Micing cymbals from underneath

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
So last week I had the idea of micing my cymbals underneath instead of overhead like majority of drummers seem to. First of all I like the separation it gives me (no effing snare drum over-powering the cymbals) and with enough patience I was able to find the optimum positioning so that 1 mic could pick up the trash-hats I have on my kit as well as the crash and china.

Anyways, I've enjoyed it so far, but what has your experiences been with this? Any pros or cons?

Bermuda, I know you use this (or used to use it at any rate), I'd love to hear from you!


p.s. sorry if there's already a thread on this, I searched but couldn't find.

-Jonathan
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
So last week I had the idea of micing my cymbals underneath instead of overhead like majority of drummers seem to. First of all I like the separation it gives me (no effing snare drum over-powering the cymbals) and with enough patience I was able to find the optimum positioning so that 1 mic could pick up the trash-hats I have on my kit as well as the crash and china.

Anyways, I've enjoyed it so far, but what has your experiences been with this? Any pros or cons?

Bermuda, I know you use this (or used to use it at any rate), I'd love to hear from you!


p.s. sorry if there's already a thread on this, I searched but couldn't find.

-Jonathan
Its a fairly common technique. It usually works best in rooms with low ceilings
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Some throw a mike under, and pointed into, the bell of their ride, I guess for that extra cut.

Also, Zildjian used to make a mike system that was essentially little box mikes that clipped onto stands. I thought it was an interesting idea but it didn't seem to catch on. I know Neil Peart used them on the "Hold Your Fire" tour for his front cymbals, and they can be seen in the "A Show Of Hands" video... however, a Google search turned up absolutely nothing. They may be rare like Egyptian pharoahs' left socks by now...
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I've been using 'underheads' since the early '90s with no sonic issues, and my cymbals always sound great. Initially this was done for a cleaner look, and mounting all mics to arms on my rack has also eliminated a bunch of stands. :)

Bermuda
 

stevo

Senior Member
Bermuda, are you saying that in your application of the mics, you are also capturing the toms? Or, strictly cymbols?
 
A

audiotech

Guest
This will work, but you have to be much more careful with microphone placement due to issues with phase cancellations because of the way the cymbals move and the many reflective surfaces in the confines of the drums and cymbals. I always prefer miking from above where you have more room to maneuver and are able to back the overhead mics away.

Dennis
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
This will work, but you have to be much more careful with microphone placement due to issues with phase cancellations because of the way the cymbals move and the many reflective surfaces in the confines of the drums and cymbals. I always prefer miking from above where you have more room to maneuver and are able to back the overhead mics away.

Dennis
Can you tell me more about phase cancellation?

I don't understand much of that stuff at all, but I would love to learn.

-Jonathan
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Can you tell me more about phase cancellation?

I don't understand much of that stuff at all, but I would love to learn.

-Jonathan
Phase is pretty simple.

If you imagine sound as a compression and rarefaction of air - you end up with a wave. The purest wave is a sine wave:



Now cymbals are much, much more complex - but the principle is the same. Left to right is time, up and down is wave amplitude. With a sine wave, it is possible to overlay another identical wave so that the peaks in one directly co-incide with the troughs on the other. What this means is that the AVERAGE amplitude ends up as zero.

Take a real-world example. You have one microphone. You have two sine wave sources playing identical pitches. If they are the same distance from the mic, the amplitude is doubled. However, if one source is playing the same source at a different distance, the notes hit the microphone at different times and will interact. If the distance is right, they will cancel totally:



This happens will all sound sources. To take another example - one source entering TWO microphones at different distances are combined and the same effect will occur. This is why it's always vital to ensure the snare is equidistant from overhead sources - a slight difference will colour the sound and some distances will cancel it significantly. More microphones does not equal more volume unless you are very careful!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Bermuda, are you saying that in your application of the mics, you are also capturing the toms? Or, strictly cymbols?
There is undoubtedly some tom reflection, but not enough to conflict with the signal from the tom mics.

Note that using underheads for me is just a live application, stemming from an aesthetic necessity. We don't record that way, and I am fine with overheads in other live situations.

Bermuda
 
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