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I have concerns...

My drummer just ordered a Ludwig Keystone kit with the two large floor toms, and 26 inch kick drum. It seems this is geared towards live?. The kick is sealed i believe and looks like it comes with Evans G2 heads for all toms. He also got the Ludwig Black Magic snare already, the kit is custom and looks like its 6 weeks out. Just looking for suggestions on Micing this big beast. Looks like i may need to add a sound cloud above due to added dbs?.. Im using Audix D7 mics and Toft ATB preamps BTW.


Steve@Russo Sun, 12/18/2011 - 13:17

Well I would say 421's on toms to get dems lowwws. you might way to check the videos I did on head selection to help. I used all audix mics on toms. DW collectors series
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RemyRAD Sun, 12/18/2011 - 14:33

While I'm not a drummer/percussionist per se, (I always wanted to be one and actually had the pleasure of meeting Buddy Rich when I was 14 which is another story), yup 421's on toms, 421 on snare drum, 421 on bass drum. Especially for that kit. That would be my personal first choice. I've enjoyed the D-6 on bass drum though but only when I don't have a 421 for that. It's still hard to beat SM57/56's on everything Uni-dyne 545's included with that list when one doesn't have 56/57/58's. So you've got those others which also work just fine. Though I've always found it more difficult to record those 26/24/22 inch bass drums over 20/18 inch bass drums. Yup, that's a live performance kit for the stage and not necessarily a studio drum kit. Part of that reason is based upon the size of the room in which you are recording. Those larger bass drums develop lower frequency with wavelengths that cannot be propagated properly in a smaller space. Whereas the smaller drums can sound huge in comparison for recording purposes. The best sounding rock 'n roll drums I've recorded in smaller studios have actually been much smaller jazz oriented drum kits. In larger nightclubs the larger kits work out quite nicely even when recording live in those larger venues. The same problems occur in the smaller nightclubs when I'm recording there with those larger drum kits. So as a recording engineer in the studio, you have to be the Ace of Space. Bigger doesn't necessarily translate to bigger but instead, bugger while some even sound like boogerease which is snot what you want.

Cloud overhead? Maybe not? This is where an additional microphone or two on the opposite sides of your room, as far away from the drum set as you can place them might be more advantageous. You liked Led Zeppelin didn't you? Well that was a couple of microphones down the hallway from the drum set and so you want to room to ring out. Don't dampen it down. You want big and you want to capture that bigness and you won't get that by putting a blanket over it. You wouldn't put a blanket over the head of your infant because it was crying. You have to live with it that way. Thankfully, his drum kit won't sound like a baby crying. But you do want it to sound like the police are trying to break down your door because of its sonic signature. And we all know that a mattress across your door ain't going to keep the cops out but they will send you into audio purgatory if you try.

I have heard some good things come from those SHURE SM 98 style of ultra small capsule diaphragm condenser microphones and others like them. That's because, the smaller the diaphragm condenser microphone utilized, the better the off axis sound will be and because they are so much smaller diaphragm condensers they are nearly impervious to overload because of the capsules lesser sensitivity. Those seem to work well to get that blasting bottom from larger drums as well. Unfortunately I'm not intimately familiar with with nor have used the A-7's which might be exactly that? I was too lazy to look those up for this post so again, I might be talking through a hole in my face instead of the bass drum?

Meeting Buddy Rich was like meeting Sir George Martin. Lucky duck I am.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Shanesaw Sun, 12/18/2011 - 18:39

Thx for the detailed replies.

Sounds like i should pick up some 421s and compare what works for my mixes best... My guitars are usually thick as i have been using 2 cheap Avantone ribbon, so hopefully the 421s would still cut through these frequencies. Sorry, just found out he got the 24" bass drum, im sure its got some SPL too. I loved the Audix D6 positioned in the middle of his old Pearl bass drum through the Powerstroke 3 head hole, i got a nice fat bottom end with a nice detailed click, only added a little bottom with my A designs Hammer EQ on my mixes. You think i would need to mic both sides of the bass drum to get the boom and the click?. Thank you, i will definately place a distant mic to get a big sound...

No matresses here for anything but sleeping, LOL
No blankets above my babies, Nyquil when needed...

