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How/Can you get a good overhead sound from a spaced pair of se 2200's

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by mandrum, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. mandrum

    mandrum Active Member

    I know I should have asked the question here first, however, I was sold these mics as being the best I could get in a £400 (roughly) budget. It was made clear to the seller that I Ineeded them primarily for drum overheads, obviously if they came in handy for other instruments/vox that would be a bonus. Well, I am struggling to get a good o/h sound with these mics, anyone any ideas how I could set them up to achieve a better sound. They, to my ears appear to have a formard sound around the upper mids, however they are picking up all sorts of rubbish bellow and are harsh rather than clear and 'shiny' in the upper registers with little 'air' higher up. I cannot afford to buy new mics at present, just looking for tips to get the best out of these since it seems I am stuck with them for now. I should also say I am using only a 57 for snare and a d115 for bass along with these mics, though I have the hance of using 58's on the toms to get something a bit more close mic'd there.

    Many thanks.
  2. Audiodog

    Audiodog Guest

    Well that's a tough one because the problems you mentioned sound like aspects of the particular mics themselves. Given that, there's very little more you can do besides running them through some quality preamps. What kind of preamps are you using?

    Are you inverting the phase on one of the mics? You will need to do this, especially if you've got them in a "V" type setup. (both mics close together above and over center of kit, one angled to the left half of the kit, and the other to the right half).

    No matter what, experiment with inverting phase of one mic (doesn't matter which). Simply record something. Record each overhead to its own mono track. Set both for center pan. Now playback and listen, toggle phase invert of one channel, does it sound better or worse? Keep the better sounding setting and pan the OH's left and right.

    The mics you're using are budget mics but certainly not junk (right?). You should have a decent sound. People even use a pair of AKG C1000s mics for overheads (about same price category as the mics you have) and get pretty good results.

    Is the room you're recording in properly conditioned? The artifacts you mentioned are not coming from something in the room vibrating etc, right?

    Another thing to check is the preamp setting... condensers usually require a -15db pad.

    Oh last idea: try testing each mic for freq response etc. They should sound the same (or very very very close). If they don't, its probable that there is something wrong with one or both. Most likely the mics are OK though. Did you buy the mics new or used?
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The SE2200s are not the greatest mics, but you may be able to improve the results by careful choice of pre-amp. You omit to name the models of the pre-amps and converters you are using with them, so it's not easy to say what sort of difference this suggestion would make.

    The only time I was obliged to use SE2200s I found I got a better sound on transients by engaging the mic pads and making up for it in the DAV BG1 pre-amp I was using. Since miking a drum kit is all about transient response, you could experiment in this area and see it it tames the harshness you mentioned.

    I don't know the internal design of the SE2200 and where they have placed the pad in relation to the internal electronics. If they have gone the cheap route and simply placed the pad across the output, engaging it isn't going to make any difference to the quality of the mic signal, but it may improve the way your pre-amps respond to it.

    Following on from that, don't push the levels in your interface: peaking at an indicated -12dBFS is quite enough for drum mics into most low/mid-range converters. Bring it up in the mix if you need to.

    Audiodog may have his reasons for giving the advice he does, but I would not invert the phase of one of a pair of overheads.
  4. mandrum

    mandrum Active Member

    Thank you both for your thoughtfull answers.

    I shall try all of the above and let you know how I am getting on. Just to start, I realise I must be driving the mics too hard, my only reservation till now being clipping on the mixer, keeping the signal up arounf -1 db. I shall try the suggested level changes and have a shot reversing polarity on one mic, using that positioning technique. I would have thought that a spaced pair set up would be the way to go though using ldc's. Thanks sincerely to both replies from men who sound much more experiened than me in this field. Please if any other ideas spring to mind let me know. Cheers!! Just a note, the mics are actually over twice the price of akg 1000's, and would be expecting results a little superior to mics in that price range.
  5. mandrum

    mandrum Active Member

    I should have added the pres and onvertors are stock digi 003.
  6. Audiodog

    Audiodog Guest

    Well sure if the mics are out of phase! I'm saying based on the mic setup you may need to invert the phase of one mic in order to have the two mics in phase together.
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hmm, it's not a moderator's job to be rude, but in the 003 you may have the source of much of your harshness and unnatural sounds. Try engaging the pad on the mic (10dB), and reduce the pre-amp gain so you record at a lower level anyway, even with the pad engaged. Don't worry too much about equipment noise levels for this type of signal.

