Question for PROS on recording

wordword

Senior Member
i'll be using 2 overheads with 2 more (one on the snare one on the kick).

concerning these 2 overheads, i need to know exactly where to place them. i'm not using a boom mic stand, i'm hanging these from designated slots in the ceiling. i need to get good placement before drilling holes.

heres a picture of the kit:



there are two more drums to the left of my hi-hats, so those need to be accounted for.

the setup i'm thinking is one overhead dangling down facing towards the floor tom / ride, and the second over to the left near the hi-hats and djembe.

i'll need one on the left and one on the right because i've got a lot of sounds to both sides.

since they're dangling from the celeing, i won't want them directly over the cymbals, because if some chance would happen and a mic would fall, i want it to fall on carpet not cymbal.

so i'm thinking
1) near but not directly on top of the ride cymbal to my right, and
2) over to the left above the hi-hat/djembe and two "unseen" drums to the left of the picture's cutoff

(my other 2 mics will be on the visible snare and kick drum)

i'm hoping to set up tonight so let me get some ideas soon! i'll post up my results
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Why not use stands? There's no way of knowing what's the best place for the mics until you try recording with them and experimenting with different placements. Dangling overhead mics from the ceiling seems a very dubious thing to do.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
Why not use stands? There's no way of knowing what's the best place for the mics until you try recording with them and experimenting with different placements. Dangling overhead mics from the ceiling seems a very dubious thing to do.
I agree, I hope he has a can of spackling compound ready.

Dennis
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
One over the hi-hat and one over the floor tom. Set the heights so that they are equi-distant from the snare so you don't get phase shift on that most important drum.

I think there was another thread on this earlier and the fellow couldn't afford stands. I suggested a single overhead over the snare then. I've done a few recordings this way as well as used this in live sound to add some general drums to the mix. It works much better than you'd think. Probably because it picks up more or less the drummers perspective on the kit.
 

wordword

Senior Member
yeah i can't afford mic stands and i think this method can get good results.

once again i'm already micing the snare drum and the bass drum directly.

as long as i have a positioning where i get a good sound and no danger of mic falling/breaking i'm fine. pretty much just don't want the mic direclty over a cymbal. a fall would bad news

over the floor tom and the other to the left near the djembe/hi-hat/two "hiding" drums would be good i do think
 

cnw60

Senior Member
another variable to consider (beyond the relative position of mics to the kit) is the position of the drums in the room. This has a HUGE impact on the recording quality - and usually requires some trial and error before you find the sweet spot. Just another reason why locking yourself into a specific location for the mics could be a bad idea.

I have hung mics from the ceiling before (it's how I have my kit mic'd right now for recording band rehearsal) and it works just fine - but there's a grid ceiling in there that allows me to clip these snap-on plastic hooks to the grid and move them around to reposition the mics.
 

wordword

Senior Member
thanks for the replies.

i really just wanted to hear where a professional recording guru would put two overheads if he WERE dangling two from the celing (keeping in mind there are two drums unseen in the picture, to the left of the hi-hats)

it's soundling like one of the the floor tom makes sense for one of them, and the second i'm assuming over near the hi-hat / djembe
 

chathamight

Senior Member
think of your two overheads as flashlights. where they shine the brightest is where the most pickup will come from. aeolian makes a great point about equidistance. you also need to consider that the mics not only be equidistant from each other and the drums, but also any reflective sources like walls, ceiling and such. if a wall is closer to one mic than the other, you may get phase cancellations from the reverberations off the wall. this will affect the sound quality of your recording.
what mics will you be using?
 

wordword

Senior Member
I'm using the CAD 4-piece drum mic kit. i have more than 4 drums, as well as cymbals, so overheads seem to make the most sense.

the overheads are going to be dynamic mics (and apparently condensers are best as overheads) but i've spent so much $$ i can't keep being asked to shell out dollar after dollar on more equiptment after i've already spent so much.

so i've got to work with what i've got, and try these dynamics as overheads. and may they give superb results!

(this stuff is really just costing too much!)

the exact mics i'll be using as overheads are TSM411
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I have a pair of CAD condensers that are pretty good. I use them for PA overheads. They pick up the toms on a recording really well too when used as overheads. I also have a matched pair of Oktiva condensors (from the Sound Lab, not the GC seconds) that is amazing on cymbals but don't have the body on the rest of the drums that the CADs do.

