Drum mic choice... Good or bad?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Psilodigm, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Psilodigm

    Psilodigm Guest

    I've been recording a band in six 5hr sessions recently, there style is oriented around thrash metal and so I chose microphones in accordance for the drums, but I think I can get a better sound.
    Current choices:

    Kick: D112 & EV RE20
    Toms: Audix D2's & D4s (Top)
    Snare: Shure SM57's (top and bottom)
    Overheads: AKG C414's (1 mic per cymbal), C1000 for HiHat

    This does provide a good sound to work with, but I believe it could be MUCH better. For start I'd like to mic the bottom of the toms, but really wouldn't know what to use. I've experimented with U87's under the floor tom to bring up the low end but I wasn't happy with it and scrapped the idea. I've considered using boundary mics too. I've an Neumann M149 wanting to be used too. what would be you choice of placement in the room (for ambient)? (6m x 12m x 4m treated)

  2. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Chicago area
    Home Page:
    what you are using is just fine. you dont really need to mic the bottom of the toms.
    what you should be worried about is the drums themselves. TUNED DRUMS afford the best recording. your not going to play a guitar or bass without tuning it first right!!!
    your mics are not the issue at all, what pre;s are you using, what A/D/A's are you using, this is the bottom line my friend. your recording thrash metal.....basically all the drum tones on this type of music is all samples of the kick snare and toms. so go for that sound BUT make sure your overheads are nicely placed and sounding in phase and the room mic is not needed for thrash meta,l again, they yield a very tight sounding drum sound.
    if you were recording indie rock, acoustic rock, things of that nature then take your mic choices and find the right mics for the job, place your room mic that gives yo the sound you want from the room. dude its all trial, error and discovery.
    minimal rules apply to recording so go for it but for the current project your going to need to sample the drums because thats what they are used to listening to in commercial recordings.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I agree and another point is to experiment with the position of the drums in the room. Its amazing what a difference the simple rotation of the kits orientation can do to the sound.
  4. Psilodigm

    Psilodigm Guest

    I'm not aware of what preamps are in the console, but I tracked it through a Soundcraft Ghost 24 (a decent desk in my opinion, I haven't tracked on better), and then I patched it into a Motu 8Pre with 1 of the OHs to an Alesis ADAT 24 and then bounced through the Motu again.

    OH were in phase (just 1 crash and 1 HiHat for this track). I don't think there is anything, or much, wrong with recordings to my judgement, I just think sound doesn't posses the beef and beauty that I'd like. Would that come around in the mastering step?

    The toms were out partially out of tune, but this recording was more of a scratch track than anything, I'm prepped for a re-session on Thursday and I just n wanted some improvement tips if they're going.

    As for your sampling idea: do you mean chopping individual sounds up, processing and arranging them? People have told me that is how the pros do it, but I thought it was more picking and choosing the best played/recorded phrase samples, not each hit!

    Give me some critique on this recording, go as harsh as you wish. It will benefit me greatly. I think I've made the subs about too loud too.

    Psilodigm - MMOT DrumStem - SoundCloud

  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Lots of people like to composite tracks. This is assuming you have multiple identical takes of the same instruments on different tracks. Not always practical. Then you just composite the best single performance turning those multiple tracks into a single track.

    Drum tracks can be more easily substituted for other samples of drums through hardware or software.

    If you think that Tom's were out of tune, many popular multitrack software's allow some type of pitch manipulation without changing tempo. So some of this you can actually fix in postproduction. Changing the pitch on a Tom microphone and adding some downward expansion or gating may make a huge difference in your drums sound. But overheads might need to be slightly compromised in this situation. Or your pitch difference may become too noticeable?

    When tracking an entire band together, inverting phase on certain instruments may help to increase the overall low frequency perception or do just the opposite. So generally I will start inverting phase on certain microphones to see which one may give me a better fatter low frequency response overall. In that way I know most of my microphones are all in phase together. When they are not completely in phase, low frequencies frequently suffer and other instruments and/or vocals can also start disappearing. But fans should not be treated nor manipulated lightly. They can cause undue problems when your stereo mix is collapsed to monaural. If it sounds almost the same in monaural? You are cooking with gas. If you lose too much in monaural, you are dealing with some serious phase problems. I like certain instruments to purposefully be out of phase because of the cancellations it creates. For certain instruments this cancellation can actually enhance the sound of the instrument. When it's in phase I can become muddy and nondescript. Or it can become thin and disappear. Sell us good mixers generally have a button on the console near our monitor section that says " MONO". Very handy, very important. I generally mix for mono and then turn my mix into stereo. Is this making any sense? It does to me so it's okay.

    I love talking to myself
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Chicago area
    Home Page:
    ok here's what im hearing.............
    kick: it is very thin in comparison to the toms. there is more bottom end to the toms than the kick, (if thats what you want, cool) other wise its great for triggering a sample, if your not going to drumagog the kick then im hearing this you'll have to clue me into your mic positioning and eq in the track. it sounds like the mic fo rthe kick is right up on the beater and the head has a quarter glued to it. you may want to move it back a bit to capture more of the body of the drum or if its packed with stuff remove some of it. like i said if your going to drumagog the drums its fine. the double kicks are a bit sketchy so he will have to play it better.
    snare: its ok but what does the tone do for the rest of the song. it has a lot of high end on it you may want to tone it back a touch but then again whats it doing with the rest of the song, it may work.
    toms: UGLY.....they are not in tune properly. the floor tom is really bad sounding... PLEASE get them both to not sound so out of control. also the gates are not set properly either. the release is way to fast thus cutting off the ring of the drums. once you have them tuned properly you can gate them effectively without having them get cut off. its irritating to listen to.

    so your mission is one of two things, one, use the recorded drums for the tracks, if so apply the above mentioned techniques and go for it. two, sample the kick snare and toms with drumagog and use the right samples based on the style of metal they are doing. reference other recordings to seek out the best sounds for your sample base.

    sampling is not chopping up anything. it means that your replacing the original signal with something else, hence drumagog or a drum machine. if you mean taking the best verse, chorus etc and moving them to other sections of the song NO thats not what i mean, you can do that but if its not played to a click extremely well your work load just got bigger. i always have them play it like they mean it. look up drumagog on youtube or whatever and you'll get what i mean. i dont really condone this kind of recording but in your case, the style of music you are dealing with, it is a perfectly acceptable practice.
    recap: just get the toms sounding better, lay off the gate release a bit more and make the kick sound like a kick. you can hear a sample of one of my recordings with a serious kick (real, not sampled) that resulted in two mics being used here:planet10studios - Audio listen to the song "Lie The World"...that drum session took about 2 hours just getting tones and finding the right mics etc..

    overhall its not bad, just watch your eq's the overall take is a bit harsh sounding to me

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