Advice needed for recording drums with a bunch of Shure57s

Discussion in 'Drums' started by mellitacas, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    Hello there, this is my first post, I hope I'll get some feedback for a mic placement problem I have. BTW, this is a great forum. OK, here's the situation...

    My girlfriend got me as a birthday present a pair of Shure 57s, a Shure B52 and stands to replace my crappy old mics for my drum set. I'm not sure if I should replace them or actually add the Shures to my current set. I can't afford to buy some more quality mics, so close micing set up is out of the question.

    My current set up looks like this (sorry for the rough pic):

    The pair behind the drums is 5 feet from the ground, 3 feet away from the set, aiming for the center of the set. The kick mic is an inch away from the resonant head's hole. All three stands are self made, so no height adjustment, no crane whatsoever... Oh, almost forgot, all three mics are dynamic, unidirectional ones.

    The results from this setup are satisfactory (you can check my youtube page at for some samples).

    B52 is a kick drum mic, I got the proper stand for placing it inside the drum, near the beater, I'll manage that. The placement of the 57s is what really puzzles me. I never really got much serious about the placement, distance, angle of the mics but now that I've got the Shure ones, I'm determined to find a proper set up to capture a nice sound out from them.

    If you have any suggestions of how I should set up the mics (old ones with new ones or just the new ones), I'll very much appreciate it.

    Thank you very much for your time.


  2. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    search this site for "RecorderMan technique". You can also search for it on youtube.

    Someone may be along shortly with a link. But you can track it down quicker yourself.

    It's a good technique and fairly easy to set up.
    can be done with 2 or 3 mics.
  3. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    Thanks for the reply friend, yes, I'm familiar with the RecordMan and X/Y techniques. I've never applied them to my set, but I will try to experiment with those first.

    The thing is that I have 4 inputs available for drums. So, I was thinking of using the new Shure ones and one of my old crappy ones (the best of them anyway).

    For the RecordMan technique, I'm thinking something likie this (I like pics):

    B52 doesn't show, inside kick drum, pointing to the beater, left 57 above and pointing to the snare, right 57 pointing to the snare and crappy one in front of the drum set, pointing in the center. I was thinking of placing the crappy one behind the drum set, pointing to the center but then it will be out of phase with B52 and my console doesn't have a phase invert funtion. I'm still gonna have phase problems with the B52 and the right 57 though...

    For the X/Y technique, something like this:

    Same as the Recordman technique, the 57s pair positioned in the center of the drum set, 90 degrees angled. Phase problems will be less than with the Recordman technique I think...

    What do you think of these placements? Any other suggestions?

    Thank you very much for your time.


  4. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Those are certainly standard configurations. So start with those and see how it sounds.
    Also research Glyn Johns technique. (basically same as mixerman but adds snare and kick mics)
    You can easily create a reverse phase cable. Just reverse the 2 wires at one of the connectors. (also make sure you clearly label the cable to avoid future hair pulling)
  5. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    How do you do those drawing? Is any special software needed?
  6. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Windows, it comes with Paint.
  7. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    It's MS PowerPoint actually... :) It only takes a couple of minutes for those pics to draw with it...

    Yes, I'm familiar with the GJ's technique, I'm a little skeptical about it because you need good overheads and the snare sounds sharp (I like it a bit warm).

    Do I need a soldering iron for that? You mean the wires that show up when you unscrew the plugs? Do you melt off the connections, reverse them and melt on?

    Thank you all for your replies, I'm considering exchanging one of the 57s (I hope my girlfriend doesn't find out... :roll: ) with a couple of overheads, I think I've seen a set of 2 Behringer C-2 that has the same price as the 57, so that I could use the remaining 57 on the snare. I'm still skeptical about micing the snare though...

    Still any suggestions would be much appreciated and thanks a lot for your time.


  8. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Jun 9, 2008
    People's Republic Of Mancunia
    NOOOOOOO! You're about to swap the single most versatile mic on the planet for something with the B word on the side. DDon't do it, FFS!

    In fact, I would go with diagram 1, but add another 57 on the snare.
  9. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Yes, keep the 2 57's. add more mics to your arsenal later. but always keep those 57's. They are your swiss army knives of mics. Your girlfried is very wise and knowledgeable. (most girlfriends would prefer that you sell your mics) So keep her and keep the mics.
    Ok- 'nuff said on that

    Yes, you'll need a soldering gun, get some silver solder and a vice. If you're not real handy with soldering, this is a great first project to work on. (believe me, there will be many more projects in your future)
    Undo one of the connectors, unsolder the wires going to pins 2 & 3. (pin one is ground and stays put- and the pins are numbered if you look closely)
    Reverse the wires going to pins 2& 3 and resolder.
    your done.

