Ultimate mics for recording drums, $1000 budget...

Discussion in 'Drums' started by amg1, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    Aaaaiiieeeghtt...I'm preparing to produce my first of many, more following, live recording sessions in the studio. This a transition I've been looking forward to and want to start off on the best foot possible. I will be recording live bass, guitar, keyboard and drums. I believe I'm fine for everything except for the drums. I've been looking to better equip my mic cabinet and now I'm being forced to. Not a bad thing.

    So here it is, the genre is R&B, I currently produce more Urban styles thaan anything else Hip Hop, Rap, Neo Soul, etc., and currently I have only two mics. A SP C1 and a MXL V69 Mogami. I need the best mic set-up to record drums in this genre with a total buget of $1000.

    Calling on those who have experience with more live sessions. Up to now it's been primarily sequenced parts, with some live guitar and vocals for me.

    I'm looking forward to this and want a good start and new mics to work with is always cool.

  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    I would look into a good set of Audix mics. Then maybe a pair of AKG 3000's, for overheads. This setup would be good on drums. Make sure you get the Audix kit that has the D6. Hope this helps.
  3. citrusburst

    citrusburst Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Hey LRG,

    For kick and toms, try an AKG kit. Google for "AKG DPDLX Drum Microphone Pack Deluxe" and you should find a variety of dealers offering a kit including a D112 (kick drum), 3 C418's (great tom mics), and a C419 (great floor tom / horn mic) for $499.

    Add in a Shure SM57 for the snare ($90), and a pair of condensors for the overheads. For what it's worth, the Rode NT1A's actually work quite well as drum overheads, and you can get those for $200 a piece. Stick your C1 on the hi-hats, and you've got your whole kit mic'd up pretty well for right at $1000.

    You may want to consider one other thing, however. If you're just getting started on tracking live drums, you may find that you're not super happy with the sounds you get from your first few sessions. If this is the case, you may want to make space in your budget for a sample-replacement mechanism. This will allow you to layer sampled drum-hits over your drums, which, done right, can help your final sound tremendously.

    If you want to pursue this, there's a couple ways to go: Digidesign's SoundReplacer plugin (if you're using Protools), Drumagog (VST or RTAS), or Midi-Trigger conversion (like a Roland TMC6). The last two can be hooked up for about $200.

    Hope that helps.

  4. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Screw mic'ing the hihat, its worthless, it'll come thru everything else. Get yourself a second C1 and use them as your overheads. If you have a mic pre with a pad use the mxl for the snare, always liked condensers on snares. So that leaves 800 bucks. Get sm57's for the toms, d112 for the kick and that should pretty much do it and you save 300 bucks. You should be able to get a great sound as long as the drums are tuned properly, mic'd properly, and played properly.
  5. amishsixstringer

    amishsixstringer Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Ok, this is my first post here. I actually registered just to reply to this. I really disagree with the replies so far. Please don't flame me, but I'm honest.

    The genre of music is r and b, hip hop, soul... not rock.
    Therefore I really disagree with the D112 for kick drum, the SM57 on snare, and the "screw micing the hihat thing"

    Your main focus should be kick, snare, and hat for your mics.

    I would recomend a Beta 52 for the kick, and STRONGLY recomend a Yamaha SUBKICK for outside. almost EVERY organic hip hop kit is recorded with one. You may even 86 the Beta 52, and just use the Subkick.

    For Snare, I would use 2 mics. At least use a BETA 57 on the top (The beta is worth the extra 40 bucks. It's a much faster response mic that gets a lot more crack that is needed for hiphop). If you can spring it, get a small diaphragm condensor mic for under the snare, or use another Beta 57. Don't forget to flip the polarity back and forth on the BOTTOM snare mic to check for phase.

    I would use almost any decent small diaphragm condensor on the hi hat facing away from the snare. An AKG C451 is great, but maybe out of your budget. A rode NT5 is a good budget mic for hats.(Ebay is amazing for used mics and i haven't had a problem yet). An SM 81 by sure is a good mic for this as well.

