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Kick drum and small diaphram condenser mics?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by peterhunt, May 20, 2006.

  1. peterhunt

    peterhunt Guest

    What are some good low-cost (< $150) kick drum and small diaphram condensers? The small-diaphram would be used for drum overheads and for recording acoustic guitar as a stereo pair.
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I've heard good things about the Rode NT5's, I wouldn't buy those Russian Octavas unless I was really poor, which I am these days but I still won't buy those.

    I like Shure SM 81's and Neumann KM 84/86, AKG C451 for my small diaphragm condenser microphones.

    I have also found that for bass drum use, the Shure boundary microphones or the Crown PZM's also make for good bass drum microphones and are not anywhere near as expensive as say a Neumann U47 FET!

    I clicked on your link and enjoyed your couple of songs. I thought they were done very well even though you indicated they were recorded on a compromise BOSS recorder. Although I did hear quite a bit of noise in the second cut.

    Satisfying a taste for tasty microphones
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  3. peterhunt

    peterhunt Guest

    Thanks for your advice, I'll look into it.

    The soundclick stuff is ancient! Check out http://www.myspace.com/strongholdinsiam for my latest basement effort :)
     
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Remy, (et al)

    Please correct me if I'm wrong...

    Radio Shaft also had sold PZM's at one time... I think they were actually made for them by Shure.

    You can sometimes find em' on eBay for very little money.

    Most of the time I've seen em' they're working, but about the only thing that can go wrong with em' is the cable needing to be replaced. (So I've been told) It's supposed to be a slight PITA, but not impossible.

    My .02

    Max
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    MadMax, you are somewhat correct.

    Radio Shaft did sell a PZM microphone. They had been licensed by Crown. It took me quite a few phone calls to find this particular factual piece of information. I had a $375 Crown PZM when the Radio Shaft versions were introduced. Then, a friend of mine whose studio I maintained, called me to tell me that he had replaced his AKG 414's on his piano with these "better sounding" $30 Radio Shaft microphones. I thought that the poor boy had lost his mind?? So I went over to his studio to hear them.

    What I heard truly blew me away! He was correct, they DID sound better than the 414's on piano! I mean when was the last time you found a piece of audio equipment at radio shaft that sounded better than a higher-priced piece of professional equipment???

    So I went out and purchased a pair. I thought they sounded excellent. I thought they sounded as good as nine $375 Crown original! But how could a $30 RadioShaft microphone sound as good as a $375 Crown original?? So, I picked up my phone and called Crown in Elkhart Indiana. I actually BSed the operator to get to a design engineer. The design engineer indicated that all of their capsules for all of their PZM microphones all came from Taiwan! They indicated they had certain specifications and requirements from their manufacturer along with testing each and every capsules for consistency and specifications. He told me that RadioShack just happen to go to the same capsule manufacturer and ordered a gross of capsules identical to that the ones that Crown was purchasing. He went on to indicate that the Radio Shaft capsules were not tested or calibrated so it was a crapshoot if you got a good one or a crappie one.

    I had also discovered that although the microphone had only a 1/4" output cable by observing the schematic, I saw there was a small output transformer inside this battery operated microphone! I realized the microphone had balanced output capability! A red, white and shielded ground wire were within the cable going to the unbalanced mono 1/4" connector. So I snipped that connector off and wired on a balanced XLR! So now cool right? It gets better yet!

    I then discovered a special battery. The microphone used to take a single AA battery which was adequate for most people. I discovered there was no way to phantom power of the microphone without numerous other problems. But there was this other smaller alkaline battery rated at 6 volts DC that was exactly 1/2 the size of a AA battery and by putting 2 of these batteries back-to-back, they equaled the same size of a single AA battery! What an awesome simple modification that was! It boosted output level, it boosted headroom, it lowered noise. The microphone was now running on 12 volts instead of 1.5 volts! I then went out and purchased 6 more of them! I really love PZM's for many things. They are not appropriate for everything however since mounting them has a great deal to do with both frequency response and sound quality. But for ambience, audience, inside piano lids, on either side of a drum kit, etc. they can truly do a wonderful job.

    Unfortunately, Radio Shaft discontinued their Crown licensed PZM's. I was sorry to see them go but in their place, Radio Shaft introduced their "Boundary" microphone. I have not purchase any of those as I am not as excited about the sound of Boundary microphones as I was over the sound that the PZM's gave me but I still have 4 pairs of the old Radio Shaft PZM's. An excellent standby microphone for many different and peculiar situations.

    TMI on PZM
    by RAD
     
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    MadMax, you are somewhat correct.

