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Drum Mic opinions

Hello, I am looking for recommendations/opinions on drum mics. I currently have two AT2020s for overheads and an SM57 for the snare. I will be buying two MD421s for my toms. (I use a 4 piece drum kit.) I am leaning towards the E602 for the kick, but want to know if there are any other recommendations. The D112 sounds too thin and boxy for me, the D6 is way too hyped and the Beta 52 is too woofy. Thanks for the help in advance!

Comments

kmetal Tue, 11/04/2014 - 18:30

You gotta get the 112 right up in close to get some excitement out of it. You also might find that you like th md421 inside the Kik. I haven't recorded w the 602 but live I like the 52 better on the dudes drum, but I don't like the 52 for recording very much.
I've also had good luck using the sure beta 91 inside w something else on the outside.

anonymous Wed, 11/05/2014 - 02:21

Not a fan of the 112. Yup... there, I said it. Give me a minute to put on my flame retardant suit.

I actually prefer a 58 on a kick over the D112, which I find to be weak and flat sounding. I suppose I wouldn't have as much objection to this mic if the mic wasn't marketed as a kick drum mic. I think it's a one trick pony, and it doesn't even do that one trick very well.

I have no experience with the e602, so I can't comment.

The 2020's on overheads are not the best choice. They are a very cheap, budget, entry level condenser mic, with mids that are honky and highs that are pretty harsh. Also, because of their shape, they are clumsy and difficult to use for overhead arrays like XY. You might consider a decent pair of SD condensers for this purpose instead, perhaps something like a pair of Shure SM81's.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM81

57 on the snare, 58 or, if you can afford it, an RE20 on the kick, Senny 409's, 421's - or similar - on the toms, a pair of decent SD condensers on the OH's, and you're good to go.... as long as the kit sounds good and... as long as the room you are recording in sounds good as well... but I guess that's for another thread.

pcrecord Wed, 11/05/2014 - 02:57

Many people don't like the D112 on bass drums because it's flat. It was design as such. You need some drastic eq to make it sound good.
Thing is the D112 is a very good choice for a natural bass drum sound, but today's popular and rock music are not about natural anymore.
That's why I bought the E602, the frequency curve is exactly what one would do at mix time so there you have it already on the track.
I fear it's a mode and it might change overtime. But for the price of the E602, I thought it was a really good choice.

Before the e602, I would often use a 421 inside of the bass drum to get the attack and the D112 to get the bottom. ;)

anonymous Wed, 11/05/2014 - 04:59

The D112 was intended as a more affordable option to the D12, which was AKG's first LD Dynamic mic, released in the early 50's. The D12 became a staple in the broadcast industry, and in short time after, could also be found in recording studios. The D112 became a kind of step-child of the D12, but, in reality, the manufacturer name and the "D" prefix of the model number was where the similarities between these two models ended.

The D112 wasn't even close to being the same mic as the original D12. Its intended purpose was that of a kick drum mic... and nothing else (maybe also bass amp/cabinet miking, but it wouldn't be my first choice for that, either)... The truth is that no one was running out and buying the D112 because it also sounded good on guitar amps, vocals, B3's and brass.

The original D12 was a multi-use microphone, just as at home on a vocal track or guitar amp as it was on a kick drum - whereas the D112 was pretty much meant to only do the one thing.

We do need to consider and remember that the kick drum sounds of that period ( 50's, 60's) were vastly different than those expected in today's music. In the early 50's, and really, up until the mid 60's, kick drum was not as prevalent in mixes as it is today. It was more of a "felt" instrument than it was the in your face style that we grew accustomed to in popular music.

If you listen to older recordings - from Jazz to Blues to Motown to British Invasion, the kick is not as dominating in the mix as it would eventually become; through the natural progression of recording technology and what that technology would allow. For example, because available tracks were at such a premium, as were mixer inputs ( most recordings in the early 60's were 4 tracks - at most) engineers would often opt for ambient drum miking with one or two mics - as opposed to the way it's commonly done these days, with a mic on every single piece of the kit - plus overheads, plus room mics, plus PZM's...etc.

