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drum recording experience

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Sidhu, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    I did my first real drum recording last night. Hard rock/metal song.
    Drums were tuned soso. Next time ill try a hand at tuning myself. also
    I would have liked to experiment a lot more, but time was at a premium.

    I was using a mixture of not so ideal mics, as of now thats what I
    have. The end product is OK. No ones complaining. A lot of post though.
    EQ and stuff. Replacement surgery on the Kik drum. But that was
    planned, cause i dont have a kick drum mic, and the kick sounded bad.

    5 piece kit. 2 crashes, 1 ride, hihat.

    Crash 1 between the snare and tom 1. Crash 2 between tom 2 and floor
    tom. Ride above floor tom.

    I can perhaps post a pik on the net, but id probably have everything
    done wrong, so i hesitate....

    SM57 Kik
    Beta57A snare
    Beta58A Tom 1
    Beta57 Tom 2
    Sm58 Floor Tom

    BehringerB2 pro Hi-hat (the overheads wernt piking up enough, and
    this was the only other condenser available, sounding good though.)

    MC012a Stereo Pair, hyper card, as OH's (a lot of ppl. here to thank
    for this mic. used it on acoustic guitars earlier, XY and Spaced, very

    Id greatly appreciate any help with the few problems I had.

    1. Overheads not catching enough cymbals. (sounding crap)

    I placed the overheads so as to give the snare a centre image,
    withought phase cancellations. OV 1 goes between the snare and tom1, by
    the hihat, bout 4-5 feet above the snare, pointing downwards. OV 2
    goes next to the floor tom (between the drummer and the Floor tom)
    pointing to the snare, with both ov's being eqidistant from the snare.

    I know I got this wrong cause none of the OV's cover the crash cymbals
    well. But how else do i have the snare drum in the center ? Added to
    the problem was perhaps the hyper cardioid pattern of the capsules.
    Perhaps omnis needed for this purpose ?

    Also there seems to be a time issue with the kick and the OV's. The ov's
    give a ghost kick hit a few ms later.

    the HiHat also has a skewed picture here. spanning the full stereo
    feild (not center either). I wouldve liked it to be more focused on the

    Since I had everything close miced, i have opted to keep the OV's out
    of the mix. Only bring them in during cymbal hits. Loud. It has helped
    me keep the sound clean and tight.

    2. Hihat and snare leakage.

    Both into each others mics. Prefer it reduced.

    3. Snare into tom 1

    Very prominent.

    Im pretty sure I screwed up with the Overheads. Toms are also very dull
    on these mics. But like i said, neither were the toms in the mics pik
    up pattern.

    What to me, now makes most sence is to have the conventional OV setup.
    One between the snare and Tom 1, and the secon between Tom 2 and the
    Floor tom. But then the snare goes to the Right.

    Thank for all your help.

  2. NoiseFarm

    NoiseFarm Guest

    I strongly recommend you getting a better mic for your kick drum than an SM57. I recommend the AKG D112, the Shure Beta 52, or maybe a Shure SM7. I highly recommend AKG D112's for rock and metal as they yield a tight, punchy sound.

    For overheads try your MC12's in cardiod mode rather than hypercardiod if you have all the capsules for them. Optionally try Shure PG81's, they are relatively cheap awesome overhead mics (the poor man's version of the $329 SM81's). Or try cardoid large-diaphragm condenser mics. They're not as harsh sounding and are more open, and the larger diaphragm takes a little bit of the edge off by softening the attack transients of the cymbals. You can get Marshall MXL V67's for about $90 each and they work great as overheads. You can also place a third LDC in omni mode in front of the kit to correct phasing problems when using spaced pair stereo recording.

    I have gotten good results miking both the top and bottom of the snare with two mics. Miking the bottom of the snare captures more of the snap. Be careful for phasing issues though.

