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Kick Drum Microphone Shoot-Out!

I would like for you guys to check this video out. I'm curious to hear what peoples favorite kick drum mic choices are!

nate


Comments

kmetal Wed, 04/24/2013 - 02:53
my latest go to has been a d112 inside, w/ a Neumannn 87ai on the outside in figure 8. i use the rear capsule, cuz the the mic is 20yrs old, and the front capsule is undoubtedly stretched out. i know alot of people swear by the beta 52, i just think it's a little too 'clicky', but certainly a nice mic.

one mic that wasn't on there was the shure beta 91. i've use that a fair amount for the extreme beater attack (click), w/ a 112 on the outside. cool post i wish i wasn't on a laptop lol.

Kurt Foster Wed, 04/24/2013 - 03:48
the video is worthless ... levels are too low to make any critical decisions and who knows how these samples were recorded / encoded ..

my favorites are AKG D12 or D112, Audix D6, Shure SM57 or SM7A and in some situations a Sennheiser 421.

kmetal ... you should just toss out that nasty old Neumann with the stretched diaphragm .... give it to me, I'll get rid of it for you ...diddlydoo seriously, what makes you think the caps stretched?

kmetal Wed, 04/24/2013 - 08:37
Kurt, the only thing that makes me thinks it's stretched is the dude i work for said so lol. it's not mine. he's been full time pro for 25yrs, and that was his main LDC till he got the c-12. so i'm just taking his word for it. it's the only 87 i've ever used, so i wouldn't know the difference.

i'm gonna go out on a limb and just say it's likely that the 'somewhat insane' sr. engineer, who he worked for when he started, put the idea in his head recently. which is more likely the scenario. next time i go down, i'll have to try both sides in figure 8, and then the front in cardioid, and see if i even hear a difference. The sr eng, has a tendency to think he's always right and his way is better, i wouldn't be surprised he couldn't even hear a difference, and just wanted to show off some trick he learned 30 years ago.

you right behind me in line when that mic gets tossed. lol

Kurt Foster Wed, 04/24/2013 - 11:54
kmetal, post: 403912 wrote: Kurt, the only thing that makes me thinks it's stretched is the dude i work for said so lol. it's not mine. he's been full time pro for 25yrs, and that was his main LDC till he got the c-12. so i'm just taking his word for it. it's the only 87 i've ever used, so i wouldn't know the difference.

i'm gonna go out on a limb and just say it's likely that the 'somewhat insane' sr. engineer, who he worked for when he started, put the idea in his head recently. which is more likely the scenario. next time i go down, i'll have to try both sides in figure 8, and then the front in cardioid, and see if i even hear a difference. The sr eng, has a tendency to think he's always right and his way is better, i wouldn't be surprised he couldn't even hear a difference, and just wanted to show off some trick he learned 30 years ago.

you right behind me in line when that mic gets tossed. lol

lol can you imagine that? a senior engineer that is opinionated? well , I NEVER have heard of that before! i'm pretty sure the rear capsule will be out of phase with the front .... the way to check it would be to record something that is mono in M/S and then listen to see if there's a difference between the left and right sides ... i seriously doubt there is a problem unless "MR. SENIOR ENGINEER" stuck it in the hole on the front head of a kick drum ....

he probably just needed a reason to talk the studio owner into buying that C12 ... anyways you really don't want that old thing do ya? come on! give an old man a break! toss it my way :tongue:

kmetal Wed, 04/24/2013 - 23:55
okay ya twisted my arm, like a divorce, you or i could have it on weekends, who even wants them anyway 87's make bad singers sound worse.

the way to check it would be to record something that is mono in M/S and then listen to see if there's a difference between the left and right sides

i'm pretty familiar w/ the tracking room and it's asymmetrical, is it up to me to just kinda decipher the differences, or should i test it in a room that's as symmetrical as i can find? Or just switch the mic around in the tracking room so both sides are tried.

