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Where Would You Start?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Todzilla, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    I've got a hankering to try some three mic recording techniques for drums. Here's what I have to work with:

    Room: 23' X 16' with 14' cathedral ceilings, copious OC703 and Ethan Weineresque bass traps
    Drums: mid-range 80s era Tamas with nice high-end Zildjian cymbals and a bad-ass 60s Leedy snare
    Mics: 2 X Peluso P12 tube mics, a Neumann U-89, lots of dynamic mics
    Preamps: 2 X SCA A12 preamps (API clones), SCA N72 (Neve clone), Demeter HM-1 stereo tube pre
    Interface: MOTU 896HD (nearly new Apogee Symphony I/O died and is on its way to Santa Monica - grrrrr)
    Monitors: DynAudio BM15As, Audix 1As, cheap boom box
    DAW: (not that it matters): Digital Performer 8.03

    I'm thinking of starting with drums off-center toward, but not in middle of room, with P12s in cardiod pattern as coincident pair about 5 feet above drums going into A12 preamps, then the U89 near the floor, pointing at kick drum, the same distance from kick beater as the OHs, going through the N72 preamp, with 80KHz roll off.

    Then, I want to try Bleumlein pair with the P12s and maybe space overheads, taking care to have the U89 the same distance from kick beater contact point.

    I have only a one room studio, but I'll be working alone anywho, so it'll be a lot of adjusting, photodocumenting and listening.

    Any advice on what else I should try would be most welcome.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Where Would I Start? It all depends on what sound you're looking for. The condenser mics you have are all good for overhead and room mics but while some will do it, I wouldn't dare put them in a bass drum as close mics. So with the 3 mics you want to use I'd do 2 overheads and a centre room mic or a few feet from the bassdrum for a great vintage roomy sound.

    If you want a more tight sound, add some dynamic mics.
    Adding a sm57 a few inches from the snare and a beta 52 (or a AKG D112) close to the bassdrum would be my way to go and get some close mics in the game...
  3. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    pcrecord, thanks for the input. No, I would not put my sweet Neumann in the kick. My thinking is with yours - that I would put the Neumann out several feet from the kick as a room mic that got some nice kick sound. And since the OHs would be about 6' above the beater head contact point with the kick, I'd have the Neumann that far from it as well, for phase issues.

    I've done lots of multi-mic approaches, but I want to stick with three for experimentation purposes.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The U89 will handle anything the kick drum can throw at it. You want it about 3' in front of the kick and slightly elevated....say about the height of the top of the kick for more highs and lower for more lowend.

    I think you have the right starting point with what you laid out and you have a good room which helps a lot.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    You can try 2 overhead and a room mic (1-2' facing a wall..) just move it around and record. Experiments are great to do !! have fun ;)
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Agree with Dave....I have a U89 and wouldn't hesitate to use it on Kick. It can take it. That being said, it's probably not my first choice for that application, I prefer dynamics like an RE 20 for that app.

    You've got some nice gear, Tod - certainly much better than the standard faire that we commonly see here when beginners mention that they have a Chinese condenser and a Realtek audio card - LOL - and you have a nice space to experiment with as well. You may also want to look into some diffusion in the room. Without hearing what you are doing it's a little hard to expand on that kind of treatment.

    I'd definitely be experimenting with all kinds of stereo arrays... X/Y, M-S / Bleumlein, etc., to see how the drums sound in an ambient stereo capture of the room. Work with varying distances and heights. It would help to have a drummer there to play while you move the mics around so you can monitor in real time searching for those sweet spots.

    Might I make another suggestion, and offer up the possibility that your drum heads will also come into play here? I'd look at trying some coated ambassadors on the toms as well as the snare, along with the standard pin stripe types or hydraulic heads... stay away from black dots - unless you are after a dead/shallow sound... Coated A's and Pins will give you far more pleasing overtones, although as you are probably aware, the style of music and the individual playing style of the drummer will also come into play here as to which you might use.

    Let us know what you find out or come up with. Would love to hear samples!

  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    we leave an 87 about a foot an a half off the kick as standard at the studio(+d112 inside). it may change your mind about being precious about the mic, after you hear it. i've been using a 'kit mic' alot lately. an LDC 3-8 ft in front of kit, between kick and snare height. adds both punch and ambiance.

    you may want try this famous 3 mic setup.


    also w/ a nice big room, record your rooms reverb. place the mic facing the a wall or ceiling about 8 inches away from wall. pretty far from the kit, or up way high. your literally recording the room reflections. or do the same in an adjoing room/closet bathroom/ hall. it's an old trick, and an old pro introduced me to facing the mic towards the wall. haven't used artificial drum reverb an 2 years. it's at least worth trying in a few places.

    make sure you post some samples/pics. lookind forward to hearing those peluso's as OH's!
  8. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Thanks guys, and yes, I'll try the Glyn John's method as well as the recorderman method.

    But rachet down the expectations of the samples. I will be the drummer and it's my nineteenth best instrument.

    Donny, you're right that I'm a spoiled little bitch when it comes to gear, thanks to a tolerant, if not supportive spouse. FWIW, I've been recording as a serious hobby for decades. Now that I've got one kid left to put through college, I'm spreading a little love my way. It's still cheaper than golf.
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    okay, so your excused from the "great musicians make great drum sounds" speech. :)
  10. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    That's a thing?
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL... I really wasn't inferring that at all. I was merely pointing out that many of the queries we get start with "I have a $99 Chinese Condenser Mic and a Soundblaster Card, how do I get it to sound like ? (insert favorite professionally recorded song or act here)... Or, "I have $159 to spend... what can I buy in that budget to sound like ... ?" (again, insert artist/record recorded at Hit Factory, Abbey Road, etc.)

    So I certainly wasn't knocking you in any way, shape or form... and there was no "left handed" compliment. I was sincere when I said that you had some nice gear. ;)

    And as far as I'm concerned, you never need to make excuses as to how you are able to afford what you use. The only important thing is that you use it. :)

  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Oh my !! I need to remember to tell this to my girlfriend !! thumb
  13. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Oh, Donny, no worries. I didn't think you were dissing me at all. Pardon my self-parody unintentionally at your expense. I was not really meaning to imply you said that, just that I acknowledge it as the truth, even if I'm the only one saying it.

    I know what you mean about folks trying to get a $1,000,000 sound out of cheap equipment. As for me, I'm struggling to get beyond a $50 microphone sound with my boutique $*^t.

  14. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Uh oh, if she's hassling you about gear in the girlfriend stage...
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    lol. sure is. Pretty much any forum, and most audio people, no matter what the persons question is on the sonics of their recording, almost inevitably gets the 'speech'. and never gets the answer to their question about the technical 'sound'

    example: how can i fatten up the this acoustic, any eq suggestions?

    forumrat102 : well i notice at around 1:03 in the song the bass player is out of rhythm w/ the kick drum. this fingerpicking pattern is played a bit rushed in the chorus's, and really is to busy anyway.

    -then the inveitable. Great songs, played by talented musiciacns in nice rooms, make great recordings. you may really want to think about getting a better performance. also, is your room treated, you may want to look into some moving blankets.

    lol, it's all so true, and well documented, but sometimes ya just wanna know if you should add some 80hz. meanwhile the poster has had their song re-arranged and their self confidence sent down the river. gotta love it!
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I hadda laff! No matter what the level of expertise on particular instruments, I find that the more fearless you are the better the track regardless.....I'm no drummer either but with properly placed whacks and thuds who can tell?? (you REAL drummers dont try this at home without safety equipment)

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