    Also, don't be afraid of bleed-in from the instruments, this is a natural part of miking an acoustic drum kit. The only way to avoid all bleed is to use triggers. Entire drum kits can (and have) been successfully recorded with nothing but two overhead mics. Spot miking simply adds more control during the mixing process.

    For your hihat, that's where you should use your Oktava MC012 in hypercardiod mode, pointed directly down (or up) at the cymbal halfway between the edge and the bell. Then pan the track hard right. You can use the other MC012 for your ride and pan it hard left. This will help the stereo imaging of the drum kit.

    In terms of isolating your toms 57's are good and Beta57's are even better because of their off-axis rejection. Space the 57's about 4 inches away from the drum pointing as close is you can get to vertically ( perpindicular ) without the drummer hitting the mics when he plays. Optionally, you can try to point directly at the drum where the drummer is going to hit the drum with the stick. Both should give you a brighter, punchier sound. Also, make sure that none of the tom mics are pointing at the snare. Point them at the drum but AWAY from the snare. If you're using cheap drums or old heads or haven't tuned the heads, you still might not have much luck. That's where drum replacement comes in (ala drumagog).

    Just my two cents...
  3. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    with those mics you ain't gonna get such a great sound!
    what i'd do is the following:
    put the sm57 near the beater and not inside the kick drum! (put it near the drummer's pedal)
    take of the toms mic! quantity doesn't always mean quality! this way you can work better with the overheads and not have that big problem with phase!
    as for the hi-hat mic put it pointing the opposite side of the snare! this way you'll control better leakage!

    don't tune the drums if you don't know what you're doing! ask someone who can really tune them! untuned drums will never sound good!
  4. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    I wanted to buy a kick drum mic (the sennheiser e602) but cud not get the cash about. So triggered instead. Sounding good.

    For overheads, the MC012 in hyper is all i have. So ill have to stikl for some time. Might order the cardiod capsules soon. Cud give PG81's a look.

    Got a decent snare drum sound.

    Decent tom sound after treatment.

    My issue remains with what the OV's have captured. Im quite sure i screwed with the placement.

    should not the Ov's suffice for the ride ? or is close micing it a good idea ?

    Will try harder next time.

  5. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    The OV's hardly piked any toms... and what they did, were like matchstiks. I replaced the kick, so thats sorted. And yes... tuning drums.... was a cheap kit though...

    out of curiosity, what is the entry level respectable kit that u guyz wud be comfy recrding with ? say a Tama or a Mapex (this was a mapex)

  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    alternatively you could find one sweet spot out in front of the kit, wher the kick and snare sound balanced and use ONE mic there.

    Or, you can stick a Mic high over the right shoulder aiming at the sane and another in front of the kick.

    I've had amazing success with both of these approaches..even with just sm57's
  7. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    I dint quite get you, are u suggesting using one mic for the whole kit ? or just one overhead. One mic (or two) for the whole kit wont suffice for a rok metal sound. Id happily ty and record jazz this way though.

    And if just one overhead, how do the get the cymbals to play setero ? The bands now know the ride form the left and the crash from the right....

  8. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    if your drummer plays great then what I proppose can indeed work. You don't have to have stereo..Mono drum can be very punchy. If you use cheap gear, and are less than experianced, then getting a bunch of so-so clos sources will be less effective than getting one great spot.

    Finding the right spot in the room is what can do the trick..experiment. But, barring that, experiment on the other suggetsions as well...I make heavey records too, and I have done it.

    They're are no rules

    have fun
  9. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    Yes... :)

    tell me... did your drummer pay for the studio time when he saw his kit being recorded with just one mic ? this one sure wont... hehe...

    ill try with one mic next time. But i presume the kit needs to be great.
    so bakc to my query, whcih entry level kits ??? maybe i can then hire out the next time. If its around.

  10. machina

    machina Active Member

    Assuming you have a right handed drummer, point the hi-hat mic towards the left side of the kit, facing away from the snare. Then, point the snare mic away from the hi-hat as much as you can, facing the drummer.
    That should help a bit.
  11. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    Ill deffinately play with the mics more next time.