unless "MR. SENIOR ENGINEER" stuck it in the hole on the front head of a kick drum
it's not like musicians did illegal things in the 70's, i'm sure this isn't a possibility. facepalm

moonbaby Thu, 04/25/2013 - 15:20
My vote for kick goes to...the Heil PR-40, which probably wasn't on the list. I didn't bother watching the video because, like already stated, what good comes from watching a video? Just a bunch of rock'n'roll punks playing "Mr Potatoehead" with a mic and a drumset....Now what good ever came outta THAT? :)
"Good enough for rock and roll ", indeed!
Also own and enjoy using: Audix D6, E-V RE-20, homemade 'sub-kick' ( a 10" Pioneer hi-fi woofer run through a Sescom mic transformer), and sometimes the venerable 421 when I want more "whack!" and less deep boom.

Really, it's just the "bass drum", what good is it anyway, except to keep the drummer from crashing to the floor when he passes out?

apstrong Thu, 04/25/2013 - 20:30
moonbaby, post: 403987 wrote: My vote for kick goes to...the Heil PR-40, which probably wasn't on the list.

Hmm, I've got one of those and have been struggling with getting a good kick sound lately on my 70's Rogers kit. I've been trying MD 421, Audix D6, a Senn e602, D112, with varying degrees of success, but haven't reached for the PR40 yet. Any tips on placement? I mean as a starting point for more experiments of course.

Davedog Fri, 04/26/2013 - 00:20
apstrong, post: 403999 wrote: Hmm, I've got one of those and have been struggling with getting a good kick sound lately on my 70's Rogers kit. I've been trying MD 421, Audix D6, a Senn e602, D112, with varying degrees of success, but haven't reached for the PR40 yet. Any tips on placement? I mean as a starting point for more experiments of course.


I will say this about that......Old Rogers/Slingerland/Ludwig/etc all have thinner shells that newer drums. The standard these days is more on the 5ply+ level whereas the older drums are almost all 3 ply. Theres more 'flex' in the shell and 'flex' in a kick drum (any drum really) sets up some odd spikes in the frequency response....(yes kids, drums have a frequency response) I have a early 70's Slingerland 20" in my kick drum collection and the cure for me getting a reall SOLID kick drum sound wasn't the mic at all but the proper combination of heads. I have been using the Super Kick II as the batter head and a very thick resonant with a port. The port is one of those tuned ones and it allows you to tune up the front head without really raising the pitch a lot. I think this stiffens the drum itself and gives more of the thump you might be looking for. If its metal then simply change the beater material to a hard plastic and use an extra thick beater pad.

I have a lot of kick drum mic choices. I almost always wind up with the Audio Technica ATM25 inside and an old Groove Tubes GT55 fet mic outside. If I want more low end then I'll add a home built sub-kick thru an active, transformered DI. The thing that the ATM25 brings that not many other 'specialty' kick mics do, is it has a more complete frequency response. A lot of the 'regular' kick mics scoop and accent particular frequencies and at times these can be great. Live its plug and play with D6, Beta 52, D112, and my favorite live kick mic, Sennheiser e902.

At the end of the day its really all about the drum and the room its in as well as the drummers attack. Height and square footage makes for better and easier drum sound captures.

BobRogers Fri, 04/26/2013 - 04:59
Kurt Foster, post: 403964 wrote: i don't think it's that critical. just record something in M/S to see if it sounds different from side to side.
I don't get what you mean by this. If you record something with any mono mic you get one signal - no information about the pattern or where the signal comes from. If you decode that using M/S you invert the signal electronically - doesn't tell you anything about the mic. Are you talking about recording reference sources from different sides of the mic?

