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Overheads: Large or Small Diaphragm?

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by lukevicious, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. lukevicious

    lukevicious Active Member

    i am about to invest in some nice overheads, and am not sure weather to buy a matched pair of small condensers or 2 large diaphragm condensers, to use as overheads. I mostly record heavy rock/pop, and like my drums to sound huge. currently using D112 on the kick, sm57's on top and bottom of the snare, and on the toms. Does anyone have any advice on what type of overheads would suit me best? thanks for your help!
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Sorry! I think you are going to get a ton of "my favorite OH mic is XXX" and not find any real consensus other than some sort of condenser. People have used both LDC and SDC with great success depending on the room, the drums, the drummer, and the person doing the recording.

    For my part, I've liked SDCs better, but that may have to do with my room with an 8' ceiling. I liked the Rode NT5s and 55s better than my pair of AKG 414s (surprised me). I like my new SM81s even better, but they sometimes wind up on acoustic guitar.

    I realize that this only makes your job harder, but nothing I can do. Buy a pair of solid, good quality condensers and you will do all right, even if you end up using other mics in the future.
  3. droc8705

    droc8705 Active Member

    i agree with bob on this one. if you've got a room that's not in the greatest standing acoustically, i'd go with SDCs closer to the kit, which in my case are exactly the same as bob, Rode NT5s or SM81s. if the rooms big and the drums sound equally as huge, i'd go with LDCs, which for me happen to be a pair of Rode NT2-As. HOWEVER, if i were you, i think a big part of my decision would be on what type of condensers i already had. you mentioned that you have the D112 and the sm57s, but do you have an LDC for vocals? if so, i'd invest in the SDCs. if not, then i might go for a pair of LDCs. It also depends on what else you want to do with them, as far as maybe using them as room mics later on, recording acoustic guitars, etc. budget might be a big one too...as far as i've seen, a matched pair of SDCs seems to be cheaper than a pair of LDCs, depending on what you settle on.

    ultimately, i think you need a set of both SDCs and LDCs in the long run, but based on what you've listed, i think a pair of SDCs, like the Rode NT5s or Shure SM81s, would be the way i'd go, and then the sm57s would be used for my vocals.

    let us know what else you've got and what you're budget is and maybe we can narrow it down a little more.
  4. droc8705

    droc8705 Active Member

    i just remembered this thread. it may help you out...or make your decision making even harder.


    (Dead Link Removed)
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Both great and sound replys.

    Drum kit overheads rely on the space they are in more than any of the other mics on the kit simply because they arent a 'close' mic.

    I dont have a particular favorite for drum overs per se but I do have a few choices I would make per the room, the drummer, and the style of music.

    In general, if you are in a fairly live room situation with no treatment above the kit, then a set of SDC's will probably give you less problems in getting the drums to behave in a mix. This will vary with the height of the ceiling as has been mentioned. A room with a lot of control above and around the kit will lend itself to a mic choice that is all about tone and increases your choices dramatically.

    The drummer cannot be overlooked in this equation. If you are buying for a studio situation where you will be recording multiple drummers and multiple kits then a mic you can easily EQ and one that has a pad on it is going to be in order. If its for your own project and a single drummer with the same kit, then look at his setup, address his strength of his hit, and the weight and size of the cymbals. Does he ride the bell of the rides? Are his cymbals low to the toms? Does he crash with the tip or the side of a stick? Can he play quiet without loss of feel and tempo? Are his cymbals better used on stage with a lot of amp bleed and a high db level?

    With heavy rock/pop, you probably have all these issues at hand and dealing with them is going to determine the choice of a quality overhead set up.

    There are a LOT of very very good SDC's and LDC's in the under a grand per pair level that will do a great job.

    Fill in the blanks of those points I have made and get back at us.

    BTW. HUGE drums come from GREAT TUNING and proper mic placement on the drums, strict attention paid to phase, coupled with a great room mic placement, and all starting with a great drummer.
  6. lukevicious

    lukevicious Active Member

    thanks for all your help, i will be recording multiple drummers, i'm recording drums in a room with a smaller roof, about 8 feet. the room has no treatment, and is about 14x19 feet. i think SDC's will suit me best for now.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    You didnt put in your budget so its really hard to advise on a particular mic. Bob and droc have mentioned the SM81 Shures which are great for most things as well as the NT5/55 Rodes. I will add the Audio Technica 4051's and if you want a real bright mic the AKG 4051. The pd is going to be your friend in your case and probably save your ass on the overheads in many cases.

    I would hope that you would at least treat the corners of this area and do something over the drum position. This will be your best investment.

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