Drum mic set

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Mynameistrouble, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Right i'm looking to invest in a decent set of drum mics as part of a project studio, which is being steadily built upon with the intention of eventually renting it out. Now i'll have to admit i'm not very hot on drum mics, i usually use SM57's on snares and toms, and whatever designated bass drum mic and condensor overheads happen to be available. What would you suggest would make a good set consisting of:
    1@snare drum mic
    1@bass drum mic
    3@designated tom mics
    1@condensor for the hi-hat
    As for budget, well i'm more interested in seeing what sort of cost i would be looking at rather than setting myself a limit at the moment, i don't want to set a price as i don't know the relative values of each mic. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Smithtown, NY
    Home Page:
    If you do a search of the archives you wil find many posts on this subject with many varying suggestions and opinions, all of which are very good.

    Here is yet another set of suggestions.

    kick= AKG D112
    Snare= sm57
    hat = Neumann km 184
    toms = Sennheiser 421 (x3)
    oveurheads = Audio Technica at-4050 (x2)

    This is a good start and has room for improvement depending on how much you may or may not want to spend, and your personal taste. And if you can, audition as many mics different as you can, like a pair of AKG 451B's for overheads, sennheiser md 441 on snare, or an audix D-4 on kick etc...

    Good luck
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Snare: SM57 or ATM Pro 35
    Kick Drum: AKG D112 (imo preferred) or Audix D6
    Toms: ATM; Pro 35's
    Overheads: (on a budget) Studio Projects; C4's
    (cost not an issue)
    AKG; 451's / 460's / 480's / 414's ..
    Hat: same as overheads ... or an AKG 414

    My feeling is the hat usually doesn't need micing. I can get all the hat I need from the overheads and snare mics most the time ... but I usually mic it anyway just in case .. You may be able to do without.

    Recently, I have been tracking a lot of drums with a D112 on the kick, a 57 on the snare and 2 overheads placed about 2.5 feet apart above the rack toms at cymbal height ... this has been working very well.
  4. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    dont forget the Sennheiser 421 as a staple in many studios for toms
  5. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    You really ought to do a search on this topic since it has come up many times before. As you will see there are all kinds of solutions for drums, for instance:

    1@snare drum mic - I like a Gefel UM92.1
    1@bass drum mic - Sounddelux E47, Beyer M88 or Royer R121
    3@designated tom mics - MD421 or whatever hyper-cardiod is in the closet (I don't use tom mics in the mix very much for more than placing samples or even at all).
    2@overheads - These should be your best mics since this is where most of the sound for the drums is defined. Most of the snare, hat, cymbals, tom sound and stereo imaging come from these guys. I really like Earthworks QTC30 or QTC1 SD omni's because of the really well defined high end.

    1@condensor for the hi-hat - whatever you have left, I don't remember actually ever using the high hat mic in a mix.

    Just one more point of view.

  6. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    you use a ribbon on the bass just wondering about placemant?
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Ribbons are very vulnerable to blast of air destroying the ribbon, which is a reason they are not usually used in situations where air displacements occur (like in a kick drum ) I would not risk my RCA D77 on anybody's drums, no matter what they paid. (60 yr old mics don't come around everyday) I used to put my D77 on guitar cabs as well (and got a sweet, sweet sound on clean guitar) until I started tp get paranoid about air displacement there as well. I mostly use my D77 now for VO's and some female vocals where nothing else would do.
  8. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    Eugene, Oregon
    O.K., I'll add my $.02 as well...

    Kick - AKG D112 (curious about Audix D6, may try it)
    Snare - Shure SM57 or Audix D1
    Toms - Audix D2 (one for each two toms if on budget)
    Overheads - Oktava MC012 (x2)
    Hat - Oktava MC012

    I also get most of the hat and tom sound from the overheads. I do mix in a bit of the close-miked tom sound, and usually just a touch of the hat mic if I need to improve the definition a bit.

    FWIW I recently played drums for a session where my snare was miked with a Neumann 193 (I THINK that is what it was) and placed to the side of the snare. I assume this was intended to pick up more of the sound of the drum, but on some songs, I sure missed the punch you get with a good old 57 just over the top head. He also used 57s on my toms, and while they sounded good, I believe other mics are better suited to capture the full round sound I get naturally out of my Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes. The 57s made them sound like everybody else's drums.

    Have fun!

  9. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    im still just wandering about the placement of the ribbon in the kick? i understand there frailty though the royer 121 is suposabley in destructable.
  10. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    I also place the Gefel on the shell more often than on the skin. Its a really cool sound that complements the overheads really well.

    Regtarding the R121 on kick. It sounds great! and it wasn't my idea, I actually RTFM that came with the mic. Page 14 of the manual describes how to address the mic for drums and percussion. I use the typical ribbon methods of leaning it forward 45 degrees or sometimes alittle to the side and forward. The key is to keep it somewhere around 18 inches away and put it in the sound field but not in the wind field.

    Anyway it sounds extremely natural. Really nice sound for Jazz or Folk or Blues or other ambient settings.

    Again its good to know your gear and how it works. If you do not understand the failure mechanisms of ribbons then absolutely do not try this. IF you know what you are doing and are in aposition to control the setup then there is no reason not to.

  11. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    The Royer manual is available here. Check out the diagrams on page 16 & 17 (PDF page numbers) for details on micing a kick with a ribbon.

