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Overhead Phase

Member for

20 years 6 months
I was listening to a current drum track and playing with phase switches while in mono. Listening to the low end it sounds the fullest with one over head switched out. The right from the drummers perspective. However, listening to the hi end I can hear a slight filtering type thing with this setup. From now on I will listen for this while tracking, but what adjustment should I make? How far and which direction should I move an overhead when trying to get them to work right with the kit?
Up a foot or an inch, away from the other overhead, front to back???
I realize any of these could be right but is the problem the sound getting to the mics at different times or the two mic patterns not covering the area correctly?
Are overheads normally the same height off the ground or does it always vary? I need to get a grip on this phase thing!
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Member for

17 years 2 months

J-3 Fri, 12/17/2004 - 11:07
Take a sm57 and a 451. (or a 57 and any other small diaphram /pencil style condenser). Put some head phones on. Hold them together so that they face the same way and the capsules are about even. In a normal voice talk into the both of them, alternately muting and adjusting levels until they're of equal loudness. Now flip one out of polarity. Hear the "phase-y ness?" Slide the 451 Along the sm57 until you get the most out of phase sound you can (your voice gets thin and loses volumn). Now if you tape the two mic together at this point; put them both in polarity together you now have a two mic set-up that can be held on one sm57 mic clip and will give you the top two snare mics, of a three mic set-up (two top/one bottom) that is somewhat common in some circles. Mainly you gotten to hear how you CAN hear effect of "phase". If you adjust the balance of your mic's, in you headphones you can extrapolate this principle until you become allergic to phase. All your mics will be in , relative too each other, as much as you want.

So here's more fuel to the fire for this post that will NEVER die (not that it should)

Recorderman above was talking about a 3 mic set up on a snare. I too enjoy doing this 57 and a condensor on the snare top. I find that the condensor adds a nice top end that the 57 dosn't but alone is anemic.
I have always thought that if you have 2 mics next to each other with the diaphrams lined up. (ie try your damndest to put two mics in the exact same position) that they would be IN PHASE I have seen this many times on the Royer website (and elsewhere) where engineers line up a 57/R-121/md421 setup on gtr amps etc. Is this type of settup not in phase??? When i set up my snare I put the 57 where I want it then put the LD Condensor right next to it just almost touching. I also make shure the diaphram (not end of mic) is as close to being lined up as possible. I also do this when testing to see which mic I want to use for a source, put 'em in the same spot and a/b. That way I know what the mic is saying and not what the positioning is saying.

Any help?

Member for

20 years 5 months

RecorderMan Fri, 03/26/2004 - 13:56
[quote=TamaSabian]
One more question: If I point the OH to the toms, I need to be sure that kick is in the center of both OH???.

Thanx again
TS

That's a judgement call. I Like it in the center. But you amy roll out some lo end and the Kick mic itself will help solidify the center/bottom end. Make adjustments, leiten asn ask yourself if you are heraing everythung the way you want. If not...adjust. Don't get so far and think you're going to magically fix it in the mix. Make it happen now.

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 04/08/2004 - 21:42
wow! 2001 this post started. beautiful post by the way. took me 2 days to read it.
ok anyways, after reading everyones comment, (thanks for the examples to everyone who had examples, i wish we could hear rm's "3d drums") i had some questions myself.

with this technique, doesnt it work mainly because the mics r the same distance from the snare and kick drum? if thats the case couldnt i essentially then have the mics drastically and exagerated anywhere i wanted them as long as they were both the same distance from the snare and kick.

now when i did this i thought it sounded good. it sounded like it does when i stand by the drummer when he plays. the sound i want to achieve is a wider more open sound, like the cymbals r on the outside of the speakers any ideas for that?

again great post -jal

Member for

21 years

Guest Thu, 11/01/2001 - 10:37
See if you like the sound of a coincident pair - two mics at 90 degrees with the heads essentially touching. It's not the same stereo sound as a widely spaced pair, but you may find the sound works really well for your particular application, especially in a small/low ceiling room. And, of course, the main benefit is all the direct and reflected sounds arrive simultaneously, so phase is eliminated as an issue.