    Radio Shaft did sell a PZM microphone. They had been licensed by Crown. It took me quite a few phone calls to find this particular factual piece of information. I had a $375 Crown PZM when the Radio Shaft versions were introduced. Then, a friend of mine whose studio I maintained, called me to tell me that he had replaced his AKG 414's on his piano with these "better sounding" $30 Radio Shaft microphones. I thought that the poor boy had lost his mind?? So I went over to his studio to hear them.

    What I heard truly blew me away! He was correct, they DID sound better than the 414's on piano! I mean when was the last time you found a piece of audio equipment at radio shaft that sounded better than a higher-priced piece of professional equipment???

    So I went out and purchased a pair. I thought they sounded excellent. I thought they sounded as good as nine $375 Crown original! But how could a $30 RadioShaft microphone sound as good as a $375 Crown original?? So, I picked up my phone and called Crown in Elkhart Indiana. I actually BSed the operator to get to a design engineer. The design engineer indicated that all of their capsules for all of their PZM microphones all came from Taiwan! They indicated they had certain specifications and requirements from their manufacturer along with testing each and every capsules for consistency and specifications. He told me that RadioShack just happen to go to the same capsule manufacturer and ordered a gross of capsules identical to that the ones that Crown was purchasing. He went on to indicate that the Radio Shaft capsules were not tested or calibrated so it was a crapshoot if you got a good one or a crappie one.

    I had also discovered that although the microphone had only a 1/4" output cable by observing the schematic, I saw there was a small output transformer inside this battery operated microphone! I realized the microphone had balanced output capability! A red, white and shielded ground wire were within the cable going to the unbalanced mono 1/4" connector. So I snipped that connector off and wired on a balanced XLR! So now cool right? It gets better yet!

    I then discovered a special battery. The microphone used to take a single AA battery which was adequate for most people. I discovered there was no way to phantom power of the microphone without numerous other problems. But there was this other smaller alkaline battery rated at 6 volts DC that was exactly 1/2 the size of a AA battery and by putting 2 of these batteries back-to-back, they equaled the same size of a single AA battery! What an awesome simple modification that was! It boosted output level, it boosted headroom, it lowered noise. The microphone was now running on 12 volts instead of 1.5 volts! I then went out and purchased 6 more of them! I really love PZM's for many things. They are not appropriate for everything however since mounting them has a great deal to do with both frequency response and sound quality. But for ambience, audience, inside piano lids, on either side of a drum kit, etc. they can truly do a wonderful job.

    Unfortunately, Radio Shaft discontinued their Crown licensed PZM's. I was sorry to see them go but in their place, Radio Shaft introduced their "Boundary" microphone. I have not purchase any of those as I am not as excited about the sound of Boundary microphones as I was over the sound that the PZM's gave me but I still have 4 pairs of the old Radio Shaft PZM's. An excellent standby microphone for many different and peculiar situations.

    TMI on PZM
    bye RAD
     
  7. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    I have one of the RS PZM's.....I've done some electric guitar tracks with it, and was amazed as Remy was with the piano sounds, extremely accurate in every way. If you Google for the mod to make it balanced, it's on the web. I saved it and am waiting to find the time to do the mod.

    BTW, as for kick drum mic, see if you can find a Sennheiser e602 on ebay. They were $200 new, replaced with the e902 in the last 2 years. It's a killer kick mic. I record all styles of music, and it's never let me down.
     
  8. Yamaha makes that Kick Drum mic. It's a speaker in a drum shell wired as a mic. I made one of those myself with the subwoofer to my old computer speakers and a crappy mic I had. It looks terrible but the sound isn't that bad for how it was made and the materials used.
     
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Yamaha did not invent the kick-drum mic set up you're talking about though their speakers were responsible for its beginnings. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who the engineer was that started this, but it was early to mid 70's when I first saw it in use. An NS10 woofer set in a frame hung in front of the kick drum...a simple cord with a 1/4" attached and run into a channel. THIS is the secret THUMP you hear in the kicks on a LOT of records. Also, the extra snap in the snare was a speaker cabinet laid on its back with a snare drum set on top of the speaker. The snare track was then played back through this cabinet and the sound of the snare being played in reaction to the speakers' movement was then recorded to an open track. Then blended with the original. Try it. It works great.
     
  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Dave do you place the beater side of the snare on facing down towards the speaker, or the strainer side? How would you mic this perticular setup?
     
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Jeremy... I've done both. Experiment. Do what sounds 'right'.. Its a real surprising sound! You can loosen or tighten the strainers too for a different length of snare.
     

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