Recording with a 2 mic set-up

Grace :)

Senior Member
Hey everyone,

Just a quick question for anyone recording with a 2 mic set up

I have a 2 mic set up with a sennheiser e602 on the kick and a cheaper ribbon mic as an overhead. I'm pretty happy with the kick sound and the EQ I have on there, but I'm not sure where to start with EQ on a single overhead when that's all you have to pick up the whole kit.

Does anyone have any pointers on a good starting point for overhead EQ if you haven't got close mics on the kit, or is it best to leave this natural?

I only use this set-up to record demos, so I'm not expecting anything amazing, but at the same time it would be nice to get the best sound possible out of what I have - so any tips would be greatly appreciated!
 

Jhostetler

Senior Member
First step is placement. There are all kinds of threads here on DW and plenty of resources online to hep determine the placement of a single overhead mic. When I recorded with this setup I liked to have the overhead pointed directly at the center of the snare. Keeping that in mind capturing a good snare sound should be the focus of the overhead mic. Of course this depends on the type of music you are recording for but generally speaking your bass and snare drums will be the backbone of your kit. The toms and cymbals will follow.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Recommendation:

1: Make sure the overhead is in phase with the BD mic. Do not flip the BD phase, flip the overhead phase, as speakers are designed to project bass outwards, not inwards.

2: To EQ the overhead, open a variable notch. Sweep through the spectrum @ +6DB (or 9, whatever you can hear). Note desirable frequencies. Note undesirable frequencies. Bump the desirables ~3db at a time, cut the undesirables ~3db at a time.

Once you get used to it, the above takes about 30 seconds.

Check out this guys chan and see if he has a relevant vid.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSCwzZX29jTILlsP4MhjQvg
 
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Grace :)

Senior Member
Jhostetler - thanks for the heads up on placement, it's definitely something I should spend more time on to work out where's best, so I'll have a look at that

KarmaK - thanks for all the suggestions, sounds like I need to start training my ears a bit! I'll have a play around with sweeping through the spectrum this weekend and see how I get on.
I also checked out the youtube link you sent over - I noticed he has a video on recording drums with 1 mic and how to EQ it, which I'm finding really helpful
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Recommendation:

1: Make sure the overhead is in phase with the BD mic. Do not flip the BD phase, flip the overhead phase, as speakers are designed to project bass outwards, not inwards.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSCwzZX29jTILlsP4MhjQvg
absolute polarity won't make any difference. If you actually mean phase then you can likely do that only at a single frequency anyway so why worry.

My suggestion regarding overhead placement will be to watch the distance from the ceiling, especially considering a ribbon is a figure of eight pattern. If the ceiling is 30 feet tall no problem but if you only have a couple of feet then raising or lowering the mic a foot can make a major difference in the frequency response of that mic. Just move it until it sounds as good as it can.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Placement is number 1.

move them further back behind you for more toms/snare.

over cymbals for more cymbals.

out front for more kick and room sound.

number 2, phasing, I play with it. it may not need to be adjusted. you have to try it and see what sounds better.


as far as eq? I'd put a bit of compression on it for sure. Not a ton though.

You need to do some light eq forsure and take away some unwanted frequencys, but without the mix its tough to say what they are. I usualy make a dip and move it around with my mouse, when the overtones I don't want go away I adjust as needed. there's usually a few around 200,500 etc I remove. It depends on your room, your drums, your playing, your mics, etc.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
absolute polarity won't make any difference. If you actually mean phase then you can likely do that only at a single frequency anyway so why worry.

My suggestion regarding overhead placement will be to watch the distance from the ceiling, especially considering a ribbon is a figure of eight pattern. If the ceiling is 30 feet tall no problem but if you only have a couple of feet then raising or lowering the mic a foot can make a major difference in the frequency response of that mic. Just move it until it sounds as good as it can.

I made acoustic panels to hang off the ceiling. I have 8 foot ceilings and it made a night and day difference on my overheads.

The splash back was awful before. They sound great now.


This is even more important with a one/two mic setup.. You may be good having the mic a few feet behind you or in front and not right by the ceiling. You could try puting something over top of it like an umbrella of dense absorbent material to try and get rid of some of the rebounded sound.
 

VitalTransformation

Silver Member
Recommendation:

1: Make sure the overhead is in phase with the BD mic. Do not flip the BD phase, flip the overhead phase, as speakers are designed to project bass outwards, not inwards.
I know you're knowledgeable about many thinks KamaK, that's why I had to reread this statement a few times. But it still doesn't make sense... By "flip" I gather you mean polarity, not phase. Solo a kick track and listen. Flip the polarity and listen again. No difference... A speaker will always both suck and blow, no matter the absolute polarity of a waveform.


Edit: Oops, dboomer beat me to it!

It can be useful to time-align the two tracks (phase) in order to optimize punch, but usually their "natural" temporal relationship sounds the least "weird" to me, esp when only using two mics.
 
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KamaK

Platinum Member
Flip the polarity and listen again. No difference...
You are correct... On your speakers. It's also correct on 99.9% of audio systems on the market.

I am only a believer because I own two different audio systems that demonstrate the issue. One is a pair of United-Air in-flight headphones. The other is a 70's Reel-to-reel/8-track combo player with built in speakers. I always sanity check my work through the reel-to-reel using its aux-in.

I'll see if I can get an audible demonstration with my iPhone.
 

chris J

Senior Member
I know you're knowledgeable about many thinks KamaK, that's why I had to reread this statement a few times. But it still doesn't make sense... By "flip" I gather you mean polarity, not phase. Solo a kick track and listen. Flip the polarity and listen again. No difference... A speaker will always both suck and blow, no matter the absolute polarity of a waveform.


Edit: Oops, dboomer beat me to it!

It can be useful to time-align the two tracks (phase) in order to optimize punch, but usually their "natural" temporal relationship sounds the least "weird" to me, esp when only using two mics.
In the context of this conversation "phase" and "polarity" mean the same thing.
You are correct, you want to hear if the overhead and BD mic sound better if you flip the polarity of one mic, or NOT flip the polarity of one mic out of the two.
 

chris J

Senior Member
absolute polarity won't make any difference. If you actually mean phase then you can likely do that only at a single frequency anyway so why worry.
No, you are flipping the polarity (or inverting the phase) of all frequencies.
 
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