Options for miking drums

Maverick10

Senior Member
Good morning all,

I've done some research on here and still haven't found what I was looking for.

So my guitar player decided that he was just going to go ahead and buy a PA system, didn't really sit down with the band to figure out what we needed, how much we needed, and the best options to do that. I have no problem with him doing that since he footed the bill himself and has not asked us to help pay.

This is mostly for use at band practice in a house basement and for any potential gigs at small to medium sized venues we could have coming up in the pipeline.

So I'm looking at miking options. This is not for recording, large stages or theaters.


the mixer he got is an 8 channel, but only 4 of the channels are XLR there's also three channels with quarter inch. He got ProFX8.

He was also saying that he has the Bass running to the Speakers because I guess the ones he got have built in mixer. I'm not a fan of that for a rock show.

So if we have vocal, Bass and guitar, that leaves me one XLR channel and one with spilt quarter inch or two channels with 4 quarter inch.

I'm thinking of just getting my own board, miking my kit through that and then running that to the other board.



I'm on the fence with how I want to mik the kit. Something like the Sabian Sound Kit might work in this instances, or maybe getting a really good 4 channel mixer, and some good quality mics. and just doing kick, snare, toms? or kick, snare, two overheads.

I've seen a lot of threads and posts saying that cymbals and hats will cut so just mik the kick, snare and toms. (I run a 1 up and two down but have been known to just use 1 floor tom for space on stage).

I have a basic understanding of what's going on with miking, but I'm not looking to run a studio, or spend hours doing this. I just need an easy solution and fairly cost effective (I know I'd rather spend a little more money for something good, than to keep replacing subpar gear) to help with practice and the few venues we'd play that I may have to mik my kit at.

Thank You.

J
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The main advice I can give is that 99% of the gigs I've played and run sound for..... I've basically used two mics on the drums. One on the BD and one up top. The up-top mic is either an overhead, or the snare mic. Even in instances where the kit was fully mic'ed, the proximity mics were to just bring the toms into the mix a bit, and were seldom essential. If you find all of the options daunting, there's no shame in simply buying a Shure PGA or similar kit. They typically do the job just fine without having to get cerebral about things.


You've got a lot of planning to do. Start a spreadsheet with parts and prices. Once you have a draft together, post it here and people will review. The beginning advice I would give is:

1: Pick vendors and stick with them (Example: Yamaha mains, subs,monitors, mixer, stands)
2: Advertised output ratings are bullshit.
3: Remain aware of power draw. You should be prepared to pug into a single 15A, or 2x15A, etc.
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
Kamak,

Thank you for the reply and advice. The last gig we played, the sound guy set me up with Kick, snare, rack and floor. That was it, no overheads, or hats. The recordings from peoples phone I got it sounded good. Mind you it was a narrow and long venue, but still for only those being miked, it came out sounding good.

I was hoping for some starting advice like you gave me. Then I was going to get down to brass tacks and start putting together a plan and seeing what people thought.

I have no issues, buying a kit like that albeit with the kit, stands, cables (if not included) and the mixer, It could get pricey. I was also thinking of just buying the pieces as needed. So for now a mixer, kick mic, snare mic.

I agree staying within a brand is a good idea, I've been told that it's ok to mix and match, but as long as everything works together.

J
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
Don't know much as to what different mics you should choose from, but I do know a thing or two about what all mics you should set up for the gig. In reality, every venue is different, and your kit will project differently. Sometimes cymbals will cut through the mix, sometimes you won't be able to hear them at all. Same goes with the rest of the kit usually. Unless you're playing in a low volume jazz group, starting with a bass and snare mic is your best bet. Then do a full band sound check and see what else you'll need to add, if any
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
Williamsbclontz,
Thank you for the reply. that's something to think about for sure. I feel like most places we'd have to use our own PA and mics the cymbals I use would cut through. But if we start getting into bigger places, I would hope they had all the needed sound gear we would need.

