Recorderman's Drum Micing (suggestions for Overheads)

Submitted by jdier on Fri, 06/20/2003 - 06:55

Some here may remember the older thread where Recorderman described the way he liked to mic drums.

I am curious if anyone would be willing to chime in with some thoughts, ideas, suggestions about overheads to be used if following Recordermans suggestions.

First off, I have done it already with Beta57's and had some good luck, but I really need to use my 57's elsewhere...

So I wanted to get some new mics. In my reading on the site it seems many are fans of the 012's and the 603's but I get the impression that people suggesting them are close micing the entire kit and using the overheads just for cymbals.

I would like mics that will be able to pick up a significant amount of snare and toms and also get some kick (from overhead.)

It seem like the prefect mic would be a pair of AKG 451Bs. I am curious if these are a good choice FOR THIS APPLICATION. I am also curious if there are other good choices that might not break the bank when buying a pair.

Maybe I should just go out and buy another pair of 57's or Beta 57's...

Thoughts on a set of matched Rodes, the new Studio Projects pair, C1000's?

Any ideas or thoughts would be much appreciated. Please keep in mind that this is not for the traditional overhead application for picking up cymbals... I want to get as much of the kit as possible from overhead.

The only other application that I ~might~ use them for is acoustic guitar or grand piano... but these applications are not the driving factor in my decision.

Thanks in advance.


I have been using Studio Projects C3's with Recorderman's technique (which I found very inspiring btw, the sound is great). I've been liking them very much in the space

I doubt you'll get significant kick sounds from any overhead pair unless you stick them in front of the bass drum.

Originally posted by heinz:
I have been using Studio Projects C3's with Recorderman's technique (which I found very inspiring btw, the sound is great). I've been liking them very much in the space I'm working in.

I doubt you'll get significant kick sounds from any overhead pair unless you stick them in front of the bass drum.

This weekend I am going to try using my two B1's like that.

Your set up is sweet. Any recordings posted anywhere?

For the kick, I know I will need extra support, and I will get it from my beta52. I am with you on that. I just did not want people to suggest classic cymbal mics.



a CAVEAT from me.....

...This "technique" was/is (hopefully obviously) only one of dozens of ways to mic overheads. The mics you use, the song, arrangement, kit, drummer's style all play significant roles in determinig how you record. Sometimes they need to be out front, high, low, wide spaced pair, mono, etc. Several adjustments may be necessary to achieve the proper ballance.
I myself am always striving to hear a balanced image (toms in the proper stereo demension, kick and snare near center, balance between drums nad cymbals, ect.).
I love using Royer 121 on overheads, but being figure eight they increase the difficulty in acheiving that magic stereo imgage...of course going for mono solves this...and not being a slave to symmetry (as I am) helps also.
Those of you doing your own music are ahead of the game in that you have the final sya and can experiment more freely. Those of us that are usually capturing performances for someone else are usually under the axe of covering all bases....the main reason for over micing a kit. The big ambient "Bonham" sound the producer likes when we're tracking may ba a problem for him and the mixer later whwn they're trying to change the overall character to the drums, after overdubbing a gazzilion parts that we never thought of let alone heard when actually tracking.

That answer to a previous querry...AKG451 do work well in this app. Their focused, bright and small (can be place easily).

Thanks Mr. Recorderman for the great tips, I've been reading the board for quite a while and have learned an incredible amount from you and others here. I of course have the advantage of a stationary setup for my own compositions, and have been moving mics around my kit for a few months... this low/high technique has yielded the best sound so far on this kit in my room.

Originally posted by jdier:
Your set up is sweet. Any recordings posted anywhere?

Thank you Jim. Lots of recording but nothing released yet using this rig. There's older stuff on my website, but I have been studying recording techniques and writing material for the last year. This will hopefully yield something soon, but meanwhile I am enjoying delving into the minutia of drum micing.

MY band records each practice once in order to maintain baseline for our work.......

We've been using a single AKG C1000S - although we do have a pair - and it picks up everything - and i do mean everything - in the room.

The drums are clean and crisp - good sound from cymbals to bass drum - killer snare sound. It amazes me how it picks up the bass drum. The mic is 8' in the air - roughly 4' in front of and about 2' off center of my kit. The high hat is also very prominent.

I'm going to pick up another pair and try just a 2 mic setup as an experiment for the drums alone.

But i gotta tell you - seeing as i've seen the pair advertised for $299 - i believe this is one heck of a buy for mics of this quality.

