Overhead choice for LOUD or LIVE performance drummers?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by slave, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. slave

    slave Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2020
    Location:
    Perth
    Hi everyone,

    Over the years I've gradually taken on the job of *the guy who records stuff* in the three bands I play in.
    My setup is focused on staying portable and leaning towards fast/easy to setup and break down, with all of my mics plugging into a Zoom Livetrak L-20. I don't own any ribbons or tube mics, and unlikely to in the short term.

    Everything else sounds like it should, but my drum recordings sound off. I know why....
    I'm using SM57 for snare, Heil PR40 for kick (which both sound decent with some compression & EQ) with a pair of SM58's for overhead currently (as they're all I have spare after I mic up everyone else)

    I'm looking to buy a matched pair of Overheads for recording *LOUD* drums. The guys I play with mostly hit hard and fast, and are all very competent in their technique. Think loud rock.

    I'm looking to record drums in a live sense, as well as tracking, so I'm going to make an assumption here;
    Are Small Diaphragm Cardiod Condenser's the best mic for the job, given how I want to record?

    Or are large diaphragms worth a look?

    Cheers
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    UK
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    Hi, and welcome!

    It depends where you are recording and the acoustics of the room or venue. You may not get very good results from LDC microphones as overheads in a room with a low ceiling (e.g. less than 3m), especially if the walls and the floor are not covered or acoustically treated. Outside of a studio, the most common microphones for drum kit overheads are SDCs (small diaphragm condensers), and these usually have a cardioid pattern. Where height is not constrained, AKG C414s make excellent overheads.

    In a smaller room, I have used a pair of dynamic microphones (Shure Beta57A) as overheads with reasonable results, if you can arrange the kit so that there is a balance of drum sound at the overhead position(s). Having the cardioids as an X-Y crossed pair gives a standard pattern, but you can often break the rules and use the overheads as though they were omnis in a spaced configuration. As an aside, the Beta range of dynamics from Shure has the extra half-octave of response at high frequencies over the standard SM range, and this can improve the recording of cymbal hits.

    You wouldn't normally have to worry about loudness at the overhead positions. If you are, then many cardioid condensers (e.g. Rode NT55) have switchable attenuators. I would be more concerned for the drummer's hearing.
     
  3. slave

    slave Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2020
    Location:
    Perth
    Thanks for the warm welcome Boswell ;)

    The room will constantly change depending on where we might be. High ceilings will not be the norm.
    Out of my price range.
    Yeah my SM58's aren't BAD per se, just not crisp and airy like I would want cymbals to be.
    EDIT: This could also be down to excessive low mids in my mix, which is hard to do a whole lot about in a small room.
    An NT55 matched pair is the extreme top end of my stretching budget, I'm more likely to look at something like the NT5 or maybe even M5 so I can spend the cash elsewhere.
     
  4. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 20, 2014
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    Keighley, England
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    I just did a double check so that I wasn’t mis remembering. A pair of AKG C1000s mics work well at a fair price. I recorded Eric Heydocks drummer with them, good result about 21years ago.

    Tony
     
  5. slave

    slave Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2020
    Location:
    Perth
    Thanks for the heads up.

    I just looked them up.. .... ..so far I'm finding wit. Just read a whole thread devoted to hating on this mic. Funny $*^t! :LOL:
    I have no idea if you intend this as serious or joke now :ROFLMAO::whistle:
     
  6. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    Not sure where you read what you did, I was quite serious, I got very nice clear sound out of them. I've owned two lots of mics for drums, one full set of akg and one set of shures. It was just a suggestion, there have been a number of models of the C1000s over the years too. Who knows :).
     
  7. slave

    slave Active Member

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    Sep 10, 2020
    Location:
    Perth
    Ok cool, thanks. Will look further.

    I'm also looking at sE8's, ATM450
     
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    i would stay with small diaphragm condensers for the job. you can use them for other things like acoustic guitar and percussion as well. LD mics are nice for drums but you need a decent room to record in due to their wider pick up pattern characteristic. this usually means large rooms with high ceilings.

    there's no shortage of small diaphragm condenser mics on the market. almost any of them will do the job. i would be wary of the cheapest of them especially those coming from Asia. be aware that there is a difference between electrit type mics such as the C1000s and true condenser. electret has a charged backplate. while a condenser requires an external charge. if your mic runs on a battery it is probably an electret type although many electrets like the C1000s can be powered by phantom power as well as long as the battery is in place. true condensers are usually preferred over electret designs explaining the hate for the C100s however considerable improvements to electret mics have been achieved in the past 15 years so much that some older condenser designs like AKG's C451 have been reissued as electret types.
     
  9. slave

    slave Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2020
    Location:
    Perth
    Thank you all!

    I'm leaning towards SDC's given I'm looking at live recording a whole band potentially, not just tracking, and also the size of the room will vary.
    I'll probably go with whichever has a favourable EQ response, and will be adaptable to as many applications as possible.

    I tend to favour versatile Mic's.
    So is this thought above a mistake? Will a matched pair of LDC's be far more flexible? Will they be a better mic choice for my intended use? Or just for flexibilty?
     
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Feb 21, 2013
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    Quebec, Canada
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    Sorry, I'm late to the party..
    If the drummer plays very hard and sounds very loud.. You'd probably can get away with no overhead mics if the skins have mics.
    Bleeding in the tom mics is often enough and on a budget you better mic the toms than overheads.. .
    If you must add overheads because the mix is too unbalance, small condensers is the way to go..
    I have C1000s and nearly never use them.. the work nicely but have some harsh high frequencies on some sources..
    The Rode M5 or Nt5 are affordable and will do a good job live..
    KSM141 also very good
    Also Sennheiser E614 or E914 (my favorite)
    Of course the list can go on and on.. up to Earthworks that would be overkill for live..
     
    Kurt Foster likes this.
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2001
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Save your money in looking for "matched pair" of SDC mics especially in environments that maybe have sketchy sound control. It's just not going to matter that much. Maybe if you are using an X/Y technique but even then the mics themselves as singles(unmatched) would have to be so far apart in their frequencies that it would be noticeable. A few years back with the onset of the Asian market mics flooding in, there was huge discrepancies from one mic to the other ,same model,same manufacturer. That has changed a lot and the quality is very much better than then.

    However. You haven't stated your budget and in this case the range you could spend on these mics is huge.

    In answer to your question about LDC vs SDC........In having the environment being iffy, the SDC type mic is a better choice due to the pattern being a bit tighter in most mics. Although, a pair of Audio Technica AT4033s would be a great choice nearly anywhere. They are technically a mid-sized diaphragm mic but very controllable in any environment.

    As for budget oriented SDCs, the Octava MC-12 kit (also MK-12)is pretty good for the money even though you might consider these as the upper end of the budget class of mics. It's a mic that has been made for many years and has stood the test of time without a lot of changes to them other than tightening up the quality control. Be sure you are getting the actual Russian made ones. There were a large number of Chinese knock-offs made also and even though some of these actually sound decent, it's going to take a lot of luck to find two that do.
     
    kmetal likes this.
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