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Overhead Phase

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by Hack, Nov 1, 2001.

  1. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    I was listening to a current drum track and playing with phase switches while in mono. Listening to the low end it sounds the fullest with one over head switched out. The right from the drummers perspective. However, listening to the hi end I can hear a slight filtering type thing with this setup. From now on I will listen for this while tracking, but what adjustment should I make? How far and which direction should I move an overhead when trying to get them to work right with the kit?
    Up a foot or an inch, away from the other overhead, front to back???
    I realize any of these could be right but is the problem the sound getting to the mics at different times or the two mic patterns not covering the area correctly?
    Are overheads normally the same height off the ground or does it always vary? I need to get a grip on this phase thing!
     
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    See if you like the sound of a coincident pair - two mics at 90 degrees with the heads essentially touching. It's not the same stereo sound as a widely spaced pair, but you may find the sound works really well for your particular application, especially in a small/low ceiling room. And, of course, the main benefit is all the direct and reflected sounds arrive simultaneously, so phase is eliminated as an issue.
     
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    here's my trick. It's fast and it works perfect every time.

    1. Place the "Left" overhead mic directly over the center of the snare at the hieght of two drum sticks-held end-to-end(from the center of the snare, straight up, to the capsule of the mic).
    2. Next; take the drum sticks (still held end-to-end) from the center of the snare over to above your ( i.e." the drummers") right shoulder and place your "right" overhead mic here.
    3. Fine tune the placement by using a mic cable and measurinb the distance from the center of the Kick to each of these mics is also equidistant from the kick and snare.
    4. listen with headphones and have the drummer lightly hit his kick drum, and adjust the "right" mics angle until the kick is in the middle of your "image".

    What this has done is:
    1. Place the snare & the kick in the center when you pan these mics hard left and right.
    2. Place the overheads in a position which is in-phase with the kick,snare and overheads.
    3. balanced the over heads so that the Rack and floor Toms (as well as all cymbals) are correctly ballanced.

    this is actually a great "picture" of the kit at this point. maybe a hair of Top end (depending on what mics your using) and a little this, and a Kick mic. BUT whatever you add (snare mics, toms, etc) you'll mow be inphase. This also makes your snare & toms louder inrelation to the cymbals & is more of a true OH mic set-up (Not just "cymbal" mic's )

    It may look weird but try it...it trulelly ROCKS
     
  4. Rader Ranch

    Rader Ranch Member

    only 2 drumsticks? as i picture it (hafta go home to check for sure) this would place the mics barely above drummers head height in most cases...you'd think the mics would get creamed all the time by the wind-up when going for crash cym's or highly positioned high hats...you sure it's not a little higher? do you have a pic you can post?
     
  5. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    I heard about a trick Neil Peart tried out where he taped a PZM mic to his chest. I've tried this out a couple times and it actually sounds pretty cool, except, drummers bump into it too much, etc... If you got time to burn (yeah right) and have a drummer that's adventurous, give it a shot.
     
  6. Speedy

    Speedy Guest

    Hi RecorderMan,

    What are the mics "looking at" (angled towards which drum)?

    Snare, hh/ride or rack/floor?

    Peace,

    Zooot
     
  7. PlugHead

    PlugHead Active Member

    FWIW,

    I've been using a similar method to RecorderMan's: This is really dependent on the drummer, and their technique. Wait till they set the kit, note how they set their cymbals (most drummers hang them low(er), which is optimum), then get out your TAPE MEASURE (surely you have one or two kickin around from the last reno's in the studio!) and measure from the snare centre (some actually measure from the strike position) to each overhead's capsule - you can gauge distances & phase easier with markings. Next is deciding what kind of stereo image you want - wide, tight, etc., but not going too wide is the most failsafe mono compatibility - adjust to taste. My distance from snare to OH capsule(s) is usually between 30" and 42" depending on cymbals, drummer, song, obstacles, etc. If the overheads are too high up, phase really becomes an issue , so try to keep'em as low as possible without crowding the talent. Monitor the drummer in the ControlRoom, flip between Stereo and Mono, and find where the image sits best. Once you have completed micing (kick/snare/toms/room), check phase again. I rarely have problems, but also, I seldomly close-mic toms either - unless the songs are tom based, or extremely aggressive music, I tend to get 90% of my drum sound thru the overheads (if not, the other 10% and up is the room mic: I haven't used the recorded snare track in a few recent projects, save for throwing thru a SansAmp etc!).

