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Front of drum kit miking: how do you do it?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by gunsofbrixton, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    I read some forum threads and posts on drum recording. One thing that interests me is FOK micing (it stands for front of kit, right???). I am definitely gonna try and put one or two mics in front of the kit in addition to the the room mics. I thought it would be cool to get some inspiration on how to set them up from people who are using FOK mics.

    a) Are you using one or two mics for this duty?
    b) At what distance from the kit and what height do you set them up?
    c) Which polar patterns are you using for this?
    d) What about using two FOK mics instead of overheads? Or even one? Could I still spread out the tom and hihat close mics in the stereo field a bit so that the drums are not entirely mono?

    Thanks for your suggestions!
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    If you haven't already done so, you definitely owe it to yourself to check out Recorderman's drum mic'ing tutorials (Google that name). Remember this: in many cases the fewer the mics you throw at the drum kit, the cleaner the sound due to phase issues.
    And... GOOD HEADS
    A TALENTED DRUMMER are always the most important elements to get a great drum sound.
  3. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Ditto on the Recorderman methods.

    Typically, I prefer a ribbon mic relatively level w/ the toms and 3'-10' out - just find a spot that evenly captures the meat of the drums.
    Even better, do an M/S pair.
    As moonbaby mentioned, the FOK mic can be incorporated into recorderman methods.

    I don't usually use just a FOK mic, but it's a nice substitute/alternative to room mics, or in combo w/ OHs or two mic setups.
  4. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    The Recorderman technique is actually my favourite overheads setup. Especially in rooms with low ceilings!

    I read a post on Gearslutz from producer / engineer Peter Katis (The National, Interpol) where he says that on some songs he used close-miking (kick, snare, toms) plus FOK mics only, without overheads. It was just not clear whether he used one or two FOK mics. I think this is an interesting approach.

    I would think that using two overhead mics and two FOK mics would cause some phase issues.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I like a condenser out in front of the kick. As well as a great dynamic inside. I have been using the Kel HM1 outside slightly above the rim of the kick pointing down a bit. I have used several other mics and have had good results but the Kel has a great frequency curve to it and I have used it alot in the last couple of years. It ceretinly cuts down on tom micing doing it this way and you could get a seriously good kit sound with only this, and a couple of overheads spaced. I still like the snare close mic'd but only because it gives me a a lot more control. Go to http:// for some samples of this technique.
  6. gunsofbrixton

    gunsofbrixton Active Member

    Hey...fancy home page there ;) I can see that this technique works well for this kind of sound...very natural sounding.

    This may be a dumb question but I was asking myself why people don't use two FOK mics instead of overheads more often. Is it because the cymbals sound better when miked from above? I was thinking that front of kit miking comes closer to the way we actually hear drums. Or have you ever listened to a drummer from above his head?
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Not my artwork....I'm just the producer and mixer........With the Blues you cant really slick it up too much or it loses the authenticity.

    I have done recordings with nothing but overheads....two out in front and two behind the drummer. The Franco stuff has the room mic above and behind the kit in a vaulted room. That track has everything you need for the drum sound except the immediate kick sound and the high impact of the snare strike, but if you didnt care about that you could use the ONE overhead to capture all the drums.

    Listening from above and behind is a better place to find the drums.

    I will use two FOK mics as you call them at about 3-4 feet up from the floor and spaced as a stereo pair. That and one overhead is also enough for everything.

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