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What mics give the toms a lot of flexibility from style to style?

Obviously won't record jazz toms the same as rock toms... what mic will give me a lot of room to move?



soapfloats Mon, 01/26/2009 - 11:58

+1 on the 421s.

My experiences:
I previously used 57s or CAD TSM411s, and was really happy w/ the difference in the Sennheisers. Plus I wanted to have some options if tracking the kit and amps at the same time.
They also work as great dynamics for guitar cabs, and work nicely w/ some male vocals.
If you can't afford 2, a single 421 placed well does the job on toms, too.

And iamfrobs covered the best advice of all - experiment. A lot cheaper than buying a mic everyone says to, only to find out you don't like it.

dvdhawk Mon, 09/21/2009 - 09:05

Sennheiser 421 = great on any tom and greatness is going to cost a little more.
Sennheiser e604 = extremely good on rack toms, good on floor toms and very reasonably priced.
E-V PL35 is also very good on rack toms, good on floor toms and very reasonably priced.
AKG D112, or an old trusty D12e (if you can find one) can give you really nice results on a big punchy floor tom.

I don't dislike the way an SM57 sounds on toms, but I got tired years ago of crawling around under the drumset at the end of the night looking for the windscreen(s) the drummer had knocked off my mics. The achilles' heel of the 57 is their windscreen. It is virtually spring-loaded and waiting for an excuse to launch. One errant stick and the windscreen is gone, then you can only hope he doesn't hit the now exposed diaphragm before the end of the set. And good luck finding (and reassembling) the spring-clip. I abandonned 57's on drums because I got tired of cobbling them back together. This was years before the beta57 with a mesh-screen was available.

Yeah, yeah, in a perfect world, drummers would never hit the mics.

*FREE TIP: Don't use tape to hold the head on your broken 57. They are designed to have that area open surrounding the black plastic grill. They will sound very muddy and muted if you wrap that with your favorite black tape. A couple carefully placed drops of super-glue will do the job very well without interfering with the mic's tone.

IIRs Tue, 09/22/2009 - 10:44

My favorite tom mic is the Beyer M201. Unfortunately I only own two of those, and one of them is almost always on snare top, so I don't get to point them at toms as often as I would like... I sometimes do live sessions for BBC local radio however, and they have a bag full of them, so I get to indulge myself with 3 on toms AND one on snare top!

Saying that, I would love to have a bag full of 414s to try out instead...

That reminds me of a session I was on at BBC Maida Vale a few years back: we were tracking vocals with a vintage U47 FET (one of a pair). When I asked the engineer about the dents all over the mic she replied "well, if the drummer has only two toms we usually use the Neumanns. Otherwise they get 414s" !!

BobRogers Sun, 10/04/2009 - 11:33

RonanChrisMurphy wrote: [quote=eriatarka]Obviously won't record jazz toms the same as rock toms...

I would.
It's one thing to record rock and jazz toms the same - but I wouldn't mix jazz and rock drums the same. In particular, I don't like the use of heavy gated toms in jazz, and if I mic a jazz session with a rock setup, I rarely use much if any of the tom tracks. Obviously a lot of people disagree - jazz drums sound more and more like rock drums - but it's not for me.

JesterMasque Fri, 10/09/2009 - 12:08

I've been borrowing a second 421 for toms since I bought my first one. Today, I'm going to go BUY a second one for some drum recordings tonight.

I love these mics for toms.. Even bass drums on less extreme playing styles! Not to mention the hundreds of other uses on other instruments that it is great for...

Just about the only problem with the 421 is it's cumbersome size. But make yourself some 90 degree XLR cables and move some cymbals around and they will be the best bet for even pro sound, I believe.

Oh, and just in case the drummer hits it, the mic is near indestructible. I have heard some crazy stories...

anonymous Mon, 11/09/2009 - 07:39

I'm using Sennheiser e604s lately, especially for big rock toms. But, I've also been using a modified Glyn Johns approach, with a large diameter condenser about 6-8 inches over the tom, looking down towards the snare. One over the floor toms with the same positioning, measured to be equidistant from the snare. Basically, you have to experiment a little to get the cymbal to tom balance right, but once you get it, you get a very nice simple setup, with toms that have big body and tone, which I find is usually lacking in 3 mic setups.

I got this idea from a film i saw of a recording session that Thelonious monk did!

studio33 Wed, 11/11/2009 - 00:26

*FREE TIP: Don't use tape to hold the head on your broken 57. They are designed to have that area open surrounding the black plastic grill.

Heck! Ive done this on purpose and wrapped the delay ports from the bottom of the head to just below the grill with electrical tape{several layers}. This gave me a couple of "Omni" 57s that I could stick in a leslie cabinet for B3 tracking. Muddy maybe but u sure couldnt tell on an organ! Always think outside the box. Oh and a Sennheiser E602 on floor tom and bam!! Ive even liked a 58 on floor toms on occasion.

studio33 Wed, 11/11/2009 - 18:35

Well if he fresh out of omni mics and money and has a highly experimental brain. It was for the top rotor. Thought was to pic up everything that was going on in that cabinet. I put one in the back corner of cabinet pointing right at the center of the rotor {tight fit with the boom stand but it worked} and one at the exact opposite side of the cabinet pointed right into the capsule of the other reversed the polarity on one and Bam! Also had a TLM 103 for room and a Beta 92 for the bottom. Mix it all down to stereo and that was the sound. I even put a pair of headphones on and snapped my finger around the mics to see if the polar pattern was indeed affected and it was significantly since I had blocked all the cancellation sound coming into the back of the head with the electrical tape. Tape didnt damage the head or leave any marks on the mics at all as long as I took it off right after the sessions. Sounded Amazing! and if it sounds good it is good!

planet10 Mon, 04/19/2010 - 11:50

e604 like rockstardave suggested, i have been using them on toms for 10 years now and have WOW'd some great drummers (Sean Rickman GarajMahal) with the sound these lit'l gems give off.
i have 421's, ive even used the CAD Trion 8000 on floor toms, i also have used BLUE bluebirds on toms(gotta be careful with them though) i really dont like sm57s anymore. i see people using them on drums nowadays just because they are sampling them in the mix, just getting the transient.

Sennhiezer e604

soapfloats Sun, 06/06/2010 - 22:53

I'll throw my hat in for the 421s. While I do often use 57s for toms, it's because my better choices are limited, and I have plenty of 57s.
As has been mentioned, they're great for a lot of other sources too, if you don't happen to be mic'ing toms. Mine get a lot of use as vocal mics.
Never had the experience of of the e604...

BusterMudd Mon, 06/07/2010 - 08:09

If I've got enough available and I trust the drummer not to be an idiot, I'll put Neumann U87s on all the toms. So phenomenally much better sounding than any of the "usual suspects" (421, 409, D2, SM57, etc) it's not even funny. First time I heard that sound I nearly pooped my drawers. It's my absolute go-to tom mic.

If however the drummer is a gorilla, and/or the studio doesn't have U87s to spare, I really like Electro-Voice RE15s. They sound a bit like a cross between 421s and SM57s only without the peakiness of either and (more importantly) much better off-axis rejection. Plus they're gorilla-proof.


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