When track counts and console inputs increased in number - so did the ability to mic instruments individually, and thus, the kick drum eventually ended up with its own track, giving engineers and producers the freedom to do whatever they wanted to do with it, without effecting the balance or tone of the other drums at the same time.

pcrecord, post: 420761, member: 46460 wrote: Many people don't like the [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.akg.com/…"]D112[/]="http://www.akg.com/…"]D112[/] on bass drums because it's flat. It was design as such. You need some drastic eq to make it sound good.

I hear ya. My main issue of contention with the D112 is that - besides it being a single-use microphone - it's not even very good for the use it was intended for. You end up having to use so much EQ, and manipulate the sonics so much, that it kinda begs the question of why you decided to use it in the first place. I don't want to have to change the sonic characteristics of a microphone that dramatically after the fact in order to get the sound I want.

If given the choice between using a D112 or a D12 on a kick drum, I'm going to reach for the D12 every time... and the D12 has the added benefit of also sounding good on many other instruments, too... something that the D112 can't claim.

I'll take it even one step further - and probably also take some heat for it, too - and that is that if given the choice of using a D112 or an SM58 on a kick drum? I'm going to use the 58. ;)

FWIW

d.

Tony Carpenter Wed, 11/05/2014 - 06:27

+1 on D112 for certain work still. I recorded Eric Heydocks drummer with one. Type of batter head?, anyway, it worked fine for their music. I currently use a combination of Shure mics and a Audix f5 I think. The Shure drum kit mics PG and... can't remember do a great job. The overheads actually really surprised me, very clear.

P.S no longer have a D112 either though.

kmetal Thu, 11/06/2014 - 02:02

DonnyThompson, post: 420757, member: 46114 wrote: The 2020's on overheads are not the best choice. They are a very cheap, budget, entry level condenser mic, with mids that are honky and highs that are pretty harsh. Also, because of their shape, they are clumsy and difficult to use for overhead arrays like XY.

They aren't that bad shape wise, that's how we have the stock kit setup with at 3035s which is a far superior mic for the same price or cheaper. Lol it's discontinued cuz it was too good a mic for the price. The 20 series is just another bad LDC, the 3035s are just one of those diamonds in the rough nobody talks about. Not bustin the ops chops just saying Id try and trade the 20s for those. We shot the 3035s against the 41ulss and they sounded better in that room on that kit, so the 414s live in the hall.

I like the sm 81 oh live very much, I haven't used them much in the studio. I tend to lean towards ldcs oh in general, but I've only used a few different sdc pairs, and one of these days I'll try some of the ribbons up there. I like the full spectrum in there, at the expense of the clarity and focus from the sdcs, but I think its more that I'm just used to it cuz that's what Ive had, if i did have some tho the 81 is what I'd get. the 451 fromakg is an obvious contender but in something like a kit that can vary so much I like the ide of a more neutral mic and there is a decent price difference. I'd rather add in some top of I need it especially in case where cymbals are involved.

The d122 is rather vanilla and usually I eq it a lot. I wouldn't buy one for myself but it's what's at the studio beside the 52. I like to kick mice for the bottom of a floor Tom for some boom.

Attached files

dvdhawk Thu, 11/06/2014 - 09:12

Hi Randy,
All of the kick drum mics you've listed, including the models you don't like, can sound really good in the right application. So far, (since Davedog hasn't popped in with his ATM-25 recommendation), I can say there hasn't been a kick mic mentioned yet in this thread that I don't own, and use when they're appropriate. But I'm not going to go pick out a kick mic (or two) to audition, until I know what kind of music you'll be playing, and until I hear the tuned up drum un-mic'ed. There's obviously no accounting for taste, or personal preference, but when you have the right combination of drum size, drum heads, drum tuning, drum mics, and drummer it puts you way ahead of the game. So tell us more about your application and maybe we can give you some more specific food for thought.