    That's what seems to work for me - good luck on your quest, YMMV

    Jay
    PlugHead Productions
     
  8. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by e-cue:
    except, drummers bump into it too much, etc...

    That could be a cool effect in itself... little human noises that contribute to the illusion of "being there". :)
     
  9. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Originally posted by Ang1970:


    That could be a cool effect in itself... little human noises that contribute to the illusion of "being there". :)

    Yeah, great for 5.1 ...
     
  10. recordista

    recordista Active Member

    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned M-S technique. Pretty much guaranteed to eliminate phase issues and if you record the unmatrixed feeds it gives you a variable width control during mixdown.
     
  11. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Radar Ranch:
    If you use a boom Stand behind the drummer, with the boom over their head, you can get the mic into position, and they don't hit it ( at least not with me yet). This will place the snare mic a few inches in front of and above their forhead.

    Zoot:
    The last time i did this (last week) I angled both of the mics towards the snare; then moving the right sholuder mic (with headphones on) intill I got the kick in the center of my "image". I've had equal success by aiming them at the Rack and Floor toms. For Me it's a question of getting the kick and snare right. after that everything else seems to fall into place. With all the variations in cymbals and their placement not to mention their abillity at being heard, I really dont worry about them. This technique takes a well ballaced stereo "image" that puts the snare and kick in the center, places the Rack and Floor in balance, keeps the phase right, AND puts the cymbals in the way I like for free. Besides if the song calls for a lot of ride, I'll uasually have a SM7 spotting that as well...just to bring it into the forground if necessary. If I'm in a really good room, I use Lots of mics. I'll use more mics to add depth and tone,instead of more eq, i.e. adding near ambient kick mics, near ambiant mic near the floor tom almost to the floor(with a symetrical mic on the hi hat side). I'll do this by listening for spots around the kit/room where certains drums (i.e. kick, snare,toms,etc) speak well, and/or add a "note" I don't have enough of yet.

    hope this helps
     
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by recordista:
    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned M-S technique. Pretty much guaranteed to eliminate phase issues and if you record the unmatrixed feeds it gives you a variable width control during mixdown.

    Probably because when you get right down to it M/S does'nt sound all that great. You can't have you're cake and eat it to. M/S tries to put off making up your mind as to "Mono or Stereo?". Commit when you record and save time when you mix.
    I'm also against printing every single mic to a track in multi mic'd set-ups; as in 2 or 3 mics on Kick,snare, toms, ect. If you spend the extra time (a few more minutes at most) when your tracking, you'll get ballances at that time that will be hard to reproduce later, at the same time capturing that balance and leaving more tracks for OD's.
    My two cents.
     
  13. Tekker

    Tekker Active Member

    This is the best way I've heard to get two mics (or overheads) in phase: when you set up your mics flip the phase on one of them, then move them around to get the 'quietest' sound possible (barely audible). Then flip the phase back and they will now be almost perfectly in phase.

    -tkr
     
  14. gie

    gie Guest

    Originally posted by RecorderMan:
    The last time i did this (last week) I angled both of the mics towards the snare; then moving the right sholuder mic (with headphones on) intill I got the kick in the center of my "image".
    hope this helps


    Recorderman: Do you use your overheads in OMNI or in CARDIOID? :confused:

    ThanX in advance...
     
  15. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by gie:


    Recorderman: Do you use your overheads in OMNI or in CARDIOID? :confused:

    ThanX in advance...

    I usually use cardiod...but there is no firm rule here. If your using ribbons. your already in figure-8 (unless there 77's in "uni"). The thing to consider is the sound your after/or dealing with. If your in a great sounding room and baybe you don't have room mics, try Fifure-8 or omni; this will add more room sound to your oh's. Conversely- and probably usually- you'll get more than enough "room" in cardioid. Listen and be the judge.
     
  16. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by Tekker:
    This is the best way I've heard to get two mics (or overheads) in phase: when you set up your mics flip the phase on one of them, then move them around to get the 'quietest' sound possible (barely audible). Then flip the phase back and they will now be almost perfectly in phase.