Member for

20 years 5 months

RecorderMan Fri, 11/02/2001 - 08:26
here's my trick. It's fast and it works perfect every time.

1. Place the "Left" overhead mic directly over the center of the snare at the hieght of two drum sticks-held end-to-end(from the center of the snare, straight up, to the capsule of the mic).
2. Next; take the drum sticks (still held end-to-end) from the center of the snare over to above your ( i.e." the drummers") right shoulder and place your "right" overhead mic here.
3. Fine tune the placement by using a mic cable and measurinb the distance from the center of the Kick to each of these mics is also equidistant from the kick and snare.
4. listen with headphones and have the drummer lightly hit his kick drum, and adjust the "right" mics angle until the kick is in the middle of your "image".

What this has done is:
1. Place the snare & the kick in the center when you pan these mics hard left and right.
2. Place the overheads in a position which is in-phase with the kick,snare and overheads.
3. balanced the over heads so that the Rack and floor Toms (as well as all cymbals) are correctly ballanced.

this is actually a great "picture" of the kit at this point. maybe a hair of Top end (depending on what mics your using) and a little this, and a Kick mic. BUT whatever you add (snare mics, toms, etc) you'll mow be inphase. This also makes your snare & toms louder inrelation to the cymbals & is more of a true OH mic set-up (Not just "cymbal" mic's )

It may look weird but try it...it trulelly ROCKS
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Member for

20 years 7 months

Rader Ranch Fri, 11/02/2001 - 09:18
only 2 drumsticks? as i picture it (hafta go home to check for sure) this would place the mics barely above drummers head height in most cases...you'd think the mics would get creamed all the time by the wind-up when going for crash cym's or highly positioned high hats...you sure it's not a little higher? do you have a pic you can post?

Member for

20 years 11 months

e-cue Sat, 11/03/2001 - 04:20
I heard about a trick Neil Peart tried out where he taped a PZM mic to his chest. I've tried this out a couple times and it actually sounds pretty cool, except, drummers bump into it too much, etc... If you got time to burn (yeah right) and have a drummer that's adventurous, give it a shot.

Member for

20 years 2 months

PlugHead Sun, 11/04/2001 - 14:52
FWIW,

I've been using a similar method to RecorderMan's: This is really dependent on the drummer, and their technique. Wait till they set the kit, note how they set their cymbals (most drummers hang them low(er), which is optimum), then get out your TAPE MEASURE (surely you have one or two kickin around from the last reno's in the studio!) and measure from the snare centre (some actually measure from the strike position) to each overhead's capsule - you can gauge distances & phase easier with markings. Next is deciding what kind of stereo image you want - wide, tight, etc., but not going too wide is the most failsafe mono compatibility - adjust to taste. My distance from snare to OH capsule(s) is usually between 30" and 42" depending on cymbals, drummer, song, obstacles, etc. If the overheads are too high up, phase really becomes an issue , so try to keep'em as low as possible without crowding the talent. Monitor the drummer in the ControlRoom, flip between Stereo and Mono, and find where the image sits best. Once you have completed micing (kick/snare/toms/room), check phase again. I rarely have problems, but also, I seldomly close-mic toms either - unless the songs are tom based, or extremely aggressive music, I tend to get 90% of my drum sound thru the overheads (if not, the other 10% and up is the room mic: I haven't used the recorded snare track in a few recent projects, save for throwing thru a SansAmp etc!).

That's what seems to work for me - good luck on your quest, YMMV

Jay
PlugHead Productions

Member for

17 years 2 months

J-3 Sat, 12/18/2004 - 09:55
whoops, the top half of the last post was supposed to be a quote from Recorderman in case you didn't catch on.