    One more thing. the studio where i wud be doing recordings, really does not have a monitor system that could enable me to make good decisions... so i was thinking of perhaps investing in a pair of cans. any suggestions ? we get AKG's and sennheisers around. Not toooo expensive. If i had the money, id go to a better studio.

  12. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Sidhu, I would seriously take RM's advice. I tried the infamous RM technique on the advice of another poster. I had some doubts that I could pull it of since RM works in some of the finest studios around and I'm merely working out of my basement. It works far better than any other technique I've ever used including close micing everything. I've been a drummer for over 35 years (10 as a pro in large and small studios) and didn't always get a sound this good in a real studio. I started with just the OH's and later added the kick and snare. WHAT A SOUND!!! I now add the tom and ride mics but about 80% of the time they don't make it into the mix. It's that good! I also used the method he described above on a recording made in the field and it sounds awesome. Take your time with mic placement and it will work like a charm and for god's sake get that kit tuned by someone who knows what they're doing or your just wasting your time.

    Just so you know RM has recorded some very big names and they don't seem to have a problem with it. Isn't the sound what's important.

    RecorderMan, I just wanted to thank you for sharing this stuff with us. You have made a huge difference in my recordings and I'm sure many others as well. Kudos.
  13. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    But I do take all posts here very seriously. And am honestly going to try RM's advise first. And I am also very grateful for everyone here who shares there knowledge. It's helped me so much. thank you.

    now, from what youe telling me is that you start with the overheads. Where do you position them (considering that you are recrding a 5 peice kit, two crashes and a ride.)

    With the single mic technique, I find a spot in fromt of the kit where it sounds good. I actually have done this once. Long time back good drummer friend, fooling around. Place a 414 bout 5 feet high lokking down at the kit, mustve been bout 5 feet away frm the kit. Sounded very good. This was just drums. But i never thought of doing the same in the context of a song. Will try now.

    Im sorry if I offended anyone. I was just beng a little funny. Or at least trying. :lol:

    thank you.

  14. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    if the drummer needs to see 15 mics around the kit than put 15 mics around the kit. If 1 or 2 of them sound good then just use what you need. With rock guys I have had to do a lot of psyco-engineering. I think its cause they see it on tv and think its how its done. In the end you gain their respect and trust by getting good sounds... or wait... by getting the sounds they want to hear sometimes. This is very true untill you have some really great projects under your belt. Once thats done you just say listen to this, and this is how I did it. And they say wow, ok.

    as far as the mics and placement you really have got to place the mics with headphones on. That is the only way I can mic a kit anymore. Play lightly, listen in mono and make sure you are hearing all the mics at the same volume. In fact something that is fun if you are not used to placing mics with headphones on is to get a mic, run it into your phones and just walk around the room. You can even do this with just the radio playing. The lesson is hearing all the different sounds you can find. You will find spots with lots of low end, with no low end and all kinds of eq curves. Stand in one spot and just twist the mic around and listen to all the different sounds that are in one spot. Now put the mic on a stand and start changing mics.

    This excersise will really clarify how recorderman can get a rock sound with one or two mics.
  15. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Sidhu, Here is a link to the RM Technique I use in my home studio. He explains it very clearly. You should read the whole thread, it's very informative. Get the kit sounding good with the OH's first and then add spot mics if needed (sometimes just kick and snare). The whole object is to get it sounding like the drums sound in the room with just the OH's. If you have any other questions I'm sure one of us can help you.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    Exactly, walk around in front of the kit and find where it sounds best (everythings in balance) and put the mic where your head is. As RM said you can also place another mic above the drummers head or over his shoulder.

    I recently helped a friend record a jazz quartet in a restaurant of all places (the piano player is the house entertainer). Long story short the restaurant has a beautiful grand piano and since moving it wasn't an option we recorded after hours at the restaurant. We setup the drums in an alcove to the back of the band and used (2) 414's one in front and one above and it sounded great, so good in fact my friend is working out a deal with the owners to record other jazz acts there.

