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  #1  
Old 02-06-2019, 01:29 AM
juiceforjoe juiceforjoe is offline
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Default I don't understand why people close mic

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.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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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.
Have to respectfully disagree with your opening statement. A drum kit isn't a single instrument, it's a collection of separate instruments played by one person.

It's just thought of by most/some as a single instrument probably as one person is playing it/them.

With regards to recording technique whatever suits either the band, the recording equipment, the desk, the mics, the drummer, the style of music or the room (many more variables I've not even thought of typing this)

Way too many elements for a 'one size fits all' approach. Any technique is good as long as it gets the required results I guess though so it's all good.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Are you referring to the taped up to oblivion tone? Because close micing is not the culprit there, the taped up to oblivion part is.

I started close micing my 4 toms just recently (capsules about 3 inches away, in addition to overheads) with wide open, well tuned toms and it's glorious.

I'd like to think that there's room for all tones somewhere, even the taped up to oblivion tones.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

The one word answer is OPTIONS.

If the only point of micing up a set of drums was to get only the sound of only the drums themselves you'd have a point, but it's usually not.

It can be anything from isolating from the environement, to separate processing, helping things cut, a bit more attack, hide crappy internal dynamics and lots more.

Why have several mics to schoose from?

Why have different patterns and placements?

It all depends on the music and what you're trying to do.

These days, when so many people record drum tracks at home it's even better to have as many options available to the ones doing the final mix as possible.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Millions and millions of people have voted on this and the consensus is clear. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Are you referring to the taped up to oblivion tone? Because close micing is not the culprit there, the taped up to oblivion part is.

I started close micing my 4 toms just recently (capsules about 3 inches away, in addition to overheads) with wide open, well tuned toms and it's glorious.

I'd like to think that there's room for all tones somewhere, even the taped up to oblivion tones.
I completely agree with this.

There should be allowances in our discretions for any type of drum tones if it puts you in the right direction you want to go.

Close mic'ing is a little bit more difficult because of the extra experience needed to make sure the mics are chosen wisely and placed to the best advantage for what you're trying to do.

Moving the mic too close can sound terrible.
Tuning the drums to behave better for the mics is important too.

There are a lot of people who don't take the time to figure the things out that would make for a good sound.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

The same could be said of trumpets and saxophones et. al. But they put mics right on the bells for sound. I see no difference. Also the reason for calling it a drum set.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

When the sound of a close mic is EQ'd and mixed into the kit properly, I think it enhance the overall kit sound and feel.

Snares with close mics & overheads.
Snare with only overheads.

However, to back up your POV, check out what Glyn Johns did when recording Keith Moon on Who's Next. Nothing wrong with that drum sound.
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2019, 02:20 AM
WallyY WallyY is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

You do not have to give time for the drum sound to develop through the air.
There is a resolved sound for a room at a certain distance, but that's just one sound and one mic placement.

There is also no mic and playback that sounds exactly like being in the room. It's contrived audiation, like color constancy.
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Old 02-06-2019, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Originally Posted by juiceforjoe View Post
For a tighter sound, simply use the right room.
You’re right. That never occurred to me. I’ll be speaking to my realtor with a big request for the right room! It’ll also be on my list for the next gig I chose to play. :)
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2019, 02:37 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

I think he's just jerking our booties, but I'll bite.

Quote:
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.
The next time you're called in for a session, I want you to tell that to the engineer and producer.

And the next time you're mic'd on a live gig, I want you tell that to the FOH engineer.

Yes, I like the sound of a (well-tuned) kit from in front, but it doesn't translate to a mic in the same position. It's thoroughly impractical and a detriment to the balance of a live band, not mention making it extremely difficult to get a good drum mix in the studio. Even if the kit sounds great by itself, the balance changes drastically when the other instruments and vocals are mixed in. Without close miking, a kick or snare or tom can't be boosted when inevitably needed.

