Mic and Preamp plan for upcoming drum session

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Todzilla, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Neuse River Watershed
    Home Page:
    An old buddy of mine and amazing drummer, who played with Ben Folds for a while, is coming in to town this weekend to lay down some tracks for me.

    He's got a killer set of drums, we've got a very nice room with 14' cathedral ceilings and nice acoustic treatments. I have a plan for micing them, that I'd like some feedback on, please. Don't have tons of high end mics and pres, but here goes:

    A modified Recorderman approach with:

    • Crown CM-700 mic two sticks' length above snare, going into L channel of Demeter HM1 tube pre
    • Crown CM-700 mic two sticks' length over shoulder, going into R channel of Demeter HM1 tube pre
    • Neuman U-89 a foot or two out from the front of the kit, going into my neighbor's API 500 series pre
    • AKG D112 inside kick, up against beater (probably used to trigger a sampled kick) into MOTU 896HD pre
    • Audix i5 under snare, reversed phase into MOTU 896HD pre (may not even use this in mix)

    The Neuman is my only LDC, the Crowns my only SDCs, although I might be able to borrow my neighbor's Baby bottle mic.

    I have plenty of dynamics (Audix, Shures) and channels of low end preamps (Mackie, Art, MOTU).

    Your Thoughts?
  2. backinthelab

    backinthelab Guest

    Whatever sounds good is really the key, so you'll just have to experiment. One thing you might want to do is swap that Crown mic above the snare for a 57 and use the API pre. You'll get a nice punchy snare that way.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Yeah, my brain is always chugging along so here goes.

    But get those crappy SM57/58's microphones out. Get them all out.

    Now put one on the top side of the snare drum. Uptight facing down towards the head. But those two Crown condensers as your left & right overheads.

    Put your other SM57 microphones on the toms.

    Stick your U89 into the bass drum with pad on, cardioid. Your Awdick's i5 can safely be used under the snare drum, phase inverted as you so intelligently surmised.

    Use your tube preamps for your overheads.

    Use the API on snare drum & bass drum.

    Everything else goes into 896 thingy.

    Now put your little recorder Man toy video away and cut some real kick ass drum tracks.

    Kick ass tracker
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    Don't make the kick yours!
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I agree with Remy.

    But, you always get a real good drum sound, so I wouldnt change much.....The big thing for this session is the high-end drummer and the high-end drums, probably properly tuned and well struck.

    If you can get API for the snare and the kick do yourself a favor and do this with ANY mic you care to put on these two. The API will do the rest.

    And if you havent experienced this as yet, you'll mic em up, turn the mics on, listen for a moment of whats coming out of your monitors and you'll simply say, "Oh, thats how they make that sound.........."

    But you get great sounds anyways so why worry....Have fun and do what you usually do!
  5. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Neuse River Watershed
    Home Page:
    Thanks gurus!

    I didn't know recorderman was generally disparaged here. I tried it once with a bunch of API pres and thought it sounded great. Was it the pres?or the approach? hard to say.

    Sadly, I only have one channel of API pre, so after that and the two baby Demeter channels, I'm scraping the barrel with my mutt preamps (I know, cry me a river!).

    Experimentation is always tedious, 'cause I have a one nice big room studio as opposed to a tracking and separate mixing room. And to make matters worse, I have the patience of a horny squirrel with ADHD, so I quickly and regrettably get to that aw-fuggit point and start rolling tape, or in this case, hard drive.

    I'm very psyched about this project and will post when I get some finality out of it.
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Recorderman I would recommend if you have near-zero equipment or need to do the whole kit on 4 tracks or less, or just want to get a drum sound down without being fantastic. Gets a good enough sound without too much tweaking and with $50 mics.
  7. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Neuse River Watershed
    Home Page:
    Conversely, with a decent complement of mics and preamps, you're recommending a more full featured multi-mic recording approach?
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I just think of the recorderman technique as a way of positioning overheads so that snare and kick will be in phase within the overhead pair (though not necessarily with other mics). You can use it whenever you use a pair of overheads - regardless of the other mics. It's not a substitute for your ears. You still have to choose the position within the "recorderman circle" that gives the best balance for the cymbals and the rest of the set. I use it with (various quantities of) a top snare and a kick mic for jazz and country drums.