Kurt Foster Fri, 04/26/2013 - 05:38
This is off the United Audio website blog.
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.uaudio.c…"]Mid-Side (MS) Mic Recording Basics - Blog - Universal Audio[/]="http://www.uaudio.c…"]Mid-Side (MS) Mic Recording Basics - Blog - Universal Audio[/]






The concept is that the Mid microphone acts as a center channel, while the Side microphone's channel creates ambience and directionality by adding or subtracting information from either side. The Side mic's figure-8 pattern, aimed at 90 degrees from the source, picks up ambient and reverberant sound coming from the sides of the sound stage. Since it's a figure-8 pattern, the two sides are 180 degrees out of phase. In other words, a positive charge to one side of the mic's diaphragm creates an equal negative charge to the other side. The front of the mic, which represents the plus (+) side, is usually pointed to the left of the sound stage, while the rear, or minus (-) side, is pointed to the right.
The signal from each microphone is then recorded to its own track. However, to hear a proper stereo image when listening to the recording, the tracks need to be matrixed and decoded.
Although you have recorded only two channels of audio (the Mid and Side), the next step is to split the Side signal into two separate channels. This can be done either in your DAW software or hardware mixer by bringing the Side signal up on two channels and reversing the phase of one of them. Pan one side hard left, the other hard right. The resulting two channels represent exactly what both sides of your figure-8 Side mic were hearing.
Now you've got three channels of recorded audio– the Mid center channel and two Side channels – which must be balanced to recreate a stereo image. (Here's where it gets a little confusing, so hang on tight.) MS decoding works by what's called a "sum and difference matrix," adding one of the Side signals—the plus (+) side—to the Mid signal for the sum, and then subtracting the other Side signal—the minus (-) side—from the Mid signal for the difference.


If you're not completely confused by now, here's the actual mathematical formula:

Mid + (+Side) = left channel
Mid + (-Side) = right channel

Now, if you listen to just the Mid channel, you get a mono signal. Bring up the two side channels and you'll hear a stereo spread. Here's the really cool part—the width of the stereo field can be varied by the amount of Side channel in the mix!



Why It Works

An instrument at dead center (0 degrees) creates a sound that enters the Mid microphone directly on-axis. But that same sound hits the null spot of the Side figure-8 microphone. The resulting signal is sent equally to the left and right mixer buses and speakers, resulting in a centered image.
An instrument positioned 45 degrees to the left creates a sound that hits the Mid microphone and one side of the Side figure-8 microphone. Because the front of the Side mic is facing left, the sound causes a positive polarity. That positive polarity combines with the positive polarity from the Mid mic in the left channel, resulting in an increased level on the left side of the sound field.
Meanwhile, on the right channel of the Side mic, that same signal causes an out-of-phase negative polarity. That negative polarity combines with the Mid mic in the right channel, resulting in a reduced level on the right side.
An instrument positioned 45 degrees to the right creates exactly the opposite effect, increasing the signal to the right side while decreasing it to the left.

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What's the Advantage?

One of the biggest advantages of MS recording is the flexibility it provides. Since the stereo imaging is directly dependent on the amount of signal coming to the side channels, raising or lowering the ratio of Mid to Side channels will create a wider or narrower stereo field. The result is that you can change the sound of your stereo recording after it's already been recorded, something that would be impossible using the traditional XY microphone recording arrangement.
Try some experimenting with this—listen to just the Mid channel, and you'll hear a direct, monophonic signal. Now lower the level of the Mid channel while raising the two Side channels. As the Side signals increase and the Mid decreases, you'll notice the stereo image gets wider, while the center moves further away. (Removing the Mid channel completely results in a signal that's mostly ambient room sound, with very little directionality – useful for effect, but not much else.) By starting with the direct Mid sound and mixing in the Side channels, you can create just the right stereo imaging for the track.

BobRogers Fri, 04/26/2013 - 06:14
Well, that's not the issue. I understand how MS works. I just don't understand how an MS mix would tell me much about the pickup pattern of the S mic. Is it the question of how good the null is in the mid direction? That's the only thing that would knock the stereo image off center. As long as the side mic has a good null at 90 degrees the side information the side mic should not interfere with the mid information even if the side mic is hypercardioid.