    If you can, borrow an external analog multi-channel pre-amp that you can feed into the line inputs of your 003. Better still, see if you can get hold of a dual pre-amp that has internal converters such as the Mico Audient and use that for your overhead channels. Feeding the S/PDIF output of the Audient into the coax S/PDIF input of your 003 would remove all the Digi analog signal route from your overhead recordings.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    SE's are not bad kit and at their price point are at least as decent as most others. 003 pres are okay and are really pretty flat. You need to record these mics with a low cut on and the pad engaged. Like Boswell said, lower the pre's input level and run more gain on the channels. If, and I say this because it has happened before, the mics are factory wired out-of-phase then this will be the reason for flipping one of them. In a spaced pair the phase is generally not an issue but not knowing your room I would try this anyways.If you are recording with an X/Y pairing (audiodog described it without the actual terminology for it) then this is an important issue....ie: phase. Another thing you can do, since you're going to lower the input sensitivity, is move the mics closer to the source. Having a pad will facilitate this.

    You should also try using an X/Y stereo bar and put them up like that. More punch to the sound.

    So. Low cut.....pad on....less gain/more channel volume....move the mics.....control the room....Study your mic placement handbook!
  9. mandrum

    mandrum Active Member

    Thanks again guys.

    Great answers. I have been recording and mixing (as well as day jobb'n) 24/7 for the last few days and had completely neglected this thread. I had a panic after a guy told me to lock the mics up in a cupboard and buy some more. Well things have changed since I last posted. I have now indulged in a stereo ams neve 1073 mic pre and a 3124+ api pre as well as snapping up a rosetta 800. The changes are simply stunning. Ironically it was the guy who sold me this gear that told me to lock up the se mics and go for a pair of octava mk 012 for overheads. However, I recorded the other day and engaged the pad but decided to leave off the roll off and see if I could eq out some of the low end and retain a sense of warmth with a couple of uad 2 plugs. Certainly better than with the 003, and the tip on engaging the pad has been priceless, I think because the first book I read on recording was the 'gurillas guide' where the guy bangs on about maximum recording level to rid your recording of noise (must have been written in pre 24 bit days). Any views on the octavas, would they blow away the se's (once Ive paid for my new pre's), I'm slightly annoyed if they would as they are around the same price range and as I said I was advised on purchasing the se mics for o/h's at that price point and that nothing would touch them for another £300. There also seems to be two schools of thought, ldc v sdc for overheads, any particular reason for this, apart from the obvious picking up of more ' kit ' sound rather than just cymbals/high frequencies or am I clearly missing the point here? Learnt so much from you guys hope you don't mind me picking your brains a little again.
  10. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    The Oktavas may well rinse the SEs which I am not a fan of, but not necessarily. Although easily modded which some consider a bonus, QC on the Oktavas is variable to my knowledge so you are basically on pot luck with them. In my opinion you are just going to end up with 2 sets of £300 mics instead of 1. What you really want is one set of £600 mics. The Josephson 44s are very good in this price range (so about $1000 I'd guess) as are the Charter Oak 900s, Microtech Gefell 901s I think they are, lots of people like the Shures, and I'd say go SDC all the way for overheads as a pair of those is so useful and easy to place that you will get plenty more work out of them. Seems like you'll be doing the AMS/API/Apogee stuff a major disservice if you don't get a set of decent mics, if you can afford that stuff, why are you skimping on your overheads? They are a very important part of the sound, much more so than the toms for example, you need to go as good as you can on em.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Although they are fixed cardioid, I would add the MBHO MBNM 440CLs to Jeemy's suggested list of microphones in the rough price range. Excellent value, especially in Europe, and at least a couple of notches above the SE2200s that you started the thread with.
  12. mandrum

    mandrum Active Member

    Thanks Jeemy, Yeah, I do seem to be skimping at the moment. I have spent two years researching what to buy, what my total budget should be etc etc. As I say, I think I made a booby buying the se's as I did'nt do any research, it's just I needed some at the time, and that was all I could afford then. However, I want to really start building seriously this year, and I want to start from the inside out if that makes sense. Convertors, pres then mics, compressers etc etc. What you say makes sense about the mic's, so when I have finished buying my pre's I will splash out on some more high end o/h mic's. Are the Charter Oak's and Gefell's in the same ball park as the Neve's (I am sure more so than the Octavas) but for that kind of outlay I would want something as 'industry standard' (want for a better) word as the Neve's. I suppose I mean by that, something regular, like akg d112 on kick, sm 57 on guitar amp, that might not make musical sense, however I dont think I trust my ears enough to buy anything out of the norm. To use an example buying a Neumann u89i for bass drum, because some top guy has used this previously.
  13. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    I have to confess that it seems that there might be a bias against SE stuff here at ro.org, judging by a few threads. The 2200A seems to be universally regarded everywhere else, so I cannot see why your 2200's should be dismissed as inadequate. If you had of done research first, you would have seen many positive reviews. This mic has also won multiple awards. I will be testing one shortly.

