Overhead Microphone Applications

ToneT

Well-known member
What technique do you use for your overhead mics? XY, ORTF, NOS, Spaced pair? Are you using them to capture the stereo image of your entire kit or are you using them as cymbal-only mics? Over the set? In front of, or behind the set? I've used XY forever, but may even try underhead miking. Your thoughts, please.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
All of those methodologies are fine, in addition to Mid-side, GJ, and Recorderman.

Each one has a very specific sound**, does certain things well, and does certain things poorly. If you want exaggerated stereo, you go for spaced pair. If you want a faithful 60's feel, go with Glynn John. Glynn John not grabbing your ride correctly? Switch to Recorderman. Have super low ceilings or cannot logistically mic above the set? Go Mid-side.

I prefer LDC's. I prefer Spaced pair. Underhead mic'ing is generally used for live mic'ing / amplification. You can see that it isn't really used for stereo imaging, as much as instrument isolation. Super handy if you only have dynamic mics though.

Underhead example:

**With the exception of XY/ORTF commonalities. I certainly can't tell them apart, and it comes down to which gimbal/mount/clamp/clips I have on hand.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I’m in mono and use one. It’s about two stick lengths up over the center of the kit. Mono is the wave of the future.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
What technique do you use for your overhead mics? XY, ORTF, NOS, Spaced pair? Are you using them to capture the stereo image of your entire kit or are you using them as cymbal-only mics? Over the set? In front of, or behind the set? I've used XY forever, but may even try underhead miking. Your thoughts, please.
Spaced pair typically. Full kit capture. Over the kit typically but I want to try some different things. My ceiling is pretty low and I get pretty tight to it at times. There is absorption behind them which helps a lot but I wonder if there are better options.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I’m in mono and use one. It’s about two stick lengths up over the center of the kit. Mono is the wave of the future.
Worth noting for posterity....

Mid-Side stereo will accurately sum to mono. If we ever find ourselves in a situation where we don't know what we want, or want to provide both mono & stereo, Mid-Side is the solution.

While I will concede that other methodologies can be summed to mono (just pan everything to center, duh), it's not the same as real mono, as you will inevitably loose something due to phase.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I've been doing a faux-ORTF with a pair of AEA R84 ribbon mics for the last few months. It picks up every part of the kit with a well defined stereo image, everything sounds super fat and full, and it still sums well to mono.

I also just recorded a demo of a '64 Ludwig kit, tore out my Gretsches from their spot, and redid the whole mic setup in a Glyn Johns-type arrangement, with the addition of close tom mics and a mono room mic. Sounds great, but the cymbals have a bit of a strange image, like they're both coming from both sides of the stereo field at the same time, but separately.

And for most rock records where someone else comes in to the studio I usually go with a spaced pair of whatever mics give me the sound I want. For fat and full, ribbons get used, for bright and crisp I break out the KM184s, for clean and detailed I use my 414s.

I don't like Mid-Side for drum overheads; the stereo image is not what I'm looking for out of what is usually over half the sound of the kit. For room mics it's wonderful though.
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
If I'm recording with a four-mic setup, I came down to ORTF as overheads (with two Octava MK012 cardiod). I did a lot of testing until I found a position for the mic array which gives a good stereo image of the drums and the cymbals. I just posted an example of this setup in this thread. I almost always use this four-mic approach when I'm recording the drums only.
 
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