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Inexpensive LD condensors as tom mics...

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Idjiit, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    I have a project coming up where we've decided we're going to focus getting more of a 70's drum sound - direct mic'ing, very little room sound. The tom mics I currently have don't really fit the bill, so I'm wondering if I should invest in some of the cheaper LD condensors - Marshall/MXL, perhaps. I've heard of some people doing this, but I'm not really sure which models. I don't have the cash to go out and buy anything more expensive than around $100 per mic.

  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Octava 219's...also whats wrong with a passle of SM57's?certainly in the price range...and usable on most things.and VERY 70's....Also...if its close micing you want without bleed, then you should look at drum packages...most of the time you'll get a lot of mics for cheaper than you can buy them individually and they are generally lower sensitivity and better for close-micing drum kits.I use Audix D series and they are GREAT...look around for a "D" package.They'll be less than $100 per mic....
  3. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    Davedog -
    Thanks for the response!

    As for not going with 57's... I have a bunch of Senn. MD 504's which are passable, I'd like to trying to go with something significantly different. Ideally, I would go with a bunch of Senn. 421's, but I just can't justify the cost at this point. I've moved to a new town, and don't really have paying clients right now so my investment must be rather limited for a while.

    There are so many good deals on LD condensors now, it looked like a good opportunity to experiment.

    Do you have a link for an Oktava mail-order distro? It doesn't look like Sweetwater or Full Compass carries them. Also, is there a reason you'd go for the 219 over the MXL stuff?
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Actually I threw that out as a response to your question.However I think if you really are looking for the 70's/80's style of close miking drums as opposed to a more 'room' sound then LD condensers is not going to get what you need in terms of separation.This will require a low sensitivity mic with a limited side bleed to the diaphram.As a person who miced and recorded quite a few drumsets inthe 70's and 80's,I see this as a more viable solution then using a cheap LD.If you do go with this....MXL's,Octava's etc...you will need some sort of quality gating and limiting in the front end.Thats of course assuming youre really looking for this kind of drum sound.Guitar Center(ala gittarget)handles all these mics......as does musicians friend.....you mentioned the Sennheisers...I dont get why these wont work for this sound.....Perhaps you should define exactly what this sound is needing and I'm sure some of the other olde fart recordists amoungst us here can lend a hand......
  5. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    Dave -
    I get what you're saying. I'm being confusing by saying two things: I want to go for a drier 70's sound, and I want to do something different. So, I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone when it sounds like maybe I can accomplish what I want without killing anything. ;) I have a desire to generally mess around with the way I track drums, and it seemed like grabbing a couple 990's would be a fun way to approach it, but it sounds like it won't be helpful in my other endeavour.

    What kind of setup do feel is best to get the sound I'm talking about? Assuming the kit sounds similar, is it really just a matter of close mic'ing, and pulling the overheads out as much as makes sense without it sounding totally unnatural?

    A track that typifies what we'll be going for is from Gang of Four's "Entertainment" (for what it's worth, I own and love this album - on CD and vinyl, and this rip is only for educational purposes):
    http://www.swiftbennett.com/audio/Gang of Four - Entertainment! - 02 - Natural's Not in It.mp3

    [ October 08, 2003, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    You are correct sir! LD mics pick up more ambience and spill than SD or dynamics do, just by nature of how large the diaphragm is (this is the whole point of a large diaphragm mic). This "olde fart" suggests the Audio Technica Pro 35 condensers. I use these with great success. The Pro 35 is a small clip on condenser for snare and tom toms that can also double as a trumpet, cornet, etc. mic. I have even used them with good results on Grand Piano. The list at $135 ea I think (last time I looked). In lieu of this approach, the SM57 is a standard, will work just fine in this application and can be acquired in pawn shops and used gear stores anywhere for very little. I used to use 421s exclusively for this application because of the tight pattern they exhibit but they are a bit bulky and difficult to place on tight drum kits. The pro 35s overcome all these limitations, are relatively inexpensive, robust, sound very good and eliminate the need for a sh*tload of mic stands.
  7. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    So, how do people use LD mics on toms? Am I just remembering something incorrectly? What's the sound it's supposed to provide? I'm not doubting anything you guys are saying, I'm more questioning my own sanity. :D
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Man, those long addies really have a way of killing a thread. People hate having to scroll back and fourth to read it. I tried to edit that link into a URL hyperlink, but for some reason it didn't work. I had to put it back as I found it. BTW, it sounds like a drum machine to me on that tune.

    As Dave mentioned, you would most likely need to use gates to control the spill from the cymbals and other elements. The only gates I have ever used that reliably opened and closed when I wanted are Drawmer DS202's and DS 404's. Nothing else works for me. Of course, if you are recording into DAW, you can simply go in and draw out all the hash between tom hits. I find this to be tedious, more like computer programing, less like doing music and a big PITA, but it is a solution. On a different note, Dave was at my place yesterday and we had a chance to sit down at my DAW and I was showing Dave some of the stuff that could be done with eq, compression and editing on it. While he had a big grin on his face and really seemed to be impressed with the power of it all, he kept saying, "I hate this. Man, this is just wrong.' hee hee hee :D I have to admit, it is not very organic in nature.

