overhead drum mics recomendations?

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by secondflooreast1, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. secondflooreast1

    secondflooreast1 Active Member

    Just looking to get some opinions about which mics everyone prefers to use for recording drums overhead.
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    I use Josephson C42s or Charter Oak M900s or Microtech Gefell M930s.

    Budget options I've used with decent results are KEL HM-1s and Studio Projects C4s.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    Thats a rather broad question. Info like drum kit size, style of music, room, budget, etc. helps.

    So heres a list of good to great drum overhead mics. Jeemy has already thrown out 5 sets, the first three are not 'budget' or cheap while the next 2 can be had fairly inexpensively and work well in most cases. Here's more.

    Expensive but worth it: Neumann U67, Neumann U87(my fav), Neumann 184/84, (most Neumanns would work quite well), Royer ribbons of any number though the stereo SF24 is superb for this, AKG414, AKG 451, AKG 460/480, Audio Technica 4041/4051, Audio Technica 4033/4050, Shure SM81, Shure KSM141, Shure KSM 32/44, Audix SCX-1....... Theres literally hundreds that will work......

    I have found that in the Budget mics (under $300 usd per mic) that ADK A-51 model V's are excellent overheads for an LDC. In a pinch you can use SM57's!
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Home Page:
    You don't give an idea of budget, but I'm assuming you are not talking about really expensive mics.

    At the upper end of the budget category, the Rode NT55MP set (a matched pair of NT55s) works well as overheads. They can give better results than NT5s in this application because of the pad switch, and you also get additional omni capsules which are useful for other jobs.

    Jeemy's selection of higher-end mics would, of course, give even better results, but you do have to be careful to consider the mics together with the pre-amps when selecting for drum overheads. The higher up the price scale you go, the more important it is to get this pairing right to produce the sound you want.

    The other factor to take into account is the acoustic recording environment, as this can have a greater influence than changing from medium-price mics to expensive ones.
  5. moresound

    moresound Active Member

    New Hampshire
    Budget but I like to use Oktava MK-012-10. Otherwise I would go with my AKG XL 11/ST
  6. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    Nothing bothers you more and longer on your way up to a pro audio engineer than a bad microphone purchase.
    Consider safing up for a better one. Those junk mics don't even have the decency to kaput, soon.
    They last really long, reminding you of a mistake you made many years ago.
  7. TerrorRun

    TerrorRun Active Member

    The Neuman U87 for warmth, the AKG 414EB and the AKG 451 with CK1 Capsule for crystal clarity.
    AKG C1000 and the Roden if you are on a budget.
  8. BassLiK

    BassLiK Active Member

    I'm happy I chose the KSM 32's after hearing them on this youtube, although not the best for audio playback youtube is, but still impressed nonetheless. I love these mics on overheads.
    The Shure KSM32: A Love Story - YouTube
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    actually almost any small diaphragm condenser will do. budget will dictate choice. get the best you can afford. as a bonus you will be able to use them for other tasks as well.
  10. BassLiK

    BassLiK Active Member

    That's what I love about the KSM 32's, all the sources on that youtube clip are the KSM32's, pipe organ, drums, piano, trombone, etc. Although the KSM 32's are actually a mid size diaphragm. They are really a no-brain er for all job duties.
    The Shure KSM32: A Love Story - YouTube
  11. Ty Ford

    Ty Ford Active Member

    Baltimore, MD USA

    Best sound I've gotten so far is from a pair of Schoeps CMC641 in XY. Go HERE and click on Karyn Oliver's "Oh America." Four mics on the drum kit; one mic in the kick, one on the snare, two Schoeps overhead, mixed mostly with the two Schoeps and filled in with the kick and snare.


    Ty Ford
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    I use a pair of AKG 414 EB's, usually set up in a coincidental array.

    I would agree with Ty that if faced with an input limitation, I would absolutely have no problems using only four mics for a kit...a mic on the kick, a mic on the snare, and a pair of nice mics as overheads, and forgo the individual tom mics, as well as the hi hat mic, which, by the way, I rarely use, anyway.

    My standard set up is:

    EV RE20 on the kick (not a fan of the D112)
    SM57 on the snare
    Sennheiser 421's or SM58's on the toms
    AKG 414's for OH's.

