Upgrade Vocal Mic Behind Drums

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
Not sure where I should post this but here goes:

I'm currently using an old Audio Technica PR80 with a switch.The PR80 actually sounds pretty darned good, even with flat EQ. People have commented at how natural and clear it sounds, even over the SM58s and Heil that the rest of the band is using. I also like being able to turn the mic off when I'm not singing lead or backing vocals so I don't get ambient drum bleed.

The one thing I don't like about it is that it seems to be more prone to feedback than the other mics in some rooms, so I'm looking to finally upgrade. I was considering a Beta 58, but they don't have a switch, so I thought I was going to have no choice but to get an SM58s (with switch) until I heard an Audix OM2 that a female band member just got. I'm really surprised at how much cleaner it sounds compared to the SM58, which I think tends to sound more muffled. It's also a hotter mic which is nice.

I know there are cables with switches on them, but I don't want to end up sending "pops" into the system when turning such a switch on and off. Besides, there don't seem to be switched right angle connectors, which I much prefer over straight connectors at the mic, for obvious reasons.

After a bit of research, I've learned that the Audix mics are hypercardioids that have a tighter polar pattern than the Shures, with the OM3 having the most natural sound (no cut or boost at different frequencies) and an even tighter pattern than the OM2, which I think will be better behind drums. They are also supposedly designed to minimize feedback, and both of these are available with switches, which I prefer for the reason stated above.

Does anyone have any experience with these mics behind drums? Any thoughts?
 
Last edited:

tard

Gold Member
My favorite mic for behind the kit is an audio technica atm73a headset (with a switch) which allows me to move naturally around the kit and still have the mic in the optimum position instead of trying to keep my face in a mic while reaching around the kit. One thing you need to keep in mind when using mics that are more crisp than an sm58 like the beta 58 or atm41he (my fav when I am out front) etc, etc, is that being more crisp the cymbals and high hats will seem louder and or more dominant due to that fact and in trying to correct this at the board may reduce the mics quality to that of a 58 or equivalent anyway. Vocals from behind a kit is one of the hardest jobs for a sound man due to having to deal with all the different frequencies that will bleed thru and adjusting other channels to compensate for the difference between when the mic is on or off.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I have both a head mic and also use a mic on a stand, and I'm more of a mic on a stand guy - there's times when I want to be able to back off the mic or attack it from a different angle which I can't do with a headmic.

However, I love my Shure SM58, and the Beta 58 is definitely an upgrade. Have you considered just getting a footswitch to turn the mic on and off? ProCo makes a foot switch called a Cough Drop which works really well. You can leave the box by your hi-hat foot and just click it on and off as needed, and there is no noise when you do this. Awesome device.

Audix mics are great too, but I've only really used their D6 bass drum mic.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
There are several that I like to use for the drummer. The best headworn microphone, but probably cost prohibited for most, is the DPA series, they offer them in either an omni or cardioid pattern pick up pattern, the cardioid is model 4088. For stand mounted microphones it gets a bit more interesting because you'll see offerings in both cardioid or a super or hyper cardioid pick up pattern. I like to stick with just a cardioid pattern because the super or hyper pick up has a much longer rear (180 degree) lobe which will give greater sensitivity to anything directly behind the microphone such as cymbals. So between a Shure Beta 58A and a regular SM58, I usually pick the SM 58. The other microphone that sounds terrific for the drummer is the Neumann KMS 104 which is a cardioid microphone with a very high sound pressure acceptance level, this is a condenser microphone and sounds fantastic on voice. One other microphone that I keep around when running sound for gigs is the Shure 55 SH. It's a cardioid microphone reminiscent of the 50's and 60's, rock bands among many others love it.

The only Audix microphone I ever used in proximity to a drum kit was an I5 and they sound great on a snare drum's batter head. I have no experience with any other Audix products.