Ok. so I tried the "recorderman overhead" technique today and it does sound good, however I find that I get a little too much hat and ride in the oh's. I'm 32" above the snare, both mics pointing at the snare. I tried pointing more at toms but it didn't help. I do like how the technique gives more cohesiveness to the whole kit. The kick, toms and cymbals sound like 1 big nice instrument not several instruments recorded seperately and put together. My only other dislike would be that since so much snare is coming thru the oh I'm not getting a real nice snare in the center. I'm micing the snare top, bottom and shell up the center but it's still a big stereo sounding snare. Not particually bad but just different.

Any ideas on how to reduce hat and ride in the oh's and get the snare a little more in the center?

Member for

20 years 5 months

RecorderMan Sun, 11/11/2001 - 11:13
Radar Ranch:
If you use a boom Stand behind the drummer, with the boom over their head, you can get the mic into position, and they don't hit it ( at least not with me yet). This will place the snare mic a few inches in front of and above their forhead.

Zoot:
The last time i did this (last week) I angled both of the mics towards the snare; then moving the right sholuder mic (with headphones on) intill I got the kick in the center of my "image". I've had equal success by aiming them at the Rack and Floor toms. For Me it's a question of getting the kick and snare right. after that everything else seems to fall into place. With all the variations in cymbals and their placement not to mention their abillity at being heard, I really dont worry about them. This technique takes a well ballaced stereo "image" that puts the snare and kick in the center, places the Rack and Floor in balance, keeps the phase right, AND puts the cymbals in the way I like for free. Besides if the song calls for a lot of ride, I'll uasually have a SM7 spotting that as well...just to bring it into the forground if necessary. If I'm in a really good room, I use Lots of mics. I'll use more mics to add depth and tone,instead of more eq, i.e. adding near ambient kick mics, near ambiant mic near the floor tom almost to the floor(with a symetrical mic on the hi hat side). I'll do this by listening for spots around the kit/room where certains drums (i.e. kick, snare,toms,etc) speak well, and/or add a "note" I don't have enough of yet.

hope this helps
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Member for

20 years 5 months

RecorderMan Fri, 11/16/2001 - 09:40
Originally posted by recordista:
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned M-S technique. Pretty much guaranteed to eliminate phase issues and if you record the unmatrixed feeds it gives you a variable width control during mixdown.

Probably because when you get right down to it M/S doesn't sound all that great. You can't have you're cake and eat it to. M/S tries to put off making up your mind as to "Mono or Stereo?". Commit when you record and save time when you mix.
I'm also against printing every single mic to a track in multi mic'd set-ups; as in 2 or 3 mics on Kick,snare, toms, etc. If you spend the extra time (a few more minutes at most) when your tracking, you'll get balances at that time that will be hard to reproduce later, at the same time capturing that balance and leaving more tracks for OD's.
My two cents.

Member for

20 years 1 month

Tekker Sat, 11/17/2001 - 20:54
This is the best way I've heard to get two mics (or overheads) in phase: when you set up your mics flip the phase on one of them, then move them around to get the 'quietest' sound possible (barely audible). Then flip the phase back and they will now be almost perfectly in phase.

-tkr

Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 11/19/2001 - 03:59
Originally posted by RecorderMan:
The last time i did this (last week) I angled both of the mics towards the snare; then moving the right shoulder mic (with headphones on) until I got the kick in the center of my "image".
hope this helps

Recorderman: Do you use your overheads in OMNI or in CARDIOID? :confused:

ThanX in advance...

Member for

20 years 5 months

RecorderMan Mon, 11/19/2001 - 08:15
Originally posted by gie:

Recorderman: Do you use your overheads in OMNI or in CARDIOID? :confused:

ThanX in advance...
I usually use cardiod...but there is no firm rule here. If your using ribbons. your already in figure-8 (unless there 77's in "uni"). The thing to consider is the sound your after/or dealing with. If your in a great sounding room and baybe you don't have room mics, try Fifure-8 or omni; this will add more room sound to your oh's. Conversely- and probably usually- you'll get more than enough "room" in cardioid. Listen and be the judge.