    Most of the time I rely on the OH's to grab the hat. It depends on the player of course, if I'm tracking jazz or something where there is a lot of finesse involved on the hat, occasionally I'll put up an AKG C 1000, but for the most part, I've never found a direct miked hi hat to be anything but harsh and just another hot mic to have to deal with in the mix.


  13. BassLiK

    BassLiK Active Member

    Ty is it just me or the sound file?, the tune is great but the kick drum sounds more like a CAJON ?
  14. Ty Ford

    Ty Ford Active Member

    Baltimore, MD USA

    Actually, the drummer was very impressed.


    Ty Ford
  15. BassLiK

    BassLiK Active Member

    Listened over and over on my Neumann KH120's, yamaha NS10's and my Genelecs, and I'm impressed with the music and production as well, but the kick doesn't sound like a kick at all?, that's why I asked if it was the sound file, or maybe the MP3. Anyone hearing the same thing?, time to check my sound card in my computer (LOL)
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Well-Known Member

    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    From a mixing POV, I'm with BassLik. I'm not sure what to say because the mix is a bit out of sorts. No disrespect to Ty but the Vox is to loud, a bit wooly and the drums are buried? The bass is not balanced as good as it could be so I'm distracted trying to appreciate what you are pointing out as an impressive drum overhead example? Love the brass though and musically its very nice.

    This is an old thread but fun just the same ( love opening up old threads!) so I'll give my two cents. But no budget leaves this wide open.

    I have a Royer SF-24 that excels for overhead, choirs and open spaces like this. That is one of the last mic's I will ever part with.

    A matched pair of DPA 4006 or 4011 would also rock as well as a few Mojave MA 100's (Stereo kit) or a pair of MA 200s which might also be sweet. All three of the SDC have interchangeable caps so I tend to like things are can be useful for more than one area. But, strap a Bricasti M7 on the overhead bus and everything starts sounding great!
    But an SF-24 is wonderful, can't go wrong there.

    There are so many options indeed! but I vote either a SF12 or SF24 or SF24V and a Bricasti.
    I've heard the Manley Ref are incredible for overheads.

    BassLiK, I have a pair of KH120 and really like them! Those monitors are more special than first impression would lead you to think. Great mids eh?
  17. Ty Ford

    Ty Ford Active Member

    Baltimore, MD USA
    Hmm, what to say.

    Do you two do much singer/songwriter or country mixing? They like the vocals UP FRONT. Singer-songwriters especially; because they have something to say and their voice is the main instrument. It's not like I had to beat them over the head and force these mixes on them.

    Mixing varies by genre. I had a friend send me his CD for comments a few years back. My comment was, "Mixed by the bass player over small speakers."

    He said, "Yes. How the O@U#@)U#@ did you know that! I replied that when I put it up on my monitors the couch in my studio began to move around.

    If you two don't like the mix, I'm fine with that. :)


    Ty Ford
  18. BassLiK

    BassLiK Active Member

    Hi audiokid,

    HEY MANY THANKS ON THE 120'S, can't thank you enough for the advice !!, I love those monitors, for rap clients I will play through my Even 20/20s though, just so they can feel the bass, which the 120's is stretching in that department.

    I also noticed the vocals loud, but also the dynamics on the vox up and down too, wooly for sure, proximity?, of course the subject was drum overheads, and what I can assume is that the overheads are not being used as a full range for the kit recording , cause I actually hear the toms sound deeper and rounder than the kick, TY, am I right that the overheads were hi-passed just for cymbals?, and separate mics were used for toms?. I been starting to use overheads as a full range drum recording nowadays, instead of the traditional hi-pass just for cymbals. they sound more life like.
    The reason I ask cause the toms sound round and deep but the kick sound like a CAJON, a more cardboard sound?, what do you think audiokid?, this is cool to share analogies I think.

    Man I though I had some great news to share but after audiokid says he has the briscati, I'm humbled (LOL).

    Anyway I bought a lexicon PCM90 for $350 yesterday, I guess the deal was worth noting.