    Boswell, forgive me if I throw my Freudian cap on for a moment, but you note that the only time you tried these mics, you were "obliged" to. In every day parlance, that leads one to believe you had some preconceptions about the mic, or that you really did not want to try the mics, but did so merely because you were as claimed obliged to. So is it possible that your diagnostic analysis was biased, or not executed to the extent necessary to render an informed opinion?
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    My post (#3 in this thread) outlined my only experience with the SE 2200, which is the microphone that both the thread headline and the posts up to your last all were talking about. Now you are asking about the 2200A, which is by all accounts a much better microphone, although I haven't had the chance to use one.

    SE is a reputable, responsive company, and with the A version of this microphone obviously set out to correct many of the recognised shortcomings of the original product. The 2200A is probably very good value at around £190, as long as you do not lose sight of the fact that it will not give the same sort of sound as most microphones in the £400 - £500 bracket.
  15. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Thanks for the clarification, and sorry for my misreading of the details regarding 2200 vs 2200A.
  16. mandrum

    mandrum Active Member

    They are 2200a's sorry!!

    So sorry, I didnt put 'a' down, but they are that later model. However, I am still guessing they don't match up to my new higher end stuff. Any other ideas, is there a standard overhead mic, like I was asking compared to the akg d112 on bass drum kind of line, i.e. most people manage (who know what they are doing) to get a good sound of o'h's on. I just want to make sure as anybody would of spending money wisely, and I don't yet trust my ears enough to pick my own. This may sound a copout, however there it is!! I think I have heard alot people use ldc c414's by akg's though apparently they are not made as well as older models, also the Neumann u89's as a matched pair, though can't see me stretching that far, I may eventually buy one of those, for female/vocals etc. If not out of all the mics mentioned this far any around $700 each that would srvr me for life and would blow away the se's, or again (sorry), could the se's become one of my prized buys. I dont want to spend a little more or a mind blowing more, perhaps double to treble what I paid for the se's but would be expecting (my ability being able enough that is) sizzling results. From what I have heard mixed reviws on most mics, so is there just not a kind of standard goto o/h or what??
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    How are you spacing your mic's? A spaced stereo pair has a particular separation distance to prevent phase and timing issues. Alternatively there is that Recordman method found somewhere on the web which I would not call a spaced pair. I would guess you may be looking for SDC for an overhead pair rather than LDC. You may be looking for faster transients than your SE2000a can provide. Just some other thoughts.

    I often use AT4051's as overheads on drums.
  18. Caleb

    Caleb Active Member

    This Should Help...

    Hopefully this new bit of information will be useful.
    -First of all, it is probably not the best scenario to use a spaced pair of microphones in a recording setup. (This is more commonly used in a live setting where volume is more important than quality) The reason is that spacing microphones creates phase (the farther apart, the more degrees of phase that are introduced). Phasing gives you a thin and uneven sound. From the beginning you want to eliminate phasing issues, because even if you have a phase invert button, not every phase problem involves waves being exactly 180 degrees out of phase, therefore giving you less phase with the inversion, but not eliminating it. Unless you want to magnify your waves and manually align them, use proper microphone techniques.
    -There are a few setups that are used so I will tell you the most commonly practiced and effective one. Instead of using spaced pair, use the Coincident pair recording technique. This is where the microphones are setup in the front and center above the kit facing the kit at an angle. The microphones form a V, where the capsules meet at an angle. They are facing the left and right side of the kit, one capsule on top of the other. (Often the right ride and the snare are used as reference points) I have included a picture so that you can see the positioning. This placement takes away phasing issues since the sound is reaching the microphones at the same time.
    -Tips: Remember to have your rolloff switch enabled for your OH, use a pad only if necessary (keep the gain relatively low), and don't hesitate to move your kit around (even if its just two inches rotated to the right) this can make the recording you're looking for.
    -Se Electronics does not make bad microphones, just decent to pro grade. It is absolutely realistic to produce a great recording with the ones you have, I've done a whole lot with alot less. Focus on your compression and EQ and you will be able to achieve favorable mix. But if you were to trade them in for another pair, my suggestions are: Neumann KM184, and Earthworks SR30. These would be a great complement to your pre's and converter. The earthworks are slightly more expensive but well worth it. You can find a used pair for around the price range you're looking for (try to get a pair with sequencial serial numbers). Remember, overheads are arguably the most important microphones on a drum kit.

    Attached Files:

  19. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There are several coincident stereo techniques. The one pictured is XY. A properly spaced pair will not introduce phasing issues. There are advantages and disadvantages to all near coincident and coincident techniques. I diagree that AB spaced pair is primarily a live technique. That said, the OP should experiment freely especially after boning up a little more on how to set up stereo pairs.

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