mic-ing the drums

Discussion in 'Drums' started by gbarchus, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. gbarchus

    gbarchus Active Member

    I'm just starting to record live drums in my studio and would like some opinions about which mic to use where. The set is a four piece, wooden Tama Artstar series with Zildjian cymbals.

    Here are my mics:

    AKG C3000B
    AKG C1000S (2)
    AKG D112
    Shure Beta 57
    Shure SM57 (4)
    Shure SM58
    Shure Beta 52A
    Sennheiser E914
    Groove Tubes GT66 (tube)

    At the moment my thoughts are to use a 57 on the snare and mounted tom, the D112 on the floor tom, the Beta 52 on the kick, the pair of C1000S as overhead, and the E914 on the high hat.

    But what do I do with the C414?

    Let me know what you think. All opinions are appreciated.
  2. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Birkenhead, UK
    I think you've pretty much got the right idea but.. that's not very helpful. I'm not familiar with a couple of those mics I just know of them.

    I'd wait for someone to reply who knows them more but I think you're certainly heading in the right direction with your basic idea.
  3. gbarchus

    gbarchus Active Member

    Thanks for the reply Voice...

    I'm coming from a live sound mixing background. I know that the Beta 52 and the D112 are used in live situations. Right now I don't have the money for anything better. Does anyone have experience with these two mics. I know I can spend the time to figure out which one is better for kick and floor tom but I'm hoping some of you may have used them both. Just listening to both on the kick, I favor the D112 but it sounds so good on the floor tom, too.

    I know a lot of people don't like the AKG C1000S but I have a pair which makes them the best bet for overhead?

    I wish I had an RE20 and a couple MD421s but I just got an Allen&Heath ZED R-16 to have enough channels for the drums and am tapped out.
  4. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Birkenhead, UK
    The D112 is my Kick mic of choice. I'll say that much. It has a very natural sound and you don't really have to do much messing with it to get it to sound good.

    Overheads generally you are looking at a matched pair as a rule. And usually directionals and not omni-directionals (Im not familiar with the one's that you are looking at using sorry!)

    What kind of sound/tuning are you looking at for your toms ? I mean do you have like a preference drum sound wise or are you going to be doing all sorts of different things ? Narrowing down might give the more experienced guys a better idea of what you're looking to achieve but if you're going to be switching it up quite a lot then the whole kick/floor tom thing might be a dilemma :)!

    HOWEVER.. The beauty of being in a studio situation is you do have that time to play about and tweak things to how you want them where as, you will know as a live engineer you have to be pretty set in certain ways to ensure that you are efficient and bands are always pleased with the swiftness of your service which is always going to be a drastic difference between the two!

    I've used both of those mics the 52 and the D112 and I'm very much a fan of the D112 as far as kick is concerned..

    I'd have to throw in the spanner in the works that it is largely going to be based on personal preference whichever choice you make though I can vouch for what I have said..

    Some of the other mics though, im not so sure.. I'll still stand back from that and wait for a more experienced engineer to say something!

    Hope this helps.

    - Dan
  5. gbarchus

    gbarchus Active Member

    Thanks Dan!

    The drums have quite a ring to them. I'm trying to tune out as much ring as possible without having to dampen them too much. Right now, playing the snare excites the mounted tom and vice versa. I'm learning as I go and don't have a drummer around to help. Mixing live I was dependent on the drummer knowing how to tune the drums so I could be as transparent as possible. I hope I don't have to put tape all over the heads just to get them to stop ringing.

    I DO have a couple noise gates though.

  6. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Birkenhead, UK
    If you're getting ring it'll be the tuning. Somebody who can tune a kit properly will never have to rely on tape or dampening rings.. Failing that the quality of the drum skins might be at fault.

    My drummer REALLY knows how to tune his kit and he can make a bad one sound at least decent.

    Tuning is hands down THE SINGLE most important thing about recording a kit, to the point where you can bang two room mics up and it'll still sound great if it's tuned properly (Ok so it'll be a pain to mix but that's just an example).

    Gates will help but your problem will probably be what you said. Sympathetic vibration between snare and toms. What you can do to help eliminate this is keep hitting the snare whilst tuning the toms so that you can widen the gap between the notes in the two. You might have to make maybe even a drastic tuning alteration but tape is not necessary in the same way as believe it or not you can get an incredible punchy tight sound from a kick drum without putting anything inside it.

    HOWEVER - It could just be the snare alone, because I just found that the tom is a more common cause in my experience. Others may disagree :)

    So .. I would say...

    1) Check the snare on it's own away from the kit, and make sure that it's not ringing solo... Admittedly if it does, and it's a metal snare then often a tad of tape or moongel will help you out. Tap on your batterhead (gently) at each notch, there will be one a bit off sounding then the rest, thats the place to put some moongel or tape IF it comes to that. But like I said do try and avoid this and have a really good play with the tuning of the heads before you actually do that.

    2) When you sorted this out then whack it back on the kit and check the tom isn't ringing. If it is then hit the snare and tune the tom like I previously said.

    With a bit of fidgeting you can sort it out this way.. But I've always been taught to try and avoid tape etc as much as possible because it does actually take away a lot of the natural tone of the instrument.

    I should however ALSO add that (THIS IS IMPORTANT :p!).. Ring can actually be a very good thing in the mix... A lot of the time you won't so much hear it and it'll sound cool once you got the lot together as a whole...

    What I have said here is basically if you are getting HORRID amounts of ring and you need to tame it but yeah, no ring = dead tone. If a drum has no ring then it's actually quite hard to get it to shine through properly in a mix with some proper character.

    Good luck :D
  7. laemmle

    laemmle Active Member

    Halifax, N.S.
    I've used the "glyn johns'" method and have been pleased with the results. It only uses 4 mics.
    Here's a good description:
    Recording Drums: The Glyn Johns Method of Recording Drums

    Here's a helpful diagram:
    Glyn Johns drum mic setup

    The important detail is to make sure each "overhead" (in this case only one of the overheads is actually above the drummer) is equal distance from the centre of the snare for phase considerations. 40 inches worked great.

    how does it sound? to me it sounded open and exciting. A few drummers that I've shown have said "that's what I hear when I play!" so I think that's a good thing.
    Maybe you'll like it too.

  8. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Birkenhead, UK
    As additional info, while this can work really well. It does give you less control, which I personally dislike but it's worth a shot. It's another example of how something a bit "unconventional" to preference can work out.

    But I prefer more mics for more control myself. I like to have the ability to sort each drum individually if I hear something I don't like in the tone. But on the other hand if the kit is really tuned that well then getting a good sound from 4 mics would be a good indication to how finely tuned it is! More things to consider.. OH NOES :p

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