RemyRAD Mon, 12/19/2011 - 10:00

Some guys do MIC from both sides of a bass drum but I rarely have ever done that myself as I don't find it necessary. It's more advantageous to mic both sides of the snare drum, with the bottom feeding phase inverted. Balance top/bottom to taste for the largest snare drum you'll ever have. Sometimes folks stick a condenser on the bottom side but frequently a 57 top/bottom will do just fine. If you utilize a condenser on the bottom side of the snare drum, a condenser microphone MUST HAVE a pad switch ON on the microphone. The exception to this rule would be a SHURE SM 98 which is a very small diaphragm condenser microphone and is virtually impervious to overload and has no pad switch. It's specifically designed with drums in mind.

I love mind drum sounds as they sound explosive.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Shanesaw Mon, 12/19/2011 - 10:53

I am looking for your thunderous drum sound Remy!

Snare top i have a Audix I5 (little brighter than Shure SM57 it seems), but i think it can definately use some thwack!, so ill look for a 421 for the top. For the bottom, i currently use a ADK small condensor which seems to be doing the trick.

For overheads i do a pair of cheap Cascade ribbons, as well as a pair of AKG C1000S and decide which i prefer to the song since i have 24 channel mixer and ad/da converter. I have been looking for something a little more open and less harsh at the top the AKG seems to have, I have been eyeing a pair of Rode NT5s to be my open sounding OHs compared to the AKG C1000s. Anyone think this would be accurate in my thinking?

As you can see im being obsessive to get the sound i want at tracking so i can focus more on overall mix and effects more than individual track EQing etc...


RemyRAD Mon, 12/19/2011 - 12:03

It doesn't matter, either. That question is like should I get a new 414 or a vintage 414? A new Neumann 87 or a vintage 87. A new Duesenberg or a used Duesenberg? (If that was only possible...) Whatever you get, just make sure it works and sounds good first. I have a 421 that got whacked too many times and has lost all of its low-end. So that one of mine needs to go back to Sennheiser for repair. I'd replace it but why when I can get the one I have fixed. Of course that could cost as much as purchasing a new one but then it would be a new one and I really wouldn't care. Rarely do we use these as XY stereo pairs but individually instead. So perhaps, you'd want a closer pair on rack toms with another one on the tom floor that might be somewhat different. I actually like these better on bass drum also over my D 112, EV Re20, Beta 52, et cetera.

Lover of 421's
Mx. Remy Ann David

Davedog Tue, 12/20/2011 - 11:52

Always great advice. In this case I would most CERTAINLY wait until the kit is set up and tuned before making any changes to your setup.

Its possible that you already have everything you need to get the sound you want.

But you wont know till you hear the source.

Not to say that having a bag of MD421's is a bad thing....Its just that the American made Audix 'D' series mics are so good on their own. I have found the D2 to have a very similar upper end response as a 421 with a much better low end. The clarity is with different sorce like this big kit will be, its always best to wait and hear things before commiting to something new which may not be all that different from what you already have.

If you want to Led Zep sound, then leave the drums open, mic from a distance, make sure the overhead is an STC4033, and you're running everything through a Helios type mic pre.

Oh and get the drum kit in a three story tall stairwell.

Shanesaw Tue, 12/20/2011 - 14:51

Thanks Dave

I have been happy with my Audix setup as well. I will wait... Just cant believe how loud and snappy the Ludwig Black Magic snare is he just got (rest of the set is being built). I will try the Audix I5 on the snare top tonight, keep either the Audix adx51 on snare bottom (been using on hihats), or ADK A51 cs on snare bottom... Think i will just pick up a used 421 right away as im sure i can use for something even if i end up being good with the Audix all the way around the kit...

Shanesaw Tue, 12/20/2011 - 14:55

Hmmm... All these custom av clients i have with these 22 foot ceilings and travertine floors should get a big sound if they lend me their house they never use since its like their 3rd home being used for just golfing on weekends eh?. I could get up on a scaffeling and dangle a butt load of condensors everywhere... LOL

Shanesaw Thu, 04/05/2012 - 14:53

First of all, thanks to all for help on this... And WOW, this kit has some thunder and RESONATES in great ways, think im gonna add more bass trapping in the room and build a drum kit isolation riser... QUESTION:, The kick drum is sealed, should my drummer port the head?, or should i use two mics for capturing the deep thump and mid high click?. Porting the head benefit for live and/or recording?