Bermuda
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  #12  
Old 02-06-2019, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

But I like the sound of the bass drum when you stick your whole head in it ;)
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

I can't believe how long it's taking me to get my perfect drum sound in my room. I'm pretty much there, but phew, what an effort it turned out to be. It's been about a year and a half now. By comparison, the first time I miced a guitar cab, it took me like 5 minutes. Same with bass guitar. Keys go direct in. Acoustic guitar is pretty easy, 2 mics. Drums are very involved, and have no comparison with any other instrument IMO.

I didn't add tom mics until just recently.

They really bring out the thunder of the toms. It sounds a bit hollow without them. They provide the creamy center.

I'm very envious of Bo's kick sound in his last playing post with the WMP Pearls. Very nice, and he probably got that sound in like 5 minutes.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Sometimes I close mic and sometimes I don't. Right now the kick is triple mic'ed, two on the snare, and the overheads catch the rest.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I can't believe how long it's taking me to get my perfect drum sound in my room. I'm pretty much there, but phew, what an effort it turned out to be. It's been about a year and a half now. By comparison, the first time I miced a guitar cab, it took me like 5 minutes. Same with bass guitar. Keys go direct in. Acoustic guitar is pretty easy, 2 mics. Drums are very involved, and have no comparison with any other instrument IMO.

I didn't add tom mics until just recently.

They really bring out the thunder of the toms. It sounds a bit hollow without them. They provide the creamy center.

I'm very envious of Bo's kick sound in his last playing post with the WMP Pearls. Very nice, and he probably got that sound in like 5 minutes.
Thanks! All that was was my Shure Beta 52 just inside the port. Mic went into my tiny Mackie 1202 and all I did was boost the low end eq a bit. The bass drum just sounds like that with a DW muffle pillow in it. I don’t really affect the drums in the recorder. I make the drums sound nice, and use the mics to pick that up.
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

If I had to listen to nothing but room mics and over heads, I'd switch instruments.

Blech!
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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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.
Frankly, I think you’ve never mixed a record, or run live sound, ever, in a way that anyone would want to hear.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Frankly, I think you’ve never mixed a record, or run live sound, ever, in a way that anyone would want to hear.
LMAO!

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  #19  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:34 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

You may not like the sound of close miking, but ....

1. There are a lot of recordings that use close miking that sound like s%&t, but there are also a lot that don't.

2. A drum set/kit is composed of several instruments, albeit played by one musician.

3. What a mic picks up 1/2 inches away sounds pretty much like a drum 1/2 inches away from your ears.

4. So why do people close mic? Because they can.

:-)
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2019, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Ultimately, it evolved because it could. 4 track, became 8 track, became 16 track, became 24 track. Analogue became digital.....and so on and so on.

Once upon a time placing a mic on each tom simply wasn't feasible. It just couldn't be done. With the evolution of multi tracking on a sound desk came the evolution of applying those tracks to various voices within the recording. Hence the evolution of close mic.

As others have stated, it purely provides options. Production has more control over the voices it mics. With that control comes the ability to tweak it. Hence why 4 or 5 drums moved from being captured by a room mic that was bounced down to one track........all the way through to an individual mic for each voice.......plus the liberty of a room mic or two for ultimate sound control.
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  #21  
Old 02-06-2019, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

My Pork Pie USA kits sound like freakin' thunder when close-miked.

Love the way it sounds.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
...plus the liberty of a room mic or two for ultimate sound control.
That, too, they pick up the air the a kit generates in a way that overheads don't. But it only works in a room large enough to have some space between those mics and the kit. Studios with a drum booth, or newer studios with an obligatory room just large enough for a kit (in case anyone has the audacity to bring real drums!) don't allow enough distance for room mics. That's when plug-ins save the day. :)

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  #23  
Old 02-06-2019, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Why do people close mic? Control, is probably one of the main reasons sound/recording guys close mic. It allows the sound guy or recording guy to go in after the fact and edit things after the fact.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

What a daft post.