    As I said, I believe these 3 parts to be most important for your drums.

    For overheads, I would chose maybe the C3000's as mentioned by someone else, but I really find those mics to be kind of thin. You may find that you don't even need overheads for your kit. Other options though, are the Rode NT1's or even as much as I hate them, the AKG C1000's. The studio project C4's are budget minded as well.

    Toms: I would be willing to bet that your toms won't get much action, and if they do it's usually lighter hits than on a rock kit. You can probably get away with SM57's on the toms.

    Let's see:

    Subkick ...350
    2 beta 57's... 250
    2 57's 180
    rode nt5...200

    That is just about a grand right there.

    If you threw in a pair of C4's from studio projects, it puts you at about 1,280 bucks brand new.

    The mics above would give you an AMAZINGLY usable setup that would be useful to you on many other things. I can't say enough great things about the yamaha subkick. It is great to use on Bass cabinets as well. It's actually an old trick to take the woofer of a Yamaha NS-10 speaker and wire it backwards to make it into a microphone, so you may even be able to make one and save some money there.

    Again, if you bought even a couple of those mics used from eBay, you'd stay inside your 1,000 dollar budget.

    Good luck, and let us know what happens!
  6. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    I think the Audix DP5 kit is a great deal for $650.
    D6 for kick
    (2) D2 for toms
    D4 for floor tom (i like this mic on bass cab myself)
    D1 for snare

    the best part about the kit are clip on mounts for the drums. They are very flexible. no mic stands needed. (except for the D6.)
  7. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    Good post amish, I do highly agree with your sub kick. I dont know why I hadnt even thought of it, especially for R&B. Though I would disagree with the useage of 57's, this is IMO. I would persuade the useage of an i5, great mic here. Truth of the matter you will have a million differnt people tell you a million differnt things. Rode makes great mics, and you can get Sennheiser MD421's for a steal on ebay. I would say not to use 57's or beta 57's when possible, great mics, but more of a desert island mic. Good for soo many things, but you can do better. The AKG's mentioned are better tom mics, shoot I have even heard the Sennheiser "e" series e609 I believe make a great inexpensive tom mic. Just my 1 1/4 cents though. Overheads, kick, and snare should be your main focus. I dont mic the hats, you will get more bleed than a 13 year old girl.
  8. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Definitely agree about the D112! Actually I'm not that big a fan of that mic in general.. Shure Beta 52s are good, also consider a Sennheiser MD421, or a Beyer M88.

    Snare drums vary enormously in my experience: some need a bottom mic, some don't.. I usually put a 57 underneath if I need one, but often use a brighter mic on top.

    Beyer M201s (dynamic, hypercardioid) come up on ebay quite regularly: these are good on snare drums, toms & hi hats, as well as vocals and guitars.
  9. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    well, one more opinion here.

    i would get a pair of oktava mc012s for overheads, 57 for snare top and bottom, another oktava for hat and a sennheiser 421 and make your own subkick for wayyy cheaper.

    also: anyone who thinks that a 57 isn't a good mic for snare is misleading you. this is the mic that has been used on COUNTLESS albums' snares, and a little eq/compression and you can have any snare sound you want in the pocket. the only thing you need is a GOOD SNARE to start with.

    i disagree about *neeeding* a sub kick to get the sound your after. i know this is a new concept to recording, but try moving the mic around to get the sound you want. not to mention it's all about the drummer. a good drummer can play and or tune his/her kit for rnb so you can get the extended sub bass without the "clickyness." the 421 has a very tight sound to it, and that may not be what you are after.

    good production will help in making drums sound good for any style.

    so my list (not quite $1000 but close)

    octava mc012 matched pair from soundroom: $376
    oktava mc012 single: $173
    shure sm57 x 2: $180
    sennheiser 421: $350
    build your own subkick: $50 (or less) in parts (get a 10" speaker, and a male XLR cable and wire it up.

