Jump to content
aberdeen-music
Sign in to follow this  
Huw

Drum mics

Recommended Posts

Hiya. Looking into purchasing something for recording some demo acoustic drums. Just wondering what the best value-for-money drum mics are out there? Wouldn't be looking to spend an awful lot at the moment, but just to a decent demo standard. Will also be using the mics for guitars and stuff, so any opinions on versatility would be helpful too.

At the moment I'm kind of leaning towards this sort of set up:

sm57 - snare/guitar/bass

some sort of 3 piece mic set - floor + rack tom and kick

some sort of matched pair of condensors - overheads/guitar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AKG C-1000 is what I'd look at for a condenser for overheads. They're well priced and sound great :)

AKG C-418 for the toms (rack and floor).

AKG D-409 is pretty good for the snare. So is the 57 though!

If you went AKG throughout then the D-112 is good for the kick drum. Shure do the Beta 91 which is a cracking option as well.

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AKG C-1000 is what I'd look at for a condenser for overheads. They're well priced and sound great :)

AKG C-418 for the toms (rack and floor).

AKG D-409 is pretty good for the snare. So is the 57 though!

If you went AKG throughout then the D-112 is good for the kick drum. Shure do the Beta 91 which is a cracking option as well.

:)

Seems I may be looking for budget as opposed to value-for-money. I wouldn't mind a couple of decent condensors though. C1000 any use for guitar? I've used a Rode NT1 or 2 as overheads and on guitar and both sounded pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kieran is right - the Beta 52 is also pretty good for the kick! I found a blend of a triggered sample from a module and the 91 worked very well!

Seems I may be looking for budget as opposed to value-for-money. I wouldn't mind a couple of decent condensors though. C1000 any use for guitar? I've used a Rode NT1 or 2 as overheads and on guitar and both sounded pretty good.

I haven't tried one with guitar before! I'll need to ask the guy who produced the KCHGH CD which condenser he had me mic'd with! I like being dual mic'd with a condenser and dynamic for guitar. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kieran is right - the Beta 52 is also pretty good for the kick! I found a blend of a triggered sample from a module and the 91 worked very well!

I haven't tried one with guitar before! I'll need to ask the guy who produced the KCHGH CD which condenser he had me mic'd with! I like being dual mic'd with a condenser and dynamic for guitar. ;)

I've done this beforee and it sounded awesome. Just want to get my hand on some gear and go!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not a fan of C1000s. If things are being done on a budget i'd recommend some sort of drum set like this AKG one (AKG Rhythm Pack Drum Mic Set New 2009 (GAK)). The placement of the microphones is far more important than the quality of them when working at the low end anyway though. Make sure you get a nice stereo image in the overheads backed up with a couple of room mics. I like to dedicate a room mic quite low down a few feet away from the kick and then another a bit further back slightly higher up to catch more of the overall kit/room ambience.

I tend to use about 11 channels when doing a drum recording but if you are working to a budget i'd recommend something like this:

Kick In

Kick Out

Snare Top

Snare Bottom

OHL

OHR

Room (low)

Room (high)

With that AKG drum set you could use the D112 on the outside kick then the D40s for the inside kick, snare bottom and snare top. The C430s can then be used for overheads and then try and borrow a couple of condenser mics for the room placements.

Just make sure the kit tuned up nice and you won't have to worry about not close micing the toms. Then you just need to get a good balanced performance from the drummer and you should be on to a winner. If the kick and snare sounds shit you can just replace it with a sample anyway ;)

When you are doing the guitars and using multiple mics you have to be careful of your phase. If i'm using two mics i'll generally be using one as a close mic and another slightly further back to pick up slightly more room tone and slightly less direct sound from the amp. There is a 'law' in audio called the '3 to 1 rule' regarding phase relationships between microphones recording the same sound source. The law states that if one mic is Xcm from the sound source, anything three times further away (or any extra) will be in phase with that microphone. For example, if you are using a dynamic mic for the close mic and a condenser mic as a more ambient mic you might use a configuration like this:

Dynamic - 6cm from the amp

Condenser - At least 18cm from the amp.