J
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
I have 8 mics---kick, snare, 3 toms, 2 LDC overheads, and a pencil condenser on the hats---I have an 8-channel rack mount mixer with individual volume and tone for each, master volume, and switchable phantom power for the condenser mics. Output is a single 1/4" so I only need 1 channel on the PA. I can use as many mics as I need, and control them from the throne, or run a snake to an off-stage control booth.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
[/IMG]

these are the mics

[/IMG]

this is the mixer (the purple cable is is the output to the PA)

[/IMG]

this is the mics on my studio kit
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
Thank You!!!


how do you like the Samson gear? I'm quite a newbie with sound gear. I know Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, Audix, CAD. other than that, I've seen brands like Pevey, EV, JBL, at Guitar Center.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
I am pleased with the Samson mics---they are specifically designed for each drum type---I also use the overheads by themselves to record rehearsals, and they do a great job!
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Thank You!!!


how do you like the Samson gear? I'm quite a newbie with sound gear. I know Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, Audix, CAD. other than that, I've seen brands like Pevey, EV, JBL, at Guitar Center.
Samson are a reasonably budget live choice. I've had some fair results with them in a studio setting but I've had much better results from other microphones - my current work studio has a set of Sontronics mics and a box of AKG drum mics (including a D112) that I quite like.

In terms of Samson power mixers, there's a 12-channel desk that I use for drama shows at work (and light sound duties) in one of the spaces and it's fine. It works, it does what it says it will. Deeply unspectacular but it does have a reasonable digital reverb, a usable EQ, a sensible layout and an adequate power amplifier. It's the least inspiring desk I've ever used but it is reliable and solid.

Mic choice is far less important than mic placement. You can get good results from appropriate budget mics placed superbly, you can get poor results from superb (appropriate) mics placed badly.

For a live environment, I've always gone with a more minimal approach - normally to minimise any line issues. Fundamentally, live sound usually has to be quick, efficient and easy to problem-solve. To that end, bass, snare, one overhead - usually a cardioid SDC placed fairly close to the kit and basically central seems to get adequate results. In an ideal World, you'd have a quasi-studio setup but there is very rarely the time and channels available to do it.

Frankly, when I'm mixing a live band, the vocals get proportionally more time than anything else. Most of my live mixing time (and material, at the moment) involves vocals and it is what the majority of the audience the majority of the time (ignoring 'specialist' audiences) are actually listening to. This isn't to sound disheartening or to denigrate drummers but in my experience, the number of people that really listen to what the drums sound like is very small (and usually consists of other drummers!).

All told, I wouldn't sweat it too much. Samson stuff will work fine. Learn about placement but remember that live is different from the studio and you absolutely must be practical above all else. It's unlikely you'll be able to get mics exactly where you want them all the time. Learn the 'ideal' and learn 'what works', then combine the two when appropriate!
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
So understanding that what I'm trying to do live and with practice would the Sabian Sound Kit work, or is that just not a good option, when I can get a real mixer and a couple really great mics for almost the same cost or a just a little more?


Thank you
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
So understanding that what I'm trying to do live and with practice would the Sabian Sound Kit work, or is that just not a good option, when I can get a real mixer and a couple really great mics for almost the same cost or a just a little more?


Thank you
The sound mixer is a good product but I think you're much better off getting separates.

There isn't much of a price difference if you buy a separate system and the Sabian system is very limited if you want to expand it. The mics are decent with the Sabian system but nothing special that you can't get generically elsewhere and the recording functionality isn't worth it because of the poor quality of the files it produces (128 Kb/S MP3s). For not much more, you can buy a more flexible and useful mixer, similar microphones and accessories and have a system that whilst you can't record with it 'properly' (i.e. full digital mixdown), you do get genuine capability.

If you really need to record, you can just take a line out signal from a mixer and stick it into the 3.5mm audio in port on a laptop, recording with Audacity. It's not the best way of recording on to a computer (that requires a dedicated interface, etc.) but it beats Sabian system hands down because you can save it in whatever format and quality you like.

I don't mean to rag on the Sabian system but if the MP3 files it outputted were at least 192 Kb/S, I'd consider it a reasonable solution. 128 Kb/S, just isn't.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
Just to avoid confusion---the drum mixer is at the bottom of the picture---the Samson unit is the PA. As far as "budget" goes I have $900 in the whole package.
 

J-Moe

Member
My advice would be to buy an inexpensive interface and the best mics you can afford.