  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    In an ideal world without budget constraints....

    Kik- Audix D6 with Electrovoice RE20 (kilck and boom)

    Snare- Neumann KM84 top (crisp and clear)
    Beyer M160 bottom (the real snare sound)

    Toms- Sennheiser MD 409 on high toms (why dont they still make this one???)
    ATM25 on floor toms (BIG WHOOOOMP...tight and focused)

    Hat- definately Neumann KM184 (edgier than the KM84)

    Overheads- Either...Neumann U87i's ( I've recorded a ton of drummers with these as overheads...nothing much better)
    Coles 4038's (or STC's if you could find em)

    Room mics- Front of kit...Neumann U47 (just an okay mic)*
    Up high in corner mics...Coles 4038's

    Alternative mics....Shure SM81....Audix D4/D2....AT4033....Shure SM57 UnidyneIII....Beyer 422....Beyer 201....Beyer M500....Sennheiser MD441/421.....

    All through API console.

    * just kidding

    And MOST important.....a drummer who understands arrangement and taste...and can play it again 'just as good, only better'.
    Or as The Rickster says "A high standard of standardness"....
  13. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    I too like a condensor on the snare top or shell. I usually use a MK012 and a 57(phase aligned) on the top head. Or a 57 and a TLM 103 on the shell with a NT2 on the bottom of the snare. I get pretty good, pretty typical sounds with a D112 on kick but I'm going to start experimenting with LD condensors on kick and toms.

    Davedog, I've heard you and others talk about the ATM25 and ATM PRO 35 for toms and kick. How do these sound compared to 57's for toms? I don't like 57's at all for toms. I'd like to get a good set of mics for toms and bass cab. 421's would rock but pretty expensive. What's up with the MD 409? I have a 609 (new) they look similar and are supposed to sound similar but are they good for toms? Are the 409's only availible used? How do the ATM 25's sound on rack toms and bass cab? Sorry for so many questions. Thanks
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    J-3....The ATM25 (not the 'pro 25') is a mic you could use on the entire toms/kick/bass cabs if you want to..Its very good and at around $135 new its a bargain... The Sennheiser MD409 is NOTHING like its cheap imitator they pass off as 'similar'...Its a mic that most guys will not give up so the availability is limited.They are IMHO one of the best mics for drums/marshall cabs/bass cabs and even a vocal...I've used them when nothing else would work including old Neumann's on vocals. The ATM Pro 35 is a neat little lapel sized mic and is very handy for micing large sets as its tiny and sounds good to boot. The best comparison I know of is the Beyer 422.
  15. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    So Davedog, have you used the Audix D2? It's pretty much the same price as the ATM 25. I might go buy one of each and compare then get the one that works best for toms. I've never used those little clip condensors, how do they sound?

    Reguarding bass, I may just keep using a 57 untill I can get a RE-20 or SM-7. I've done some experimenting with my R-121, TLM 103, AT 4050 etc and find that I like the 57 about a foot back off the bass cab. What have you been using on bass lately?

    Also left out of the overhead category wasR121's, Earthworks TC30's or SRO's, Geffel M300's, and Josephson C42's for overheads? Also, Josephson E22's for toms look pretty awesome. He did'nt list a budget so I thought I'd chime it in. Good luck in your search.
  16. I apologise for the repeated post, didn't think to do a search i'm afraid! Thanks very much for all the advice, at the moment i'm swaying towards the D112 for bas drum and 421's for toms, but there's no rush, i don't really need to get for 6 months, gives me plenty of time for experimentation.

    As for the hi-hat mic'ing, because of the nature of the bands i usually record (predominantely hardcore/metal bands) i like a strong hi-hat in the mix, it'but obviously it's personal preference more than anything.
  17. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    J3...I own both Audix D2's and ATM25's...I love em both...For a heavier tom sound the ATM25 is very good..If you want a crisp upfront attack with zero bleed from other pieces of the kit then the D2 is the mic. I dont like it (the D2) on low toms its just too quick and clicky...i love the D4 there or the ATm25...One great use I've found lately for the Audix is a harmonica mic...A D2 or a D1 works really well for this...It gives you a complete range of tonality of a harp, not that old-timey blues harp but a real in-yer-face kinda sound...The difference between the two mics seems to be simply a different tonal curve. For bass I use a DI and when we use an amp I'll put either the D4,the ATM25, or an ADK Area 51(frankenstein version) out about a foot. An RE20 will work perfectly for this. I forgot to also mention the Royer...we recently did a replacement track on the drums and used a stereo Royer for the overhead.....Gosh, the cymbals sounded so good and translated so well at the mix...I gotta say I was deeply impressed by this mic.And the pres were simply ProTools mic pres...the 192 I think.
  18. How would you lot rate the Sennheiser 421's in terms of spill from other parts of the kit?
  19. Mediaguru

    Mediaguru Guest

    I like 421's or ev 468's for toms. 421 or D112 for kicks. Try out an AT 4051 (not 4050) for OH or HH.
  20. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    I too have the audix mics... love the D2's and D6. D4 also works very well on the floor toms.

    Does anyone here have an opinion on the audix ADX-50 overheads? They came in my mic kit and that's what I use. (Can't afford anything else right now hehe)
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