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Recording Drums...Help Please.

Discussion in 'Drums' started by jfavela, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    Hi all. Looking to add mics for recording acoustic drums to my studio.
    I have a pair of SM57s, 1 SM58A, a Peavey drum mic set which includes: 1 PVM 325 (snare), 1 PVM 321 (kick), 3 PVM 328s. (toms). I know these are not the greatest mics in the world, but they are what I've got. I've also wondered if i should use my Rode NT100 and/or CAD E-200 to, "cover more ground?" My mixer is a Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro and my MOTU 828 mkII firewire has 2 mic pres. I just bought the Brick too. I have no compressors or EQ on the front end. I will be post processing with my UAD-1 card.

    The drum kit is a 5 piece: 1-10" rack tom, positioned directly over the kick, 1-16" floor tom, 1-18" floor tom, 24" kick, 2 Zildjian A Custom fast crashes (15" & 18") positioned 1 on the left, 1 on the right, Zildjian 20' ride, positioned to the far right, Pearl Masters Custom 14" X 6.5" Snare, and of course hi hat, to the far left.

    I want to upgrade my kick mic (not too happy w/it).
    I've read either the Audix D6 or the AKG D112?
    Also I want to give the kit the best stereo image possible with good overheads. What worthy, budget friendly, stereo condenser mics are out there?

    Also, guys if any of you have any photograpghs, tips, or general input of how the pro's do it, or how I can/should do it with what I've got, please post them.

    Eager for replies.
    Recording.org's, "Apprentice"
  2. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    I would say to use your 1 of the 57s on snare, one on the two toms that are closest together, and your 58 on the other tom. Grab a D6 or D112 for the kick..... You could uses your Rode and CAD for overheads but the balance will be different because your using different mics. If you grab another of either the Rode or Cad they both make alright overheads..... Then you can use your left over condensor as a room mic.....

    This is how i usually do drums even though i wouldn't consider myself pro by any stretch, but I've gotten great results depending on the style/drummer/drums. A lot of what you do depends on the style of music, but if you are going for something that leaves a lot of options at mixdown, this works.....

    Set up a matched pair of condensors so that they are equidistant from the snare drums... I usually have one infront and to the right (as if drumming) of the hihat, and one over the floor tom. This way you have the snare in the middle, your toms to the left and right....the way most people mix it. Then sit in the control room or whatever your using and listen. Tune the drums accordingly , and make adjustments to your mics until you get a usable drum sound just from the overheads. Then add in a kick mic and repeat. Once you are happy with the way it sounds on mic placement and drum tuning alone go further. This way you only end up working on one drum at a time rather than micing everything up and having to deal with moving 10 mics around. Next add the snare drum. For certain more open styles this might be all you need. But again get it sounding good in the control room without any effects before you continue. If you need more control over toms, add mics on those also one at a time, tuning the drum and making minor adjustments until it is the best you can possibly make it sound. I like to put a stereo pair of distant mics in the room anywhere from 10 to 25 feet, but if you don't have a stereo pair then you can use just one. I like to have these for mixing in cool parts, and adding more air to the set if its needed. It might sound really roomy while tracking, but if you put a full arrangement of music over the top, I find myself reaching for my distant pair all the time. But the same rules apply for any distant mics....move them around until you have a sound you like.... If you are recording in a garage or something your best bet will be to deaden the room as much as possible and add ambience later, unless you want some really boxy sounding stuff.....but if you mic it all up and its to your liking in whatever room, then your cool. If its miced up and sounds the best possible, but still isn't cutting it for you, then you need to either change the drumset or the room its in. Sorry this is long but i hope it helps.

  3. jfavela

    jfavela Guest


    Long.....no way. I absolutely LOVE the info.
    Any and all replies are cherished. LOL.

  4. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    Stereo Condensers

    Im leaning towards the Rode NT5 matched pair of condensers. I've read some great reviews and the price cant be beat. Any thoughts?

  5. Waxman

    Waxman Guest

    4 overhead channels of drums

    The D6 certainly is a bad-ass. It's got the beef and the snap. Right now I'm using a stereo condenser (AT825) right in the middle, and two Audix fseries condensers on the outside, equidistant and pointing to the small triangle formed by the kick, rack tom and snare. With the D6, and depending on the music, I've found that this works really well for a live, open sound. I then add other mic's to taste starting with snare.
  6. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    The NT-5's are very nice (for the $$) as overheads. They have a weird (good) silkiness to them that seems to tame the harshness out of overly bright rooms.