This is a nice rough guide for watching phase between the mics. What i would always recommend doing though is recording a bit of audio then playing it back with both mics solo'd together. When you are listening to them together on their own, flip the phase of one of the mics (quite a lot of plug ins have a phase invert button or you might find it on the channel strip in your DAW) and listen to the difference. If you flip the phase on one and the sound become weak and lacks a lot of low frequency content then your mics will be in phase. If the sound become a lot more full when the phase invert is in it means your mics are out of phase with each other. If they are out, just play around with the positioning until you get it right.

I started to ramble here and probably strayed way off topic but i hope some of this information is of some relevance to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not a fan of C1000s. If things are being done on a budget i'd recommend some sort of drum set like this AKG one (AKG Rhythm Pack Drum Mic Set New 2009 (GAK)). The placement of the microphones is far more important than the quality of them when working at the low end anyway though. Make sure you get a nice stereo image in the overheads backed up with a couple of room mics. I like to dedicate a room mic quite low down a few feet away from the kick and then another a bit further back slightly higher up to catch more of the overall kit/room ambience.

I tend to use about 11 channels when doing a drum recording but if you are working to a budget i'd recommend something like this:

Kick In

Kick Out

Snare Top

Snare Bottom

OHL

OHR

Room (low)

Room (high)

With that AKG drum set you could use the D112 on the outside kick then the D40s for the inside kick, snare bottom and snare top. The C430s can then be used for overheads and then try and borrow a couple of condenser mics for the room placements.

Just make sure the kit tuned up nice and you won't have to worry about not close micing the toms. Then you just need to get a good balanced performance from the drummer and you should be on to a winner. If the kick and snare sounds shit you can just replace it with a sample anyway ;)

When you are doing the guitars and using multiple mics you have to be careful of your phase. If i'm using two mics i'll generally be using one as a close mic and another slightly further back to pick up slightly more room tone and slightly less direct sound from the amp. There is a 'law' in audio called the '3 to 1 rule' regarding phase relationships between microphones recording the same sound source. The law states that if one mic is Xcm from the sound source, anything three times further away (or any extra) will be in phase with that microphone. For example, if you are using a dynamic mic for the close mic and a condenser mic as a more ambient mic you might use a configuration like this:

Dynamic - 6cm from the amp

Condenser - At least 18cm from the amp.

This is a nice rough guide for watching phase between the mics. What i would always recommend doing though is recording a bit of audio then playing it back with both mics solo'd together. When you are listening to them together on their own, flip the phase of one of the mics (quite a lot of plug ins have a phase invert button or you might find it on the channel strip in your DAW) and listen to the difference. If you flip the phase on one and the sound become weak and lacks a lot of low frequency content then your mics will be in phase. If the sound become a lot more full when the phase invert is in it means your mics are out of phase with each other. If they are out, just play around with the positioning until you get it right.

I started to ramble here and probably strayed way off topic but i hope some of this information is of some relevance to you.

In terms of drum mic sets I can't really see past this (Superlux DRK-A3C2 Five Piece Mic Drum Kit | DV247) to be honest. 85 quid is an unreal price. Sound on sound say they do a pretty good job and from what you say about placement>quality of mic it seems like a no brainer.

That's all pretty useful, thanks. I kind of knew some of that, but not in so much detail. I'll definitely try room micing if I can, as well as probably more close miked stuff. Only got 8 channels though, for the moment so will have to use them sparingly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In terms of drum mic sets I can't really see past this (Superlux DRK-A3C2 Five Piece Mic Drum Kit | DV247) to be honest. 85 quid is an unreal price. Sound on sound say they do a pretty good job and from what you say about placement>quality of mic it seems like a no brainer.

That's all pretty useful, thanks. I kind of knew some of that, but not in so much detail. I'll definitely try room micing if I can, as well as probably more close miked stuff. Only got 8 channels though, for the moment so will have to use them sparingly.

I'm sure it was a Superlux set that we had in Genevieve for recording. They always gave a decent result for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends how many channels and what you are plugging into etc. If you have mic 7+ channels to plug into, the options will be different from if you only have a couple.

More mics and channels doesn't equal better although it is necessary for more control after recording.

Also, remember that any microphone you buy for use on drums can potentially be used on any other instrument in studio.

I'd be thinking of building up your mic collection as supposed to just buying microphones for drums.

