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Drum mic setups-How do you guys typically do it?


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My typical arrangement is close mic'ing kick (AKG D12), snare (good ol' 57), toms (audix I5s), and hihat (AKG P170) with a pair of overheads (also P170s) and maybe a mono room mic (either a 414 or an sE 4400), recorded into pro tools through clean mic pres.  (these are the mics available to me at my school studio, I don't have drum mics at home yet)

What about you guys?

Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something, Kurzweil PC4-88, Ibanez TMB-100
Studio Gear: Audient EVO16, JBL 305P MKII monitors, assorted microphones, Reaper

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I'm interested as well.  I plan to do some recording of a more serious nature soon, and I'd like to mic my wife's drum set more or less professionally.  From what I've been reading, I think four mics will work for me: one for snare, one for bass drum, and two overheads.  I'll definitely have to do some experimenting to find the right placement.

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Great topic, nearly infinite!!!

 

It's been a while since I recorded a full drum set. I used to do sound for bands sometimes as well, a great lesson in "work with what you have and get it done now" but not ideal for a great sounding recording. 

 

If I was to do a serious recording of a drum set now, I would prefer to choose a great drummer that has a great set as a good starting point. 

If that's not an option then I'd like to make sure the drums are tuned well first and then check that the kick pedal and high hat stand don't make any clunks or squeaks. 

If the drums are sounding good and set up well for the player then I want to hear the drums played in the room the recording is taking place. If the drums can't be moved then that's a factor, if they can then they may be fine where they are or they might sound better in a different part of the room. 

 

Does the room sound good? Long ago and far away we used to record in an old but well kept theater building and we could set up on the stage. That room sounded HUGE and one well placed mic could be all you needed for drums. 

 

If the room is small or too lively then close mic'ing like you describe is probably best. Cardioid pattern blocks the most sound from the backside, super cardioid and hyper cardioid mics will pick up from the back so you have to be careful with placement. 

 

I'm assuming you mark your tracks before recording, labelling which drum is being recorded? Do you listen to the individual tracks as well? It's always a good idea to check for how much kick is leaking into other mics, especially the overheads and room mic. If there are phasing issues it's best to find out early one. 

One of the wonderful things about recording digitally is that you can adjust the position of the tracks to align the phase of the frequencies, this can make a hollowed out sounding kick sound huge by eliminating phase issues. Eventide Precision EQ is a particularly excellent plugin for adjust phase issues of all types. There are others or you can just work with your DAW, put a your cursor in an ideal spot on the kick drum track and line up all the other tracks that have kick drum leakage. 

 

Phase alignment is probably the most important step to getting a great drum sound with multiple mics in play. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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For drum recording, I have done everything from large prog-rock kits with darn near every drum and cymbal miked. I have also done sessions with 3 mics on a whole kit.

 

Whenever possible (meaning when a client will let me), I almost always prefer 4 mics tops on a drum kit––typically kick, snare, and overheads in a Glyn Johns setup. I mix sound live weekly, and there on a 4-piece kit, I use 7 mics. Kick, snare top and bottom, 2-toms, 2 overheads only about 1.5' up.

 

As far as mics, on toms, I have tried dozens of mics from Telefunken, Sennheiser, Audix, Shure and Audio-Technica, only to come back to the realization the Sennheiser MD-421 is THE ultimate tom mic (although on a really vibey indy rock kit, I do like using Audix D-6 mics on both toms.

 

For a more aggressive punk rock kick, I like the Audix D-6. For more vintage classic rock, I like the Audio Technica ATM25. The Telefunken M82 is a great all-rounder, as is the newer AKG D12VR (oddly, I have never been a fan of the AKG D112). I like the Shure Beta 52 on kick live, but not so much in the studio. My all-time favorite kick mic, however, is the DPA 4055. It's also hard to argue with a Neumann FET47 about 6" to 1' outside the kick drum––sometimes things are classics for a reason.