    Ty I'm aware of the fact that all songs from the 20's to 50's were heavy loaded and showcased the vocals and music was merely vague in the background, thus, the compressors were born and stolen from radion stations. So yes 99.9% of my clients sing and are songwriters. I was inquiring about the cajon thingee, I actually though it was a cajon cause I been recording acoustics artist with cajons lately in the past three years.

    I like the song, and it doesn't matter who likes the mix, as long as the paying customer likes it what matters really.
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Well-Known Member

    BC, Canada
    Home Page:

    Sorry Ty, I didn't mean, or hope I didn't offend you? Musically its very nice and I was only giving you constructive pointers as I would also expect from my peers back. Whether you or I trust each other entirely, from song to song, is up to each of us. We can take it constructively or question as you are by asking me what my experience is with Country music. That's all we have to go on everytime we read an opinion.
    You are linking to tracks as examples of gear you use and how you do it, so you are opening yourself up to debate / comments / opinions, yes? Welcome to my brassy no BS edge. Been doing this way too long to spend pretending or candy coating. I'm not here to look for friends ( although I do love the ones I have!) or sell crap gear or advise. I stand corrected more than once. Its all about sound to me, nothing more. Each to his own.

    I actually have a lot of experience in Country/Western/Rock music and more. I sang quite a bit of Hank Williams 30 years ago in a Western Band. We were quite popular, but so was Country music back then.
    Not that it matters but you asked. The Leader of the Band I learned from back then, toured around with Roy Orbison and even some Conway Twitty before the two of us got hooked up, musically that is :). So he had some great pointers to share and I listened! My mother was also a Metropolitan Opera singer. Names like Danny Kaye, Robert Goulet, Jimmy Durante, were part of our music circle. What does this mean, nothing... just blowing some wind back at you for fun.
    I definitely know something about singing though. Most of what I learned back then is really about the business that still applies for me today, IMHO of course.
    But I also love Rock, Blues, Pop etc. Love Pop music. Its all about vocals or should be.

    Never the less, I didn't hear what you were pointing out with the overheads. I can't hear the drums very well and the lead vocal is definitely not sitting well in the mix. While I'm waiting for a new project to start, I'd be glad to remix it for you, for fun that is.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Well-Known Member

    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Ya, right, I forgot we talked about those until just now!

    I bought a sub for them, but only use it for fun. I've found mixing with those take a bit of getting used to, but after a ten min run, I get the mids right on! They don't sound that great but I think this is the magic about them. They are real, no BS!

    Proximity is definitely an issue with Ty's Vox example. Spot on.

    I'm planning on getting a second Bricasti. Its simply WOW! It can open a crappy room up like I've never experienced. Every week I use one, I learn more about what I don't need.

    The Kick is just gone, just not there enough to my taste. Remix it is my opinion.

    I created the "new" Track Talk forum for this very reason. 13 years doing this here, the best education I've gotten has been sharing my tracks and helping others with their mixes (win win) and then talking about it openly. Like it or not :) , its not easy accepting criticism so we all need thick skin indeed, including myself. I've had to ban a few members because they turned ugly and got ego in the way.
    FWIW, I'm not in this business to be stroked or to stroke others either. The clock is ticking in my life, I'm here only to improve. I want to be proud of one mix before I leave this world. Its getting closer but I'm still not there.

    For the last two years I have been paying extra attention to monitoring and studying the comments from people who like or dislike a certain sounds per-say.

    My conclusion: Monitors are everything.
    If you aren't hearing it accurately, its really hard to be accurate in everything you discuss with others. Big topic. I also think most (professional engineers) would end up with very similar or mutually acceptable mixes if we were all mixing in the same room.

    So, I've invested in a pretty decent monitoring system. If you don't like my mix, its definitely because of me, not my room, monitors or the "main" chain to how I process what I hear. And surprisingly enough, that makes me confident in what I say plus its much easier to get past my stupid human ego when I get schooled. This helps me make better choices on gear I don't need and easier accepting advise from the right people with similar interests. Less guessing all round!

    Example, you and I know it is proximity. We also don't hear the kick. Two very close opinions share the same. I trust you more than I would someone that says they hear the kick.
    Why? If they hear that kick, my guess is their room is pushing exaggerated low end on this one. Something is hindering the monitoring in Ty's room. Has to be.

    I'd love to have a PCM90!

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