If you are on about "Bedroom Drummers" then why mic at all? If on about proper live performing drummers then close micing brings out the best regarding separation etc.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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If you are on about "Bedroom Drummers" then why mic at all?
Cuz u'z got to look l33t when u'z doin ya YouTube covers!
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Cuz u'z got to look l33t when u'z doin ya YouTube covers!
Snigger.................... :)
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  #27  
Old 02-06-2019, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

I had an aversion to close-miking as well, but it turns out I just didn't have much experience with people who did it WELL.

Just last week I recorded in someone's personal studio. They used 13 mics in total for the drums, which I thought was a lot for a small kit. It included three room mics, two on the snare, two on the bass drum, two tom mics — and I'll be honest, I don't even remember where the last four mics were placed. (Probably for cymbals, but there was no direct hi-hat mic.)

We listened to the playbacks and the engineer would isolate different mics as they did some on-the-fly mixing and EQ'ing, as engineers do. It became clear that though many - even most - of the close mic'd tracks didn't sound spectacular on their own, it was the way they beefed up and enhanced the room mic tracks that made the overall sound really come to life.

The room mics on their own sounded very nice indeed, but when the rest of the tracks were added...simply no comparison. I would never use close mics alone, but in conjunction with a great room sound/mic, they're a very valuable addition. (Or can be.)
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  #28  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

I think that micing technique is dictated by the space....not as much by the set...in most cases.

Some places need close micing to defeat transients(sometimes not even made by the band)...some places have great ambient acoustics and really shine with overheads as the primary.
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  #29  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Originally Posted by philrudd View Post
I had an aversion to close-miking as well, but it turns out I just didn't have much experience with people who did it WELL.

Just last week I recorded in someone's personal studio. They used 13 mics in total for the drums, which I thought was a lot for a small kit. It included three room mics, two on the snare, two on the bass drum, two tom mics — and I'll be honest, I don't even remember where the last four mics were placed. (Probably for cymbals, but there was no direct hi-hat mic.)

We listened to the playbacks and the engineer would isolate different mics as they did some on-the-fly mixing and EQ'ing, as engineers do. It became clear that though many - even most - of the close mic'd tracks didn't sound spectacular on their own, it was the way they beefed up and enhanced the room mic tracks that made the overall sound really come to life.

The room mics on their own sounded very nice indeed, but when the rest of the tracks were added...simply no comparison. I would never use close mics alone, but in conjunction with a great room sound/mic, they're a very valuable addition. (Or can be.)
Exactly. This is how I approach it too. The close mics are just for extra control. The "sound" mostly comes from the rooms and overheads. I'm using the tracks from the close mics simply to add presence or apply my effects. Using only close mics and isolating everything is much worse in my opinion if the goal is natural sounding stuff. I actually had a lot of trouble getting my stuff to sound "pro" or like actual studio work until I figured this out. Adding the "oomph" with the close mic tracks takes things to another level and lets you fix level issues as you mix.

Honestly a lot of times close micing and isolating has to do with easy digital editing. You can't chop things as easily if you've got lots of room sounds and intentional "bleed" thereof.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Originally Posted by juiceforjoe View Post
I don't understand why people close mic
I don't have any real experience but it seems like the toms need to be close because they are relatively more quiet. Also, the farther away you put the mics, the less they can be mixed properly and the more they would bleed.

That said, it may be a genius level idea to put a single (or a R/L set) mic right at the drummers head, by his ears. That way, the dynamics he is playing with could be picked up accurately. The tones and volumes he is using would directly reflect what he hears.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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That said, it may be a genius level idea to put a single (or a R/L set) mic right at the drummers head, by his ears. That way, the dynamics he is playing with could be picked up accurately. The tones and volumes he is using would directly reflect what he hears.
That's been done, except it rarely results in a usable mix on its own. Besides, overheads already capture that L-R imaging and similar distance from batter heads & cymbals.