 

For snare, I use an SM57 60% of the time, a Telefunken M80 30% of the time and an old ElectroVoice RE-15 10% of the time.

 

Hi-Hat...unless a client specifically asks for it, I just cannot bring myself to mic a hi-hat...that's what overheads are for. If and when I do mic a hi-hat or a ride for that matter I use an AKG C451B.

 

For overheads, it depends on my mood. I have used AKG C414XLS, Neumann KM84, Lauten Atlantis, Lauten Eden, Telefunken AR-51 (Now TF51), sE VR-1, AEA R44C... Usually, though for set-it-and-forget-it spaced overheads, I use a pair of Roswell Mini K47 or for vintage Glyn Johns tones, I like a pair of Cloud Mics 44 ribbon mics.

 

My usual stereo room mic of choice is an AEA Stereo R88, and for mono drum room, I use an AEA R44C or a Chandler REDD Mic. Then I might add in a compressed Placid Audio Copperphone or Resonator.

 

 

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Editor - RECORDING Magazine

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I'm setting up for a session today and using the setup I described above minus the room mic.  I've always gotten good results with it, and having the hat mic is useful in the mixing stage for balancing it versus the snare if I need it.  I get why most people don't always mic the hi hat, but this is the way I learned how to do it and I know what to expect, so that is why I do it.

Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something, Kurzweil PC4-88, Ibanez TMB-100
Studio Gear: Audient EVO16, JBL 305P MKII monitors, assorted microphones, Reaper

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I recently lost a partner in my studio, and about half of the drums mics I had been using went with him, so it made me rethink my drums tracking setup, and buy a few mics. After a couple of sessions with the setup, I feel pretty good about the choices I made:

Kick: Lewitt DTP 340 inside the drum, the Lewitt was recommended to me by an engineer I admire, and have this far been very impressed with it, it has a sort-of pre-EQ'd setting to get more attack and more low end, most of the time I use that and get 90% of my kick tone off this one mic.  Shure Beta 52 or SM7 on the outer head, a lot of guys do a condenser outside the kick but I feel like dynamic gets less bleed of the rest of the kit.

 

Snare: Telefunken M80 on the top. I bought a couple of these as live vocal mics, and they are great for that, but they kill on snare. Really focussed sound with a lot of attack, has the highs of a condenser without the bleed. Bottom of snare will get an SM57 or Beta57, whatever I have left after mixing the rest of the session.

 

Toms: Audiotechnica ATM 230's. I used to be in the Sennheiser 420 for toms school, and they are great, but I did a freelance session at a studio recently where 2 of their 420's were out getting repaired, and they had gotten these to use in the mean time, and the head engineer kind of raved about them. I agree, they are voiced for toms, so they will get the attack and body tone of the toms, but less bleed from cymbals/snare, they are tiny, so you can get them into tight kits, and they are surprisingly cheap, you can get a 3-pack for about $400. And, despite being small, they are pretty heavy and solid, will survive the occasional thwacking.

 

Hat/Ride close mics: 2 Lewitt LTC Match 040 condensers. These tiny, $99 condensers have a remarkably smooth high end, without the harshness of other cheap Chinese condensers, and are small and light enough to get in close to the cymbals without getting in the drummer's way. I often won't use these in the final mix, but if I need a little more "ping" from the ride, it'll be there.

 

Overhead: 2 Warm Audio WA84's, in a spaced pair on bigger kits, or an X/Y right over the snare on a smaller kit. I also have a pair of the Warm WA87 mk 2's that I could use, I've used the mics that the Warm's clone in other studios, and their clones get really close to the sound, and fit my budget.

 

For room mics. I have an older pair of AKG C3000B's in opposite corners of my room, set up pretty high, my space has a vaulted ceiling, and they get a pretty good picture of the whole kit. I'm pretty lucky that my tracking room sounds quite good.

