Drum mic recommendations

currang

Junior Member
So my band are wanting to record some stuff and have decent recording equipment at the moment, what we don't have are drum mics. I realise that with drum mics you get what you pay for but would rather avoid spending all of my money on them. Could anyone recommend a good set up for drum mics?

I am thinking of getting an AKG Rhythm Pack which has D112 bass drum mic, 2 x C430 for overheads and 3 x D40 for snare + toms.

Or a Shure DMK57-52 Drum Microphone Kit which has 3 x SM57 for Snare + toms and a BETA52A Dynamic Microphone for Kick Drum and would possibly buy a couple more SM57 for overheads as I've heard they work well?

The front man in my band owns a Rode NT1-A condenser mic, could this be used as an overhead? I'm unsure what is better for overheads, dynamic or condenser mics.

Do you think either of these purchases could allow for good sounding recordings and if not could you recommend anything else?

Cheers and apologies for what is perhaps a stupid question (I know very little about microphones)
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Not a stupid question at all. I am personally biased toward Audix mics, primarily because of the D6 kick mic - unarguably one of the best kick mics available, regardless of price. You might consider the Audix DP-7 kit, if the $899 price is not a hinderance. But, for this price, you get the following:

1 D6 for kick drum
1 i5 for snare
A pair of D2s for toms
A D4 for floor tom
A pair of ADX51s for overheads

These are all fine mics, and you will be fixed for mics from now on. The condenser mics are generally considered the best for overhead use, as their extended high frequency range delivers the best cymbal reproduction. Your soundman's Rode mic would make an excellent overhead, but would produce only mono overhead. Most engineers prefer to use two overhead mics so that they can enhance the stereo image in recordings.

The Shure DMK57-52 kit you mentioned is also an excellent kit. The SM57 is the most popular drum mic around, and for good reason. The 57 can easily handle the high SPL inherent in drums. As overheads, they will work, but the high frequency reproduction is limited, as is the output level. This means that the engineer will have to run higher gain, and higher gain means more "self noise" from the mic. Condensers solve both these problems. I have used the 52 bass drum mic a lot, and it is a good mic, but always requires time-consuming equalization. The Audix D6, on the otherhand, usually requires NO eq at all. Placement is the key.

You can, of course, find much cheaper complete kits from companies such as Samson and various store brands, but these kits, while generally acceptable for live use, usually don't produce the sound quality needed for exacting recording.

Hope this helps some. Do ask more questions, as needed.

GeeDeeEmm
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Having mics is cool, but you haven't stated what you're plugging them into. Do you guys just plan on running everything into one mixing console and then plugging a tape deck into that for stereo recording live? Or do you plan on laying down tracks separately via computer-based workstation? Or something in-between?

The old punk band X recorded demos with the band playing live and a simple cassette boom box in front of the band - ironically, those recordings didn't sound much different from the actual album that came out.

If there's going to be some kind of seperation between you guys, there's so much you can do with just two mics. And recording, like playing, is an art form to be learned. Here's a solo recording I did with just one AKG C214 overhead, and an AKG D112 in front of my non-ported bass drum. But it could have been done with cheaper mics. I've done this before with a Shure SM58 in front of the bass drum and a cheap pencil condenser mic overhead too.

So in the beginning you don't need a lot of mics, but a plan on how you want to record too.
 

Attachments

Galadrm

Senior Member
Just remember, not everything will sound great in your situation. I tried a d6 on my kick recently and really disliked it, however it can be a great mic in the right circumstances. It all depends on what sound you are going for and what you have in terms of drums.

Personally I dislike the idea of drum mic kits. You are much better off going for fewer higher end mics than lots of cheaper/mid-range mics. I would maybe go for another rode nt1a so you can use them as stereo overheads, then grab something standard such as sm57/i5 for snare and d112/d6 for kick. Audio Technica make really great affordable mics, a pair of at2020's would do you great justice, or if you want something a little more alternative you could get a pair of cascade fathead ribbon mics, which are generally darker and warmer sounding. If you still want something for toms go for some more sm57/i5, they are cheap, durable and can be used for a range of things.