One related idea that (thankfully) never caught on was putting small mics on the front left & right side of a pair of eyeglass frames, to hear the drummer's perspective as they turn their head playing fills (for example.) You can already imagine the weirdness of the kit 'changing position' throughout the track. I don't think drummers even wanted to hear that.

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  #32  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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But I like the sound of the bass drum when you stick your whole head in it ;)
Even better when you sit in it.
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  #33  
Old 02-07-2019, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Again, knowing little about drum mixing in real life, it seems logical that you should/would be able to get the drummer's mix, what he plays/hears, from one spot.

I would be interested in playing/hearing mic'd drums thru completely isolated headphones or in ears while moving a single mic around the kit to try and find a single sweet spot and make things easier.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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Again, knowing little about drum mixing in real life, it seems logical that you should/would be able to get the drummer's mix, what he plays/hears, from one spot.
The problem is, what the drummer hears from behind the kit is probably not going to be a usable mix when bass, guitars, keys and vocals are added. The engineer must have some independent control over the kick and snare in particular when needed.

Quote:
I would be interested in playing/hearing mic'd drums thru completely isolated headphones or in ears while moving a single mic around the kit to try and find a single sweet spot and make things easier.
While it might be possible to find a great spot, there's still the probable need for some adjustments during the mix. Unless the engineer can magically know what's needed in advance, a mono mix would be a detriment.

Yeah, engineers used to mic drums with one mic in the old days... but wished they could have had more control. They eventually got it, and there's no going back in terms of what listeners have learned to expect from their music.

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Old 02-07-2019, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

Close mic’ing boosts the bass (proximity effect) which has been the preferred tone for rock drums since the late sixties.

Obviously acoustic jazz and classical percussion is based on a more distant, lighter, natural sound.

Its analogous to electric guitars vs. acoustic guitars, or double bass vs. electric bass. Each one is suitable for certain styles of music.
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  #36  
Old 02-07-2019, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

It gives the engineer the tools to make a better drum sound for the mix. When everyone else has recorded their bits an open sound might not be what the producer is after.

If something is too loud/soft in the mix it's nice to be able to adjust it. I'm no Hal Blaine by any stretch of the imagination but when you go into a studio have a chat with the engineer before hand about what they find works best. They know the room better than you and don't like being told how to do their job!

If you rock up with a well tuned kit that sounds good at source and can preferably play in time, you've done your job.

The Glyn Johns technique works a treat but it sorts men from boys in terms of hitting consistency because you can't fix it in the mix.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

When we are running the sound, I use one overhead mic and one on the bass drum. We may put one on the snare too. When someone else is running the sound, we do it however they want. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:58 PM
moxman moxman is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

There are many ways to mic drums either live or in studio.. but it's really picking the best tool for the space. Close micing is awesome if you have a sound tech that knows what they're doing.. and minimalist mic'ing can also sound awesome as well. In both cases.. as previously mentioned - if you need to tweak something in the drum mix, it's great to have the controls to do that.
Mic type, quality and position makes a big difference ..especially for overheads I find. and if you have a lot of vocal mics on stage picking up side wash.. less is more.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:39 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

It depends so much on the style of music and even more the venue.

In small clubs I even want stage sound, especially as a guitar player. That's the whole point of my big rig. I even want the bass of my open back cab to fill the room, but that's very specialized intimate setting and I get to walk around the floor during sound check. That's for the rock/blues trio thing, though. If I tried that on a regular gig they'd kill me. lol

It doesn't have to be a bad thing for other instruments or situations either. Small room, low ceiling doesn't need special treatment, but it helps.

Don't really know the specifics of your situation, like style and the typical stages you play.

On my 4-piece I generally use the Glyn Johns in the shed. It's a good setup. Live I've never really miced my own drms, I just let people do what they do, but unless it's something specific it's an unspoken rule to keep stage volume down.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:46 PM
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Red Menace Red Menace is offline
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Default Re: I don't understand why people close mic

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.
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