound of a famous recording that I might be trying to match before even thinking about mixing and effects.
     
  19. mandoman macrumors 6502

    mandoman

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    #19
    I like keeping it simple and typically only use 4 mics:

    sm57 snare
    d112 kick
    2 cardioid SDCs (I'm using at4051 lately) overheads

    If you are tracking in a really great sounding room with drums
    totally isolated from other instruments, use omni instead
    of cardioid for the overheads. The idea is to capture as
    much of the kit as you can with the 2 overheads.

    I only mic the toms if recording some really heavy rock
    and roll drums or when the drummer insists and
    there are extra dynamic mics and recording channels available.
     
  20. mandoman macrumors 6502

    mandoman

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    #20
    If you already have a bunch of nice sounding mics in your
    collection, you might try putting an earthworks kickpad
    in line with a mic you already own. I've heard good
    things, but haven't tried one yet myself.
     

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