As mentioned before go condensers for overheads and dynamics for drums (as a general rule)
 

currang

Junior Member
Not a stupid question at all. I am personally biased toward Audix mics, primarily because of the D6 kick mic - unarguably one of the best kick mics available, regardless of price. You might consider the Audix DP-7 kit, if the $899 price is not a hinderance. But, for this price, you get the following:

1 D6 for kick drum
1 i5 for snare
A pair of D2s for toms
A D4 for floor tom
A pair of ADX51s for overheads

These are all fine mics, and you will be fixed for mics from now on. The condenser mics are generally considered the best for overhead use, as their extended high frequency range delivers the best cymbal reproduction. Your soundman's Rode mic would make an excellent overhead, but would produce only mono overhead. Most engineers prefer to use two overhead mics so that they can enhance the stereo image in recordings.

The Shure DMK57-52 kit you mentioned is also an excellent kit. The SM57 is the most popular drum mic around, and for good reason. The 57 can easily handle the high SPL inherent in drums. As overheads, they will work, but the high frequency reproduction is limited, as is the output level. This means that the engineer will have to run higher gain, and higher gain means more "self noise" from the mic. Condensers solve both these problems. I have used the 52 bass drum mic a lot, and it is a good mic, but always requires time-consuming equalization. The Audix D6, on the otherhand, usually requires NO eq at all. Placement is the key.

You can, of course, find much cheaper complete kits from companies such as Samson and various store brands, but these kits, while generally acceptable for live use, usually don't produce the sound quality needed for exacting recording.

Hope this helps some. Do ask more questions, as needed.

GeeDeeEmm
Thanks for the reply! I did like the look of those Audix mics and might consider them as it seems like a worthwhile investment. I have a couple of questions though: Occasionally I play a 6 piece drum kit, is it ok to have one tom mic between two toms? You spoke about the problem with using the rode mic being that it will be in mono since we only have one... Now forgive this amateur question but does that mean if I were to buy another one then we could get a good quality sound for overheads or is there some way of mixing that rode with the overheads in the audix set to create a good sound?

On the topic of condensers, is it worthwhile to have one for recordings I do, I am interested in doing some recordings myself which may involve me playing guitar so would a condenser such as that rode I mentioned be a good investment?

And finally, out of interest what kind of mixer would you recommend for drum recording? My band does have a mixer but if I were to get my own what good mixers are there (preferably as cheap as possible)

Thanks
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I Agree with Bo.

If you're going to record the drums separate from the other instruments, use Large Diaphragm Condensers. It requires fewer mics and you get better results.

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121114&highlight=pulled+the+trigger

If you're recording the drums in the same room as the other instruments, you'll need to use more mics, with closer proximity, and Small Diaphragm Condensers for the overheads.

It all comes down to the need for isolation.

Other comment: Fewer high quality mics are better than a large quantity of cheap mics.
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
would a condenser such as that rode I mentioned be a good investment?

And finally, out of interest what kind of mixer would you recommend for drum recording? My band does have a mixer but if I were to get my own what good mixers are there (preferably as cheap as possible)

Thanks
You can use one tom mic between two toms if you wish, but you may get more bleed while trying to capture both toms, and you will get less body and low end capture aiming the mic at the edges of the drums.

Condensers are great all round and could be used to mic a guitar. If you are micing a guitar cab, an sm57/i5 is very industry standard.

I use a focusrite saffire pro 40 which allows me to record up to 8 microphones at once, and mix them all individually later. Best investment I have ever made audio gear wise. Very reliable unit, clean noiseless sound, good connectivity.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Thanks for the reply! I did like the look of those Audix mics and might consider them as it seems like a worthwhile investment......
Well why didn't you say you were shopping for the best-looking mics? That would've clarified a lot and I could've dumb-ed down my response quite a bit ;)

Get as many good-looking mics are you need. It's going to make your recordings sound awesome.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Something else worth considering...if you muffle your toms heavily you probably need a mic on each drum. But if you play your toms wide open with no muffling than 2 overheads, a kick and snare mic might do fine. I'm pretty sure you don't want to close mic an unmuffled tom. It could save you money if you run your toms wide open by having to buy less mics.
 

currang

Junior Member
Well why didn't you say you were shopping for the best-looking mics? That would've clarified a lot and I could've dumb-ed down my response quite a bit ;)

Get as many good-looking mics are you need. It's going to make your recordings sound awesome.
Sarcasm? I meant I had previously heard good things about them and was considering them... I don't have a great amount of knowledge about mics and am trying to find decent quality mics on a budget :D just struggling to find a good pair of overheads
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I don't have a great amount of knowledge about mics and am trying to find decent quality mics on a budget :D just struggling to find a good pair of overheads
AT2020's are under $100 each. You can find the 2035's for a tiny bit more. Great all around LDCs. There's a couple other brands that make $100 LDC's. Some are nice, some are crap.