  7. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    D6 or D112

    The format of the music I'll be recording is pop/rock.
    Think of Cold Play, Gavin DeGraw, Train.
    So the question is Audix d6 or AKG D112.
    I've heard the D112 feedbacks alot.
    On the flip side, I've heard you plug in the D6 and, "GO."
  8. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Your PVM Drum mics can get you what you want. I have them and I use them on every project I do. I like them more than 57's on drums and almost as much as Sennheiser 421's on drums. I think positioning of the mics and processing is what you may need work on. I can always get a good kick sound out of my PVM kick with a little EQ. I'd say practice more and get some nice overheads first. Like the already mentioned NT-5's
  9. jonnyc

    jonnyc Guest

    What ever you do buy a D6. I had an akg and the shure and neither one gave me the almost perfect kick sound that the D6 gives with no eq. With the others I generally have to tweak eq and compress for a while to get the sound. with the D6 the lowend is punchy and thick and the beater strike sounds perfect completing the kick with very little eqing I wouldn't trade it for any other kick mic.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    It all depends on what you like.

    If you want a lot of "tick" the D6 may not be your fave .. I prefer the D112 myself ... but I like that "basketball hitting the concrete" sound (yes it is what it sounds like) and I think the D112 gets more deep low end as well.

    I have found at mix, the D112 gets me where I want to be most of the time, better than any other mic I have used (RE20 / 421's, D6, etc). Don't get me wrong, I like these other mics, the D6 included too. I kept the D6 Audix gave me for review ( the special addition nickle plated version). It depends on what the drum is like as to which one I choose. It is nice to have options. No one mic will work for all applications, especially with drums.

    It is important though, that the drum is well tuned and damped. I don't ever place any padding or pillows in the kick drum ... that only muffels the sound of the shell. I use REMO clear heads with "Dead Ringers" on both heads, a 6" hole cut into the front head so I can get the mic into the drum and a hard beater. I also cover the drum with moving blankets to help the isolation and to keep the ringing down on the rack toms.
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    D6...D112...RE20...D12...Beta 52....MD421....The EV with the condenser and the dynamic capsules(dont remember the number...(EV835???)...uhhh U47....MD409...U67... Audix D4(great little kick mic!!!)

    Theres others...My point being that this is an endless tailchasing at this point.The CAD kick mic sounds real good.I recently did a session and used it on the low tom...GREAT! These mics all exhibit some quality and all have their own redeeming features and sound.Is one 'better' than the other?Is there a "best'??There may be a 'better' for a certain style of drumming coupled with a certain drum tuning married to a particular drummer playing...but then the next guy steps in and brings another set of parameters and all that is thrown out da window and its start at scratch.

    For those who ONLY record their own stuff with the same kit time and time again, its a no brainer.You simply find what works for you and claim it to be perfect.And it is.

    If you are a studio for hire and you have ZERO control over the kits that come in the door, you better have a wide variety of drum related recording devices on hand.

    The last studio I worked at commercially had a KILLER drum sound.Its why we had more business than we could take care of.But then it was planned that way.We had 20 mics we could safely call 'drum mics'...and we had an area we could call a drum booth that was capable of being dead as hell or as live as a cement basement.

    I too like the 'basketball on the floor' sound.I just dont like it all the time.I like the 'instant' drum sound..especially if its simply a demo for hire kinda thing some band is putting together for themselves.I look for simplistic drum noises but I also require the DRUMS to be in great shape,tuning,mechanically,in all ways a pro setup.New heads are not the trick.'Newer' heads are better...some that have seated and are stretched properly.The drum set will have much more to do as well as the room to making a great sound, than any mic.I say that simply because I know its truth.A great kit in a good solid room can be mic'd with amazing mics like the SM57 and sound KILLER.Whereas a badly tuned poor sounding kit in a terrible room will sound exactly like that and the better the mics' lineage the more prominent this sound will become.In that case you want the crappiest mics you can find.

    Most people will get on the better mic train as an alternative to tuning the room and the kit simply because its easier.Dont get me wrong..I LOVE microphones.More than any other piece of gear.And while a quality frontend will always help, it will never replace a quality room to record in and highend drums demand a quality space to achieve these results .of course YMMV.

    And to Joshua ....I've found over the years that a 24" bass drum is one of the hardest things to record.First off their loud and this can present bleed problems into the other drum mics.Secondly, they are hard to tune out a lot of transients.They're great live but in the studio, I've had more problems with large kicks than any other drum...except even sized floor toms.Ala...18" floor,20" floor...dont ask me why they just dont play well in the studio...Again, YMMV.For a better kick sound, try a smaller kick drum.A 20" is ideal especially if its a quality drum...DW..Pearl...whatever.

    A quick story...A drummer had a kit in that was a MONSTER...really large drums and a LOT of em.All very deep..By the time we had eliminated all the problem drums and hardware, he was down to an 12"and a 13" on the rack...a 15" on the floor and both kicks...both 24X24...And ten drums piled up in the corner.Packing blankets three thick on the kicks..A D12 in one and RE20 in the other...a U87 in between outside the shells...Beyer 201 and 422 on the snare(a monstrous 14X10 custom built thing and SM81's on the toms...Two Neumann 87's overhead ortf.He found that only using what sounded good eliminated a lot of excess noises he was getting at other studios and it helped him simplify his playing while retaining his power.Simple eh....Took us a week to get there but it was worth it.
  12. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    Points well taken

    For all who have replied, Thank You.
    Youve given MUCH to chew on.