Many people use large diaphram microphones (either dynamic or condensor) on bass drums. The EV RE20 has been very popular for a while. It is also a very popular mic for a wide range of instruments (vocals in particular). I've had some pretty good results using a Behringer B1 condensor microphone on kick also.

To get good results with recording drums, you will also have to assign a decent amount of your budget for drum heads etc. If it doesn't sound good in the room, it wont sound good once recorded.

You generally get what you pay for to some extent with these things. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should check out the Recorderman overhead arrangement. It's a variation on the Glynn Johns technique. It's very difficult to get a piss-poor sound this way as it ensures the kick and snare are phase-coherent, and it gets the most out of a kit in a crappy room.

On that note, I've been using a ribbon mic as a mono overhead recently with great success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You should check out the Recorderman overhead arrangement. It's a variation on the Glynn Johns technique. It's very difficult to get a piss-poor sound this way as it ensures the kick and snare are phase-coherent, and it gets the most out of a kit in a crappy room.

On that note, I've been using a ribbon mic as a mono overhead recently with great success.

I will. Cheers Ross.

Have you only been using it in mono because you only have one or because it won't sound right in stereo?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I will. Cheers Ross.

Have you only been using it in mono because you only have one or because it won't sound right in stereo?

Yeah, I've only got one ribbon at the moment (a CAD Trion). Ribbons tend to have great low end response and can smooth out harsh sounding cymbals, whereas I find a lot of cheap condensers have poor off-axis response, making the shells or cymbals sound trashy.

If I were you Huw, if you're looking to do one-off demos I'd just hire a couple of decent mics for overheads (Neumann KM184s or Royer-121s, even AKG 414s) and buy a bunch of SM57s for close Mic'ing. You'll be able to use those mics on a variety of other things too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is never ever a good idea to buy cheap microphones. (Well, except the SM57 and 58!)

The studio must-haves for kick are Audix D6 (hard, loads of impact and modern sounding) D112 (soft and 'boomy').

Snare and toms - Audix D1 through to D4. Also AKG D202 or D222. Now discontinued, but available on ebay for about 50 - 100 each.

Beyond that, we are looking at expensive stuff like the EV RE20 or the Sennheiser MD421, but both of these are far too expensive for what they are. We have them, because some customers expect to see them, but they are not my go-to mics for drums!

OH? Quite honestly, you are better off, getting a couple of SM57s and tweeking the highs a bit, than wasting good money on cheap Chinese tat like the Behringer B1, etc., and the C1000 from AKG, both of which distort badly.

If the time comes to upgrade, you will be able to sell the mics I suggested and for more or less what you paid for them (unless you buy fakes on ebay!) but the cheap Chinese stuff is totally worthless, once you have bought it.

You will get 100 times better sound from two SM57s on OH, with a D6 on kick and a D202 on snare, than with cheap mics on everything.

And if you don't believe me, come by and I'll demonstrate it to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OH? Quite honestly, you are better off, getting a couple of SM57s and tweeking the highs a bit, than wasting good money on cheap Chinese tat like the Behringer B1, etc., and the C1000 from AKG, both of which distort badly.

What exactly do you mean by 'distorted'? I do not understand how this would happen.

I have used both of those microphones with high SPL (i.e inside a kick drum) and am yet to notice them being 'distorted'.

Without a pad, they provide a signal too high for many microphone pre amps which will cause them to clip the A/D converter. The microphones themselves have never 'distorted'. Some pre amps can handle the high input (such as my Mackie Onyx 800r pre amps).

Your advice also assumes the OP has many channels to plug into, microphone pre amps etc. They haven't stated this information one way or another.

I also think buying an Audix D6, Audix D4, D2 etc. is most likely going to break their budget very quickly, although they are very good microphones.

Audix DP-5a Packaged Set of 5 Drum Mics | DV247

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimately, you can make almost anything work, it just depends how much work you're willing to put in to get what you want. The right tools make this process quicker and easier. I would agree that two 57s on overhead would be preferable to the other mics mentioned because a 57's off axis response is better than anything made by Behringer.

The fundamental issue is that Huw's budget is not in the same price range as a lot of decent 'budget' audio gear, so I would suggest rental rather than buying a bunch of crap that you're going to just chuck out later 'cause it has no re-sale value.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd suggest the weakest application for an SM57 on drum kit is as an overhead but it isn't impossible and it really depends where your expectations lie.