 

While I'm on the topic, I've been replacing all my old/funky/droopy boom mic stands with Tama's Studio Works booms, they are just a little more expensive than the average stand, but have, imho, much better clutch designs and are made out of nice heavy metal.

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Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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2 hours ago, NewImprov said:

I recently lost a partner in my studio, and about half of the drums mics I had been using went with him, so it made me rethink my drums tracking setup, and buy a few mics. After a couple of sessions with the setup, I feel pretty good about the choices I made:

Kick: Lewitt DTP 340 inside the drum, the Lewitt was recommended to me by an engineer I admire, and have this far been very impressed with it, it has a sort-of pre-EQ'd setting to get more attack and more low end, most of the time I use that and get 90% of my kick tone off this one mic.  Shure Beta 52 or SM7 on the outer head, a lot of guys do a condenser outside the kick but I feel like dynamic gets less bleed of the rest of the kit.

 

Snare: Telefunken M80 on the top. I bought a couple of these as live vocal mics, and they are great for that, but they kill on snare. Really focussed sound with a lot of attack, has the highs of a condenser without the bleed. Bottom of snare will get an SM57 or Beta57, whatever I have left after mixing the rest of the session.

 

Toms: Audiotechnica ATM 230's. I used to be in the Sennheiser 420 for toms school, and they are great, but I did a freelance session at a studio recently where 2 of their 420's were out getting repaired, and they had gotten these to use in the mean time, and the head engineer kind of raved about them. I agree, they are voiced for toms, so they will get the attack and body tone of the toms, but less bleed from cymbals/snare, they are tiny, so you can get them into tight kits, and they are surprisingly cheap, you can get a 3-pack for about $400. And, despite being small, they are pretty heavy and solid, will survive the occasional thwacking.

 

Hat/Ride close mics: 2 Lewitt LTC Match 040 condensers. These tiny, $99 condensers have a remarkably smooth high end, without the harshness of other cheap Chinese condensers, and are small and light enough to get in close to the cymbals without getting in the drummer's way. I often won't use these in the final mix, but if I need a little more "ping" from the ride, it'll be there.

 

Overhead: 2 Warm Audio WA84's, in a spaced pair on bigger kits, or an X/Y right over the snare on a smaller kit. I also have a pair of the Warm WA87 mk 2's that I could use, I've used the mics that the Warm's clone in other studios, and their clones get really close to the sound, and fit my budget.

 

For room mics. I have an older pair of AKG C3000B's in opposite corners of my room, set up pretty high, my space has a vaulted ceiling, and they get a pretty good picture of the whole kit. I'm pretty lucky that my tracking room sounds quite good.

 

While I'm on the topic, I've been replacing all my old/funky/droopy boom mic stands with Tama's Studio Works booms, they are just a little more expensive than the average stand, but have, imho, much better clutch designs and are made out of nice heavy metal.

 Nice mic setup. The T-Funk M80 is such a great snare mic!

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Editor - RECORDING Magazine

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Hi. New here so, greets!

 

I love reading about drum mic setups and figured I share my tuppence. Right now I have a set up that's working pretty well though it's taken a bit to dial it in.

 

I'm just a home recordist - the last time I was in a pro facility was a loooong time ago, but I went to a recording school in the mid 80's and have built a rather nice little project studio over the years. I have a 5 piece Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple kit with a mix of K Zildian and Sabian AA brass hanging around. Oh and a 5 1/2" Ludwig Black Beauty snare tuned pretty high with some nice annoying ring to it! Cuts through everything or sits back and shuffles along quietly. Nice bit of gear that.

 

Anyway, I've been using a pair of Line Audio CM4's that I took a flyer on that sound great as overheads in a spaced pair both exactly 42" away from the snare, cause that's where the room told them to be. Tiny little mics that to my ears image more crisply than the Oktava MK012's I had been using. Don't me wrong, the Oktava's sounded pretty good, but the CM4's are flatter and less harsh. I use the good old '57 on snare (top only) and toms and close mic everything using stands, not clip-ons. All of my 57's are aligned directionally, i.e. facing the same direction and at the same angle approaching the tom. I got this idea from reading an interview with Sylvia Massey. I'm sure I misunderstood her technique but this approach has pretty much wiped out phase issues on toms for me.

