Money Mic Pres on drums?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Doublehelix, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    This is a variation on a thread I was following on antoher forum...

    If you have 2 really nice mic pres (your "money pres"), where do you use them when micing a drum kit (assuming you are close micing the entire kit here)?

    -Both OHs?
    -Snare + Kick?
    -One OH + Kick?

    The rest of the mics would be used with "Pro-Sumer" grade mic pres (my Presonus Digimax).

    I would think that the OHs are the best place to put them since that is about 90% of the drum sound, but there were some interesting opposing views on the other thread, and I would be interested to hear what people think here.

    (I also realize that it will probably depend on which mic pre you are using...)
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    This is a very good question to ponder DoubleH...In scratching my chinnychinchin, I gotta believe that the answer lies in the style of drum sound you want to accomplish.If you are looking for the 'close mic'd' very dry up front sound, then your best piece has to go on the kick/snare.If you are doing the recorderman 4 mic technique and want the room then it has to go on the overheads...BUT still need the quality snap and thump out of your two main instruments in the trap, snare and kick even with a room sound as the goal....but then again,if we're talking a 90% amount of sound coming thru the overs then the magic needs to go there......and if the Dragon ever catches his tail, whats he gonna do with it?

    You have by all intents and purposes,indentified the BeAsT.Its a never ending circle and there is no right answer except the one that makes your EARS go AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH when you hook it up and hear it.......

    I believe that at a certain point and a certain level of this art, that there is no right and wrong.Right and wrong can be saved for the phase issues,the bad cord,the crappy too long song intro which destroys anyones desire to hear the rest of it,the 60hz hum from the bad wall wart,the after 12 hours of tracking mix which is THE ONE till the next day,the REALLY flat note the singer insists is right on even when you play a piano note with it and the drummer notices,or the 3 month old guitar strings with absolutely no harmonic content left in em,or the (dare I say)uhh substance influenced tracks that couldnt get worse.....these are right and wrong issues....experimental mic placements which yield extrodinary results,trying a different preamp on this or that,reamping into a tiny battery operated amp that sounds like Gods own Track,these are things that are the fabric of why we do what we do.I've never been a follower of rules.I like to KNOW the rules so I can find ways to bastardize them to my own affect.Now lets go get a BEER :c:
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Heeeeeyyyy DH!!
    What kind of pres are we talking about when you say "money pres"? If you are talking a bout Neve's or Neve clones or even (hopefully) API's then I think on the kick and snare. If you mean GR, Avalon's, Grace or Eathworks or (hopfully) Millennia's then I say overheads.
    Agressive and color on the kick and snare, heck even toms if possible, is the order of the day IMO. Go for a more accurate pre on the OHs and hat..
  4. white swan

    white swan Guest

    If the two pres weren't the same type, I probably would not use them on overheads.
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    take a listen to "happier girl"

    API pre's on the kick and snare. SM57 on the snare, D112 on the kick. Keep in mind the drum, player and tunning has alot to do with the sound too!
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    For what it's worth, I fully agree with Kurt's comments. I would even add that OH's are not even always necessary. You could use digital reverb ambience to apply some space later. Or pipe the mix through thru monitors or PA speakers and re-record with a mic(s) 3ft or further.
  7. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    When it comes to limitations such as you've posed, I think the best course if time allows is to listen to both/all options. Depending on the song/arrang/drummer/kit/room/direction/etc. it could be either/or any of the above comments or something else. Try the money pre's on the kick/snare..then the overs.

    More art than science.
  8. by

    by Guest

    For *some* types of music, where the close mic'ed parts just end up becoming triggered sounds later, then the 'money' pres would definately be best for overheads.
  9. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Well, as expected, interesting comments!

    When mixing drums, I have been bringing up the OHs first, them blending in the kick and snare, and finally adding in the rest of mics. This is why I have been thinking that the OHs should get the "money pres".

    I probably shouldn't have said that the OHs are 90% of the sound, that was not correct, but I do depend on them heavily to get the mix right.

    As far as mic pre type...I am leaning towards the API 512's, but am also considering the Great River (MP2NV), Langavin, and Sebatron. I might also add a Grace for some clean work like acoustic guitars and strings, although not sure if they will work well on drums, except maybe for the OHs. (BTW, I have been borrowing a pair of 414's for the! I need a pair! :) )
  10. japhy4529

    japhy4529 Guest

    I have a similar situation, except that I have one "money pre" ( Universal Audio 2-610) and one "decent pre" (dbx 386). Still a tough decision on what to use where.

    I agree that it really depends on what type of music/drum sound you're going for. In most cases, we use the UA 2-610 for the OH's and the dbx 386 for the top and bottom snare mics. This may sound crazy, but I often rely heavily on the bottom snare mic for "the sound". When I peak the inputs on the 386 (until the OL lights come on), the snare just comes alive. Of course the top mic is louder in the mix, but not by much.

    The kick, toms and hi-hats usually get the d8b pre's. This is not optimal, but it works for us.

    Anyway, experimentation is the key.

    BTW, this is my first post on this forum (translation: don't trust the newbie!). lol

    Good luck!

    - Tom
  11. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Hey Tom! Welcome to RO!!! :c:

    I have considered putting a mic under the snare too, but I am working to *reduce* the number of drum mics I use, not increase them! I have heard really excellent results from 2 snare mics however, and have been curious about it for a long time. I should probably give it a go here real soon. (And, yes, I know about switching the polarity on one of the mics)
  12. Use the good pres on the tracks that will be loudest in the mix, for me usually OHs. David
  13. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    There's a lot of folks who prefer the APIs for drums so you probably can't go wrong there.
  14. denial

    denial Guest

    I like using Glyn Johns mic set-up: Two cardiod condensors and two dynamics.

    One condensor 4-6" above the floor tom facing the snare/hat, the other condensor 2-3' above the toms and snare. Both mics panned hard left/right at equal distance from the snare.

    A dynamic on the kick and if necessary a dynamic on the snare.

    Run all these mics into Neve's or API's and compress the overheads to bring out the cymbals and glue the sound. A little distortion on the overheads is nice too. Think Distressors or the new UA2-1176 or maybe the Joe Meek SC2 or API 2500.

    Such an easy technique that almost always sounds incredible and only takes 20 minutes to set up.
  15. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I love setups like that. I try to use that and variations of that every time. But, I have found that when the player doesnt understand the whole idea behind drummers mixing their own drums while they are playing, then I like to have mics on everything with as much isolation between them as I can get. I even trigger drums alot for these drummers. Plus, sometimes the mics end up in semi-danger zones for being hit with sticks, I have to trust the drummer before putting expensive mics there.
  16. timstoel

    timstoel Guest

    Denial wrote, referring to overhead mics:
    THIS IS KEY!!! I prefer micing the bottom of the snare as well, with an SM-57.
  17. white swan

    white swan Guest

    Even nicer when you can set them equal distance from the kick as well!
  18. Richard Monroe

    Richard Monroe Active Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Framingham, Mass.
    Home Page:
    I tend to use my best pres on the overheads, then start with dynamic mics and work down. Generally kick and snare are mic'd with dynamics, so I guess that's where my 4 channels would most likely go.-Richie

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