Dennis
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
I like to stick with just a cardioid pattern because the super or hyper pick up has a much longer rear (180 degree) lobe which will give greater sensitivity to anything directly behind the microphone such as cymbals.
Did something get lost in translation between your post and my brain? :)

Seriously, maybe I first need to understand what you mean "behind". I mean, for me, "behind" would be my face, not my cymbals, so I don't understand what you mean. And, I want to understand this because I wants to reduce ambient sounds as much as possible, if that's possible. :)

And, could you elaborate on the "longer rear"?
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
On a hyper cardioid microphone, the pickup pattern will have significant sensitivity directly at the 'back' of the microphone. The same is true of super cardioid microphones - they are similar patterns. A straightforward cardioid microphone will not exhibit this characteristic. With the sensitivity at the back of the capsule, cymbals will be picked up by the microphone fairly drastically.
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
I have both a head mic and also use a mic on a stand, and I'm more of a mic on a stand guy - there's times when I want to be able to back off the mic or attack it from a different angle which I can't do with a headmic.

However, I love my Shure SM58, and the Beta 58 is definitely an upgrade. Have you considered just getting a footswitch to turn the mic on and off? ProCo makes a foot switch called a Cough Drop which works really well. You can leave the box by your hi-hat foot and just click it on and off as needed, and there is no noise when you do this. Awesome device.

Audix mics are great too, but I've only really used their D6 bass drum mic.
I, too, also have a headset mic, but prefer a standard mic for the same reasons you stated. I had no idea there was a switchbox like the Cough Drop, or Sign Off, as ProCo calls it now. It will make me have to think of having to take yet another action, which I'm sure I could get used to, but it would be so much nicer to be able to just turn the mic on when I swing the boom in, and turn it off when swinging it back out.

The box is pricey for what it appears to be, but I like knowing there's such an option, even if that means I have yet another something to step on in addition to all my pedals. Maybe I can make one of these? Or are there some tricky parts inside that make it silent?
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
On a hyper cardioid microphone, the pickup pattern will have significant sensitivity directly at the 'back' of the microphone. The same is true of super cardioid microphones - they are similar patterns. A straightforward cardioid microphone will not exhibit this characteristic. With the sensitivity at the back of the capsule, cymbals will be picked up by the microphone fairly drastically.
Great. :-( I just sent your quote over to a VP I've been in talks with at Audix. Let's see how they respond. ;-)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I suppose that would work too, but the ProCo is built much better (never had alot of faith in the Rolls brand) and is a solid metal box to stomp on. I've had one working constantly with a piano player (the Coke Corner pianist at Disneyland) who plays outside and is inundated by customers all day, and it worked well for years. I have a spare in case the main one goes out, but I haven't had to use it yet. And in reality, you're only talking about an additional $20 or so. Don't go out to dinner one night and you paid the difference ;)
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
You're right, I won't feed the kids dinner tonight, and that will be $20, and I won't feed them again on Thursday, that'll make up the difference. :)

On another note, Rolls stuff is darned resilient. Every church I've played at uses Rolls products in either direct boxes or personal monitor amps. I used to have one of their 8-channel 1U rackmount mixers I used as a submixer for my 8 drums mics, and that was bullet-proof, too. I sold it when I happened across a deal on an Alesis Multimix 12R, and today, I am sorry I sold it. :-(
 
A

audiotech

Guest
On a hyper cardioid microphone, the pickup pattern will have significant sensitivity directly at the 'back' of the microphone. The same is true of super cardioid microphones - they are similar patterns. A straightforward cardioid microphone will not exhibit this characteristic. With the sensitivity at the back of the capsule, cymbals will be picked up by the microphone fairly drastically.
Thank you.

Dennis
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
One of my bands uses OM3s exclusively, and my PA set up that I operate uses OM5s, and I also have an OM2. The OM3s sound the most "natural" of the 3, yes. The OM2s seem to accentuate the lows more, while the OM5s seem to cut it out almost completely, minimizing the proximity effect. The OM5s reject feedback the best of the 3, but they all do a fine job at it, moreso than SM58s. I highly recommend the Audix mics for on stage vocals, but you've got to remember to get right up on them, within an inch of the windscreen if not touching them...
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
One of my bands uses OM3s exclusively, and my PA set up that I operate uses OM5s, and I also have an OM2. The OM3s sound the most "natural" of the 3, yes. The OM2s seem to accentuate the lows more, while the OM5s seem to cut it out almost completely, minimizing the proximity effect. The OM5s reject feedback the best of the 3, but they all do a fine job at it, moreso than SM58s. I highly recommend the Audix mics for on stage vocals, but you've got to remember to get right up on them, within an inch of the windscreen if not touching them...
Does your drummer use one, too? Oh wait, this is a drummer's forum...do YOU use one, too?
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
On a hyper cardioid microphone, the pickup pattern will have significant sensitivity directly at the 'back' of the microphone. The same is true of super cardioid microphones - they are similar patterns. A straightforward cardioid microphone will not exhibit this characteristic. With the sensitivity at the back of the capsule, cymbals will be picked up by the microphone fairly drastically.
This is what Audix said in direct response to your post about sensitivity:

It’s not a huge issue but it is true that the OM5 will give more rejection than the OM3. If you want to get every dB of rejection possible then the OM5 will be a better choice.
There is no way to get the drums totally out of the mix but either mic will do a great job.
What is "rejection", in this context?
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Does your drummer use one, too? Oh wait, this is a drummer's forum...do YOU use one, too?
Yes, I use one playing drums in one band, congas for another, bass guitar in another, and African marimbas and Dundun in the other.

What is "rejection", in this context?
Sometimes the frequencies that bleed into a microphone and cause feedback are the lower frequencies. Since the OM5 has essentially rolled these off more than the OM3, it is therefore more "rejecting" of feedback. The OM2 hardly has any roll off of the low frequncies. If you're looking for that big, boomy voice that occurs when you get right up on a mic, the OM5 is *not* for you...
 

MrLeadFoot

Silver Member
OK, I just reviewed the polar patterns of the SM58, Beta58 and OM3. If I am reading these correctly, while the Beta58 and the OM3 do have an increase of sensitivity at 180 degrees over the SM58, the Beta58 has a significantly higher sensitivity than the others at 1000hz and below. In the higher frequencies, the Beta58 appears to have LESS sensitivity at 180 degrees than the SM58. However, at both high and low frequencies,the Beta58 appears to have a very sharp spike in sensitivity at 180 degress compared to the others, so I can see why Audiotech warned against non-cardioid mics.

Apparently, not all hyper/super-cardioids appear to have that same problem. In fact, the OM3 has much less sensitivity in the lower frequencies at 180 degrees than both of the Shures, and about the same high-frequency sensitivity at 180 degrees as the SM58.

On paper, it looks as if the Beta58 would be more susceptible to low-frequency feedback from floor monitors if they're positioned right in front of the mic, and in the case of a drummer, will likely pick up much more of any percussion items directly in front of the mic that even the SM58. What's worse is that because the pattern suddenly spikes at 180 degrees, you'd be hard-pressed to try to EQ some of that out without affecting the vocals potential quite significantly. No wonder Audiotech used the word "drastically" when referring to sensitivity on the cord end of the mic.

It's apparent to me that a Beta58 is not a good choice for a vocal drummer. FWIW, even a pure vocalist would likely experience more "sudden" issues in a LIVE setting. To clarify, since the sensitivity drastically spikes as you approach 180 degress, you would likely have to always be prepared to make adjustments on the fly in a live setting to accommodate for vocalists moving about onstage in front of monitors with a Beta58. I can see how they would suffice when planted in a mic stand for keybaordists and guitarists who don't typically move their mics around a lot.

Both the other mics have flatter sensitivity curves, thereby making them more predictable, which I would enable you to set things once and not have to mess with them too much.

Also, now that I've had the chance to examine the SM58 more closely, I can see why SM58s seem to sound more low-end heavy, and often more muffled than the Heil, OM2 and Audio Technica mics we have in our mix. Because they're designed to pick up more of the lows. I can also see why we often experience feedback issues in some rooms. While the SM58 may be the "go to" mic based on reliability in the days of yore, when push comes to shove, by today's standards (if Audix is any indication) it's simply not up to par. While the Beta58 does address some feedback issues by tightening up the polar pattern, and would likely be good in a controlled studio environment, that spike at 180 degrees prevents a live band from being able to establish a good baseline setup without much ado in a variety of venues.

I can see why Audix touts its OM3 as the one mic to take with you to any gig. Unless someone steers me toward soemthing else that fits the criteria of a vocal drummer real soon, I'm seriously leaning toward the OM3.
 
Last edited:
Top