Old 12-30-2011, 02:39 PM   #1
spreadercraig
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Default Best sounding mic placed where?

Hi all.
I've only got the budget for low end mics, and was wondering where to place the best mic for drums...

I have 2 x PG58's (dynamic), an AKG D321 (dynamic) and an MXL 990 (condenser) so I'm looking at a four mic drum setup (Glyn Johns method)

The MXL sounds BY FAR the best on each application and I'm capturing (mainly) snare with mic 1, kick with mic 2 followed by two overheads.

I've only got one MXL so where should I put it? I'm thinking one of the overheads to catch a sweet overall sound....but if I pan the overheads I'll only get 'sweet' in one ear...

Any ideas? (Buy some more mics...I know)
Cheers
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:47 PM   #2
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In your room with your mics with your equipment: do whatever sounds best to you. No one else anywhere else can tell what's going to happen in your room.

'Use you ears' is always the best approach.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:33 PM   #3
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This would alter your setup, but this is my suggestion:

Have someone play and go around the room, and at different heights, and try to find where in the room the whole kit sounds the best. Then put the 990 there, and experiment with a few recordings to find the best spot to use. Pretend you can only use that one mic.

Then test out the other mics on your snare and see which one gets the best sound, especially to go with the recording from the 990. Experiment with placement for the snare mic.

Then experiment for which of your remaining mics will sound best for the kick and for your overhead, which you'll need to get the toms and so on. Depending on how the room mic sounds, you might need mostly bass from the kick, or whatever.

My feeling is that it's easier to augment a kick drum that lacks low end than to "fix" a kick that is boomy and bassy but has no top end. In my last setup, I got a sound I liked on the kick just from the room mic, but needed some bass.

But it's all gonna depend on your room, and drums, and playing style, and the other music, and so on. Good luck.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spreadercraig View Post
Hi all.
I've only got the budget for low end mics, and was wondering where to place the best mic for drums...

I have 2 x PG58's (dynamic), an AKG D321 (dynamic) and an MXL 990 (condenser) so I'm looking at a four mic drum setup (Glyn Johns method)

The MXL sounds BY FAR the best on each application and I'm capturing (mainly) snare with mic 1, kick with mic 2 followed by two overheads.

I've only got one MXL so where should I put it? I'm thinking one of the overheads to catch a sweet overall sound....but if I pan the overheads I'll only get 'sweet' in one ear...

Any ideas? (Buy some more mics...I know)
Cheers
Craig, I know this sounds nuts, but since it's free please consider it.

The overwhelmingly biggest difference between dynamics and condensers is their sensitivity. But you can adjust for that with preamp gain. But most of us are not very good at matching levels by ear, so we hear big differences between our mics.

Try putting one MXL and one Shure in front of a speaker playing a 1 khz test tone. Adjust the levels as close as you can, and print the test tone on two tracks. Then record some snare work cymbals or something.

When you play back, use a precision meter/trim tool like the Sonalksis Free G and the printed test tone to fine tune the levels.

Then listen to your recording to compare the two mics.

When I've compared dynamics and condensers on acoustic guitar they were night and day different - until I matched levels using the procedure described above. Then they were remarkably similar. Not the same, the condenser still has a bit more air, but the dynamic is a lot more usable than I thought.

Fran
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:57 AM   #5
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You need a matched pair of mics to do stereo overheads. You need to buy another MXL.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
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You need a matched pair of mics to do stereo overheads. You need to buy another MXL.
Who said anything about stereo?

Mono drums are classic.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:39 AM   #7
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Who said anything about stereo?

Mono drums are classic.
He mentioned the Glyn Johns technique, which is a stereo technique.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:04 AM   #8
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Thanks guys.

I guess its more experimenting and testing then!

I haven't actually tried pairing up sounds of each of the mics together yet....just tested each individually. Yes I do want a stereo sound so apart from buying another MXL I guess I need to use the PG58s for overheads?

All interesting comments. I'm learning. Thanks.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:37 AM   #9
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Yes I do want a stereo sound so apart from buying another MXL I guess I need to use the PG58s for overheads?
I'd rather go mono than use PG58s for overheads.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:01 AM   #10
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...they did sound pretty naff in the tests I did...
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
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You need a matched pair of mics to do stereo overheads.
No you don't Completely different mics for l/r overheads can sound really cool.

If you approach drum recording in the same kind of way as stereo recording of a choir or quartet etc, then you'll need a pair of the same mic. But why approach drums in such a "purist" way all the time? It's just a habit we all get into ... cool stuff comes from experimenting. Vibe is waaaaay more important than a perfect stereo image for drums.

I actually am pretty confident that the OP could get a good drum recording with the mics available. Just requires some playing around with makeshift room treatment and shrugging off the feeling that one is "doing it wrong" ...
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:53 AM   #12
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Default Experiment.

Experiment, experiment,experiment.......
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:25 PM   #13
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Ok, had a rough go at this.

I bought an ISK CM30 overhead, so set up is:
ISK CM30 Overhead 1
MXL 990 Overhead 2
PG58 Kick
AKG D321 Snare

No eq, just raw, and please excuse my drumming...I did it quick.

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11340006

Might get a kick replacement vst if I can't get joy, but on the whole what do you think?

Also...any eq tips?

Cheers.
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #14
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Default It can be done.....

I am no expert, but my belief is: Anybody with the right set of tools and some experience on how to use those tools, could make just about anything, (your drum track included) sound great.

Go for it!
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spreadercraig View Post
Might get a kick replacement vst if I can't get joy, but on the whole what do you think?
It sounds fine to me. I'm pretty sure there's a drum trigger in Reaper already, but I don't think you'll need to replace the kick (depends on what kind of music you're making). You don't need much in the way of EQ at the recording stage. What you've got should mix very nicely indeed.
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