  13. jonnyc

    jonnyc Guest

    Hey kurt I have the nickel plated one too actually traded my black one for it. You say if you like tick(the basketball sound) you may not like the D6. I like it because it gives me that tick sound and most of the time I don't have to eq to get that sound. Is there something that can get me even more of that sound, or a better version of it?
  14. surefire99

    surefire99 Guest

    i'm just starting out my drum recording venture. i got a set of those new CAD mics. i guess they are so new CAD doesn't even have anything about them on their website.

    my first need is several preamps. then i'll be able to test everything out.

    but right now i'm kind of worried about bleeding. my plug in's have some decent settings for noise gates. but if i want to run a compressor before i go digital thats gonna make it harder for my noise gates to work properly huh? and i'm a little worried the overheads pick up too much of the drums compared to cymbals.

    i get a halfway decent home recording from just the overheads but i have to mic everything so i can EQ them and pan them. my drums and room acoustics are very poor quality.

    i'll try to get some clips up tomorrow.
  15. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    if you have more drums then cymbals congratulations.....thats what i constantly strive for. A little room treatment goes a very long way in getting a more balanced sound out of drums. If you need more cymbals in your overheads, move the mics higher and pointing at the tops of the cymbals.....

  16. Kris_Hilbert

    Kris_Hilbert Guest

    I use a the Audix fusion 6-piece drum mic kit plus an SM57 and a Beta 52. I mostly record local punk bands so this is perfect for me. I use 1 F-10 on each rack tom, 1 F-10 on the hi-hats, the F-12 on the floor/low tom, the SM57 on the snare (through compressor) and the beta 52 on the kick (through compressor). I position the overheads so that an invisible line is drawn through the drumset, dividing between the toms and the cymbals. I then run each F-10 and F-15 stereo depending on the side. I get a pretty decent sound out of them. The key to getting a more professional sound is some reverb though. If your room doesnt have perfect reverb throw some on. It makes the quality 10 times better.
  17. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    Interesting note on the CAD Kit Dave....

    That post was 3.5 years ago, so it may be different from the one I have (TSM411s for snare/tom, KBM for kick).

    I use the KBM on the floor tom, and trade out the TSM and a 57 on the rack, depending on the situation. Mic'd right and with an LPF in EQ, that floor tom sounds HUGE w/o being too boomy/flubby

    And I personally use the Beta52 for kick and a 57/BlueBall top/bottom combo on the snare.
    I like the 52 b/c I think it gets a pretty clean take, allowing me to EQ/compress the kick to suit the song in post.
    I would like to have a D112 for a change of pace.
    And there's something about the Ball on the snare - really captures the actual snares and mixes well w/ a really tight, snappy top sound (read: powerful but a little unnatural, imho).
    Un/fortunately, I record in a large church sanctuary (roughly 30x40x15-30ft), and rarely need a room mic. Instead I place an LCD a few feet back from the hi-hat side of the kit.

    And in regards to your notes on kit tuning/quality and room,
    I always think of what a local pro engineer told us at a recording workshop I participated in:
    GI = GO ; Garbage In = Garbage Out
    I've found it might be the most important recording axiom I've ever heard
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    GEEZ that is an old post!

    Its all still true. In the last couple of years I'm using almost exclusively the ATM25 on the outside of the kick and the Audix D4 inside at the beater. (Sometimes though, for a more rumbly low end I'll use a Kel HM1 out in front. What an amazing little mic!!) These two mics compliment each other and it doesnt seem to be specific to any one drum. I have gone away from my 30 year old SM57's to an Audix i5 on the snare top. Its close to the SM57 in tonal range it just seems a little smoother on the highs. Not as much 'glare' in the 2K range. I went a number of years without micing the bottom of the snare, probably the type of sessions, but now I'm using an Audix D1 under the snares. Its very hypercardioid and this helps eliminate a lot of bleed. With the phase flipped it gets real big and keeps the snare sound. I have been using a single overhead when I close mic the drums. Its a Studio Projects B3 and since its a bit dark it seems to give a depth of field to the cymbals. Plus its multi pattern so I can do a figure of eight over the kit which some of you should try Its a decent enough effect to warrant typing about here. Again, phase relationship is all important.
  19. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    Yeah, I found it while searching for something else under the topic "drum recording".

    Besides - I think it's a good thing to do a reality check and look back.
    Gear may have been updated/replaced, and opinions may have changed!

    When I have room in the budget for the Audix mics I'll try those as well.
  20. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    +1 for Audix, also try an RE27 in the kick.

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