Happy Hunting


Our basic setup is a stereo set of Neumann KM184's overhead, shure beta 52 in the kick, sm57 snare, beta 56 bottom of snare, sennheiser md421's toms and a room mic about 8 feet in front of the kit. but we'll be working our new shure ksm44 in there somewhere, probably as an ambient room mic, or in front of the bass drum head.

the km 184's pick up everythimg, even a healthy dose of bass drum, the other mics work really well to emphasize the individual drums.

we've managed to get a good sound out of it, but the most important thing is a good drummer and a well tuned kit.


i use recorderman's technique with a pair of schoeps omnis for the overheads and either a D4, 421, or an re20 for the kick

I'll be moving to a pair of R84's as overheads and the schoeps in the kick as soon as i can afford another one

I've been recording drums where I wanted a lot of room sound and somewhat . . . vintage? . . . feel. I tried to get the main sound out of a stereo pair about 6 feet in front of the kit and about 6 feet hi, on the axis of the snare and kick. XY worked pretty good, but I settled on the split pair with a screen between them. It's not for everything, but for real acoustic, semi-garage kind of sound it's pretty darn good.

I've been using SM-57's for everything recently on my kit...2 for overheads, 1 in the kick, and one on the snare, with pretty good results. I've only been doing this for fun recently, until I can afford some good overheads, and a good kick mic. I don't really play drums much, the set up is more for when friends record with me. The kit is a 7 piece, and I was thinking I would use 57's on the toms (all 5 of them!) and the snare, then get 2 Rode NT3's for overheads (opinions on this?), and a Beta 52 for the kick (or opinions on this?). I've also been considering getting a pair of SP B1's, and trying those out as overheads.

Without meaning to sound gushing, I can honestly state that switching to Recorderman's OH method did more to improve my recorded drum tracks than any mic, preamp, or compressor purchase I ever made.

It almost doesn't matter what mics I use. Oktava MC012's, AKG 414's, unmatched tube mics - they all sound slamming. Apparently having the kick and snare being phase coherent has a lot more effect on the sound than the particular mic choice (within reason, of course). I just ordered a pair of Josephson C42's, and I expect they will also sound great.

just a note: i'm sure jake gets great drum sounds with his set-up, but in the posted picture, that is clearly NOT using Recorderman's overhead technique, just in case anyone was confused.

the thing about MC012's is they can be very nice mics IF you get a decent pair. The quality control at Oktava is legendary for its absence.

Originally posted by jdier:

What are your thoughts on LD vs SD mics for the overheads in the configuration we have been discussing. What are he advantages/disadvantages of each?


The answer to that depends upon an examination and consideration of the following:
1. Budget (how much can you spend on a pair of mics)
2. Room. Are the drums in a big ambient room aor a small very dead space? If the former I'd leave more towards Large Diaphram or better yet Royer121 ribbons. If a dead space I'd get the smaller diaphram jobs...oe agian the royers.
2. Cymbals. Bright Paiste or darker Zildjains...

I use for most recording what I call the "Law of Opposites".
This means that If I have a bright source i ususally choose a darker mic/pre/compressor/ect chain. If I'm working on a darker source then I opt for brighter mics, etc.
Small diaphram condense mics tend to sound "brighter" on average than their large diaphram brothers.
Experimentaion is a good way to go. If you could get ahold of one mic each (LDC,SDC,Dynamic, Ribbom) and palce them in the same location and switch between them you'd get your best answer.
Also don't forget that no tow engineers go for the same sound anyway...we all have our pref's of what we experiment.

I still haven't finnished digging royer121's as OH myself, Although thyey are much more difficult to place and achieve the stereo image I like (figure 8 pattern that they are)

...thanks all for the kind words

Originally posted by jake_eskedal:
sorry for any confusion. i was joinig in more on the mic choice side of this, suggesting a good small condenser mic, and how i was able to get good representation of all the drums, including the kick.



no confusion on my part, and welcome. Is always good to see another person from CT....

I had relatives who lived in Andover that had a cottage at Coventry Lake....... loved it when i was a kid.

Used to go to Art Halls (Halls Archery) when i was a kid as well - had a lot of great times out your way.

So again: Welcome

This place is great -

"Live and Learn in RO"

another old saying i just made up.

Happy Hunting


Jake, your pictures and comments were useful to me.

Recorderman, Thanks for getting in on this. I have done almost exactly what you suggested given my somewhat limited budget. (Budget primarily limited by a competing addition to buying basses and guitars!)

I now have inline pads for my B1's (which will likely wind up being used elsewhere given the low ceiling room.)

I also picked up a matched pair of Oktava 012's

I will be tracking this coming weekend and share the results.

Thanks to EVERYONE who got involved in this thread...

I would like to hear some samples of peoples results, anyone have anything to post?