 

The big change for me recently was with the kick. As a drummer I got tired of the dead whump that everyone seems to love so much. I want my kick to have a true acoustic resonance - a slow blooming boooom that seems totally out of style these days.  Anyway, the type of music I've been writing and recording lately wants a more intimate acoustic drum feel.  So, I recently chucked my ported head, put the pillow back on my bed, lightly damped the resonator head with a felt strip and now mic exclusively outside the kick. I had been using a Beta 52 inside the kick with the old set up but am now using an RE20 about 6 inches away from the head, slightly off center and off axis about 15 degrees. Still a bit of tweaking to do to settle it in but I'm really liking the way it captures the kick.

 

I also hooked up the speaker from a Yamaha HS10 sub woofer just for kicks and it really adds a lot of character at about 50Hz. I know that I'm basically getting a speaker IR and not technically a microphone image of the sonics but so far it's  been an effective way to support the low fundamental. Not every speaker works for this but I'm liking this one. The speaker is mounted in a snare stand tilted parallel to the head.

 

The other thing that's important to me for drum tracking are the mic pre's. I record a lot of stuff solo and I'm lucky enough to have an Audient ASP880 racked right next to the kit so I can control levels while setting up the tracking template. I use exactly 8 mics on the kit and given that they are very different mics, I like the ability to change input impedences to suit the set up and the pres are simply killer on drums.

 

Ok, I guess I have to go register on the site now.

 

Ta

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  • 1 month later...

Just my VERY VERY humble opinion. And I say this with all due respect. I have spent thousands of $$$ trying to mic my DW maples. It got so bad that I packed em up, put the mics back in the box, trashed the mixer, blah blah.

I bought a cheap $350 Simmons SD 600 set of edrums because I wanted to play my own stuff. BEST investment EVER!!!

They plug directly into my TASCAM DI and sound stoopid good. AND as an added bonus, I can stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning and play till I'm sore, and my wife does not hear a thing. 

As I said, IMHO, for short money, it's a great investment. Not saying that they will work on stage, but for recording, yep. Plus there is MIDI and if you want to "drop in an 808" it's right there.

CON: Works best with mac, as there is no Android support.

YMMV

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What?

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16 hours ago, Old Music Guy said:

Just my VERY VERY humble opinion. And I say this with all due respect. I have spent thousands of $$$ trying to mic my DW maples. It got so bad that I packed em up, put the mics back in the box, trashed the mixer, blah blah.

I bought a cheap $350 Simmons SD 600 set of edrums because I wanted to play my own stuff. BEST investment EVER!!!

They plug directly into my TASCAM DI and sound stoopid good. AND as an added bonus, I can stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning and play till I'm sore, and my wife does not hear a thing. 

As I said, IMHO, for short money, it's a great investment. Not saying that they will work on stage, but for recording, yep. Plus there is MIDI and if you want to "drop in an 808" it's right there.

CON: Works best with mac, as there is no Android support.

YMMV

I'm all electronic for recording as well, I'm not a drummer, I don't own acoustic drums, I don't have a great sounding room that's big enough to record drums and I live in a multi-unit condo so getting loud is a no-no anyway. 

I have a Roland Handsonic, the first version with the ribbon controllers. It's a good unit. I also have a Korg Wavedrum Global and that is fantastic - everybody should own one.

It is different from all other electronic drums, there's no MIDI, it uses a real drum head, there is a microphone and a couple of sensors, there are synthesizers creating the sounds. If you play it with your fingers, you can get a HUGE range of expressive tones out of snares and kicks and while they can sound like real drums they can also take you to new places. Press on the head, most tones get higher, some go lower. Play in the middle or play on the edges, it sounds like a real drum would sound if you do that too. 

