New drum mics.

Profile picture for user Tony Carpenter
Submitted by Tony Carpenter on Mon, 03/22/2021 - 12:59

Hi gang,

I am about to splash out on a new Hendrix Bubinga drum kit and lots of other new toys for it. Mics for drums have gone by the by over the years all I really have left is a fusion f25 I think. I am considering a 4 mic set up. Bass drum Shure beta 52a, snare or Hi-hat a Shure SM-81-LC and finally overhead a pair of Rode NT5 matched mics. @pcrecord Marco and others, thoughts on this?. I'll be putting these through my Apollo Quad preamps. Room is treated and I have done drum mics before but usually 7 mics. Kit will be 6 piece, 22 Bass, 14 snare, 10 and 12 rack and 14 and 16 floors. 15inch hit-hat, 18 and 20 inch crash, 24 inch ride, 8 splash.

May add roto toms too, but, I'll see :)

Cheers,

Tony

I really prefer a dynamic on the snare, and I find I keep going back to an SM57 after trying various other mics. I don't mic hi-hats much these days. My overheads seem to get them just fine, which might be because I do an XY pair to capture the kit rather than spaced overheads that probably get more of the other cymbals.

@bouldersound Thank you :). I realise an SM57 is an all time fav, interesting observation about letting the overheads catch the hi-hat.. hmm. Do you find the stereo image is enough across a big kit with XY?.

Cheers,

Tony

We used xy almost exclusively at Traid, and almost never had the hat mic on in the mix. Or the ride mic if we used it. No issues with image, the mics are aimed apart. And the phase coherency leaves a solid image. Plus you can get them pretty low and grab alot of snare.

The 57/beta 57 is a tough mic to beat on snare. For gentle jazz an ldc like a 414 can work. If i were to use a sdc i would tape it to the 57 as is fairly common.

The nt5 are going to be ultra bright, really accentuating cymbals. And they have no pad. I didn't get much use from them on overheads. The are great on pop acoustic guitar. We used at3035 ultra cheap but beat out 87s quite often on the house kit. They lived in xy above it. I like 414s as well for overhead, they do a really good job. And an sm81 pair is good too. 414 would be my first choice, 3035 2nd.

I think the sennhiesser kick mic is more versatile than beta 52. The 52 has that one sound. Id opt for the senny or a d112. D112 is what i have most experience with.

Probably my favorite snare mic is the senny 441. Its so articulate. Its a dynamic with the sound of a sort. Like a condenser. Love that on snare.

@kmetal Hiya Kyle :). I just had a listen to the NT5s with the NT45-O Capsules. Being OMNI that seems to really open the NT5 up?. I am trying to keep within a budget too. I used to have a D112 back in 1999, I can see MK2 versions out there now. With a SM57 the 2 NT5s and 2 OMNI replacement capsules, XY brace bar and a beta 52a I am getting around £1000 I think, including 3 beyer dynamic stands.
 

Interesting i don't know if the pair i used was omni or not. I *think* they were cardiod. I dunno if the omni capsules are less bright or not. The lack of a pad is a concern on drums though. It might be something worth trying before buying.

I've seen the 3035's for like 70$. Sinfully cheap. We literally picked them over 414 and 87s on drums, and we already had all those mics, purely a sonic choice.

They have a pad, and low cut which can be useful if you want less kick in the OH. I used them flat. That's the other advantage of ldc on overhead, you can just cut the lows or use them.

If you end up with the NT5s and dont like them they will sell easy. For some reason every person looking for a first mic seems to want a rode. I traded my barely ever used nt1a in at GC and went back a few days later and it was sold.

One nice thing about coincident overheads, you can time align all the close mics to them. With a spaced pair you can really only time align mics that are the same distance to both overheads, so if you place them both at the same distance to the snare, that works, but you can't align the floor tom to both overheads. I orient the XY so the snare and kick are on the center line, which makes them look odd visually, but it works acoustically.

 

 

Attached files

The amount of mics and placement is very genre dependant.
I mostly do Pop and Rock, those ask for close mics on everything.

