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What mics are best for drum overheads and bass drum recording?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by trumpetprod, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    I'm looking for cheap (50-100 dollar range for each mic) overhead and bass drum mics to record my drum set. I already know what I'm going to be using for the snare (sm57 of course).
  2. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    SM57, SM57, and SM57.
    Seriously, one of my favorite albums as an engineer was done this way...
    with only a few exceptions, one being the OH mics.

    Generally you want decent condenser mics for OHs. Not gonna happen in that range.
    If you can make it a throw away mic, try the MXL 990s.
    I hate them, but my engineer friend likes them for OHs (he does a lot of live work) - so I'm selling him my pair for $50.
    You may hate them too. Cheap condensers have a tendency to sound harsh and brittle.

    Also, you usually want an LDD mic for kick drum. Probably also not gonna happen in that range.
    They DID use a 57 on the kick for the album I mentioned above...
  3. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    So SM57s as overheads and kick drum mics? I'm not much of an audiophile so I wouldn't mind (or even notice) if the sound quality was "bad".
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, I wasn't completely clear.

    My point was that you could do worse on that budget.
    Look at it this way:
    You can buy 2 junk condensers that you will use for awhile and then (maybe) decide they make better paper weights...
    or you can buy something like 57s and have mics that can be used on snare, tom, guitar cab, and almost everything else if you place it right.

    Sounds like your bigger need is to keep you budget.
    Get three workhorse-for-life mics and learn to record w/ those.
    I own 4 57s myself, in addition to about 20 other mics.
    Guess which gets used the most and sometimes has me wishing I had one or two more?

    All that said, someone will have suggestions for you in that price range. I'd say look at the Audix line of mics. Try them all if you can. Just don't forget that purchasing audio gear is making an investment. I try to go for known commodities, not risky ventures...
  5. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    I confess that I didn't mind my pair of B#$$#ger B5's as dirt cheap overheads. Eventually replaced with NT5s, but still useful now and then when all else is in use and I'm out of options, and they did the job for me as OH mics for a couple of years. They have a built in HPF. If budget is the main issue and you don't mind the fact that you will want to upgrade at some point, you could try them out and compare to other low end SDCs. Their resale value will be very low, though, just so you know.
  6. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I will try and be more like Jack Atttack...
    I will try and be more like Jack Attack...
    I will try....http://recording.org/home-project-studios-newbies/44640-how-connect-mixer-audio-interface-2.html

    Trumperprod "I'm not much of an audiophile so I wouldn't mind (or even notice) if the sound quality was "bad"." Hopefully the reason you are here is so that you will become more audiophile friendly and I think most people here would agree that while you think you are not able to tell the difference between good and bad you most likely already can to some degree. If you continue to do recording work you will hone that ability.
    One of the problems is this. Our ears can only develop to the level of the gear which we provide them. Am I saying that you should spend $2400.00 on mics as an entry level recording engineer, well it wouldn't hurt but it is unrealistic. So I think that nearly everyone here would agree with this you should buy gear that has true quality even when buying budget gear. A decent quality mic for example bass mics Audix D-6 ($185) AKG D-12 ($249) AKG D-112 ($210) Shure Beta 52 ($185) will give you pro results (you could spend much much much more) and retain 80% of their value if well cared for. Which means you could use them for a year and sell them for a cost to you of $30-$50.

    So if you absolutely must stay on your budget of say $300.00 for three mics I would suggest you get one of the above mics which will be a permanent addition to your mic locker and then buy two disposable OH mics maybe something like this CAD GXL1200 Small-Diaphagm Pencil Condenser Microphone AUDIO VIDEO ACCESSORIES ACCESSORIES

    The problem with this option is that OHs are responsible for the overall sound of the kit so we are greatly reducing the quality of the recording. If we stick to your budget however 2 quality OH mics are more than you can allot, so this is why when trying to stay in your budget and end up with at least 1 quality mic I chose the quality bass mic, disposable pencil condenser route.

    So I am going to tell you that I have purchased OH mics now twice and wish I had spent what I did total on one even better set in the beginning. YMMV
  7. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    I could get 3 SM57s... and then in some time I could buy the Shure Beta 52. But if the Beta 52 is $189 why not add a couple of bucks and buy: Buy Sennheiser evolution e902 Dynamic Kick Drum Microphone | Percussion Microphones | Musician's Friend. Then I would have 3 SM57s and a nice kick drum mic. And after that I could buy some quality overhead mics. What do you guys think?