Buy an interface that can be used for live and/or recording. That way, you'll have one that you can use for both applications and get the most bang for your buck. For $99, you can get the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD. I have one and it's great. If you upgrade later, it would have been a solid short-term solution for minimal money.

For the mics, 4 is all you need for now. The Glyn Johns miking technique (https://www.recordingrevolution.com/the-glyn-johns-drum-recording-method/) should work fine. All you'll need are 2 overhead mics (ideally large diaphragm condensers like the Audio-Technica AT2020), one kick mic (dynamic or condenser like the Shure PGA52), and one snare mic (usually a dynamic like a Shure SM-57).

So $500 gets you a live and recording rig that should serve you well for a while.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Interesting. Generally I don't recommend Glyn Johns for live applications for four reasons:

i) It requires quite a lot of precise measurement to be effective and not have phase issues - which in a live environment is difficult with the usual time constraints, not to mention the practical matter of players getting up and swapping around. It's easy to knock the stand behind the kit and then you're back to square one.

ii) The mic at the back requires a lot more stage space than most stages I've seen have.

iii) A mic facing forward in a live situation is usually a bad idea. You tend to pick up a lot of the stage monitors this way and the potential for feedback is high.

iv) It's at least one more channel than you need to use. Three will do most of the time. If you're putting this much effort into micing the drums, you've got a lot of setup time...

Simply put, stereo micing on stage just isn't necessary most of the time. A mono overhead is usually more than enough, at least in most of the small-scale applications we're discussing.

I also don't quite see how a 4x4 USB interface is a good fit for live applications. Are you proposing sending a submix to the FOH? If I were engineering, I wouldn't let somebody else mix the drums before sending them to me unless I knew them well. As a FOH engineer, what comes out of those speakers is entirely my responsibility, so unless I had a pre-existing relationship with the person doing a submix, there's no way I would allow that. Given that it's a USB interface, wouldn't you also need a laptop? Far too much to go wrong for most of the live scenarios the OP is talking about...
 
Last edited:

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Give the Bass and Guitar 2 of the 1/4" instrument jacks, the singer gets an XLR and that leaves you with 3 xlr jacks for your drums. Sounds like a good situation to do a 3 mic Glyn Johns technique.
 

J-Moe

Member
Are you proposing sending a submix to the FOH?
Yes, I forgot to mention that.

If I were engineering, I wouldn't let somebody else mix the drums before sending them to me unless I knew them well.
Perhaps incorrectly, I'm assuming that the OP is playing small joints where a FOH engineer doesn't exist.

Given that it's a USB interface, wouldn't you also need a laptop? Far too much to go wrong for most of the live scenarios the OP is talking about...
Good call. I thought you could bypass the computer, but probably not. The OP could instead get a small mixer like a Behringer Xenyx 1002B Mixer for $99.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think you should function as a sub-mixer sending signal to the main PA on your own. Then you eliminate any kind of confusion as to how to wire everything up.

If you can swing it, find yourself a Mackie 1402 VLZ, which gives you six XLR inputs just for you (and it also has a few channels that take 1/4"), but six is a good number. Then get enough Shure SM57's to cover the drums, and one good mic for an overhead, like a AKG SE33B. That should fill up six, right? Then just send one cable from you to the main PA and mix away from there.

I have a Mackie 1604 VLZ3 I can use just for me, or as a main PA console since it has 16-channels of XLR, 8 direct outs, 8 aux sends, 4 busses, - it definitely gives me a lot of options. But I play a 4-piece kit, so I have options to mic all the drums with a couple of overheads, or just the bass, snare, and an overhead, or...etc.,... If you're talking making the investment, doing it once is a good idea. Get as big a console as you can afford (or want), and just let it give you as many options as you can get. It should be at least somewhat "almost upper-end" because the circuitry will just be better and clean. Some of those old style "brain" mixers use inferior electronics and just make a lot of noise.

The neat thing is that I managed to find the console I have for only $250 used on eBay. Of course, there's a certain amount of risk there making sure what you buy actually works, but I have access to people who can test and fix the stuff, and I've been lucky meeting honest sellers so far.
 
Top