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  #1  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:52 PM
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Default one microphone, one room challenge

All you recording experts....If you had to record your drum kit with just ONE microphone (an Apex430 condenser), where would you place it?
In front, level with kit, pointing down from above in line with kit...or..etc? What distance from the kit?

If your room is not square, would you orient your kit lengthwise (i.e. in line with longer dimension of room) or widthwise in this room?

I've been experimenting, but just curious what logic lies behind the choices. I understand you want to record the 'drums' not the 'room', but the room always comes into play.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

Each room is different. You have to experiment for best sound. I would think in front of the bass drum for sure though, so you capture that. But you never know. Corners trap bass or so I'm told. Rooms are all different. After that I have nothing. Except get 2 more people, one to play drums, one to move the mic around, and you to listen. Would save a ton of time.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

When I have done this I have had good results placing the condenser mic about 4 feet in front of the kit about 3 feet off of the floor.
Your results may vary as larry stated.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

There are kind of two schools of thought on doing this. One is somewhat low, 3-4 feet and 4-5 feet out in front of the kit. The other is something like head high, kind of pointed at the snare, either somewhat close like 3 feet, or if the room sounds great back off 5-6 feet as in the old Motown recordings.

Another possibility is over the hi-hat side shoulder. Check out the Steve Jordan Groove Is Here video. I've been experimenting with a modified Glyn Johns set up with a large diaphragm condenser about head high behind my left shoulder and a dynamic behind the floor tom just under the crash on that side. Mostly using the condenser and just blending in a bit of the right side mic to add some width. It works surprisingly well.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

In a recording, you want to bring out the best attributes of the kit and the room. Also, you want to have the recording reflect the type of drum sound you want on the finished product. Drum set placement in the room is critical for creating the type of sound you want. The question is...what type of sound do you want? Then, you ask...what is the room like, and what is your kit like? Then, you ask...am I getting the drum AND room sound I want from this kit and where it's placed? Then, finally, you place the mic in such a way that it captures the space (drums and room) in the way you want it.
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
In a recording, you want to bring out the best attributes of the kit and the room. Also, you want to have the recording reflect the type of drum sound you want on the finished product. Drum set placement in the room is critical for creating the type of sound you want. The question is...what type of sound do you want? Then, you ask...what is the room like, and what is your kit like? Then, you ask...am I getting the drum AND room sound I want from this kit and where it's placed? Then, finally, you place the mic in such a way that it captures the space (drums and room) in the way you want it.
Thanks all for the replies. I realize what you're saying above, but was wondering about 'general' rules. Clearly there are some...i.e. with only one mic and placing it right next to the kick drum you're not going to hear other aspects of your kit, regardless of room type or position in room.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
Thanks all for the replies. I realize what you're saying above, but was wondering about 'general' rules. Clearly there are some...i.e. with only one mic and placing it right next to the kick drum you're not going to hear other aspects of your kit, regardless of room type or position in room.
"Regardless of room type or position in room" means that you should close mic the kit, and not be surprised by a less-than-superb recording. When capturing a kit with 3 or less mics, the room and kit's position in the room make all the difference in the world.

Let's start with a few questions: Do you want a big rock and roll type sound, or a tight punchy funky kind of sound? Does the room have carpet on the floor? Is there much baffling furniture, like a bed or a couch? How big is the room, length x depth x height? Is there a particular spot or spots in the room that when you clap you hear a distinct echo or it sounds as if the clap is all-encompassing? What is your kit set up like? How is it tuned? Muffled at all? How many cymbals? Does your snare crack, pop, or clang? Is your bass drum more thumpy, punchy, or "doomy"?

Yes, there are "general rules", but they are not always hard and fast rules, depending on the room and kit you have...
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

Condenser mics tend to capture high frequency sounds better than lower ones.
That creates another issue when recording with just one condenser mic.

Recording with three mics, overhead condenser, and dynamic mics near the kick and snare seems to be the best when it comes to minimal mic-ing.

I also notice that a small room with furniture, carpet, and curtains etc helps a great deal to eliminate an echo sound.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:24 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Condenser mics tend to capture high frequency sounds better than lower ones.
That creates another issue when recording with just one condenser mic
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/ECM8000.aspx

Although intended as a measurement mic, the ECM800 is excellent for capturing any instrument in an acoustic environment, because of its almost totally flat frequency response. . A single mic works great with drums.

A few forums (not necessarily drum related) mentioned it so I bought one 2 or 3 years ago. Considering how cheap it was (relatively speaking), it's incredibly good. IMO a sleeper.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

Interesting Longfuse, Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

I've always pointed mine at the snare from above. My logic was that the bass and cymbals don't need help being heard but you should aim the mic to capture the ghost notes of the snare and the attack of the toms or else they just sound 'roomy'.
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  #12  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
"Regardless of room type or position in room" means that you should close mic the kit, and not be surprised by a less-than-superb recording. When capturing a kit with 3 or less mics, the room and kit's position in the room make all the difference in the world.

Let's start with a few questions: Do you want a big rock and roll type sound, or a tight punchy funky kind of sound? Does the room have carpet on the floor? Is there much baffling furniture, like a bed or a couch? How big is the room, length x depth x height? Is there a particular spot or spots in the room that when you clap you hear a distinct echo or it sounds as if the clap is all-encompassing? What is your kit set up like? How is it tuned? Muffled at all? How many cymbals? Does your snare crack, pop, or clang? Is your bass drum more thumpy, punchy, or "doomy"?