  10. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    I called the shop owner (good friend) and asked him if I could exchange the mic. My ear still hurts from him screaming "NOOOO"! I guess he feels the same... :lol:

    So, I'll keep the 57s AND my girlfriend :lol: and try to work with what I've got. Just to sum and clarify things up a bit, I'll use 4 inputs (my share of the console), one for each 57, one for B52 and one for my old unidirectional dynamic noname one (that'a an optional one, if it messes with the overall sound of the kit, it's out of there).

    I can't wait for my band to get together this weekend to experiment with the new mics, I would prefer to have them at maximum distance from the kit in order to capture the ambience of the room, let's see what kind of interference I would get from the guitar and bass to the new mics. The only real problem I had with my previous setup was that cymbals were too loud, but that's something that involves as much mic quality and positioning as room acoustics.

    I'm still considering all options mentioned (and maybe a few more) for positioning the mics, I'll get back to you on that.

    Thanks you guys for all your help,

  11. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    Hello again, just a quick question regarding Glyn Johns and Recorderman techniques... Is it just me or these techniques don't take into account the 3 to 1 rule? If the distance between the OH mics and the snare is X, the distance between the mics should be 3*X. So, for a distance of 3 feet between the snare and the OH mics, there should be a distance of 12 feet between the mics to prevent phasing issues. That's a lot! Maybe I'm missing something... :?
  12. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    The recorderman and Glyn Johns setups take care of phasing by putting the microphones the same distance for the kick and snare. That part is crucial. ie d(snare to mic A)=d(snare to mic B) and d(kick to mic A)=d(kick to mic B) There will be phasing issues with the other drums. It's part of the sound. The kick and snare come though nice if you do it right, and that's what most people want.
  13. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    Actually, the Glyn Johns technique doesn't take into account the kick drum cause he used a third up close mic for it (and a fourth for the snare as a matter of fact), but, nevertheless, I agree with you.


  14. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Right, so the two microphones equal distant from the kick and snare violate the 3:1 rule, but because they are the same distance phase is not a factor (on the kick and snare) The snare and kick microphones are very close to the source, so they follow the 3:1 rule.
  15. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    Hello again, our band gatherimg was postponed due to family matters... :roll:

    So, I didn't have a chance to try the new mics in action with the rest of the band, I did try them on my own though (couldn't resist :oops:). The results were... well, I'll let you guys judge by yourselves, if you care to listen to THIS sample of my recording trials. I used the B52 in the kick (low cut on), one S57 on the snare and one S57 as overhead, all inputs' pan center, no gain, no eq, just raw streaming.

    If you could give me some pointers for getting this setup to sound better (gain, eq, placement etc.), I'll very much appreciate it.

    Thank you for your time,


    PS: I did try the Glyn Johns technique but the stereo image was... not stereo... :? I'll try it again, when our band, eventually, gets together... :roll:
  16. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I like the Sandman bit at the end.

    The sound is a little forced to me, like it's being compressed or limited.
  17. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Sounds like the hi tom needs some tuning.
    Maybe the mid tom as well.
    I liked the floor tom and I liked the hat.
    With some surgical EQ the kick and snr might turn out fine.
    all together it's not too bad.
    It would come under the heading of what I call 'A little Foggy'
    It lacks clarity but it is a move in the right direction.
  18. mellitacas

    mellitacas Guest

    Thanks, I like to test my tuning and setup with this part cause it's a song I'm familiar with, I can play dynamically with it and it uses most of the kit's pieces...

    Funny you mentioned that, I think something's wrong with the console or the computer we record to... A strange behavior started a month ago, it seemed that the gain level (volume) got too high when we turned on the console and the computer. We had to do a restart to the console or the computer (sometimes more than once) in order to get the levels back to normal. We changed computer, with a different sound card and now the effect is permanent. Maybe the console is fried, I don't know... :?

    Hmmm... Is it because of the overtones? I like to hear a bit of overtones from my toms... To be honest, I haven't tuned them for sometime now, I'll check them out, thanks! :cool:
  19. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Shameless plug: Click for an example of me bitching on the Sandman.

    You should find out... This seems weird. And you may get a spanking for gain structure. :p

    Don't stress it, your kit sounds rather nasty but then it's nothing on what you have to record with... So who's worried?
  20. melonmachine

    melonmachine Guest

    When you use maintly OHs to record drums you will often get too much of the cymbals even with quality mics. The room might be afecting it, but it's most likely that your cymbals ar actually too loud!

    At gigs drummers hit the cymbals hard to be heard. In the clarity of a recording they will often cut through too much.

    Try a softer touch, a lighter right hand stick or smaller cymbals.

    P.S 57s rule!

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