How to mic my drums

Discussion in 'Drums' started by ThirdBird, May 20, 2013.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Dec 4, 2007
    Toms River, NJ
    Set: DW Collector's Edition with Remo heads
    18x22 Bass - evans inked front (with port), black suede power stroke 3
    4x14 Snare - black suede ambassador top and black suede snare side
    9x12 Tom - black suede ambassador top and bottom
    11x14 Tom - black suede ambassador top and bottom

    Room: Large Classroom
    Hard Tile
    Brick Walls
    Fiberboard Dropped Ceiling
    Lots of random things like desks and computers and pianos and some sound panels

    Style: Mix
    Some kind of 70s elton john, john lennon, bob marley and the wailers, modern day indie, some rock and funk, maybe like cake or bill callahan, sometimes get a bit heavier like chad smith of the rhcp

    Current Mic Choices: have them now
    (1) Shure Beta52 - dynamic
    (3) Shure Sm57 - dynamic
    (3) Cheap Nady Tom Mics - dynamic
    (1) Cheap Nady Bass Mic - dynamic
    (2) Rode NT5 - small condenser
    (1) Rode NTA1 - large condenser
    (1) AT2020 - large condenser
    (1) Shure sm58 - dynamic

    Future Equipment: getting in several months
    (1) Avantone CR-14 - ribbon
    (1) Presonus Eureka - preamp channel strip

    Questions: Here we go!

    What mics should I use on the top and bottom of the snare?
    How should I mic the bass drum if I wanted to use on inside and one in front?
    Should I mic the hihats at all?
    What choices do I have for the room?
    What should I use the ribbon on?
    What mic should I use the preamp on?
    How should I space the overheads? XY or just spread?

    Thanks for all of the anticipated help!
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    If the drums sound good and the room sounds good and a natural sound works for the song then 52 on kick, 57 on snare and the NT5s in X-Y overhead. Maybe put the ribbon out in the room.

    For a more processed style it becomes a matter of divide and conquer, in a dead room with close mics on everything. The NT5s would become cymbal mics instead of overheads. The 57s and the 58 would be distributed between the snare and toms. I would normally use a SDC for hihat but I guess you could try a LDC or dynamic and try to eq it.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    watch your levels on the nt5's. they have no internal pad, and can be overloaded as overhead, and spot mics on the hats/ride. if you (drummer) are not a basher, it shouldn't be a problem. if you are, maybe the 2020 would be your best bet overhead.

    as far a the pre, the eureaka is very nice, you'll probably wind up wanting 2, lol. my first pref would be for overhead(s). or a room mic if you have just one.

    you've cited alot of different drums sounds, so i'd keep the kit 'fully' mic'd, and pick and choose on a per song basis. the reggae and funk is gonna be real tight w/ little room, and mostly close/oh's. the indie/rock will be somewhere in the middle, and the RCP's ala blood sugar sex magic, have a pretty room heavy ambiance, that sounds fantastic.

    i love room mics. if you find the right place, in the right room, you'll never wannna use an artificial reverb again.

    try this place a mic like 20 or thrity feet away, or in the next adjacent room, just past the door. face the mic at a reflective (brick, concrete) wall about 6 inches or so away. the more open the door, the less reverb, the more closed the door, the more reverb gets created. move it around, but this is a general recipe for a huge drum verb.
  4. Bennos

    Bennos Active Member

    May 23, 2013
    Home Page:
    And then 9 times out of ten you won't use it right? Coz there's too much hat in the OHs... at least that's what happens for me :)
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Kik Front - Beta52 (yuk)
    Kik In - Cheap Nady
    Snare top - SM57
    Hat - Cheap Nady
    Rack Tom - SM57
    Floor Tom - SM57
    Ride Cym - Cheap Nady or NT1 (use your ears)
    OH's - NT5 (Watch the gain and 4kHz)
    Front of Kit - AT2020
    Room - Ribbon
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Yep. PAD the bejesus outta the NT5's and cut the 4k as was said.

    Here's my alternate detail.

    beta 52 on kick just at the hole if you insist on a front resonant head. Elsewise, take it off ESPECIALLY for 70's rock. Or you can go inside deep with the 52 and put the NT1 outside the kick about a foot off-center. HAVE A PAD for it (NT1). Be ready to angle the diaphragm so it doesnt get the direct blast.

    57's and the tops of every other drum. No questions asked. You dont have an alternate for this. You can do the set with overheads only if you want but the style of music indicates close micing toms.....UNLESS you NEVER hit them. In that case dont mic or even put them up.

    If the hats are a soft blend and arent clangy, mic them with the cheapest mic you have. EQ the crap outta of that mic until you like the sound of the hats. I'm serious about the EQ and cheap mic. Aim it away from everything else and angle it so you get the 'chik' if you happen to keep time with your left foot. (are you a righty?)

    NT5's are a decent mic. No pad on them though and they tend to be real hot. If you have the budget, buy a couple of inline pads for them. I dont think you'll have a problem with overloading the the capsule, but you will get a big ole peak at the mixer. Don't X/Y this mic. And get them up far enough where you start to have control of their outputs physically. Dont look at them as a stereo pair. Find their pattern how big is their coverage....and place them with a small amount of overlap. They are better as spot mics than true overheads. With the inline pad, you could do the ride and the hat with these and use the 2020 as the overhead mic.

    2020 as over head and the CR14 as room mic. Or if you spot mic with the NT5's do a front and back room mics with the Avantone and the 2020 with the 2020 being above and behind the kit and the CR14 out front.

    Throw the rest of the mics back in the drawer and forget you ever looked at them as recording devices.
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