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Not another drum mic question...

I hate to do this. I have to. I want to mic my drums. So here it goes...
I have a Shure Sm57 as an overhead mic.
I have an Audio-Technica At2020, (Which I'm cleverly using as a bass drum mic.) I might try to use it as an overhead.
And I have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
I have the share sm57 as an overhead and I can't get a good sound unless the gain knob on the Scarlett is turned all the way up and then when it is all the way up the rest of the kit sounds like mush.
The Audio-Technica 2020 on the bass drum sounds good.
Also I will be getting in the mail a MXL 990. Should I use two Condensers as overheads?
Opinions..suggestions.. somebody just want to talk? I'll listen. Anybody Glad the New England Patriots didn't win?
Please help with this mic issue...


paulears Mon, 02/05/2018 - 10:18

The SM57 is great for the really loud sources like the snare, and it will do reasonably well on kick and toms, it's dreadful as an overhead. It's top response is around 15K, so as the overhead is doing all the HF stuff, it's not a very good choice up there. I'm surprised the 2020 does OK on kick - mine would distort like hell in there! 2020 overhead. Two different condensers won't be brilliant as a pair - but depends a little on your aiming, I guess. With the 4 mics you have. I'd use the Shure in the kick, then one of the two condensers on the snare, one on the overheads. The only snag is that neither of the two condensers have a pad - so you need to be careful with the snare location - too close and they can distort.

Colin Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:13

I am the evolving novice here..but I'll tell you what I did. I have the Shure sm57 mic at the bass drum. I have the Audio Technica as an overhead. But What I found to have made the biggest difference is Compression and EQ and Reverb in the DAW. I'm not an engineer but I do believe I have that sound wisdom to know what sounds good.
God Bless all!

DonnyThompson Tue, 02/06/2018 - 05:22

So you have one condenser mic? Or two?
If you picked up another 58 ( or 57 or other solid dynamic), you could use one on the kick, one on the snare, and then two condensers above the kit, though I wouldn't recommend a true stereo pair on the OH's as they are mismatched. But, you could do an array similar to the Glyn Johns drum mic'ing method:

But...know this, because it's REALLY important - when it comes to recording live drums, the sound of your room is just as important as the sound of the drums themselves.
You'll probably need to experiment with mic placement, so, having a drummer and an assistant to adjust mics while you're listening would prove to be quite helpful in this scenario.
It's not impossible to get a "decent" drum sound with cheap and minimal mics, but keep your expectations in check... And don't forget that the room you are recording the drums in can mean the difference between decent/good sounding drum tracks, and terrible sounding tracks.
Spend your time working on getting good drum sounds on the way in to your DAW... this includes drum tuning and mic placement, it may also includes tuning the room using acoustic treatment methods.
Often these methods can be DIY, using materials like packing blankets draped over mic stands.
Mic placement is really important. You'd be surprised at just how much of a difference moving a mic by even as little as an inch in any direction can make.
And...Don't rely on your DAW or plug ins to "fix" a bad drum sound.
Get the best sound you can going in.


Colin Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:04

Thanks for the reply Donny! You must have read my post on room treatment not being necessary..(maybe not) I'm starting to realize that room treatment is really important especially with drums. Also, It's good to remember that getting the right sound in, such as mic placement, is important before you start mixing EQ and other plugins.
I'm going to post a sample of what I have recorded. I'm using this mic clamp
This clamp is really useful. But the threading came out and was so tight not even a screw driver could unscrew the threading. (it's okay if you don't understand what I'm saying.) It's still a good clamp, I will be buying more of them, and I will be tightening the mic very lightly.

But to the point! I don't have anyway to record the drums without the clamp. But I do have a sample of what I recorded yesterday.

pcrecord Tue, 02/06/2018 - 10:28

Colin, post: 455649, member: 47940 wrote: Here is a demo of my drum recoding. It's very simple. I'm not trying to win a drum contest...!

Not bad. Of course it always depends on the context of the song.
You may have a bit too much low mids on the bass drum.. of course the sm57 may not be grabbing a lot of low end. but if you have some, I'd shape the eq to favor 60-80hz and remove a bit of 125 -250. Then place a little boost in the 1k to 3k area for presence.

pcrecord Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:04

EQ stands for equalizer

  1. the levels of frequency response of an audio signal, or controls which allow their adjustment.
    "judicious use of EQ helps me create a space for each sound"
    EQ plugins are included in most recording softwares. Numerous maker, numerous looks, same goal :

DonnyThompson Tue, 02/06/2018 - 13:25

I know... But it might still be a little "advanced" for some people.
Then again, there comes a point where each beginner needs to do their own research and be proactive in their learning journey.
That's not a slam against the OP, by the way. Just a statement in general.
None of us came out of the womb knowing the difference between 100hz and 1000hz.
Well... No one except Bos anyway. Lol (@Boswell). I think he was probably designing complex circuitry at around the same age as the rest of us when we were taking the training wheels off our bikes. Lol



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