If you need to close mic, the DMK57-52 is a good option when paired with PG81's or SM52's. If you're on a more conservative budget, and want a set of mics that double as live-mics, check out the PG6 set that Shure makes.

I'll reread the thread... Did you mention an actual budget? Are you recording on your own, or live with other instruments in the room? Until we know these things, anything advise we give is next to worthless, and may do more harm than good.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Personally I dislike the idea of drum mic kits. You are much better off going for fewer higher end mics than lots of cheaper/mid-range mics. I would maybe go for another rode nt1a so you can use them as stereo overheads, then grab something standard such as sm57/i5 for snare and d112/d6 for kick.
Hope I'm not hijacking this thread with my question, but the above post seems pretty close to where I am headed. I am at the point where I've got my drum gear finally nailed down and the last thing I would like to get are some mics. To start with, I wanted to do a minimal mic setup for basic demo recordings. Would a good start be a kick drum mic and one overhead to capture everything else? A kick mic, a snare mic, and one overhead? More? I play a 3-piece kit (kick/snare/floor) and use 1 to 3 cymbals plus hats.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Would a good start be a kick drum mic and one overhead to capture everything else? A kick mic, a snare mic, and one overhead? More? I play a 3-piece kit (kick/snare/floor) and use 1 to 3 cymbals plus hats.
Indeed that works. The only shortcoming is that you end up with a mono ambient environment. With two overheads, you open a lot of different possibilities.

Watch this and see if it helps you decide.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bct-5YbKGlU

Once you figure out the overhead thing, grab a kick mic that suits your style (E602, Beta52, D8, etc) and a good dynamic (SM57) for snare and feature instruments.
 

currang

Junior Member
AT2020's are under $100 each. You can find the 2035's for a tiny bit more. Great all around LDCs. There's a couple other brands that make $100 LDC's. Some are nice, some are crap.

If you need to close mic, the DMK57-52 is a good option when paired with PG81's or SM52's. If you're on a more conservative budget, and want a set of mics that double as live-mics, check out the PG6 set that Shure makes.

I'll reread the thread... Did you mention an actual budget? Are you recording on your own, or live with other instruments in the room? Until we know these things, anything advise we give is next to worthless, and may do more harm than good.
I was actually just reading stuff on the AT2020s and am thinking about getting a pair of them for recording. I don't have a set budget but would prefer things to be as cheap as possible (I know that's a bit vague) but I could afford the DMK57-52 set with 2 AT2020s as well. I'll be recording on my own usually since I will probably do some songs where I'm playing guitar and drums.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I was actually just reading stuff on the AT2020s and am thinking about getting a pair of them for recording. I don't have a set budget but would prefer things to be as cheap as possible (I know that's a bit vague) but I could afford the DMK57-52 set with 2 AT2020s as well. I'll be recording on my own usually since I will probably do some songs where I'm playing guitar and drums.
DMK57-52 set with 2 AT2020s will work fine. Kick/Snare/2xOverhead will leave you 2 mics available for whatever feature instruments (hat, floor tom) you wish to affect.

Couple notes:

Clipping a 57 to a drum adds a lot of mass, and changes the resulting sound in a detrimental way. Tom clips are acceptable live, but not for studio work. Grab (cheap) stands, even if they're the $20 "On Stage"tripods.

The AT2020 is a good high-SPL LDC, and I only recommend them because they're what I use. There are other's in the price range. Ask around, as not all LDC's will perform well for drums or other High-SPL situations.

If you need to convert to live-mixing, just use the tom clips and grab two SM81s (or PG81's or some other SDC) and you're all set.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I take it you're interested in mic's that will be good for recording but are also suitable for live sound reinforcement as well.

I would suggest picking up some used Audio-Technica mic's, starting with the following four as a foundation:

Bass Drum: Audio-Technica ATM25 (dynamic)
Snare Drum: Shure SM57 or Audio-Technica ATM25 or Audio-Technica ATM23HE (all dynamics)
Overheads: Audio-Technica AE3000 or AE5100 or ATM450 (all condensers, will require phantom power from your board)

Then you can gradually add mic's onto your kit as money permits. Pick up some more ATM25's for all your toms, maybe move up to a Telefunkin M82 for the kick drum, and add another AE5100 or ATM450 for hi-hat.