    total price: $1180, but that can be reduced if you get the sennheiser on ebay.

    also, i really like the d2 on the bottom of snare for rock, but i don't think it has a "tight" sound. i think that it sounds more "loose". if you have extra money to throw around, try a SM7 on snare without the windscreen. it sounds awesome. the sm7 on kick sounds cool for certain sounds.

    btw, this is sans tom mics intentionally. i think you can make this setup sound GREAT for RNB. if you aren't getting a good tom sound from the overheads for this style, move the mics until you are. you can get great tom sounds from overheads if placed correctly.

    like someone else said, 100 engineers = 100 opinions.

    good luck.

    steve (opinion #37)
  10. amishsixstringer

    amishsixstringer Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Thank you. The i5 is a nice mic. The beta 57's aren't anything like the sm57's though. They ALMOST hint 'condensor' at you. Nice and airy for a dynamic. The reason I said to use SM57's on the toms is price. With the priority being the kick and snare, the budget gets soaked up quickly, and if he's playing a 5 piece, 3 421's, even on ebay, would be about 5-600 bucks. I do use them on toms almost always, but you have to comprimise on a budget. The reason I said to mic hats is that the beta 57 has a very very good off axis rejection, and actually doesn't get a lot of hats (depending on your room size/reflections of course) and in that type of music, the hats are very important for the tweeters in your system. Often, the overheads are left more natural, used as more of a 'whole kit' mic making the crashes a little bit dullen and dark i guess? The hats need to sizzle though.
  11. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    This is what's up! Respect for all responses, one thing does ring thru, in this genre the kick, snare & hi-hat are primary. So yes these are my primary getting those right. I know a lot of this is subjective, but this is helping me target some similarities.

    Capturing the whole kit will be a bonus as the drummers I am tight with love to work their sets.

    I like the idea of triggering additional sounds as layering sounds is what we do. And the software is Logic, I'm true to it...

    This subkick is facinating to me. I remember reading about it.
  12. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    yo, more important to the mics and the kind and amount you have is what room the set is in. if its a good sounding room, then thats great. second, make sure the drums sound good. you can't get a good sound with shitty drums. then comes the mics. i dunno much about recording drums. tbh, i have a shitty basement to record them in and its a crappy set, plus i only have 2 mics, so im breakin all my own rules to getting a good drum sound. i have heard that a 57 is good on snare, but thats more for rock. the subkick thing seems like a good idea for you. i might actually try to make one.

    so to rudedog, would you just wire the speaker straight into the jack, or do you need to add some more stuff inbetween the jack and speaker? and will it pickup any frequencies other than bass? adding an inline lowpass filter might be a good idea if it can pickup mids and highs...
  13. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    A couple things. I have recorded drums in a extremely poor sounding room and made them sound good. if you don't have a good room sound, make sure it is a dead room and use reverb from an effects box or plugin. you CAN make bad rooms sound good, but you CAN't make bad drums sound good. well, with one exception. you can sound replace drums and make them sound technically good, but they definitely loose the feel of the drummer. this is an art that few have mastered.

    also, you don't need a LPF inline, cause the speaker acts as a LPF. Nothing above about 200hz comes thru. you just wire it directly to a XLR cable and hook it up to the preamp like a normal microphone. Here is a picture someone else took:
  14. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    i was thinkin more like my basement kinda room. like reflections everywhere. definatly not dead.
  15. amg1

    amg1 Guest

    The room we will be recording in for this session is cool, the real fun comes down the road when our new studio comes on line. It will have a 4 real live room for the drums.

    This session will be at a friends studio, but the mics are still required to get the kit miced up.

    I'm feeling the subkick, will continue to research it. Is the speaker just pressed up against the drum?
  16. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    the speaker should be at least a couple inches away, definitely should not be touching the drum at all.
  17. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    New Delhi, India
    How would you wire an XLR connector to a speaker ? float the ground ?


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