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Help with Acoustic Gtr,Kick,& HH Miking

Discussion in 'Drums' started by stealthy, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. stealthy

    stealthy Guest

    Im looking for some recommended mic setups/placements for miking acoustic guitars, kick drums and high hats. ive searched around a bit but would still like more suggestions....

    thanks in advance!
  2. Angstaroo

    Angstaroo Active Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    DeKalb, IL
    Home Page:
    I’ll throw my hat over the wall for this one...

    One important disclaimer: There are no rules, and there’s no wrong way to do anything. If something works for you, it can’t possibly be wrong!

    Acoustic Guitars: Small Diaphragm Condenser (SDC) mic placed between the 12th fret and the soundhole, pointed directly at the finger board. Aim more towards the soundhole for a boomier, bassier tone, aim more towards the 12th fret for more detail and clarity. I like using two mics whenever I record acoustics, but 90% of the sound comes from this SDC mic. The second mic is a Large Diaphragm Condenser (LDC) aimed at the bridge from about a foot or two back. Your mic positioning and distances will vary depending on the type of acoustic guitar you have, the room you’re in, and what’s being played on it. If there’s a lot of big, noisy strumming going on, the distance mic will tend to sound better. If there’s a lot of fingerstyle playing, the SDC will tend to sound better. For microphones, I -love- the Shure SM81 on acoustic guitars, it would be my number one pick every time. After that an AKG 451, and after that, whatever I can get my hands on.

    Hi-Hats: Depending on what you’re recording, these may or may not even be necessary. If you’re just doing project work in a compromised situation (i.e. less than ideal room size, treatment, drum equipment, mic choices, etc), ask yourself if you honestly need a separate mic and track just for the hi-hat? If all you’ve got is a spare SM57, you’re better off not miking the hat. Most of the time good overhead positioning and the right amount of compression on the overheads will give you more than enough hi-hat in your mix. However, if you do want to mic the hat, an SDC miking the hat from above generally does the trick. Placement depends on how much stick you want in the sound, and how much bleed you have to deal with. I don’t like placing my hat mic angled towards the snare, because it picks up too much snare and when the hat track is turned up, it can make the snare sound a little off-center in the mix because the hat track is usually panned (I pan my overheads/mics in the tracks to sound as if they’re from the drummer’s perspective, so it would be a little to the left). I personally mic the far edge of the hat, with a slight tilt towards the drummer, and fairly close to the hats; about a two to three inch clearance. For microphones, again the AKG 451 and the Shure SM81, but I’ve also got a pair of those inexpensive Oktava MK012s that sound really good as hi-hat mics. I tend to put the -10db pads on them though, just in case.

    Kick: There’s so many ways to go about this, and there are so many variables involved that it’s almost impossible to give advice on miking kick drums, because your method for miking kick drums for say, death metal is an entirely different concept than say, jazz. However, I’ll try and keep it simple, and ignore all of the possibilities of open front head, closed front head, hole in front head, etc. Pick one mic you like, stuff it inside the kick drum, and move it around for the desired sound. I tend to like the Shure Beta 52 and the AKG D112, but I’ve got an alright kick drum mic that sounds better on heavier rock tunes; the Sennheiser e602. Aim it at the beater’s impact point for more attack, aim it between the beater impact point and the rim for a more rounded, ambiguous tone. When recording, I always get a few blankets and make a little tunnel around the kick drum to try and stop anything from bleeding into the mic. Sometimes, bringing the mic outside of the kick drum sounds better, but then you really have to control the bleed (again, the blanket tunnel works well here). And, you can always go with a multi-mic set up, with one mic in the drum, an LDC outside of the kick about a foot or two away, and maybe even a dynamic mic like a Sennheiser 421 on the batter head near the beater impact point. Any combination of the three would get what you want, just listen carefully for phasing.

    Hope this helps...
  3. stealthy

    stealthy Guest

    thanks so much for the information.

    as for kick, ive settled on getting the beta 52. so no real questions on that. ill try different configurations using that one mic when i need to.

    when it comes to acoustic guitars and high hats (if needed), i see you suggest the sm81 for both. however no mention of what i was going to use on acoustics...the rode nt5s (which i was also going to use for OH's). with that said, im trying to get some versatility out of what i get, and save a little money. so, what would you suggest i go with as far as OHs/HHs/Acoustic guitars?

    your placement suggestions will be of great help, thank you.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    The Shure SM81 is as close to a desert Island mic as you can get.

    It is killer as an OH set. It is my personal favorite on aggressive rockin acoustic guitars. For a more intimate and folky sound I would prefer a Neumann KM84.....but the Shure will do ANY job you ask of it. Hell, you can use em on the kick drum if you want and you've got an inline pad. They have saved a few VOCAL sessions in my time.....

    The combination of an SM81 and an Audio Technica 4033 on acoustic instruments is outstanding.

    The Rode's are nice. They are NOT SM81's. But they will work quite well. If you havent bought your SDC's yet, spend a bit more and buy the 81's. You'll use em forever.....
  5. stealthy

    stealthy Guest

    thanks dave.

    i was going to get the nt5s for overhead and a sm81 for high hats. i was also going to use one of them in combination with a ksm44 for acoustic guitars. with that said, it would cost about $800 for those 3 mikes that i can use for multi purpose.

    i understand the sm81s are a better all around choice, but to get 3 of them i would be spending over a grand, and the only way i could afford them is to buy 2 for $700 which leaves me down one mic :(

    i suppose if i got 2 sm81s i could work around no HH mic, its just not what i was planning. could i throw a pg81 or a similar priced ($130) mic on the high hats and just forget the nt5s?

    as now i have no mics i plan on keeping, but i do have plans for the following to complete my mic locker: (4)sm57, sm81, beta 52, beta 57, e602, e609 and (2)nt5. but, as i said, these were just plans that can be changed. with those mics i listed i would be able to do everything i need :)

    i appreciate the said help thus far! i guess it just comes down to the sm81 and the nt5s
  6. stealthy

    stealthy Guest

    anybody else?

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