What style of music? Metal? Country? Jazz? Punk? Funk? Crunk? Rock? Bach? Schlock?
Are you looking for mics just for recording, just for live gigs, or both?
You say you're 4-pc, what are the drum dimensions?
Front head on the kick? Is it ported? How big is the port hole?
Are you using any kind of damping? (like an EMAD head)
Where are you positioning the mic? Outside the front head? With its nose in the port? In up to your elbow?

If you have any recordings so we can get a feel for the style, that would be useful. Until then, we're shooting wildly in the dark.

Randy Carrillo Thu, 11/06/2014 - 09:52

dvdhawk, post: 420800, member: 36047 wrote: Hi Randy,
All of the kick drum mics you've listed, including the models you don't like, can sound really good in the right application. So far, (since Davedog hasn't popped in with his ATM-25 recommendation), I can say there hasn't been a kick mic mentioned yet in this thread that I don't own, and use when they're appropriate. But I'm not going to go pick out a kick mic (or two) to audition, until I know what kind of music you'll be playing, and until I hear the tuned up drum un-mic'ed. There's obviously no accounting for taste, or personal preference, but when you have the right combination of drum size, drum heads, drum tuning, drum mics, and drummer it puts you way ahead of the game. So tell us more about your application and maybe we can give you some more specific food for thought.

What style of music? Metal? Country? Jazz? Punk? Funk? Crunk? Rock? Bach? Schlock?
Are you looking for mics just for recording, just for live gigs, or both?
You say you're 4-pc, what are the drum dimensions?
Front head on the kick? Is it ported? How big is the port hole?
Are you using any kind of damping? (like an EMAD head)
Where are you positioning the mic? Outside the front head? With its nose in the port? In up to your elbow?

If you have any recordings so we can get a feel for the style, that would be useful. Until then, we're shooting wildly in the dark.

I guess some of that info would help lol.
I mostly play gospel music.
I am looking for mics mostly for recording.
My drum set is a Yamaha Stage Custom Advantage. The dimensions are 22x17, 12x10, 13x11 and a Vented Porkpie Little Squealer Snare 13x7
The kick has a ported Powerstroke 3 and a clear Powerstroke 3 on the batter. The port is a 5"
The only is an Evans EQ Pad
I have tried positioning mics with its nose in the port, and outside the front head.

Randy Carrillo Thu, 11/06/2014 - 09:54

DonnyThompson, post: 420757, member: 46114 wrote: Not a fan of the 112. Yup... there, I said it. Give me a minute to put on my flame retardant suit.

I actually prefer a 58 on a kick over the D112, which I find to be weak and flat sounding. I suppose I wouldn't have as much objection to this mic if the mic wasn't marketed as a kick drum mic. I think it's a one trick pony, and it doesn't even do that one trick very well.

I have no experience with the e602, so I can't comment.

The 2020's on overheads are not the best choice. They are a very cheap, budget, entry level condenser mic, with mids that are honky and highs that are pretty harsh. Also, because of their shape, they are clumsy and difficult to use for overhead arrays like XY. You might consider a decent pair of SD condensers for this purpose instead, perhaps something like a pair of Shure SM81's.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM81

57 on the snare, 58 or, if you can afford it, an RE20 on the kick, Senny 409's, 421's - or similar - on the toms, a pair of decent SD condensers on the OH's, and you're good to go.... as long as the kit sounds good and... as long as the room you are recording in sounds good as well... but I guess that's for another thread.

I know they're not the best choice. But it's all I am able to get at the moment. Down the road these will be replaced for sure.

pcrecord Thu, 11/06/2014 - 11:17

Honestly I don't know how a gospel bass drum should sound.
If it's any close to jazz or retro sounded, the d112 will get you an even representation of what the bass drum really sound like
if you are looking for a modern sound like heard on pop/rock music the Sennheiser E602 is a good choice.
If you want the click sound like the metal musicians want the audix D6 would be my choise..

Not that you cannot achieve any sound with any of those mics.. it's just that they will get you there faster depending on the sound you want..

