View Full Version : Overhead miking
03-15-2011, 09:20 PM
Hey all. I've read quite a few threads about miking in live situations. Great to have so many opinions. I had decided that it would probably be best to mik my bass drum, snare (if needed), and 2 overheads.
Well, this last Sat. night we played a small/medium sized club and recorded it. We miked the bass drum and I borrowed some cheap tom miks and used them. Listening to the recording everything came through pretty well, but the cymbals seemed to be too loud. I'm wondering, since I play pretty hard, if doing overheads will only exacerbate the cymbal problem. Only the ride cymbal could've used a little more boost.
Are there ways to minimize the cymbals getting picked up by overheads?
03-15-2011, 10:21 PM
A basic guideline is "raise the overhead mics for more cymbals, lower them for more toms".
Ensure you don't have any mics on-axis with any cymbal or tom - otherwise that's about all you'll hear from that mic......
03-15-2011, 10:27 PM
Spread the overheads apart, above the kit, and aim them both at the snare.
1. You won't need a snare mic
2. They'll each pick up the closest toms/cymbals by proximity (hi hat and rack tom for L, floor tom and ride cymbal for R)
3. They won't pick up *as much* cymbal signal, due to the off-axis rejection.
Make sure you triangulate them so as to avoid phase cancellation (use a piece of string), and learn how to balance your playing on your kit. That's about it. Perfect drum sound through the mains...
03-15-2011, 10:30 PM
It depends on the club. You can EQ out the harshness of overly bright cymbals a bit, that will make them seem quieter but still let them cut through the mix. If the room is really bright (lots of acoustically reflective material), then you might want to play the cymbals a bit quieter than normal anyway (mic'ed or unmic'ed). If it is really dead, then using the EQ on the mixer to enhance some of the brightness will help. Also, I'm assuming you used a video recorder to record the show? Some cameras color the audio and certain instruments tend to stand out a bit more than others. How about a sample of your recording?
If you have someone whose ears you trust listen to the show and provide feedback, or a drummer friend who you can invite in to sound check or sit in for a song during the performance (so you can hear it yourself), then that always helps.
03-15-2011, 10:40 PM
I've gotten great results with just a bass, snare, and single overhead mic set-up. Sometimes having one overhead is good because you're not dealing with any kind of phasing problems from having two mics in roughly the same area. Depending on the venue, I find sometimes I might not have to run the overhead at all, but definitely for the backbeat stuff, I always go with a mic on the snare.
03-15-2011, 10:50 PM
I just played a large casino venue and only used a bass mic and single overhead condenser. I think a floor tom mic as well. I really leave it up to the sound guy if he knows the room (and his gear). But I always tell them that I'm a less is more kinda guy.
In terms of the brightness, sometimes it's the recorder you use. I've heard two different versions of the same live recordings that sounded like they were done in two different rooms. I always feel like my hihats are too bright in live recordings, but I think it's just my recorder (Olympus LS-11).
It probably sounded better than you think to peoples ears. Recordings are very deceptive. What did you use to record? Did you record through the board? What kind of preamp did you have? What kind of mics?
03-16-2011, 12:30 AM
A lot will depend on the microphones being used and their exact position. If you want to attenuate a signal, you must get the microphones off axis and away from what you want to limit. If you're using a limited number of microphones, as in not micing every single drum, You have to mix what your microphones are hearing by positioning them in the sound field. If you have too much audio from your cymbals, move the microphones away from the cymbals. This works in any acoustical environment. If it was me, I would bring the overheads in from the sides, basically one above the snare, maybe in between the snare and the hi hat, and one above the rim closest to you of the floor tom. Start with them at 0 degrees to your kit and if you still have too much cymbals in your mix, subtly point both mics a bit towards the back of you kit. These microphones should be as low in height as possible without being in danger of hitting them with your sticks. Start at about three feet above your snare and floor toms and if you can, move them down a bit more. A lot of times you won't need a dedicated snare mic, but you probably will need a bass drum mic depending on the venue. Experimentation and particularly microphone placement is everything. Don't resort to EQ until every other avenue has been taken. Many sound people believe Equalization is the cure for anything that might ail a sound, especially boosting a particular frequency. When boosting the low end of a bass drum which already has a 10 to 20 db inherent boost because of the microphone that's being used and adding to that the proximity effect (bass emphasis because of close proximity of the microphone to the sound source) that builds up in most directional microphones, you end up with mud and no articulation.
03-16-2011, 04:23 PM
Thanks all!! We used a Zoom H1 to record. It may indeed be the recorder making it sound too bright.
Great post Audiotech!! Lots of questions answered for me there. I think I'll start with one overhead and see how that works out for me. And have someone sit in so I can hear what's really coming out from the mains.
Thanks again everyone!
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