drum mics clipping

Discussion in 'Drums' started by baadc0de, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. baadc0de

    baadc0de Active Member

    Oct 6, 2005

    I have a little problem with recording "extreme metal" drums - the drummer is so loud, that a matched pair of NT-1A's set half a meter higher from his head clip at mic gain set to minimum. I have a similar problem with the kick mic (Shure PG series, PG-52 I think) which clips at minimum gain setting, set against the rear had, about 10-15 cm far, quite off-axis. The mic pre is the builtin pre of the M-Audio projectmix.


    Here's a link to a rough mix of the (clipped) drums with a scratch guitar track. The band is very happy and thrilled, but I'm quite lost to if this is a good or bad sound & production quality. My work is free (my first session) and I have a feeling their judgement is based on that... what do you think? The production should be similar to bands dissection, dark funeral and such.

    A simple question - should I redo the drum tracks with the overheads set higher? Should I just stop recording whenever he makes them clip and force him to redo it with less vigorous hitting? or is this really okay enough, and I should just relax. I'm kind of confused over here, what a good drum mix should be with his music, and whether I did mediocre, okay, or such... ?
  2. cfaalm

    cfaalm Active Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Home Page:
    Are there no pad switches on those mikes or on the preamp? Or do you have overs even with the pad engaged?
  3. baadc0de

    baadc0de Active Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    No, sadly my NT1-A's are without pad switches, as is the preamp. The only choice on the preamp is to either select "line or mic" and to select your gain.
  4. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I ran into a similar problem recently.. I tried using an M-Audio "Audio Buddy" pre-amp to record band practises, but found that any condensor mics without a pad switch would distort badly even though the Audio Buddy's clip LEDs weren't lighting.. my solution was to stop being lazy and pack a small Mackie mixer instead!

    A second-hand Mackie "VLZ pro" or "Onyx" mixer might be the best way forward for you...

    .. as far as the mix goes: I thought the kick drum was too prominent, and probably needs the low mids scooping to fit the style of music better. The snare sounded very close-miced.. I usually try to get a good general kit sound from the overheads / room mics, and then add in just enough of the close mics to solidify each drum, rather than the other way round (basing the sound on the close mics then adding overheads as cymbal mics)
  5. funkcore

    funkcore Guest

    I have a pair of Nt1-A's that I use with a 002 for drums and I have the same problem too. I moved them higher off the cymbals and only really get spikes on the snare hits. Since the mic runs so hot in general your best bet might be an in-line pad, but since you seem to have the problem on multiple channels maybe your best bet is an outboard mixer. Just an observation.-Marty
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Aren't there "in-line"(XLR to XLR, 1/4 to 1/4, whatever) pads, like the "in-line" transformers, Shure, even maybe Radio Shack, offers? Rather inexpensive...

    Plain and simple: The recordist MUST record, properly, whatever the player does, however they do it - even if they have to move the mics back to a neighboring state!

  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Yeah, "half a meter" is still pretty close to the drummer, in my book. And those M-Audio mic pre's tend to be very limited in their dynamic range.
    As far as those inline attenuators are concerned, you do have the problem that they don't pass phantom power. This means that you will have to get another device- a phantom power box- to place between the mic and the attenuator. More $$$. The other poster who suggested a seperate mixer was very correct. A nice little Mackie 1202 VLZ will do you wonders. It will provide a much more variable gain structure, some half-assed EQ, a couple of Aux sends, and phantom power,to boot!
  8. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    yes a simple in-line resistive pad made for Mic impedances will do just fine
    and will pass phantom

    retro fit a PAD switch into the pre-amp

    a Mic capsule can be overloaded and the only solution will be to lower the volume of the source or move back
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Shure manufacturs some XLR in-line microphone pads. I'm sure that you can order them through your local music store. I would recommend a 10 or 20 DB pads. They also make available up to 50 DB for converting line level down to microphone level as well but you don't want that.

    In listening to your sample, I could hear the overload clicks from your analog to digital converters. Otherwise I thought your drum mix was rather muddy and nondescript. You are obviously doing something wrong with your equalization at mix.

    Although there are some small fine sounding condenser microphones made expressly for drums, I still prefer using dynamic microphones except for the overheads. I inevitably use Shure SM57 on snare drum on top. Sennheiser MD421s for Toms and bass drum. They are fat, melodic and don't overload along with having a variable low-frequency rolloff switch.

    I really don't like some of those "specially designed bass drum microphones" like Shure 52, AKG D112, Electro-Voice RE20. I find it most of those sound rather flabby rather than punchy, although I will use a 20 and/or a 112 on occasion.

    I would also recommend getting a small mixer that has pads included as your front end to your sound card. I really don't think the sound card manufacturers intended people to record drums with their microphone inputs?? Go figure? I would actually recommend getting a multitrack input sound card that features line inputs that you can feed from a multitrack output from a mixer. Then you could easily change tonality by changing and/or upgrading your mixer as opposed to trying to find the magic sound card with good microphone preamplifier's.

    I love my MOTU 2408
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. baadc0de

    baadc0de Active Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    Cool, I've asked quite a few people and most of them are very happy with the mix (including the band), while I and the producer felt it could be a whole lot better (the producer, in particuar, was nagging about muddiness in the mid-bass section and lack of definition). Probably best course of action would be to record again with pads and get a more defined mix (will take a day poking the EQs and try to figure out what I'm doing wrong). I'll be back with more questions by then, methinks.


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