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I have a cocktail drum kit, with a tall, 15" barrel drum that stands upright and serves both as the kick and the floor tom. It has small air holes, but no mic port. The kit sounds great, and I can get a solid one-mic recording from it without problems. But I need to do some multi-mic setups, and wanted some informed opinions about recording the kick. As I see it, there are 3 options based on the standard approach:

1- Record from some external point. Fine, but bleed from other drums is an issue, and not great thump or beater definition compared to inside-the-shell. In this case, where would you place for good overall meat n potatoes?

2- Cut a port in the shell large enough for a mic, and do a standard inside placement. Dunno if it's worth cutting into the shell, but this option seems the most appealing given it allows for the setup I'm most familiar with.

3- Cut a port into the tom skin up top, use that as the access hole and settle for a tom that sounds a bit wonky. Would that even work? Another version of this is to just remove the tom head altogether, which would also cut some slop resonance. But then I lose one of 4 drums, even if I don't use it so much...

Opinionsare most appreciated.


pcrecord Thu, 11/06/2014 - 12:56

I wouldn't cut the shell, cause you risk to change the nature of the instrument. (unless this is what you are looking for)
I normaly do not have any problem with bleeds if you choose the mic and placement so that the bleed and the instrument sound ok.
I bet 2 md421 would do a nice job (one on top and one on the bottom) (possibly with inverted polarity)

Taste in sound is different for everybody, it you could borrow some mics and test them, you may have a better idea of what works for you..;)

anonymous Fri, 11/07/2014 - 03:17

I was gonna hold back on commenting on this one, but I've decided to throw this out there, and you can do with it what you wish - ignore it or consider it...

You are trying to get a drum kit made for a specific purpose to sound like a drum kit made for another purpose.

The whole idea of the cocktail kit is to provide a bare bones drum sound for light music use. When you start talking about cutting holes in things, you are attempting to make the kit do something that it wasn't intended to do, or to sound like something it wasn't intended to sound like.

A kit like that was meant to be used for very light playing styles, at low volumes. Miking it to grab that dynamic sense should be done as you've already done - with one or two ambient mics.

If you want to get a beefier sound, then maybe you should consider stepping up to a small Ludwig or Slingerland 3 piece Jazz kit, or something similar.

Personally, I wouldn't cut any holes in anything on that kit, as you could risk changing the entire nuance of how it was meant to sound.

If anything, I'd mic the "kick" with a very tight-patterned dynamic mic, perhaps something like a 57. Yeah, you'll get a little bleed, but then again, it's not a bad kind of bleed. The bleed would be the rest of the kit, with the kick being the dominant instrument. You could always keep the overhead mic in the scene to balance things out, if you desired.

But... that's just me. ;)