I should do a deconstruct video using 3 then 4 then more mics.
For overhead Spaced pairs will give you a larger stereo plane but if you think of it, many recording we hear aren't natural at all.. having the HH to the left and the ride to the right when done to the extreem would mean having a drummer with 10 feet arms and legs to replicate what the listener receive.. ;)

I do use the KSM 44 on overheads now.. a bit sweeter highs than many other mics. I never tried the Nt5 and by the comment from Kmetal.. I don't think I will..

kmetal, post: 468263, member: 37533 wrote:
I think the sennhiesser kick mic is more versatile than beta 52. The 52 has that one sound. Id opt for the senny or a d112. D112 is what i have most experience with.

The D112 is the flatest of the 3, the 52 has a bit of EQ and the Senheiser the more drastic eq... For jazz or classic music I'd go with the d112.. and rock the Sennheiser E602 or E902

I love the SM 81 on hh or ride..

Lots of food for thought. My ideal situation would be to get some nice second hand, but not knowing what that might bring.. worries me. I think I told some of you a long time ago I used the full AKG kit back in 1999 to record Eric Haydock's drummer, and I had that set up until I lost my house in the financial bust in 08. I was actually quite happy with the D112 and the then C1000s and the little gooseneck tom mics, and had the F25 too I think from memory. My room is almost zero reverb that I am using so the drums should behave quite nicely along with my usual skin choices.

Funny that you write about the AKG Kit.. I've been doing live and studio recordings with it for years..
The C1000s aren't very good but the D112 and the C418 in the kit are very nice.
AKG always had a drum mic kit, but they changed what is included many times over the years, specially the tom mics..
None of the AKG actual kits have the c418 offered. Their kits range from 399 to 2K CAD... I think I paid mine around 1200$

As for the dead room, there are many tricks to simulate a drum room.. It is easier than to deal with a bad sounding room..

@pcrecord My room is treated to save me having to deal with it's dimensions :). I have plenty of ways to make a room sound how I want from UAD Oceanways to East West Spaces 2 etc etc.. I JUST sold my bike, and the money is now burning a considerable whole in my pocket LOL. So far I picked up a never used SM57 for a good price and a new a D112 Mk2 for a good price. Both of eBay saved about £60 so far.. not a lot, but it'll all count. Keeping my eye on a pair of NT5s I think they'll do nicely in my room. UAD Preamps will give me HPF etc :0). Waiting on Drum shop (VERY impatiently) to call me back LOL...

Tony Carpenter, post: 468276, member: 48344 wrote:
@pcrecord Keeping my eye on a pair of NT5s I think they'll do nicely in my room.

Tony - If you are considering the Rode NT5s as overheads, I would seriously keep an eye out for a pair of NT55s. They are the same mic as the NT5, but come with both the cardioid and omni capsules, and have mic body switches for 10dB/20dB pad and 75/150Hz HP filter.

Some years ago, before I got my NT55s, I happened to be present at a band recording where NT5s were set up as drum overheads. The drummer turned out to be what you might call aggressive, and the output from the NT5s overloaded the input of the Digidesign pre-amps. They had to be replaced with another SDC pair that had lower output. I made sure that I got NT55s with the pad switches after seeing that episode.

@Boswell excellent suggestion!. Picked up a pair matched of NT55s. By the time I had gotten the nt5s it would have cost me almost as much without controls. Many thanks :).

Tony

That was quick work!

It's usually quite a lot cheaper to get the 55s in a case with the extra capsules than to pick up a pair of 5s and then scratch around for the capsules. Plus you get the attenuations and the HPFs with the 55s.

Boswell, post: 468280, member: 29034 wrote:
That was quick work!

It's usually quite a lot cheaper to get the 55s in a case with the extra capsules than to pick up a pair of 5s and then scratch around for the capsules. Plus you get the attenuations and the HPFs with the 55s.

I'm on a roll :D. I've just finished getting my new drums, cymbals and stand etc ordered too. By the weekend I should be ready to rock this house.

The only other snare mic I use is a Beyer 201. Nice hat mic too. Kik in my room is usually an ATM25 inside and a Bock U195 outside. If you can find an EV N/D868 buy it. Overheads here lately have been AT4033's in spaced pair. For X/Y i like the AT4041's. And I like those NT55's ! Good capture there. They are twice the mic as the 5's

Waiting waiting waiting lol


Roland kit is packed away and I added that panel to preempt the wall of sound coming my way lol.