Davedog Thu, 11/06/2014 - 15:04

I wouldn't want to disappoint....ATM25. Let me say that I own a D6, and until recently had a D112. I have used the e602 on several occasions where it was available and liked it quite a lot. I also owned in the faraway past a real D12 and two M409's. THESE days the inside mic only has a simple function and that is to provide the impact and some shell resonance. You can get this with any number of mics not the least of which would be an SM57/58. 421's work well too although I think (in my experience with them) that smaller kick drums work better with them. The 409's were used with kick drums in cases of double bass and weren't all that bad....better guitar amp mics.....The reason I like the ATM25's so much is they aren't a limited bandwidth mic nor do they have some smiley-face EQ curve to the sound. The D6 does as does the Shure 52, the AKG. The D112 always amazed me at how much low-end it could handle but its problem for me was the lack of focused energy it had in its response. Lots of upper mids but the low end wasnt tight. The D6 is really 'tight' but also a mic that is definitely limited in its use as far as recording. But what it does, it does quite well. Lots of tight energy. The 52 was just blah. Another interesting budget kinda choice would be the Peavey PVM-520tn. Yep you heard me right. Love em on toms. Works for kicks too, which what they were meant for I think.

I use the ATM25's on a lot of sources. They are honest and can take a crap-load of db's without losing touch. Big toms....nothing like em...thats why I have three. I quit using them live though. D6 live. Instant punch and bottom end for days. The subs never had it so easy. The BIGGEST problem with the ATM25's is the scarcity of the originals. I'd buy a couple more if I could find em for decent prices. The new reissue doesn't stack up and the 2500 mic is too expensive for what it does.

Personally, I get most of my kick from an FET condenser just outside the head. I love my Soundelux/Bock 195 for this. Fat switch on....pad in....rock the kick! For budget folks, look at a used (of course...no longer made...) Groove Tubes GT55. A seriously good mic for what you pay for one. And another older gem is the original series Studio Projects B3. Both can take the db's of anything but a seriously leaden footed ape-man.

For someone starting out building their mic locker, having mics that can double on different sources is always a good move. As you progress and learn and as your hearing things becomes more accurate and dimensional, then you'll start finding specific mics for spec

dvdhawk Fri, 11/07/2014 - 20:17

Are there any particular gospel artists on YouTube you could link to with the style and sound you're shooting for?

The e602 is not a bad choice. No matter which way you go, you may want to take the time to experiment with different mic positions. I don't get what I want from a D112 until it's way inside the drum, maybe 4-5 inches from where the beater makes contact and a little off center - but that's usually for rock. You may like your kick drum mic better out-of-phase too.

My 2¢ Reviews

AKG
The D112 is definitely a one-trick-pony for kick or floor tom. A friend had a D112 he didn't like at all, I told him it didn't sound right to me either - we tried mine at the next job and it was night and day difference. It turns out he bought his cheap after a local music store rental department was done with it. So even though it looked OK, it had been beaten like a rented mule and lost all of it's already limited charms. I bought mine new and it was about the same age, if not older, but hadn't been abused - it sounded dramatically better that's for sure. The D12 (I have the D12e) is one of those great milestone mics, but I'd have a hard time buying a vintage mic like that without hearing it first (the exact mic I was going to take home). The originals were made as far back as the early 50's, and the D12e was the '78 reissue. So both have been out of production for a long, long time, and there's no telling how well any particular mic has been treated for several decades. I've heard old some AKGs that did not age well. There's a new VR version, but I haven't heard one (and at $500 not likely to either).

AUDIX
I personally get a lot of use out of the Audix D6, it's also nearly idiot-proof for rock kick and floor tom. We have an F6 on the kick at my church, which sounds good too boomed inside the port. We've got a serious PA system and well-tuned drums, it doesn't require much EQ to sound great even with the drumkit crammed inside a plexiglass fishbowl.

E-V
The PL20 / RE20 is physically large, and almost foolproof - put it inside the port and turn it on. It's not cheap, but it is versatile. The E-V N/D868 is another really nice E-V kick mic, that kinda splits the difference between the RE20 and the Audix D6. It's smooth enough to be multi-purpose like the RE20 and less than half the price at about $200. Tonally it's less exaggerated /hyped than the D6. Even the cheap PL33 is a decent live kick mic.