That said, at one time I bought a CAD drum mic pack. Played a gig with it at a bar that is across the street from the GC where I bought it. Had someone sit in, went out and listened to it (this was a house band for an early jam night), and took them right back across the street when we were done. I'm sorry, but IMHO those are some of the worst sounding mics ever. Give me a couple of used, banged up SM57's any day.

wordword, you never responded on the other thread, but I got the idea that you were trying to record a band demo. With everyone playing at once, but with minimal recording gear. Not an impossibility. Many, many great recordings, from the Beatles, to Motown, Phil Spector's "wall of sound", to classic jazz recordings like Kind Of Blue, were done with just a few mics in the room. Players are positioned so that they balance out and sound best. It has nothing to do with how you set up on stage. If this is louder than that, put it further away from the mic is all. You would be amazed at what you can get with a single SM57, on a conventional floor stand a foot or so in front of your rack tom and pointed down at your snare. Especially if the guitar amps are on the other side of the room (pointed at the walls if people need them cranked to get the sound they're after, or behind homemade gobos of office partition or whatever you can throw together).

What you want to be able to do is experiment with placement of everything. Try it and listen to the results. Note what is good and bad, and work out what the best you can do is. The hanging mics from the ceiling (especially if you don't trust it not to fall) is a non-starter. At the very least you need to be able to experiment with the height of the mic from the ceiling. The reflections coming back from the ceiling will color the sound. You need to figure out which height has the least objectionable coloration.

And chathamight, you are right that you will get phase cancellation or comb filtering cancellation from reflections off the walls (and ceiling as I just described). However, for that very reason, you want all those distances from boundaries to be different, not equidistant. You're going to be in some frequencies cancellation node at whatever distance you chose from some boundary. No reason to amplify that cancellation by being the same distance from multiple boundaries.
 

cnw60

Senior Member
cnw60: can you post a picture / link to what your talking about. that sounds cool
here are a few:

http://drummerworld.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=610&pictureid=4000

http://drummerworld.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=610&pictureid=4001

http://drummerworld.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=610&pictureid=4002

as you can see, I'm only using one overhead. With two clips at the ceiling, I can reposition the mic to anywhere above the kit as well as putting it at any height. The current height yields pretty good sound quality, but is a little low as far as being vulnerable to getting bashed with a stick every now and then.

Purists will probably shudder seeing how I've looped the mic cords to hang them from the clips, ehh...

And for what it's worth - I'm definitely not a pro with recording, I'd trust what Dennis and Aeolian are telling you if you're looking to lay down a pro quality track.
 

wordword

Senior Member
i'm going to go with the floor tom (far right) and secondary snare (far left)

this would be equidistant from the main snare and kick drum, and i think i can get good results with the setup. we shall see!
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
i'm going to go with the floor tom (far right) and secondary snare (far left)

this would be equidistant from the main snare and kick drum, and i think i can get good results with the setup. we shall see!
Your djembe and other drum on the left (I assume another tom) will probably be harder for the mic to pic up than the secondary snare, so it might make more sense to put the one mic over those drums than over the secondary snare. Snares tend to pick up better on mics than toms, etc.
 
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wy yung

Guest
thanks for the replies.

i really just wanted to hear where a professional recording guru would put two overheads if he WERE dangling two from the celing (keeping in mind there are two drums unseen in the picture, to the left of the hi-hats)

it's soundling like one of the the floor tom makes sense for one of them, and the second i'm assuming over near the hi-hat / djembe
I am sure most of the pro's here would agree with me that to make any realistic comment they would have to be in the room with the gear. I have no answer for you and I used to lecture and conduct seminars on recording drums.
 

chathamight

Senior Member
And chathamight, you are right that you will get phase cancellation or comb filtering cancellation from reflections off the walls (and ceiling as I just described). However, for that very reason, you want all those distances from boundaries to be different, not equidistant. You're going to be in some frequencies cancellation node at whatever distance you chose from some boundary. No reason to amplify that cancellation by being the same distance from multiple boundaries.
indeed, especially in a room that wasn't engineered with acoustics as its primary motivator.

the books on the shelves will do well to disperse/absorb freqencies. one mic is also easier to work with than two. but when it all comes down to it, wy yung lays down the bottom line.

I am sure most of the pro's here would agree with me that to make any realistic comment they would have to be in the room with the gear. I have no answer for you and I used to lecture and conduct seminars on recording drums.
 

groovemaster_flex

Silver Member
A technique that I have seen (not necessarily tried) is to have the two microphones beside the kit. Have them slightly above your hats pointing down towards the center of your kit, each microphone about 3-5 feet away from the kit on either side (ie your left and right).

Anyways, that technique I've heard works for condensers, but try it with dynamics and see what happens. I feel like if you place the dynamics as overheads, it will catch too much of what it's pointing directly over, and not enough of what's around it.

Also, instead of surrounding your kit with acoustic baffling, take everything down and see if the echo will help out with the kit.

A way that I've recorded drums is by placing three dynamic microphones around the kit. Mind you, this was a pretty big basement, and each microphone was pointing directly at the kit. They were about 10-12 feet away from the drum kit. You really have to understand phasing and whatnot (which I don't get, but we had a good sound engineer) for this to work well, but you can get excellent results this way.
 
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