The key to any drum recording is to have the drum kit sounding as good as it possibly can in the room, before you press the record button. You can't just 'fix' things later on a recording - especially not when only using 1 or 2 microphones for the entire kit.

Oktava Mk-012 condensor microphones were thought to be good bang for buck at budget end last time I checked. I remember them being just over 100 each.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd suggest the weakest application for an SM57 on drum kit is as an overhead but it isn't impossible and it really depends where your expectations lie.

The key to any drum recording is to have the drum kit sounding as good as it possibly can in the room, before you press the record button. You can't just 'fix' things later on a recording - especially not when only using 1 or 2 microphones for the entire kit.

Oktava Mk-012 condensor microphones were thought to be good bang for buck at budget end last time I checked. I remember them being just over 100 each.

Those Oktavas are great; easily modded and the ability to change capsules is cool. But again, outside Huw's budget based on what he's previously said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Tam o' Shantie

most of the advice here seems pretty misguided since the OP is asking for budget solutions to recording a demo.

i spent many many months trying to get decent drum sounds out of various cheap/lacking combinations. avoid c1000s.

if you want my opinion, from most basic/cheap to best on a budget:

1. A single decent quality budget large diaphram condensor ie studio projects models. Look on youtube or read up on single mic techniques. experiment with compression & eq after recording to sort out any issues with levels. (set up doable for about 75)

2. two of same mic, for a stereo image. google recorderman drum miking to see the best use of this. (about 150)

3. as two, but add an audio technica pro 25 or an akgd112 if you can stretch to it for the kick drum (second hand is fine). (200 approx)

4. as 3, with an sm57 on snare. (250 approx)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Tam o' Shantie
In terms of drum mic sets I can't really see past this (Superlux DRK-A3C2 Five Piece Mic Drum Kit | DV247) to be honest. 85 quid is an unreal price. Sound on sound say they do a pretty good job and from what you say about placement>quality of mic it seems like a no brainer.

That's all pretty useful, thanks. I kind of knew some of that, but not in so much detail. I'll definitely try room micing if I can, as well as probably more close miked stuff. Only got 8 channels though, for the moment so will have to use them sparingly.

i'd honestly rather have 1 decent condensor mic than that set

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two of these

Audio Technica AT2020 Studio Condenser Microphone | DV247

25509_p.jpg @ 90 each

Two SHURE SM57's @90 each

You can use some crappy karaoke mics on your toms, unless you're recording a drummer who plays a lot of tribal stuff there are only going to be the odd time the toms are needed, make a good recording of the toms using the condesor mics and a spot mic with the 57 then use drumagog or similar to replace the badly recorded karaoke mic toms. TBH...if you place your condensor mics to record the whole kit as opposed to as overheads, you won't even need a mic on the toms, or on the snare...the fewer the mics the better, especially for demos...look out for a free Transient Designer plugin that you can google, it should be able to craft the kick and snare channels into tighter sounding hits that will cut through more and just them to emphasise what was already recorded by the condensors...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two of these

Audio Technica AT2020 Studio Condenser Microphone | DV247

25509_p.jpg @ 90 each

Two SHURE SM57's @90 each

You can use some crappy karaoke mics on your toms, unless you're recording a drummer who plays a lot of tribal stuff there are only going to be the odd time the toms are needed, make a good recording of the toms using the condesor mics and a spot mic with the 57 then use drumagog or similar to replace the badly recorded karaoke mic toms. TBH...if you place your condensor mics to record the whole kit as opposed to as overheads, you won't even need a mic on the toms, or on the snare...the fewer the mics the better, especially for demos...look out for a free Transient Designer plugin that you can google, it should be able to craft the kick and snare channels into tighter sounding hits that will cut through more and just them to emphasise what was already recorded by the condensors...

Wuite like the idea of a couple of audio technicas or SP B1s to geta grounding with. I assume what they lack in features they make up for in sound compared with your likes of Thomann's T bone, Superlux, Behringer and other budget gear?

I've got a Shure I'm gonna use for the snare and I'm gonna just get some crappy kick mic for the meantime, just so I can get used to miking techniques and actually having some kick presence in the mix if I fuck up the overheads!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×