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  #1  
Old 07-09-2011, 08:39 PM
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IDDrummer IDDrummer is offline
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Default Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

Hey there,
I simply cannot bring myself to drill the shell on my Ludwig to install an XLR plug for the internal mic, so I'm thinking once again about external micing. The internal mic is satisfactory to me in most ways, but running the cord through the vent hole is just too ghetto for my sense of aesthetics, lol. You have mentioned micing the batter side of a bass drum as well as the reso in a live situation, and I have some questions about that.

My questions are these - how do you keep the snare and floor tom from bleeding into that batter-side mic, and do you need to worry about reversing phase on the second mic? None of my band members are actual audio techs - we've just learned over the years - but when we tried micing the batter side we got horrible sounding off-axis signal from the snare, especially.

In reading your posts, I've come to trust your advice and I'd like to pick your brain a bit, if I may. Still in search of a way to avoid drilling or altering the drum.

Thanks!

EDIT - anyone else is welcome to chime in, too! I didn't mean to exclude anyone, I just knew audiotech would have input on this.

Last edited by IDDrummer; 07-09-2011 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Didn't want to seem rude!
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2011, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
Hey there,
I simply cannot bring myself to drill the shell on my Ludwig to install an XLR plug for the internal mic, so I'm thinking once again about external micing. The internal mic is satisfactory to me in most ways, but running the cord through the vent hole is just too ghetto for my sense of aesthetics, lol. You have mentioned micing the batter side of a bass drum as well as the reso in a live situation, and I have some questions about that.

My questions are these - how do you keep the snare and floor tom from bleeding into that batter-side mic, and do you need to worry about reversing phase on the second mic? None of my band members are actual audio techs - we've just learned over the years - but when we tried micing the batter side we got horrible sounding off-axis signal from the snare, especially.

In reading your posts, I've come to trust your advice and I'd like to pick your brain a bit, if I may. Still in search of a way to avoid drilling or altering the drum.

Thanks!

EDIT - anyone else is welcome to chime in, too! I didn't mean to exclude anyone, I just knew audiotech would have input on this.
No man. You're excluding. I'm hurt ;)
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2011, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

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No man. You're excluding. I'm hurt ;)
I knew you would be, Bo. I'm so sorry! If you are ever in North Idaho I'll buy you an ice cream. lol

Seriously, I thought of Dennis because he mentioned this in a previous post of mine, but if you have words of wisdom I'd love to hear them.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

Actually I don't because I've never really done it. Dennis would know more and I graciously give the floor to him ;)

And I prefer gelato.
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2011, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Actually I don't because I've never really done it. Dennis would know more and I graciously give the floor to him ;)

And I prefer gelato.
Dude, I'm from North Idaho. What the hell is gelato?
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2011, 11:30 PM
mediocrefunkybeat
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

IDDrummer, the best way is to use a gate. A gate is a device that only allows audio through once it has reached a certain (defined) amplitude threshold. The classic example is a snare mic that has too much hi-hat bleed. Assuming the snare is louder, a gate would only allow the peak of the snare through, and exclude anything else that isn't as loud - i.e. bleed. This is very common in studio environments and is very easy to do - the issue is doing it live.

The easiest way to gate live is to have a laptop running some software that takes all the inputs from the microphones, processes them and then sends them to the front of house desk. Some desks (particularly analogue desks from the 1980's) have gates built in - but this is rare now.

The other option is to find a hypercardioid dynamic microphone. These have much more aggressive off-axis rejection than a standard cardioid microphone. Something like an Audio Technica Pro 25AX would do the job, but it won't be as good as gating the output.

As for flipping the phase. You could probably get away with not doing it, but I would do it if possible. Phase cancellation at low frequencies is very obvious if it starts happening, so try it with and without and see what happens.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

Thanks, MFB. I actually use a Behringer 4-channel gate just to keep tom rumble out of the PA, but didn't have much luck with it on the bass drum mic - I couldn't get the snare signal all the way out. Maybe I just need to tweak the settings, or perhaps this isn't a good enough product to start with? Also, is there a non-software based way to reverse phase since our board doesn't have that capability (as far as I know)? Maybe I'll just need to break down and get a more powerful laptop (I just use a netbook thingie for surfing...).

Thanks again.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

One way of changing the phase manually is to have an XLR with the +/- wires swapped around internally (custom soldering job). If you mark that cable as the 'inverted' cable, then it's easy.