SENNHEISER
The Senn e602 gets some action, but often gets edged out by something else I have and like a little better. It is a good solid mic that sounds really good, and would be a great all around contender for any style. I love the e604 on rack toms, and I'm sure I could learn to love the e602 too if I didn't have so many others to choose from. You might want to try one of the incoming 421s in the kick too, with a little EQ you might get exactly what you want. I just recently took a chance on an MD409 online (since Donny wouldn't part with any of his), it's sweet on guitars, but I haven't had a chance yet to try it on drums.

SHURE
Honestly, I have a Beta52 that rarely gets in the game. I have friends who use them live, but I haven't found a perfect fit for it yet. And I'm definitely not too proud to put an SM57 or SM58 on a kick drum.

Other oddballs (one literally), the Blue Kickball, the CAD E100, Crown PZM-30. They've all seen kick drum duty, they've all got their place depending on all those other factors I asked about.

SHORTLIST
I'm looking at adding one or more of the Heil drum mics sometime soon.

anonymous Sat, 11/08/2014 - 06:45

Chris Perra, post: 420870, member: 48232 wrote: E 602 will be fine for that.. Don't second guess your purchase, just make sure you have a well tuned/muffled kick and you'll be fine. Every one of the mics suggested can handle that sound with eq and comp provided the source is good.

Agreed. I'm not hearing anything about the example track posted that can't be accomplished with any of the mics listed -and as Chris mentioned, with the right EQ sculpting and GR.

And, at the foundation, it really all starts with having a great drum sound to begin with.

MadMax Sun, 11/09/2014 - 17:23

Go to:
1) Goodwill/local thrift shop with furniture... Look for a pillow that is ~18" x anything less than 18".
2) Go to any large chain/big box store and get the cheapest down/feather pillow you can that's as close to 18" as you can find.
3) Get a piece of velour fabric 1 yard long... fold ROUGHLY in half (~18") and fold in to fit and covers the bottom 2 lugs, to no more than the bottom 4 lugs.

The key is to get the damping material JUST to touch both heads.
(Most throw pillows have a roll/bead of fabric around the center that will lightly wedge in just fine.)

Tune that puppy as follows...
Batter head: tune to first resonant point... leave it that loose for now.
Reso head: Tune to first octave of the batter head.
Throw in the damping
Start tightening the batter head no more than 1/4 turn... you'll hear it all of a sudden just become a cannon.

After that, it doesn't matter which mic you use... You'll get a good kick sound, but only if it sounds good to begin with.

Randy Carrillo Mon, 11/10/2014 - 09:13

Chris Perra, post: 420870, member: 48232 wrote: E 602 will be fine for that.. Don't second guess your purchase, just make sure you have a well tuned/muffled kick and you'll be fine. Every one of the mics suggested can handle that sound with eq and comp provided the source is good.

Great! I will be going with the e602 then!

Matt Wed, 12/17/2014 - 20:02

Hey,
I am a drummer and have been through my fair share of mice. I've used the d112, the md421 and so on. I had a shure beta 91 for a while but recently I acquired the beyerdynamic drum mic kit. I am really surprised that we don't hear about this more. I thought the beta91 sounded good but the beyerdynamic tg d70d blew it out of the water. I lot more bottom and and less clicking highs without sounding fat. Great for live music. I am truly impressed with the tg mic kit including the tgd58c, d57c and the mc930/950 overheads and hi-hat mics and I am really surprised they are not more common. The Tom mic have the best clips I have ever used on a Tom and fit even if you have suspension on your toms which is great because even an industry standard sennheiser e604 clip does not work with suspension on toms. It's my 2 cents. They are pricy but what a difference it makes. I recently bought a ride nt1000 and was surprised how little of a difference it made over some other condenser mics as I was expecting a big difference as I hear with the beyers. Definitely not disappointing.