    You didn't offend anyone, It was funny, I told you that so you can tell the drummer (if he's a Prima Dona) that this is how the infamous RM does it sometimes (mention the hit records) or you could just put up the other mics (to make him happy) but not use them. :lol:

    Anyway good luck to you and let us know how it turns out :cool:
  16. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Great advice Hack, :cool: I record in the same room with the same kit all the time so I know what I'm looking for and can get it pretty quickly now thanks to RM. But as you said just moving a mic while listening through cans can help to find the sweet spots very well.
  17. bobbo

    bobbo Active Member

    re drum micing

    If you are looking to get a hardrock/metal sound then you want to close mic at least the kick and snare and eq them so they cut through the mix. Make sure you listen to the kit with the bass gtr and electric gtr's. It is about getting that punchy sound when the whole band is playing. And to get punchy drums not recorded with high dollar preamps, mics, instruments, etc, you are going to probably need to eq more than you think. Also just set up the mics real quick and see what it sounds like then if needed go change the mics or placement around, then if you can put a compressor on the kick and snare so the hits come out close to the same level plus get some snap out of them, a kick drum by itself isn't going to give you this thick lowend thud with the low mids cut a little bit and that 4k click that cuts it through the mix buy itself (for rock music). for the micing of the oh's and the hh and the ride, you need to listen to the drummer first off, if he plays soft then you will most likely need to mic the hh's and mabey the ride depending how loud it is naturally and how it is played. and as far as the over heads if he plays loud then put two mics (octava's should be fine) about 4 feet or so over the kit spaced about 4 or 5 feet then face them out pointing toward the cymbals to help with the stereo field.

    this is just how i have been doing this over the past 5 years, i am also a drummer that plays metal/screamo/rock/alternative music so i have had the pleasure of expeiramenting with moving stuff, trying different mics and preamps and eqing, when ever i want.

    now i just need to focus on the guitars and the vox more and i'll be set
  18. J-MADD

    J-MADD Active Member

    I like the D 112 for a tight punchy bass sound as well. I place it just inside the bass drum after removing the outer head (outer head just adds weird ringing in my opinion). I then cut anything below 40-60 Hz and carve a little out around 300 Hz and add a little high end around 10 khz. Just me though, but it works.
  19. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    For kits, the Yamaha Stage Custom Advantage (all-birch) in the fusion size (20/12/14/16) will give you the best sound you're gonna get anywhere up to the GBP £2000 mark for £800.

    A set of coded 2-ply heads and that kit is cherry
  20. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    I do my next drum session monday. I called the drummer over today to set up and try some micing positions. Last time i went mono, with a mic on the kick, snare, one between (almost) the two rack toms and a overhead... got a passable recording.

    I wanted to try something different, using stereo overhead's (which
    would then have me junk the tom mic, only 4 inputs) and spot the snare and kick.

    I started with the Overheads low, just above the cymbal height, one over the first tom slightly towards the snare, the other over the outer edge (towards the floor tom) of the second tom. I started by asking the drummer to play tom rolls.

    With a little adjustment of the mics, i got this big, tight tom sound
    (needed a bit of EQ to pronounce the attack and the low end). Very

    Next, with the mics in the same position i asked the drummer to play tom fills with cymbals. Again very nice, though he needed to control cymbal hits a bit more.

    Bring in the hihat and it gets messy, I had the hihat giving a skewed picture. Starting from the right and a follow towards the left. So i get to mic adjustment again, Set mics vertical distance so that they are equidistant from the hihat. The hihat is much better now, but it still is not as centric as i would like it to be. snare is sounding nice and jazz, but i have a mic on the snare. But the toms have been given a bit of a compromise.

    Also note that my initial tom tone was brought by adding a little high mid boost (4-6K). this boost while ideal for toms makes the cymbals sound edgy.

    suggestions welcome.

    Thank you

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