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Micing Toms From The Bottom

Discussion in 'Drums' started by bgavin, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Is there any advantage or disadvantage to micing rack and floor toms from the bottom (underneath)?

    I use ATM25 for toms, and still get a lot of bleed. My question is directed to bottom micing to capture less ambient from the other drum components.
  2. Dave Nyberg

    Dave Nyberg Guest

    Why don't you record your toms from the inside. Take off the bottom skin and put your mic in there just under the top skin. Works wonders :D
  3. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    I have read over and over again and firmly believe it when the pro's say "Making the bleed work for you instead of against you is the art of recording drums". Mic choice, placement, and room acoustics are the main factors to manipulate. Micing the bottom of the tom tom is unlikely to solve your problem.
  4. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    I have zero control over the room, so that option is out. I chose ATM25 for the kick, tom, and floor toms. They are hypercardioid, and have the tightest focus.

    The line of thinking about recording from the underneath side was to point the rear-ward sensitive spot of the ATM25 toward the ground and away from other sound sources.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    You will get a lot more of the "baa-whoom" and a lot less of the "thwack" attack from the bottom. The toms will also be out of phase. I think micing from the top just sounds better overall. This is why some recordists gate toms, while tracking or at mix, to eliminate the cymbal and kick/snare spill. If you are working on DAW simply go in the edit window and draw out the noise between tom hits.
  6. sign

    sign Guest

    Ahhhh.....tripnek is so right! Bleed brother, let it bleed, that's why the 421 is so famous. Because the bleed sounds good. Beyer M88's or M201's can work good as well. Did I mention the MD441? talking about good sounding bleed!

    Recording drums without bleed is impossible! :D
  7. M Brane

    M Brane Guest

    Kurt is right-on, though an easier way to cut the bleed in a DAW would be to use the "Strip Silence" command.

    IMHO the overheads are where you get your overall drum sound. Any tom/snare/kick mics are simply to fill in anything that's lacking in the overheads. If your placement is good (no phase issues) bleed is good. ;)

    If you want perfect drums use samples. Be prepared to take a big hit in the feel dept. though........

  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I think the main thing that marks the difference in pro recordings on records and CDs and home brew recordings is the amount of cymbal wash in the mix. When I listen to records, I just don't hear that much cymbal. So if you want to record and not gate or strip silence or draw it out, you need to have a drummer that really digs in to the drums and lays back on the brass. Hard to find in all but the most pro of drummers. Hence, you need to do some treatments to the tom tracks to help eliminate a lot of the cymbal spill..

    One of the best drummers I have worked with is a guy named Tim Siefert, who plays in a Bay Area regga band, "The Yardies". Tim was my first call drummer when I was in the SF area. I could put up a C24 overhead, and a C12a aimed at the snare and hat, and a D112 on the kick. That was all it took, 4 tracks and it was the best drum sound I have ever heard. BUT .... Tim has a great set of Sonars that he knows how to tune and play. He knows how to smack the drums and tap the brass .. .. a rare find. Tim is one of the only things I miss about California..
  9. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    I'm tracking my daughter's all-girl band, and don't have the luxury of a seasoned-pro drummer. Kenzey is age 19 and beats hell out of everything. Worse, we are tracking inside a large automotive repair shop with a very high ceiling, and no control over the acoustics. Other than pushing cars around and opening doors (i.e. "space traps").

    Two guys from a record label in LA came up to Sacramento to hear the girls play, and to make a teaser recording. The recording engineer liked my mic setup enough to leave it unchanged. The session went from 08:00 until 01:00 the next morning. He used our Ramsa 20-channel board, and got a pretty decent sound into his Alesis ADAT, everything considered. His tracks were far superior to mine. Duh.

    I would miss nothing about California except the weather, but we are stuck here forever.
  10. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Hey Bruce,

    I was going to PM you about your daughters band, re; checking them out, as I live/work in LA and am connected...but you leave no way to contact you...what's up with that?

    Thread related:

    Bottom mic'ing of toms usually is in the context of being in addition to top mics. If you have enough mics, pre's & channels, you mic the top and bottom of the toms, just like the snare. the bottom mics usually need to be polarity reversed with respect to the top mics, and are used around 10 less in level. The top mics give you the attack with the bottom mics adding more bottom/dimension. any time you double mic something:drums, guitar amps, etc. you get the sound from/to and capture additional demential information. Phasing is critical, otherwise you're better off with one mic.
    Additionally you can try the Phil Collins/'70's "concert toms" approach. and remove the bottom head; using the bottom mics as then main mics. Still flipping polarity with respect the the OH's. In my opinion single headed drums( discounting roto toms, tambourines,frame-drums, etc) just sound weak.
  11. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    You always have control over acoustics. It might not be "prefect" control, but you have control. One of a producers best friends is the Packing Blanket. Cheap and easy to transport. You can hang them from about anything. There is a company that sells them on ebay cheap. I got a dozen for around $80.
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    ditto...hang them from extra mic stands. make mic stand into a 'T' and you'be got a gobo.
  13. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    My email address is readily available on the page pointed to in my signature. I currently block 30,000 hits on my mail servers every month, which I suspect is partly caused by harvesting my email address from my web sites. You can reach me as doc at compudox dot com unless you are on a blocked subnet. If so, you can reach me as compudox at yahoo dot com which I don't control.

    I used the Recorder Man template for locating the over heads, then placed the other kit mics all in top positions. 9 mics total, 1 per kit piece.

    This was my very first tracking session, and the results were pretty good, everything considered. The engineer from the label liked it well enough, and will do the mix down when he gets back to LA. The intent is getting enough interest in the girls ( Aroarah Web Site ) to get them invited to LA for a session, and meet-and-greet.

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