    Oh yeah... I have a question. Is it against the rules to say... uhh... "B#$$#ger"?
  8. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    IMO 57s are great mics probably one of the best $ to performance values in the industry but they make very poor overheads.
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Its not so much that 57's are "poor" overheads, its the fact that you wont have enough mic pre to get them to a level without noise, that will allow them to pick-up a large enough area to be effective as overheads. They'll also be a little 'dark' sounding as a room mic. If you have a quality room to record in....which I doubt.....this might not be a bad thing.

    They will work as overheads, just dont expect sterling results.

    Unfortunately, most of the cheap pencil condensers will skew the sound in such a way as to not really represent what you are trying to record.

    I would trust a Large Diaphram cheap condenser in this case more so than a pair of SDC's.

    So, buy a couple of 57's, the kick drum mic is a fine one....and get something like a Studio Projects B3 used (usually around $100) and use that for your overhead. With good placement, well tuned drums, and a decent room, you'll find its all you'll need for a number of years..
  10. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    I never said I was going to use an SM57 as an overhead. But I will look into investing a couple 100 bucks in some nice overhead mics when I get the chance. Thanks for the help guys...
  11. MorMez

    MorMez Active Member

    Drum Recording

    Some good condensers for overheads (they may be a bit out of your price range, perhaps you can find some used ones somewhere) are Oktava MK-012s

    Rode make some very decent budget mics. I have the Rode NT3s. Actually, you can hear them on drums here:
    Drum Recording – How to Get Great Drum Sounds (Part 1) - EarsandGears.com

    Audio Technica make great condensers, some of my favorites are the AT-4041s. I think they may have similar models in their cheaper 20 series. I think it's the AT2021, and I believe it's actually under $100.
    AKG C1000s are another option, at about $200 each...

    Hope this helps.

    (btw, in the above link you could also find useful information for recording drums, and recording in general with more topics being covered every week).
  12. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    Thanks. I'll consider the higher-end mics... AKG C 1000 or the Rode NT3. Thanks again!
  13. MorMez

    MorMez Active Member

    Also, Shure are selling a "drum mic" package with 3 57s and a beta52 for $400. Effectively this discounts the b52 to be $100. (they also throw in some clips to mount the mics on the drums)
    Didn't know if you're aware of this. If you haven't bought the 57s yet, this may be a cool option for you.

  14. Lukedrummer

    Lukedrummer Guest

    57's are awesome all round mics. I have 4 of them and I actually use 2 of them as drum overheads. I have been able to get some pretty nice recordings with them, even if they may not be suited for being overheads. They also sounds very nice on the snare. And you can't really beat the 57 as a good mic for a guitar cab.
  15. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    @MorMez I am aware of that but the problem is I only have 2 preamps at the moment and considering my budget for mics that's not an option. But I would definitely but that. Or maybe I could wait a little...
    @Lukedrummer Actually your right because I'm going to be using it for trumpet also! Drums and guitar are what it's made for though I believe.
  16. Lukedrummer

    Lukedrummer Guest

    Well I've never used mine on a trumpet but I'm sure it would work pretty well
  17. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    Actually there's a guy on Youtube that does multitracks with the SM57 for trumpet. Here's a link...
    YouTube - TheBig5Brass's Channel
    Here's my favorite one:
    YouTube - The Office Theme Song
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Sm57's arent really "made" for anything in particular.....They were designed as a transducer capable of delivering decent quality sound capture in a live situation and capable of withstanding the rigors of daily abuse.

    I think they have done just that. Its a bonus that they happen to sound great several different sources in a studio setting.
  19. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    If you only have two inputs and want to record decent drum tracks, I have used a bass drum mic and a single LDC as an overhead or more less a room mic. This was a little tricky to place but once you find the sweet spot for your room and kit it is pretty easy to recreate.
  20. MorMez

    MorMez Active Member

    2-mic drum recording

    To expand on the last post, this might yield good results- A spot to try placing the second mic (the non-bass drum mic) is to place an omni mic in the space right above the kick drum and between the toms and snare. This can produce a well balanced and very punchy tone. It has to be a mic that can withstand high pressure levels, so a dynamic is usually used but if you have a condenser with a pad try to use it and see how it sounds.

    EarsandGears.com - quality audio, explained

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