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Old 08-03-2013, 12:24 AM
MrLeadFoot MrLeadFoot is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: California
Posts: 462
Default Re: Miking Drums; where to start...?

Originally Posted by David Floegel View Post
didn't know that everybody says whatever you say is bullshit.

but that was just a statement which is not true.
sorry man, no offense!
Well, the way you put it, was pretty off-putting. I started my first post out on this thread by saying, "I, personally...", and gave my reasons why, So that was MY opinion. Nevertheless, thank you for the apology. (BTW, nice two-mic version of the Kelly Shu. I like it!)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming....

I've noticed that most everyone who's posted about "sparse mic'ing" includes a statement about "the room", or the "venue". That's something that's important to consider. When you depend on mics that are a distance away from the drums, such as overheads and area mics (those that pick up more than one thing at a time), there is no doubt that ambient acoustics MUST be factored in.

As a GIGGING drummer, I have found that close mic'ing produces the most consistent sound (in addition to MY preference of the sound quality of close mics), especially since you often have no control over the room, where you're positioned, etc. Sure, I may raise or lower my overheads' volumes, but I can't imagine how much time I'd be spending trying to get the best placement and balance I could get relative to the room. With close mic'd drums, it's ALMOST a set it and forget it type thing; since the mics are so close to the heads, you always have a good base to start from, and often don't have to worry about those mics. Granted, in some really ringy rooms, you still hear the acoustic bouncing, but with close mics it's much less significant than if you don't close mic.

Speaking of overheads, for ME, they are the LAST thing I dial in. The FIRST thing I dial in is the kick. I want to hear a full, punchy, but not boomy, sound, and a sharp attack. The sharp attack ernables me to clearly hear what I am playing, but the recordings end up taking a bit of the the edge off the attack, which works out great. I then add snare, then toms, them overheads too taste.

I regard overheads as adding "flavor" or ambience to my mix because they are distance mics, thus pick up a lot of things at once, unlike a close tom or snare mic. It's kind of like that "hollow" sound (for lack of a better term) serves as a sort of very slight reverb, so to speak. That said, NO overheads makes things sound too sterile, so I would always run overheads to a degree.

When I special orderd another tom for my Mapex Saturns, my initial thoughts were that I would just float a single mic over two of them. But, no matter what I tried, it just didn't sound as good. Since my Saturn kit has two floor toms, I tried it on those instead, and same thing. I subsequently got another mic.

As far as "processing" goes, on the four kits I play on quite regularly, I have found that if properly turned, I really like their sounds, just the way they are. I neither raise nor lower any EQ, with the exception of the kick drum. I don't know if it's because I am using all the same brand mics on all four kits, or whether my tuning skills just happened to have gotten quite good over 40+ years of tuning by ear, or what, but not having to EQ is a bonus. I do, however, run different heads on the different kits. For example, I run Evans Hydrualic Glass on the Birch Ludwig, Remo Pinstripes on my Royalstars and the Gretsch Stage Custom, and the stock Emperors on my Mapex Saturns. And they all sound good with no EQ.

But, I must say that playing with a shield throws a curve into the whole thing, and has been the one Achilles Heel for me. Ironically, this is in a church setting where everything is mic'd or direct in to the board. There is not one amp on the stage. The room never changes and the drums never move, yet it seems like at every performance, we're always tweaking something in regards to mixing drums. The interesting thing is that this setting has the LEAST amount of mics and is the most challenging. It's only a 5-piece kit and we only run one overhead and one hi-hat mic. The shield seems to cause a lot more crosstalk amongst the mics. I would have thought the shield would make it so we don't need as many mics, but it seems to be the opposite, because my ride gets lost in the mix in this setting, whereas in all others, it does not. This is one setting that I would venture to guess that the more individual mics we use, the more control we'd have to help mask the crosstalk.

To the OP, I am sharing all this because you might have a budget. It would suck if you blew it all on a few pricey mics, only to find you would rather individually mic each item. Oh, I forgot to mention that those Kam Instruments mics come with two different capsules for the overheads. One has a standard "spread" and one has more spread. So, you can even use them for room mics. Nice option, although I only use the standard spread capsules.

Also, it seems no one has directly answered one of your questions, so I'll take a stab at it from MY PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE. No, you do not necessarily need to mic each cymbal (although in the setting described above I wish I had more channels so I could mic my ride individually). USUALLY, one or two overheads handles all your cymbals and hi-hat sufficiently, although again, in the setting described above, I am mic'ing the hi-hat. Of course, all this stuff changes if you're focused on making recordings (because recordings sound very different than what you hear live), but you said were looking mainly to hear yourself, which is a point that apparently got lost (given some of the repsonses I've read here). I hope some of the info I've shared here might be helpful to you.
2011 Mapex Saturn - 8, 10, 12, 14 fl, 16 fl, 22x18
1974 Tama Royalstar - 8,10,12, 13,16 fl, 22x14
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