At the moment it's sort of irrelevant for me, as I currently have only small diaphragm condensers at my disposal (and one large, which I tend to use as a vocal mic,) but in general, which do people prefer? It seems like small is standard, but I've seen some pretty interesting mic recommendations on the forums before, and I was just wondering what people thought (and what people would recommend for both areas, for future reference.)
I don;t do a lot of drumkits, but I do a lot of classical, so I will say that SD seems to be the logical choice becuase they are generally better off axis than LDs and plenty of the overhead sound is off axis.
Now, let's see if you can get a real response. 8)
I'm no drum expert either, but I've mic'd a few kits with budget gear. Having tried a number of different arrangements and mics (SD and LD), my "goto" setup now is a pair of Oktava MK319 (Cardioid LD) in an ORTF arrangement.
I also thought SD would be better, but I like what I get with the 319s better than the SD mics I've tried (Oktava 012s and Rode NT5s).
I generally use a pair of 451s or NT5s for OHs, but that's due to lack of choice rather than outright desire to use 'em. In the past, when i've done sessions at better equipt studios than my own, i've *LOVED* using a pair of AKG414s or AT4050s flown up top. IME, they come off sounding a bit smoother/mellower and generally 'bigger' than thier small-diaphram counterparts.
I loves me some SM81's up top. Their small.
I have used SM81s, AKG451s, Neumann KM84/86 for overheads and love those but I also love using AKG414s & Neumann U87s. I think they all sound good for overheads.
Variety is the spice of life
Ms. Remy Ann David
I use Rode NT5, and I like a lot! I think they are good mics, especially for the price!
What is the general consensus on KSM 141's as drum overheads? I'm a high school junior, so, really, my experience is pretty limited, and I rely a lot on this community for direction. I'm recording a couple of local bands right now, and I've elected to write/record an album with a few friends for a sort of senior grant type of thing next year, but my equipment it pretty awful. I have a 57 and a Blue Kickball, but other than that I'm relying on knockoff Oktava mk012's and a marshall large diaphragm (which is a pretty nice overhead itself, I've discovered, and really cheap too.) I've been taking a class on music tecnology for three years now, and next year I'm going to help teach a first year class. I also have permission to record in school using their equipment, which includes a couple of 57's, a set of pretty nice Shure mic pre's, some nice cable, a good room for drums, and, best of all, four KSM 141's. It's potentially exciting. But, I see that the SM81 is often recommended over the KSM 141's. Reasons?
An interesting addition: I have an MXL 2001, really cheap, pretty poorly made I think. Large Diaphragm, $99 from Guitar Center. I got it because I needed a good vocal mic and didn't have that much money, and it certainly works for my purposes. However, where it falls short as a vocal mic, it makes up for it as an overhead!
I just tried it out this past Saturday, RecorderMan's technique, and the drums still don't sound amazing (my inexperience, lack of space and lack of equipment shining through,) but they sound so much fuller than anything i've recorded yet! 57 on the snare, kickball on the kick, MXL as the front OH, fake Oktava mk012 over the shoulder facing the toms. Both 4'2" from the beater's contact point. Very pleasant surprise.
I'm getting an Oktava MK319 to use mainly as a vocal mic pretty soon, and some kids I'll be recording in a bit are going to pay me with an inexpensive mic. So, I'm excited to see what the pair of MXL's sound like. They're really not great, but somehow they work.
SD vs. LD
This may be too late for you, but use SD if you want a more cymbal based overhead sound. And use LD if you want to add in the tom and snare sound as well. Both can be useful, you just need to try it and figure out what you like. Also, I like RemyRAD's mic choices. Once you can afford them, try some of those out.
More kudos for the Rode NT5 pair. I use them as overheads ALL the time. They work great in recorderman's technique, and you get plenty of tom sounds. This pair, along with a Rode NT1 in front of the kit, together give me at least 80-90% of my drum sounds.
Keep working at it, make sure the drums have new, tuned heads, that will help tremendously. Also the room they're in is important.