    -tkr


    With due respect, while this may give you a lack of coloration (i.e. "in phase") between the overhead mics, it can/will be very arbitray and may/probably have no relationship to the other mics (i.e.,snare,kick,toms,etc). Phase relationships in a multi-mic'd drum kit are synergistic. the resulting sum is truelly greater than the parts. My above mentioned procedure...while far from the only way, does work effectively, and you'll look cool doing it
    'cause all yuo'll use is the drummer's sticks and yuo'll be there fast. Listen,Listen,Listen. and quickly check all phase switches on all interelated mics (i.e. mics that are part os the same sound-"all the drum mic").
    Once you have trained your self to "hear" phase ( you can begin this self training by listenning to the resultant stereo bus mix with headphones on when you place the mics...a graet learning tool) you can quickly moive around a room/instrument and "hear" spots where mics can go to record the perspective you need for the given part...within the contaext of the song and parts already recorded.

    That said..."flip[ing] the phase on one of them, then move them around to get the 'quietest' sound possible (barely audible). Then flip the phase back and they will now be almost perfectly in phase." is actually the beggining of what I've just stated.
    -.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
    happy recording
     
  17. tubedude

    tubedude Active Member

    Hey recorderman... I'm not sure I'm following you exactly. From what I'm gathering its weird and out of whack, so I'm probably gathering wrong.
     
  18. Speedy

    Speedy Guest

    Hi RecorderMan,
    I’ve been out of the loop for a while (mixing… ).
    10x for clearing things up.
    I’ll give it a try in the next coming project.

    My OH setup is getting lower and lower over the years…

    Peace,

    Zooot.
     
  19. Tekker

    Tekker Active Member

    Originally posted by RecorderMan:


    With due respect, while this may give you a lack of coloration (i.e. "in phase") between the overhead mics, it can/will be very arbitray and may/probably have no relationship to the other mics (i.e.,snare,kick,toms,etc).

    True, but then again you're never really going to get everything in phase with each other if you have overheads, snare, kick drum, and tom mics. But getting the overheads in phase is a good place to start and that technique seems like it would work extremely good.

    -tkr
     
  20. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by tubedude:
    Hey recorderman... I'm not sure I'm following you exactly. From what I'm gathering its weird and out of whack, so I'm probably gathering wrong.
    1. sit on the drummer's throne/stool.
    2.Hold both drum sticks end-to-end so that you have a measuring device ( aprox. 16"...give or take).
    3. place the tip of one end of your new double- length-drums-stick-measuring-device in the center of the snare with the "drum sticks" held vertically.
    4. The other end will now(depending on how tall you are) be a little above and in front of your forehead.
    5. Place a mic here. I've been aiming it down at the snare as of late...
    6. With the tip of the "drum sticks" still in the center of the snare, angle the "stick back and down, so that's it's to the right of your right shoulder ( about a 45 degreee angle)
    7. Use amic cable. Measure the distance of the over the snare mic to the center of the kick drum. Check that the "right shoulder" mic is also the same distance.
    8. Doulble check the snare distance again.

    9. As far as where to face them...experiment. I like the extra snare reinforcement, so as of late I've been facing them both at the snare. facing them at the rack and floor toms also produces good results.
    10. one last thing to check. with headphones on, both "OH" mics in your cue mix (only them) .fine tune the placement (i.e. adjust their orientation...usualliy just moving the shoulder one) untill the kick is in the center of your "image"
    11. When your done you'll notice that at first glance, this looks very weird and unsymmetrical. Yet it is very symmetrical in it's result. A. Rack toms are higher off the floor than floor toms, so this arrangement actually follows the contour of the toms as they really are. Standard OH micing doesn't take this into account, and as such are usually no more than "cymbal mics". Most of them time you see mixers pulling the OH's down to -10 or more in the mix because of the over abundance of cymbals and badly phased snare/kick/toms in the "OH's". I tend to focus my OH on being a cornerstone of my whole kit sound, and as such, and have spent great pains into making the snare/kick/tom elements speak as well as possible. I guess you could say I'm a "drum bigot". It's just that if you "ignore" the cymbals you actually are going to hear them anyway...like the hat, there just so damn loud.

    Now, I'm actually almost overstaing this point (almost to the point of being out of context) ,but I'm doing it, so as to explain my method.

    Hope this has been helpful
     

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