Side note: (terrible pun) I'm supervising an undergraduate thesis on mathematical models of coincident microphone pickup patterns right now. I'll send a link when my student is done. She's working on two dimension configurations (MS, XY, Blumlein) and 3-D Ambisonic configurations. The problem is show what Fourier information of the soundfield can be picked up by different types of microphone in different configurations.

moonbaby Fri, 04/26/2013 - 07:58
apstrong:"Hmm, I've got one of those and have been struggling with getting a good kick sound lately on my 70's Rogers kit. I've been trying MD 421, Audix D6, a Senn e602, D112, with varying degrees of success, but haven't reached for the PR40 yet. Any tips on placement? I mean as a starting point for more experiments of course."

The PR40 can have a strong peak where some kicks "click" so I tend to aim that mic a bit towards the shell, about 1/3 of the way into the drum. This works well with a Pearl 22", modern big band style drummer. I had to play around with it to keep the beater from being too present. Dave also reminded us of the ATM25, a very nice tight low-end mic that I've used there. But in that scenario, I need the ATM's for the 'bones.

bouldersound Fri, 04/26/2013 - 08:25
Kurt Foster, post: 403935 wrote: the way to check it would be to record something that is mono in M/S and then listen to see if there's a difference between the left and right sides ...

That won't work unless you can get separate signals from the two diaphragms in the side mic (which you can't), and if you could do that you wouldn't need the mid mic. The only way to do it is to run polar pattern vs. frequency tests.

apstrong Fri, 04/26/2013 - 23:11
moonbaby, post: 404009 wrote: The PR40 can have a strong peak where some kicks "click" so I tend to aim that mic a bit towards the shell, about 1/3 of the way into the drum. This works well with a Pearl 22", modern big band style drummer. I had to play around with it to keep the beater from being too present. Dave also reminded us of the ATM25, a very nice tight low-end mic that I've used there. But in that scenario, I need the ATM's for the 'bones.

Thanks moonbaby, I'll give it a shot and do some experiments. And thanks for that info on the older kits Davedog, very interesting. I'm not recording metal, more like grunge I suppose, but I've got two guitarists who love their distortion and it's hard to get anything to cut through the mix. I'll look into changing out the beater and the pad for a little more 'tap' and see if I can find one of those heads - I don't want to sacrifice the 'thump', you definitely nailed the problem. It's not a good room for recording, very low ceilings (78 inches) but I can't change that yet, so I'll do the best with what I've got.

kmetal Sat, 04/27/2013 - 00:11
I'm not recording metal, more like grunge I suppose, but I've got two guitarists who love their distortion and it's hard to get anything to cut through the mix.

less is more w/ distorion on recordings. a 10k boost migt just be the cut you need. it's used alot in metal, but any 'heavy' music it could help w/ definition. FWIW

MadMax Sat, 04/27/2013 - 06:16
Maybe I'm jaded... but IMHO, the correct mic(s) for a kick is/are directly related to the genre... and occasionally even for different songs... and micing is ALWAYS done according to the individual drum, drummer, and the drum's tuning and placement.

I've used SM57, D12e, D112, RE20, U47, D6, 421, 414 and a whole host of otherwise non-typical microphones on the kick with good to excellent results.

I've used as many as 4 mic's on a kick, and as few as zero.

It's the recordists job to actually think through the proper process of capturing the drum for the intended purpose. Nothing more... nothing less.

While I have my "go to" mic's for certain genre's/drums/drummers... I certainly do NOT have a close mind on the subject, and work with the producer to get as close to a "finished" sound at the time of capture as the person writing the check wants.

dvdhawk Sat, 04/27/2013 - 09:40
While I 'get' the concept used in the video of comparing different mics without moving the stand for the notion of comparing apples to apples, I think it's a misguided notion. For a lot of high impact musical styles some of those dynamic mics used will sound much better inside the drum (for my taste anyway). I'd find it only slightly more useful if they stated the genre and found the optimum placement for each mic for that style, so they're comparing apple pie to apple pie. But even then, these things are so subjective that even within a specific genre these 'shootouts' are almost always going to be an exercise in futility, since there's no accounting for taste. mmmm.... pie.

If you told me I could only have one kick drum mic for every kit, every style, forever, I'd have to give that some very serious thought (which is probably why I have avoided such a dire situation).
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