Getting closer... but boxes were short by two today.. not a happy camper. The two with my cymbals in!!.

it was like a mechano set.

The mothership has landed!!. Just waiting on rode mics to get into that. Freaky after no acoustic kit for 6 years.. but very nice.

Davedog, post: 468315, member: 4495 wrote:
Love me some bubinga .....

It sounds amazing. Hendrix hit the ball out of the park. The Paiste big beat cymbals are nice too.

Tony Carpenter, post: 468489, member: 48344 wrote:
The final piece of the recording puzzle has arrived.
 

Great looking forward to hearing it!

Tony Carpenter, post: 468489, member: 48344 wrote:
The final piece of the recording puzzle has arrived.
 

Great !!! hope you will post some samples !!

pcrecord, post: 468497, member: 46460 wrote:
Great !!! hope you will post some samples !!

Too busy playing live on Jamulus at the moment. Getting compliments on how they sound, so that’s good.

Tony Carpenter, post: 468499, member: 48344 wrote:
Too busy playing live on Jamulus at the moment. Getting compliments on how they sound, so that’s good.

Tony - do you find the latency on Jamulus acceptable? What bandwidth line do you have?

Boswell, post: 468500, member: 29034 wrote:
Tony - do you find the latency on Jamulus acceptable? What bandwidth line do you have?

I get between 15 and 40 ms bottom being local. I played 3 hours today with guys from Italy France and Germany and Netherlands in real time. If you know the right settings it’s work acceptably most times. It wobbles a little bit occasionally. I’m on Virgin Media gigabit 1 down 50mbit up. I have 900kbs in Jamulus on my settings.

Tony Carpenter, post: 468489, member: 48344 wrote:
The final piece of the recording puzzle has arrived.
 

At one studio, I use a pair of SM81 mics. It's my impression that the diaphragm is pretty much right behind the grille, so I position them for optimum coincidence with that in mind.

 

Attached files

bouldersound, post: 468502, member: 38959 wrote:
At one studio, I use a pair of SM81 mics. It's my impression that the diaphragm is pretty much right behind the grille, so I position them for optimum coincidence with that in mind.

 

I’ve recorded a brief take after setting up the NT55s. Waves looked healthy and take was good. I’m running them on mono each at hard panned with the omni heads in. They sound amazing. Just the right height too to grab the kit without making the spread of stereo too much. I just have the HPF at 75hz. Keeping the bass drum mostly out.

Tony Carpenter, post: 468503, member: 48344 wrote:
I’ve recorded a brief take after setting up the NT55s. Waves looked healthy and take was good. I’m running them on mono each at hard panned with the omni heads in. They sound amazing. Just the right height too to grab the kit without making the spread of stereo too much. I just have the HPF at 75hz. Keeping the bass drum mostly out.

If they're in omni, coincident placement probably won't produce much if any stereo spread. The whole point of XY is to use the cardioid pattern to produce separation between left and right. If you want stereo from a pair of omnidirectional mics, it needs to be a spaced pair to get some difference in arrival time or levels. Also, omni mics will pick up more reflection from a low ceiling.

bouldersound, post: 468504, member: 38959 wrote:
If they're in omni, coincident placement probably won't produce much if any stereo spread. The whole point of XY is to use the cardioid pattern to produce separation between left and right. If you want stereo from a pair of omnidirectional mics, it needs to be a spaced pair to get some difference in arrival time or levels. Also, omni mics will pick up more reflection from a low ceiling.

I admit listening only with my IEMs in. Back to basics :). I’ve never used an XY before at all it seemed correct from watching a video on it. Only difference of course I’ve used the Omni heads. Thanks for the help, appreciate it.

I have switched back to cardroid heads and adjusted the positions a little here is a short take nothing much done other than the UAD preamps and setup. Very quick take. Sounds definitely stereo at least :). Listened on my stereo system in dining room.
Thanks in advance.

Attached files

Mixdown drums.wav (13.9 MB) 

It's definitely stereo now.

One thing I do is twist the XY at a funny angle to put the snare dead center in the image. Sometimes what looks right and what sounds right are different things.

bouldersound, post: 468507, member: 38959 wrote:
It's definitely stereo now.