    In a lot of situations where LDs are used for toms, the drummer is usually a seasoned studio professional who has learned to play their kit set up in a way that accommodates micing, with the toms set relatively flat, the hat moved away from the kit as far as possible, and the cymbals set high above the toms rather than down close or even right on top of them. Guys like Steve Gadd are who I am speaking of. They also have learned not to pound the crap out of the cymbals and the hat, and to really dig into the snare and toms.

    LDs are also used more in the micing of jazz records where a more natural and unproduced drum sound is desirable.
  9. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    Yeah, getting into the DAW world, it's kind of a love and hate relationship. I've done "analog" (using MDMs, but an analog signal path) for most of my "career", and have resisted going the DAW route since in my real job (web-application developer) I use computers daily and would like to spend as little time with them as possible. :D

    But with that said, you can do some killer stuff in DAWs. Gating is an interesting point though, since some of my favorite techniques are surprisingly difficult to do in the DAW world. As I'm sure you've all heard, with Cubase the plugin spec didn't account for sidechaining! Uhh... Did audio engineers have anything to do with the spec? Was someone asleep? So, even the Waves stuff does not allow for doing ducking, gated snare reverb, etc. But at the same time, if you are using the source signal as the key (and most plugins at least allow you to tune the signal) you can achieve some cool effects since the plugins can provide look-ahead capabilities.

    So, with that said... I'm wondering if using a DAW means that I can try the LD route with a certain measure of success. The band that I'm recording has a really good drummer, and he does indeed play with a good "studio" setup. I'm not incredibly worried about bleed through per se as much as picking up more of the room than I would like.

    As for the Gang of Four stuff - it's not a Drum Machine, but there is almost no overheads. It's a british recording from 1979 at "The Workhouse" in London. On the rest of the tracks you can hear more of the kit - you can hear the ride trails and the kick drum "breathing" on a few of the tracks. The sound is heavily influenced by the dub recordings that were coming out of Jamaica at the time, hence the extremely minimalist drumming and heavy bass. It's certainly not something that you'd use on every client that walks through the door, but it's kind of the antithesis of what a lot of engineers are doing with post-rock bands nowadays. The tendency is to go for that big drum sound, with a killer sounding room and a kick drum like a cannon. For this one we want to take a different slant.

    Blah, sorry that was so long. ;) Thanks for listening!
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I agree and disagree...
    I have been using mid to large diaphragm mics on drums for a few years.
    Believe it or not, C2000B´s, C3000B´s and Gt55´have done wonders to me.
    I have been pretty satisfied with them. As Kurt said, you can edit afterwards. Nothing worser than reaching mix stage and listening to those crappy gates opening/closing.
    Kurt, drawmer plugin gates are very good also -lol
  11. white swan

    white swan Guest

    I don't know anything about the 1970's. (I think I was stoned and I missed them...)But I LOVE the sound of large diaphragm condensers on toms.

    The bleed issue can be managed with close positioning. But with this warning: if you are doing real close micing with LD condensers, it is really useful to have mics with a hefty pad. Like the 414 (-20db). The problem with the cheaper condensers is they either have no pad at all, or just a wimpy -10dB one.
  12. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    Ugh, that's a good point about the pad. The 990 is rated at 130spl... Hmm.
  13. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Interesting post.

    I have never even *considered* using LD condensors on toms before! As OH's or room mics, yes, but never on toms!

    White Swan: What is it that you like about the sound of the LD's on toms vs. a good dynamic like the 421?
  14. Bowisc

    Bowisc Active Member

    The Studio Projects B1 is a very impressive tom-tom mic. They can be had for $80.

  15. Idjiit

    Idjiit Guest

    I've been considering the SP C4 for a second set of overheads, so the B1 is interesting. Too bad it doesn't come with shockmounts. Is the quality of the SP stuff better than MXL? Anyone know of a inexpensive shock mount that'll fit the B1? Doesn't seem wise to try try to mic toms without the shockmounts. It would be a shame to roll off the low end to get rid of rumble when part of the point is to catch more of the tom low end...
  16. Bowisc

    Bowisc Active Member

    There is a B1 shockmount which is pretty solid. I got three of them at $17 each. PM me for details.

    Studio Projects mics "feel" solid, and I know that they hold a higher QC than other over-seas mics. I've used my B1's several times for live acoustic guitar and drum over-head. They hold up well, though you still have to treat them with care.

    Someone once said they would become the SM-57 of LD condensors and I see how it's possible.

  17. XHipHop

    XHipHop Guest

    I've used AT3035's successfully on toms before.
  18. white swan

    white swan Guest

    You get a crisper sound with more attack. You can hear the stick hitting the skin. I'm not dissing 421's - they are certainly the standard. But I started using 414's on toms to capture detail on jazz and acoustic music, and liked it so much that now I'm not afraid to use them on any style. (Not claiming it as my idea - got the idea from another local engineer.)

    Different strokes, etc. I like to think of it as part of "my" sound!
  19. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    food for thought.
    If you like LDC on toms...try 451's w/-10db (SDC) on toms (top head..couple inches in from rim and a few inches up)...awesome. I usually stick 441's for racks and something bigger (D12e) for floors on the bottom heads with 451's on top. Punchy and Phat.

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