    I also wouldn't say it is disparaged on the board all that much. Of course, there are people out there with a lot of experience who can set up an overhead pair without any measurements and fix any phase or balance issues after a few seconds of listening to snare and kick hits. They don't need it, but if it works for you, why stop using it? Also, once you are using a lot of other mics the overheads become focused on cymbals and the sound of the kick and snare on the overheads is less crucial.
  9. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Neuse River Watershed
    Home Page:
    Excellent perspective, thanks!
  10. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    I'm with Remy

    I just finished a couple of days of drum tracking with a similar set up
    used an ATM condenser/dynamic on the kick
    (yes two outputs with two XL males on the end of the lead)
    and some ATM25s on the floor toms
    (yes a 57 on the snare and high toms)

    someone had loaned the band the ATM mics and they wanted to use them

    a pair of Rode NTs as room mics
    which NTs ? ... 2s I think
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Kev....that would be the ATM2500 on the kick.

    How was it?????

    I wish I had bought 10 ATM25's when I could get them new for $99.00.
  12. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    I think they were/are a great cheap dynamic that offers a different sound to the faithful 57

    both are robust and reliable
    I should have bought more ... are they still available ?
    even if NOT at the cheap price

    the ATM2500
    given it is the unit

    the dynamic side of it was quite recognisable and could be very close to the 25 element
    which is why I continued to play with it and check out the other side

    I did a quick confirmation in the control room with voice and could hear a condenser quality to it and the dynamic was , as I said, near enough to the 25 with ... perhaps a wider pattern to it
    just a guess

    we are saying condenser as if it has a large diaphram but it could be a back-electret
    DON'T quote me as I have done NO web search to check out tech details

    Kev is leting if hang right out with a very blind test/review under the pressure of a band ... DRUMMER ... anxious to record ... HIT something !!

    back to the point
    the condenser definately aded some of the stuff that is missing with a dynamic ... even the 25
    these things can work for you or against you
    more hihat
    more snares
    more pedal squeak etc

    but yes it is a nice sound when added to the dynamic side

    I chose to track both side on seperate tracks on PTle (44.1k-24bit)
    for monitoring I had both faders equal
    I may have had an in-line pad on the condenser side to kill just a little level on the spikes
    post pad the PT metering showed peaks and averages close to the same
    I think it was a 4dB pad ... added to the Mic-pre 20dB pad for both sides

    hope all this makes sense

    the band liked the sound and we went with it for the recording
    (and that was the last I gave thought to kick sounds except for the occasional check for physical issues and drum changes)

    mic was inside the drum and 4 to 6 inch from the head and angled to , just off-centre
    I think both recorded tracks had enough info for the mix down eng to achieve a variety of sounds
    ZOOM in on the wave-form and the shape and phase was good
    probably better than I would expect from two different mics.
    again this leads me to think the condenser is a back-electret

    this is where Kev ends up looking like a complete twit when the info comes through that it isn't

    did I cover enough ?
  13. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Neuse River Watershed
    Home Page:
    What I ended up doing:

    OH: Crown CM700s in spaced pair through Demeter HM1 pre
    Room: Neuman U89 12' away through MOTU 896HD mutt pre
    Kick: AKG D112 in drum near beater head through MOTU 896HD mutt pre
    Snare: Audix i5 tightly miced through API 512 pre
    Undersnare: SM57 through MOTU 896HD mutt pre
    Rack Tom: Audix D2 through MOTU 896HD mutt pre
    Floor Tom: through MOTU 896HD mutt pre

    No hi hat mics, no beater head kick mic, no stereo room mic.

    Other than the kick (with which I continue to struggle), I am very, very, very pleased with what we got out. Very punchy snare, crisp overheads, deep resonating toms.

    Not sure where to go with the kick, although I am not averse to replacing it with a sampled sound anyway.

    I'll post clips when I get a little further along.
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