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Old 09-16-2009, 10:09 AM
Bewdy Bewdy is offline
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Default Using Condenser Mics on Toms

Hi I'm about to do some demo recording with my band. I've done a lot of recording in the past, however I recently saw an article of a famous studio engineer (i forget his name) and he was recreating iconic studio sessions with top name drummers. In the video piece he was using neuman u86s on all the toms, positioned of axis which I was a bit taken back by.

It got me thinking, I realise the neumann mics are superb and I have seen them on amps etc before now, but never have I seen them on toms. Unfortunately my budget does not stretch to sticking u86/7s on anything, but I wondered what other drummers though of the idea of using condensers on toms instead of dynamics, are the neumann famed for having a particularly high SPL rating?. You can pick up some nice cheap large diaphram condensers these days from the likes of Behringer/Rode, and I wondered if I may get more bang for my book and potentially a brighter recording by using some of these, instead of the usual suspects. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:19 AM
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eddiehimself eddiehimself is offline
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Default Re: Using Condenser Mics on Toms

Generally people tend to have dynamic mics on toms and that's really because they're more durable and cheaper to replace. I mean think about it, if you accidentaly hit your mic with the same force that you whack your drums then it's not very good but at least if it's an SM57 it should be okay and not such a biggie if it stops working anyway.

If it's going to be a demo it doesn't have to be perfect anyway. And i mean for the same money that a cheap condenser is you can buy a really good quality dynamic mic. Probably should just go with dynamic mics methinks, some good quality ones like audix or something.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: Using Condenser Mics on Toms

Mics now can handle those kind of SPL. The only kind of mics I would hesitate to use would be a ribbon - and people are occasionally even using those for kicks now! Twenty years ago? I would've absolutely agreed. Really there isn't much advantage in using condensers on the toms - the majority of the tom output is right in the typical dynamic 'sweet spot' but with that said, if you wanted more top end and air I suppose you could use a condenser. In that case, I would most likely just add a bit of 15K from the overheads though.

I see no reason why not to use condensers for tom mics. Spill perhaps might be an issue. That's really about it.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: Using Condenser Mics on Toms

My main concerns would be physical damage and the maximum SPL rating of the condenser microphone being used. The Neumann U87 is a big microphone to try to place on the sweet spot on any drum, except maybe the bass drum. Neumann states that the U87's maximum SPL is only 117 db, if the pre-attenuation switch is used, it's 127db. In my opinion this doesn't give you enough headroom for close miking drums. Dynamic cardioids are the norm for most drums with condenser XY's for overheads and maybe high hats. I've been know to use a Neumann U47 fet with a stocking filter on the resonant side of the bass drum if the studio is equipped with one.

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