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drums hurt high-end mics?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by TuBlairy, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. TuBlairy

    TuBlairy Active Member

    I've got some U87s and planning to buy a couple of DPA 4006s (with Brent Averill 1272 and soon a two-channel Grace). I want to be able to record solos or duos classical and jazz etc so for that like the warmth and clarity this set-up offers. However, I want to be versatile and for bread and butter need to expand into pop, jingles, whatever comes my way. Which means I need to record drums, which I've never done before. Is it bad, good, desireable to use either of these mics on drums? Could it potentially damage then? Should I just bite the bullet and buy mics only for drums/perc? Assuming it wouldn't hurt them, my preference would to buy a few more high-end mics and pres that I could use for micing a number of things including drums or larger ensembles. The voices of experience much appreciated.
  2. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    DISCLAIMER: The following only represents opinion based on experience and research....I am not reponsible for any damages to equipment...

    Damage to high end (or any) mics comes usually comes from applying them to excessive SPL or actual abuse. I've used Josephsons, Pelusos, upper end AT, ribbons, etc, on drums frequently when I KNOW the drummer is aware that maximum volume on his part is not the goal. I normally provide lots of space (as in no close micing) for drum tracks....when the need arises for close micing (seldom, anymore) then I use lthe usual SM57/AKG D1000/D202, D112, etc...but to my ears, close micing takes away the "kit" sound of drums and turns everything into a collection of individual instruments.

    Used properly, any higher end mic can provide wonderful results. The key, I believe, is knowing the genre, knowing the drummer, and careful placement. One thing to keep in mind is higher end mics can put out a LOT of signal - you might invest in a few line pads to keep the outputs down to a mild roar....

  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'll second what Midlandmorgan said, and add a few things as well.... Mics like the DPA4006 in principle wont have any problems with high spl from a drum kit, it's more likely your preamps will distort first.

    Still, there's always a chance of physical damage caused by flailing drumsticks or the drums and cymbols themselves bumping into a mic and that sort of thing. (Ditto for getting too close to the beater on the kick drum, etc.) Of course, a large enough drum hit hard enough does physically move some air, (as does the high hat being opened and closed at the side edges) so you'd want to be careful of that, esp with some ribbons. Just like P's popping, you can certainly hit a sensitive diaphragm with a blast of air.

    The approach for mic'ing rock drums is often close-micing, esp on the toms and snare. These are usually dynamic mics like SM57 or Senn MD421, etc., although there are many more choices out there nowadays. I'd hardly want to put something like a DPA 4006 (omni capsule as well) on a floor tom, etc., but you also mentioned AT mics as well. These are of course great mics; cheaper than the really high-end stuff, but not to be tossed around like the Senns and 57's. They may be your best bet for this sort of all-round use.

    Orchestral percussion or a Jazz approach won't require the close-micing you'd do for most rock stuff, but you're eventually going to have to expand your mic locker to the point where you have different tools for the job.

    Personally, I'd go with the work-aday dynamics in-close on the "power" drums and use the highend stuff for room/ambient/overhead mic'ing.
  4. TuBlairy

    TuBlairy Active Member

    Many thanks for the detailed and very helpful responses.
  5. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    I've used the u87 outside the kick drum at pretty high SPLs and never had a problem, always engage pads when using these mics near drums. i've also used a u47 fet to close mic the floor toms and outside the kick.

  6. poprocks

    poprocks Guest

    As far as I can tell, the u47 is very commonly used to close mic the kick, or even be placed inside it. Shouldn't hurt it.
  7. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Have no fear with the DPA4006-s. They are made from very tough stuff. Check the specs for 4003 which has exactly same capsule.

    That mic specs 154dB before clipping.

  8. kittonian

    kittonian Guest

    In direct response to poprocks post I thought I'd detail out some things for those who aren't familiar.

    The U47 is used commonly to mic the kick drum, however the version of U47 that is used is the U47 FET. There are actually 3 different versions of the U47.

    1. U47 (Long Body) - this is what is commonly known as the go to studio mic for vocals, acoustic instruments, etc. The Peluso 22 47LE would be a very close (subjectively different at best) representation of this microphone.

    2. U47 (Short Body) - Better known as the "German Radio Broadcast" version of the U47. Great for voice-over work with slightly different characteristics than the long body. Less expensive than its big brother and still a great mic depending on how it is used. The Peluso 22 47 (non le version) would be the closest representation of this microphone.

    3. U47 FET - This is the mic that is used on kick drums, bass guitar amps, and anything else you want a fat chunky sound from. Peluso will be releasing this microphone in a few months (no definitive word on pricing as of yet).
  9. poprocks

    poprocks Guest

    Thanks Joshua. The one that I have seen on kick drum duty is the FET, which clearly corroborates your valuable insight.
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I have personally, on many occasions used a pair of U87's as overheads on very intense hard-core rock drumming. Granted the environment was a very neutral/dead recording area....still, the best overall drum sound I've ever been able to create.

    Engage pad....Have fun! Watch clients eyes go wide and then light up!
  11. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    I use nice high end condensers on whoever I record playing drums...the only dynamic I use is on snare (Sennheiser 604). Usually Soundelux iFET7 in the kick, Neumann TLM103's on toms (I'd use Soundelux U195's but I don't feel right having them get bashed), Neumann or Soundelux on overheads, and Neumann KM84 or KM86 or KM88 or ride (and sometimes snare). I've been doing this for years and the mics are fine (the tom mics get hit on the back of the mic, which is the null side of the capsule, but they function perfectly).
  12. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Wow! They invented a time machine and they are going to release the FET47 from Neumann again. I wonder what Neumann is going to think. :-?

    Can Peluso make me a Shelby Cobra? Get back to me with price.

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