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2-channel mic pre on drums?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Crankitup, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    What seems more useful: using the two channels on overheads or on the bass + snare?

  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    There's a topic here on the forum from perhaps a year and a half ago where this exact topic was discussed. Try searching - you might come up empty handed, but it's worth checking.

    The question is -

    Do you only have 2 channels of preamp or do you want to use your best two channels of preamp and mic the rest of the kit with the crappy pres?
  3. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    if you have a midi program and you are willing to blend samples in with your original recording i would choose the pre amp on the over heads. the extra detail would go along way, and you can just add samples in place of your symbol hits the same way that you can with a bass and snare.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I would say if recording a Symphony Orchestra? Putting the microphones on the bass drum & snare drum wouldn't be good.

    If on the other hand you're talking about rock-and-roll or jazz? That would depend on the style and whether I had a stereo pair of microphones or, two dissimilar kinds. If I want crazy stereo or conservative mono?

    For jazz and/or rock-and-roll with only 2 inputs, and 2 dissimilar microphones, I would put a microphone low in front of the drum kit, in front of the bass drum and one overhead. Or perhaps a lower spaced pair that would give you a nice left right stereo feel i.e. just above the bass drum height off to the left and right side of the drum kit. What a concept! Balancing your mix with microphones with a minimalist approach! Nice for Jazz. You don't always need the microphones above the drum set. It just looks cooler that way and makes you look like you know what you're doing.

    I have miked rock-and-roll and jazz drummer's with just a pair of PZM microphones, on the floor, in front of and either side of the bass drum, for stereo pickup. Sounded great! Both with good-quality Crown & cheap Radio Shaft PZM's, on numerous different occasions.

    And if the drummer is really loud and it's that time of month? You may want to consider pads?

    Either way, you really have to let the music tell you what you need to do.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
    Maybe you might want that "You-Are-There" sensation as a percussionist...

    But seriously - Remy's dead on!

    Something else that works would be a M/S pair in front of the set.

    Come about 2 to 3 feet out at standing head-level and aim down to about where the snare is. You'll get a very cohesive stereo set with (depending upon your choice of mics) a potentially very *real* if not potent kick sound.
  6. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    Oh, sorry I didn't clarify. I'd be mic'ing the drums with 6-8 mics and mostly recording pop/rock. I'm not sure what to do though, since I have a very nice two channel mic pre and then the crappy pre's on the firepod for the rest of the inputs. I was thinking about using them just on bass and snare since in pop music those tend to stand out more, but I'm worried that the toms will sound like crap in comparison. Any thoughts?
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Don't use so many mics...

    Seriously - too many mics (more than 2 to 3) causes significant phasing issues. You wind up spending more time, effort and plug ins trying to get the sound right and it only ever comes out a mess.

    The best drum sounds on record are usually those that were recorded with just 2, 3, or 4 mics. Granted Mutt Lange probably got some decent sounds using 31 drum mics, he probably also spent 4 to 6 hours setting them up and getting them just right and had somewhere in the neighborhood of $20K or more at his disposal!

    Seriously, try 3 mics (or two if you want). 2 overheads and a kick. Or as Remy mentions, 1 overhead and one kick (although if you do it this way, you might want a little reverb to give you some stereo spread.)

    If you don't like the sound with only 3 mics, step back and listen. Do you actually think the kit sounds any good in the room? I'm betting no. Try tuning the kit. Then, try moving the mics around.

    Trust me (I swear I'm not stearing you in the wrong direction!!!) - try it with 3. Use your better pres on the overheads and then use your crappy pre on the kick. (not saying the kick is less important - there's just less "detail" to be captured).


  8. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    Yeah, I'll give that a try. My usual drum setup is: 1 kick mic, 1 snare, 1 for each tom (the only variable), and two overheads (I don't mic the hi-hat since the overheads get plenty). I haven't really come across any phasing issues so far
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    You have, you just aren't aware of it yet.

    The moment you add a 2nd mic to any source, you automatically have a phasing issue. It doesn't matter what the situation or what the microphone.

    Here's the problem -

    To determine the length of a wave, divide the speed of sound (in f/s) by the frequency. For example, assuming 1100 f/s as the speed of sound and a distance of 3 feet between your tom mic and one of your overheads, you now have a phasing issue (direct cancellation) at 367 Hz (a crucial frequency for toms - perhaps even the fundamental of a medium to small tom).

    Now, imagine that it is 4 feet to the other overhead. You now have a cancellation at 275 Hz! (Most definitely a crucial frequency for toms!)

    The same is the case with overheads. If you use a spaced pair, you're likely to have such dramatic cancellations since the average spacing puts you directly into the most audible bands of the frequency spectrum. That's why I almost always prefer either Mid/Side in front of the kit or blumlein/XY over the kit. I will use a spaced pair, but it's got to be the right kit in the right room and other, preferred methods don't work the way I want them to.

    Cheers -

  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Cucco takes a wonderful purist approach. Companies such as the highly regarded DPA microphones of Denmark (formerly known as B. & K.) and EarthWorks microphones feature fabulous 3 microphone drum packages. These microphones are so spectacular sounding, other microphones are rarely needed to cover an entire drum kit, regardless of size.

    In situations of more highly stylized drum recording and mixing, the phasing issues may not be so apparent when one utilizes judicious amounts of compression/gating on toms/snare/bass. Where, with a couple of nice overhead microphones, that's a good bulk of the overall sound of your drum kit.

    Yeah, if you have a super nice pair of preamps, I wouldn't see any reason not to combine that, with what you feel are your other less than stellar preamps on the other drums. Especially, if in the end, you may be compressing and gating those drums anyhow. Because of the tight gating, that (each of those separate drum microphones) microphone isn't on long enough for anyone to actually perceive the phasing problems. And Cucco's more mathematically accurate method of miking will yield even better results. All suggestions combined make for super drum recordings.

    I think that I have to replace all of the electrolytic capacitors again in my 8 Allison Research KEPEX 1's again. It's been over 15 years since I last rebuilt them. Way too many of those little electronic cockroaches!

    Squashing Gating Thwacking Slapping Zipping Zinging Yeah!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Jeremy's math also works VERY well as a natural gate to keep the toms OUT of the overheads if you are one of those that wants to mic every drum....twice.

    And Mutt's budget is WAY WAY more than that. And his room is probably kinda good too..................Methinks he doesnt touch the set-up very much these days.............seconds and thirds for that dont ya know........

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