Yes, there are "general rules", but they are not always hard and fast rules, depending on the room and kit you have...
Thanks you obviously have done lots of this. I experiment all the time recording my drums and admittedly right now am looking for shortcuts. Room is fully carpeted, with a couch, 9 or 10 ft ceiling. Drywall all around, no echo at all, about 14 feet wide by 20 feet long.

As an example of current acoustics for 2 kits here is a recording. Not intended, but its 6 minutes.
http://soundcloud.com/aftrglow
First kit you hear is a MIJ stencil kit I got for $100, with a Supra, really crappy hats, no bass drum reso, oriented lengthwise in room, and mic 4 feet away level. (it sounds pretty good for $100)
2nd kit is a 1965 Slingerland, nice hats, oriented widthwise, and mic 7 ft away 'from above'. Sorry didn't bother correcting any snare buzz or my chops....and plenty of hacking around on the drums.... no pattern intended.
I don't muffle anything...wide open.

To my ears these sound OK, but I am at the moment searching for the drum sound on Hendrix's Wind Cries Mary. I am thinking I need way more reverb in the room for that.

Any comments or advice welcome.
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  #13  
Old 10-17-2012, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

With microphones such as the ECM8000 you usually get what you pay for and sometimes more than what you bargain for. Just one thing to keep in mind is that these microphones like just about any other calibration microphone has an omnidirectional polar pattern, which means the microphone will accept sound from 360 degrees around the microphone. The best microphones to use as a one mic set-up or multi mic set-up for that matter, would be a cardioid pattern microphone. Cardioid meaning a "heart" shaped pick-up pattern which is most sensitive to sounds coming from the front and sides of the unit, this of course is most dependent on the frequency. The higher the frequncy, the more direction the pattern becomes. You really don't want to hear every echo or reverberation in the room, especially an un-treated room, to be entering the microphone. One other thing is that the ECM 8000 microphone has a very high degree of self noise, somewhere between 22 to 24 decibels which rises even further in the area of their low frequency response. This is evident by the level of the combination of white and pink noise that's heard in the microphones output.

Just a heads up.

Dennis
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

I used to record my drumming with a single condenser (AKG C1000S) a while back: http://youtu.be/uge6t07jvWM . I positioned it about six feet above and three feet behind the kit, pointing directly toward the center of the bass drum's batter head. An unmuffled bass drum will work best, as it projects its sound better than a muffled one.

The room itself was a dampened rehearsal space in a music institute, and the drums were positioned more or less in the corner due to space constraints.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

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Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
With microphones such as the ECM8000 you usually get what you pay for and sometimes more than what you bargain for. Just one thing to keep in mind is that these microphones like just about any other calibration microphone has an omnidirectional polar pattern, which means the microphone will accept sound from 360 degrees around the microphone. The best microphones to use as a one mic set-up or multi mic set-up for that matter, would be a cardioid pattern microphone. Cardioid meaning a "heart" shaped pick-up pattern which is most sensitive to sounds coming from the front and sides of the unit, this of course is most dependent on the frequency. The higher the frequncy, the more direction the pattern becomes. You really don't want to hear every echo or reverberation in the room, especially an un-treated room, to be entering the microphone. One other thing is that the ECM 8000 microphone has a very high degree of self noise, somewhere between 22 to 24 decibels which rises even further in the area of their low frequency response. This is evident by the level of the combination of white and pink noise that's heard in the microphones output.

Just a heads up.

Dennis
All fair points, but I actually find the omnidirectional pattern a boon. For single-mic recording you want to capture the ambiance of the room. Granted, if you're recording in a large room I can foresee problems, but for home-recording this won't be an issue for most people. I also find that mic placement is pretty straightforward. Just point towards kit and it sounds pretty good right away. Perhaps some minor adjustments after that.

Appreciate the noise figures, but I haven't noticed any significant noise (or insignificant for that matter). Perhaps if you're recording quiet instruments, but not drums.

To anyone on a budget, I'd still recommend it. For the money, it's a fantastic mic.

Last edited by Longfuse; 10-17-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:17 AM
Longfuse Longfuse is offline
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

PS To the OP, I actually record from behind the kit. I position the mic to my right, about 3-4 feet away from the kit and at snare height, pointing directly towards the snare.

This gives a drier/closer ambient sound, which I favour - you still hear the room, but the kit is dominant. Just my personal preference. NB attached sample was the very first loop I recorded with the aforementioned mic (a few years ago) and in a tiny room, so it's not great, but this gives you an idea of what to expect first time. Er, it's recorded with brushes too, so all that swish isn't ambient noise (honest!)
Attached Files
File Type: wav Practice Loop.WAV (1.55 MB, 82 views)

Last edited by Longfuse; 10-17-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

WaveL and Longf, thanks, I would have never thought to record from behind the kit. I will try that one, but I'm pretty sure my kickdrum would not be heard in any great way.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: one microphone, one room challenge

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
When I have done this I have had good results placing the condenser mic about 4 feet in front of the kit about 3 feet off of the floor.
Your results may vary as larry stated.

I have not done this but if I was going to this would be the route I would take. I remember years ago Stereo Review Magazine wanted to record a concert in true stereo, or in essence what you and I would hear. So they went to a symphony hall with a full orchestra and put a manequin in the center of the auditorium with two mics for ears. The sound was pure but wouldn't excite anyone today becuase of surround sound and all of the other enhancements.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:50 PM
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