Matt Wed, 12/17/2014 - 20:08

As for that drum sound you like, I can maybe point you in the right directio as I have spent countless hours tunning and eq'ing my drums while recording. The first key is obviously having good sounding drums and great tunning. It's unbeleivable how many drummers can't tune their kits. As for the recording, that sound really does emphasize the attack of the stick which is usually around or just below 4k. With a narrow bandwidth on your eq, crank up the gain and try to zero in the attack around 3-4khz. Once you find the clicking, spread the bandwidth a bit a low the gain to a desirable amount, I usually find myself around 3-6db up. The mids seem to be cut quite a bit which will help against resonance and it will give more space for other things to come through in the mix. Experiment with that and good luck. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions

Big_D Thu, 01/29/2015 - 22:10

As a drummer I probably have way more opinions on this topic than most would like to hear but here's a few anyway.

D112 - I like it most on small (20" or >) kicks with a more resonant front head. It gets a lot of use on my '72 Ludwigs

Beta 52 - Best used on larger kicks (22" and up) with a more muted front head. Used mostly on my Ludwig Super Classics and Tama Starclassics

D6 - Best on larger kicks - I don't use this in the studio much except for a clicky metal sound. Used mostly for live work.

RE20 - good on everything but more work to EQ - was stolen quite a few years ago but was my go to when nothing else worked.

I sometimes add a 4047 or 4033 in front of the kick to pick up more of the low end but in general I keep the drum micing simple as I prefer more traditional sounds to todays processed sounds.

Randy Carrillo Thu, 02/05/2015 - 12:12

Matt, post: 422505, member: 48561 wrote: As for that drum sound you like, I can maybe point you in the right directio as I have spent countless hours tunning and eq'ing my drums while recording. The first key is obviously having good sounding drums and great tunning. It's unbeleivable how many drummers can't tune their kits. As for the recording, that sound really does emphasize the attack of the stick which is usually around or just below 4k. With a narrow bandwidth on your eq, crank up the gain and try to zero in the attack around 3-4khz. Once you find the clicking, spread the bandwidth a bit a low the gain to a desirable amount, I usually find myself around 3-6db up. The mids seem to be cut quite a bit which will help against resonance and it will give more space for other things to come through in the mix. Experiment with that and good luck. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions

I currently have the e602 for the kick. An SM57 and an i5 for the snare. Use either mic depending on the genre. MD421s for the rack tom and floor tom. And two AT2020s for OHs. I am pretty satisfied with my set up. The one I would maybe change later on are the OHs. The AT2020s do the job with some added eq. But I am sure there are better mics that can be used for OHs.
Tuning the drums is of course the first thing I did before even thinking of what mics to purchase. I spent a lot of money on trying to find the right drum heads to suit the sound I was looking for. I am glad I did this as it makes recording the set easier.
As I said I am pretty happy with my set up right now. Now I just need to work on recording the drums and messing around with everything that can be done to the tracks so I can gain experience and learn more through this.

Boswell Fri, 02/06/2015 - 02:29

I've been round the houses several times with kick mics, and for live work I now just put up an RE20 outside and sometimes a Beyer M88 inside and use those unless the actual drum sounds really bad acoustically. In that case I'll try other dynamic mics until I find an acceptable sound, but there generally isn't a huge amount of time available for experiment when you are setting up for live recording.

In the studio, I normally ask the drummer how he wants his kick to sound, and then put up several mics on the kick at the same time, always including an RE20. The drummer is impressed by what comes out of the array of mics, and I never tell him it's just the RE20 in the mix.

Big_D Fri, 02/06/2015 - 13:48

I love the D112 depending on the source and style. I've had great success with it on country and blues or really any style of music where most of the bass guitar notes are on the E & A strings because it lets the kick sit just perfectly above that. It seems to favor smaller, slightly higher pitched kicks in my experience too. It's not my choice for heavier styles of music or really dense mixes as it seems to get lost but in its element I think it's great!

DonnyThompson Thu, 02/12/2015 - 04:38

There's nothing wrong with using a 57 on a snare, thousands of hits have been recorded using it. Then again I wouldn't think that there'd be anything wrong using an M80 series either, considering Telefunken's track record with mics.

At brass tacks, everything is going to rely on the mic preamp you choose... even more-so than the mic.

The 57 is much cheaper, though... by around $300.

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