Have you tried setting the gate with a very fast attack and high threshold? Gates are really finicky, so tweaking might be the key there. If you've already tried that, then a hypercardioid and gate combination might be the way forward.
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2011, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

What are people's thoughts on unidirectional mics in this context? Just wondering ...
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2011, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
What are people's thoughts on unidirectional mics in this context? Just wondering ...
There isn't much difference between a hypercardioid and a unidirectional mic. The unidirectional is a little more exaggerated with its off-axis rejection. Too much off-axis rejection can sound very unnatural, especially on a large instrument like a bass drum. That's probably why rifle mics are generally only used for TV broadcasting because they sound unnatural otherwise. With that said, it's possible to use them in this situation, but I think a hypercardioid would be more appropriate.
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  #11  
Old 07-10-2011, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
Dude, I'm from North Idaho. What the hell is gelato?
It's Italian. Like a hoity-toity sherbet. We serve that stuff in our shopping malls here in Southern California ;)
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  #12  
Old 07-10-2011, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
It's Italian. Like a hoity-toity sherbet. We serve that stuff in our shopping malls here in Southern California ;)
We could probably find a high-end outfit to fix you up with that! ;)
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  #13  
Old 07-10-2011, 10:27 AM
audiotech
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

There are several different ways to handle this without getting too ghetto, lol. I'll try everything I can, time permitting, live or in the studio, to get the type of sound out of "anything" without resorting to more electronics than is really necessary.

A bit of cross bleed only becomes a hindrance when it sonically affects the rest of the kit and you can no longer differentiate subtle nuances such as cross sticking or ghost notes when it's being overpowered by the cymbals or other drums in the kit. Since we're using usually very high threshold settings, a gate can abruptly close, clipping the sustain of a musical note. I also use Very little equalization and compression in tracking or mixing, so it's just not gates that I use judiciously. This gives the mastering engineer more room to work with dynamics in a studio setting.

When I'm using a microphone on a bass drum's batter head, 9 out of 10 times it will be miked with a short shotgun, usually a Sennheiser 416 positioned below the first floor tom. With any super cardioid mics, there is always a well defined lobe at 0 degrees and a lesser lobe directly 180 degrees. So if you're using a shotgun mic, make sure the rear of the mic is pointed towards something that won't affect the performance. Normally this isn't an issue because of the high sound output of the batter head and this microphone should only need to be lightly mixed in for effect anyway. Another way you can do this is to just add a cardioid microphone close to the bass drum's batter head and pointed directly at where beater contacts the head. There's usually a bit of room between the pedal and the floor tom leg to get it in place. The cardioid microphone doesn't have this exaggerated rear lobe, so as long as you can get it within 4 or 5 inches of the head, you shouldn't have much bleed over from your floor toms. On several occasions, I've even used some Shure 98s and Sony or Sennheiser "tie tack" (lavaliere) mics when other microphones where just too large for proper placement on the batter head. BTW, a quiet pedal is essential, if it's not, you're going to have to move the microphone off axis to the beater. If this doesn't work, oil it.. Still sqeeking? Baby powder.

If I'm miking any drum with more than one microphone, I'll always invert the phase on one of them. Some of the larger consoles have phase reversal switches on each channel as do stand alone mic preamps, so that makes life easy. If the console you're using doesn't, you're probably going to need a special reversal adapter connector or a balanced phase reversal cable like mediocrefunkybeat suggested. Just take apart one of the connectors and reverse the wires on pins two and three, leave the other connector alone. If you switch the connections on both ends of the cable, you'll be back at where you started, lol.

As I always preach, microphone placement is always paramount. Moving or turning a microphone just an inch or two can make a drastic difference in pick-up and also sound quality. Close miking is used for control, control of the room's acoustics and even more so, precise control of the audio level of each facet of the drum kit.

Well, you asked me what time it is and I ended up with schematic on how to build a clock. It's 4 AM here and our Lhasa won't go to sleep until I do, so If I made any crucial errors, I'm no responsible, lol.

BTW, Pollyanna, actually the term unidirectional means from one direction and is used somewhat interchangeably with cardioid (heart shaped), super cardioid, shot gun and a few that I'm not thinking of at this moment. Although they may call a microphone unidirectional, I really never saw one that was. There is always some leakage from the sides and rear of the microphone. The three most common polar patterns are Omni, as in omnidirectional. Unidirectional or cardioid and Figure 8, meaning that a sound source from the front and rear of the microphone will be picked-up with fairly equal sensitivity.

Dennis
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  #14  
Old 07-10-2011, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: Micing question for Dennis (audiotech)

I thank you, gentlemen, for your replies. I already happen to have a cable with one connector cut off (to get it back out of the bass drum vent hole!) so I'm half way there on the phase reversal issue. lol

Now it sounds as if some informed experimentation is in order... I've been layed up all week with a bulging disc in my back, so my mind is working overtime.
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