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Old 02-11-2019, 10:04 PM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Originally Posted by juiceforjoe View Post
Frankly, I think it sounds like s***. The drum set is a single instrument and should be miked as such. For a tighter sound, simply use the right room. You have to give time for the sound waves to develop through the air. What a mic picks up 1/2 inch away from a drum is not what a drum sounds like.
I don't understand why people post something like this and then never re-engage in the conversation, but maybe that's just me.

My own drumset is twelve separate instruments, each of which has its own sonic attributes, its own native frequency range, and sounds best struck in a different place and in different ways, but maybe that's just me.

I personally don't carry around a whole room optimized to capture a great sound from my drumset with just one mic to everywhere I'm asked to play my drums, but maybe that's just me.

Oftentimes the sound waves from my drums are interrupted by guitars and basses (which occupy a lot of the same sonic real estate and may in fact be turned up way past eleven), and therefore never make it out to the audience, but maybe that's just me.

I generally find that the 1/2 inch between a microphone and a drum is not quite enough space to fit in a beluga whale, or a fighter jet, or any other item that would somehow cause the drum to suddenly not sound like a drum, but maybe that's just me.
Al Parrott
"Jus suum cuique"
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:29 PM
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AzHeat AzHeat is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

^^ Some people can’t admit they are wrong. Others just like to stir things up, sit back and enjoy the show. Makes them feel better about themselves, who knows!
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:56 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Originally Posted by Red Menace View Post
Pardon the dumb question, audio engineering is more my better half's bag...

The natural sound of the kit and the room (plus the cymbals) is the overhead's mic's job isn't it? Or are they more to capture the cymbals? I remember reading an article on mics where he refers to the overheads as "witness" mics, there to capture the uncolored sound of the kit.

I'd imagine that with an old school recording method, it'd be much more work to get just a little more of this or that in the final mix without close mic'd drums.

Yes. The only thing they struggle to get is the bass drum, both for depth, but mostly for direction. In the old old days, there was no final mix, just one mic for the band. Soloists moved up closer etc.. some bands, particularly some bluegrass groups have fun doing this on stage even today.

The Beatles had four tracks, so there's a reason why the balance is the way it is. George did a pretty damn good job considering.

Even today an acoustic jaz album may be recorded with only one mic or so. Probably a pretty damn good one, though. There are mics designed to do whole groups.
So, kick drum...or...bass drum? I'll tell you what. If it's 18" or less, it's a FOOT TOM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:55 PM
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Juniper Juniper is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

I've got experience recording both close mic and with the Glyn Johns method in two vintage professional/high end studios both times with the same producer/engineer.

Room Mic/Glyn Johns method was done recording this EP in an old, vintage studio (called Toe rag studios) on an 8 track reel to reel tape. The experience was great but very, very limiting. You really had to control every aspect of your playing which was difficult due to the nature of some of the songs. That's the photo with an old Gretsch Roundbadge. The overhead you see below was that close to my face I even had to control my breathing during quiet moments!

Also, I had to really fight to use the second crash cymbal in my setup as there were fears it wouldn't show up well in the mix!! Thankfully it turned out ok as I simply made sure I hit that cymbal a little bit harder (I made sure I kept that information to myself at the time!!!)


The second session with the same engineer/producer was done at another vintage studio (Tilehouse Studios) again using old techniques and equipment, this time with mostly close mic techniques (no tom mics though) This time on a 16 track vintage reel to reel tape. Still limiting but more freedom when it came to mixing as I was given 6 tracks/mics if I remember correctly. This is the second photo with my DW.

(Big shout out to what's called the D*ck Mic, I'll let you see for yourself why it's nicknamed that)


There is a difference between the two I'm sure you will hear, despite the room/equipment variations.

I don't have a massive preference but whatever allows you more freedom in post production is better, in my view.

I was allowed two snare mics (batter and resonate side) and two tom mics in the last recording session at Tilehouse in recent months (first single from these sessions is released on Valentine's Day) and it sounds so much fuller and was so much easier in post production, so much so the drums aren't mixed in post on the new single! Everything level wise was recorded spot on and we hardly had to tweak anything.

A major contributing factor to that was having everything spaced out sonically within 8 tracks of drums. I had the same amount of tracks awarded to my drums/mics alone as the whole band in the first session at Toe Rag. Absolute bliss!

Hopefully these examples help with the discussion as to the pros & cons.
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Last edited by Juniper; 02-12-2019 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:52 PM
moxman moxman is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
The Beatles had four tracks, so there's a reason why the balance is the way it is. George did a pretty damn good job considering.
Speaking of... I watched the excellent Jeff Beck doc on Netflix recently... and I never knew that one of my favorite albums of all time (both playing and recording) Blow by Blow - was recorded by George Martin! (he also recorded the Wired album)
I spent many hours as a teenager with my head between the speakers.. and was always amazed that the recording put you 'right in the room' - I don't know what recording techniques he used on that but it's a masterpiece!

Last edited by moxman; 02-12-2019 at 11:06 PM.
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