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Using different mics as overheads

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by jjg, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. jjg

    jjg Guest

    Am interested in everyone's thoughts about using two different mics as drum overheads. For me it's a practical matter - have two MXL 603's but one of everything else (AKG 414, Crown CM700, variety of dynamics...). Seems like the plus of getting two different sounds could be a positive. Just a thought!
  2. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    I've used two different large capsule condensors, a large capsule condensor and a small capsule condensor, two different small capsule condensors and I liked the results I got each time.

    Try it. If it sounds good, it is good.
  3. veatch

    veatch Active Member


    Two things to avoid (IMHO):

    1> If you mix a dynamic and a condenser, there will be phasing issues: the dynamic has a 90 degree phase shift that will give you problems you probably won't want. (it can make for a useful effect, though....) Stick to condensers, and you'll be safer.

    2> If the two mics sound drastically different, try to keep the panning close to center. A wide spread will likely sound off, as the brighter sounding mic will generally sound closer.

    Personally, i never mix mics that are going toward a stereo spread. But, Screws is right: If it sounds good, it is good.

    Opinions vary.... trust your own ears.
  4. AudioMan9000

    AudioMan9000 Guest

    I also try to stereo all my overheads and have found that 2 like large condensor's overhead spread far with small condensor's stereod (depending on kit) on hat and china/ride add an image with of course at least one room mic (another large condensor)up high on omni. Everything through tubes if you can.
  5. sonixx

    sonixx Guest

    How are you positioning the mics?
  6. jjg

    jjg Guest

    I am using "recorderman's" setup with the overheads placed app. two drumsticks above the snare (one over the left shoulder of the durmmer, the other slightly in front and over the right side above the floor tom. Both are speced equally from the snare and base drum.
  7. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Is this a rule of thumb to follow when using dynamics mixed with condensers? I've never heard this before. Lots of implications here, considering multi-mic drum setups and guitar amp mic'ing.
  8. AudioBoffin

    AudioBoffin Guest

    Have you tried MS Stereo using say an AKG 414 and an AKG 451 together ?
  9. veatch

    veatch Active Member

    Like anything else, it depends... :)

    Think about how a dynamic mic and a condenser mic works: The dynamic moves a diaphragm past a coil. When the diaphragm is at rest, the output of the coil is 0. The diaphragm is at rest at the positive (and negative, for that matter) peaks of the acoustic signal. Likewise, when the acoustic signal is passing from negative into positive pressure, the diaphragm is moving at (typically) it's highest rate, which causes a peak in the diaphragm's output. This in effect puts the output of a dynamic 90 degrees out of phase with the acoustic source.

    Condenser mics operate much differently in that a change in acoustic pressure will cause the same change in the mic's output. Its output is in phase with the input.

    So, if you use a dynamic and a condenser as a stereo pair, they will be out of phase by 90 degrees. This typically is not a desired effect, but play with it, it could make something cool.

    As far as micing a kit, there should be no problem using, for example, dynamics on the snare, kick, and toms, and using condensers for overheads (which is pretty much the standard approach, right?). Using multiple mics will always give some form of phase problems. The fact that some are dynamic and some are condenser in this case i think is trivial. Especially since the levels of any drum hitting the various mics will be different due to placement.

    However, a stereo pair of overheads will be mixed evenly, so the phasing is more an issue.

    Opinions vary, trust your own ears....
  10. veatch

    veatch Active Member

    Mixing dynamics and condensers can be useful in other ways. For example, one technique i use for open backed guitar amps with distortion: i'll use a 57 (or 421, E609, or whatever) dynamic in front positioned to taste (get it sounding good on it's own...). Then, i'll use a condenser behind the amp placed as near as possible to 180 degrees out of phase acoustically, play with the phase buttons on each channel, and mix to taste. This will put two signals 90 degrees out from each other, which causes a very hip combing/resonance effect (that can easily be over-done...) I usually put the rear mic back a bit in the mix.

    Opinions vary, trust your own ears....

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