Just a suggestion.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
If you don't need a lot of attack from your toms you can use minimal mic techniques like Gly Johns or Recorderman. Otherwise a set of Sennheiser e604s is kind of a budget standard and very common in live sound. The most popular tom mic for recording is probably the Senn 421 but those are more than the 604 3 pack for just one. Kick mic probably depends on the type of music you play. Audix D6 for that clicky attack sound, Beta52 for that Chad Smith whap, and AKG D112 for a more neutral sound (also very popular on low toms and bass amps). There are others at higher prices that are also used but I'm presuming that you don't have the budget for something like a Neuman U47FET which was one of 4 kick mics on a crazy session I recently did. A plain old Shure SM57 is really common for snares although since the hi-hat has a tendency to bleed into the snare mic I like to use a supercardioid like a Beta57.

On overheads you don't need as much high end as you think you do. I have bunches of things in my home studio and am mixing down a session I did where they had some $40,000 worth of mics around the kit. The studio owner was showing off for a bunch of recording students and we were the guinea pigs and got the tracks at the end of the day.

The conventional wisdom is that you need some sort of condenser with a great top end for overheads. What that will do is make your cymbals unnaturally sizzley and prominent in the mix compared to the toms if you use a minimal mic set up. You could get away with a good dynamic but a great alternative are ribbon mics. Cascade Fatheads are kind of a standard but you can do really well with budget ribbons. I have a pair of MXL R40s that sound very clear and natural over the kit.

If the room is decent, you can get a lot of mileage out of a large diaphragm condenser in front of the kit. My favorite budget LDC that doesn't have a hyped "presence" top end is the MXL V67 which can be had for less than $100. In a good room, one of these in front of the kit with a touch up mic on the kick and snare can give a really good sound. That's how all the Motown songs were recorded. The MXL ain't the vintage Neuman they used, but it won't hype up the sound like most cheap LDCs either. For a demo, running the drums right down the center isn't a very bad idea anyway. You're definitely going to run the kick and snare down the center. You could put up a pair of anything off to the sides and mix it in gently to get some spread. In that high end session I'm mixing there are a pair of AKG C12s in the corners of the room that add a stereo spaciousness. One of these mics would buy a DW collectors kit and a lot of nice cymbals.

Recording is more about getting the kit sounding good in the space, and finding positions in that space where a mic(s) will find that sound.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Indeed that works. The only shortcoming is that you end up with a mono ambient environment. With two overheads, you open a lot of different possibilities.

Watch this and see if it helps you decide.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bct-5YbKGlU

Once you figure out the overhead thing, grab a kick mic that suits your style (E602, Beta52, D8, etc) and a good dynamic (SM57) for snare and feature instruments.
Excellent. Thanks!

20202020
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
DMK57-52 set with 2 AT2020s will work fine. Kick/Snare/2xOverhead will leave you 2 mics available for whatever feature instruments (hat, floor tom) you wish to affect.

Couple notes:

Clipping a 57 to a drum adds a lot of mass, and changes the resulting sound in a detrimental way. Tom clips are acceptable live, but not for studio work. Grab (cheap) stands, even if they're the $20 "On Stage"tripods.

The AT2020 is a good high-SPL LDC, and I only recommend them because they're what I use. There are other's in the price range. Ask around, as not all LDC's will perform well for drums or other High-SPL situations.

If you need to convert to live-mixing, just use the tom clips and grab two SM81s (or PG81's or some other SDC) and you're all set.
The i5 adds even more mass if you clip it, adversely affecting tone. Its bulk also gets in the way when clipped. Tried clipping mine onto my snare the other night and I just couldn't position it in a way where it wasn't in the way so I went to plan B, an E604. For bulky mics like the 57 or i5, stands are the way to go for better positioning.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
As usual, this site doesn't disappoint with incredible knowledge sharing and friendly advice. Not to steal the OPs post but, I am in the market for mics as well.

I am looking to simply mic my kit for live gigs. Not too big, mostly indoors, some outside. We typically play for about 40-80 people. Your basic bar gig. We do have a lot of outside shiows where, I'm told, my drums "vanish" once the listener leaves the tent area. So, here is probably where I would like to project. Money is a constraint, to a degree. By that, I mean, I'll pay for the higher end stuff, if you think I'll need it.

Question: How are the CAD Pro-7's? They are very inexpensive, but the reviews are great. Are these worth getting?
THX
Al
 
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