One thing I do is twist the XY at a funny angle to put the snare dead center in the image. Sometimes what looks right and what sounds right are different things.

Yep, I did that I read how that works. I’m not finished but I think that was a reasonable first try. Biggest thing is the only monitoring I have currently in drum room is IEMs. I do have a pair of KRK 5 mk3s in there I can hook up though to test more in room.

That's certainly a promising start.

It's hard to judge just from OHs, as they are the glue that hold the other drum mics together, and don't necessarily sound good on their own unless you have spectacular acoustics. Did you record the kick and snare as well on that take?

Boswell, post: 468509, member: 29034 wrote:
That's certainly a promising start.

It's hard to judge just from OHs, as they are the glue that hold the other drum mics together, and don't necessarily sound good on their own unless you have spectacular acoustics. Did you record the kick and snare as well on that take?

That's an interesting approach, ive always used the OH and Kick as the primary drum sound with close mics filling them in. Although ive done live gigs with no overheads, and the room does make a difference. Ive gotten some surprisingly good (to me) drum sounds with just a kick mic and an sm57 on overhead in medium size practice rooms.

It certainly does depend on the genre, and I don't record a lot of the styles developed in the last 20 years or so. However, live acoustics have not changed that much, and I find that giving OHs too much prominence often risks exposing a less than optimal recording acoustic. Studio sessions using an isolated drum room are another matter, and some of my favourite recordings have had ribbon mica as overheads where the height will allow.

Lining up the delays at mixdown is a major part of achieving cohesion in a full kit wherever the recording was made.

Boswell, post: 468509, member: 29034 wrote:
That's certainly a promising start.

It's hard to judge just from OHs, as they are the glue that hold the other drum mics together, and don't necessarily sound good on their own unless you have spectacular acoustics. Did you record the kick and snare as well on that take?

Yep D112 on Bass drum and SM57 on snare. I don’t hear any phase issues. All lined up, I think. Lol. I appreciate more experienced ears here.

Davedog, post: 468535, member: 4495 wrote:
Don't forget to try ORTF technique if you want a bit truer stereo field.

I don't know if I'd call it truer. I think ORTF is more spacious and XY is more precise. My preference would be to retain the ability to time align things for the tonal benefits, which is why I like XY.

I think I might experiment with a pair of PZMs back to back.

I got side tracked by the arrival of my final big spend yesterday, a Roland RD2000. I'll get back into the drum room today, and get some more stuff done. I think the overall reaction I got from various people was that the initial setup was almost nailed immediately. I think I want to try to get more of a polished sound straight out of the Apollo, that's going to take another pair of hands and me on the drums though, or maybe I can Sidecar the iPad and pull it off. The biggest problem I have is the IEMs aren't loud enough to make it completely isolation level. I might try some other over ear headphones to try to isolate the live sound away more, or in an ideal world completely :).

I do think that for my purposes, and room that XY plus those 2 mics is the right choice, thanks though Dave :).

Just a suggestion since you seem to be in experimental mode.

I use several methods here. They are all different.

I especially use X/Y on acoustic guitars I want more punch from. X/Y over a kit with a couple of room mics makes a nice image .

ORTF and a front condenser on a kit gets a nice space for the drums. Maybe add a dynamic under the snare. Beyer 422 or 201 is good for this.

Davedog, post: 468538, member: 4495 wrote:
Just a suggestion since you seem to be in experimental mode.

I use several methods here. They are all different.

I especially use X/Y on acoustic guitars I want more punch from. X/Y over a kit with a couple of room mics makes a nice image .

ORTF and a front condenser on a kit gets a nice space for the drums. Maybe add a dynamic under the snare. Beyer 422 or 201 is good for this.

Oh I do appreciate the advice. I’m also restricted to a maximum of 5 mics. That’s why I asked initially what I should mic. My remaining mic is a F25 condenser mic.

New take. I tried using my Sony closed can headphones to rebalance the mics. Bass drum mic moved a little oh mics too snare a little closer in. Some preamp changes too.

Thanks again for thoughts. Sounds about right to me again, but that’s no true indication :).

Attached files

Mixdown 2 Drums.wav (11 MB)