 

If I could only have one drum to record with, the Wavedrum would hands down be my choice and I would be happy to have it. Well worth a try and well worth the cost.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I am a percussionist and drummer. Acoustically I have a vintage 4-piece slingerland kit from 1966. I also have a bunch of hand drums—doumbeks, djembes, Klong Ya, and such that I have collected over the years. 
 

On the electronic side, I have two wavedrums old and 2nd gen and as Kuru said, they are like no other electronic drum ever!

 

The only thing that comes close is the ATV A-Frame which has become my main live electronic drum—successor to the wavedrum in many ways. 

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Editor - RECORDING Magazine

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  • 4 months later...

The combination of AKG D12 for the kick, the trusty 57 on the snare, and the audix I5s for toms are popular choices that deliver great results. Adding the AKG P170 on the hi-hat and a pair of overheads enhances the overall clarity and captures the drum kit's natural ambience.

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On 8/5/2023 at 12:42 AM, VincentBell said:

The combination of AKG D12 for the kick, the trusty 57 on the snare, and the audix I5s for toms are popular choices that deliver great results. Adding the AKG P170 on the hi-hat and a pair of overheads enhances the overall clarity and captures the drum kit's natural ambience.

As for the mono room mic, using either the 414 or sE 4400 allows you to experiment with different tonal characteristics, giving your recordings a unique touch.
By the way, if you ever want to explore some unique percussive sounds, have you considered incorporating a celtic drum like the bodhrán into your setup? It's a traditional Irish drum with a distinctive sound that could add a fascinating layer to your recordings.

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On 8/4/2023 at 4:42 PM, VincentBell said:

The combination of AKG D12 for the kick, the trusty 57 on the snare, and the audix I5s for toms are popular choices that deliver great results. Adding the AKG P170 on the hi-hat and a pair of overheads enhances the overall clarity and captures the drum kit's natural ambience.

 

Audix i5's are a very underrated mic on toms, especially rack toms. If you ever have a chance to try the Audix D-6 on toms (especially floor tom) it can sound positively huge as well.

Editor - RECORDING Magazine

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  • 2 weeks later...

I use my oddball AKG C-5600 on toms. I recently mixed some drum tracks that had great tom sounds. Turned out they were recorded with Neat Worker Bee mics which have been discussed on this forum in the past. The sound was detailed and huge. Mind you, the drums were perfectly tuned and very well played which undoubtedly was a factor in how great they sounded but those weird Neat mics did the job of capturing them amazingly well.

I use all the usual suspects on kick drums but sub in my EV 666 dynamic for an old school kick sound. Works well on quiet rootsy tunes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a 6 piece Doc Sweeny set and a 15 piece DW set. Never mic any of them. I have a Roland TD-30 and plan to upgrade to a TD-50X after I sell a few more items. Seriously, 80 percent of the gospel songs I am given are recorded with sounds from the TD-30. Maybe the other 20 percent have moved on up to the TD-50X. If recording, what I would mic is the ride and hi-hat. I would not even bother with snare after hearing the new digital snare with the TD-50.

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This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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On 10/6/2023 at 2:51 PM, zeronyne said:

I've been really interested in this

 

YAMAHA EAD10

 

A very famous drum YouTuber uses just this device to record his drum audio, and it always sounds amazing.

Search for "El Estepario Siberiano" on YouTube if you would like to hear the output.

 

That looks like a really cool way to augment an acoustic kit.

Editor - RECORDING Magazine

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/7/2023 at 3:51 AM, zeronyne said:

I've been really interested in this

 

YAMAHA EAD10

 

A very famous drum YouTuber uses just this device to record his drum audio, and it always sounds amazing.

Search for "El Estepario Siberiano" on YouTube if you would like to hear the output.

I've heard that they are an excellent piece of equipment. Have you tried using those yourself?

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