Using overheads live (in small clubs/outdoor areas)

NerfLad

Silver Member
I think I want to run a bass drum mic and a single SDC overhead on some of our gigs to get a little drum sound in the P.A. Not a ton, we still play close enough to our audiences and on small enough gigs that full-scale reinforcement with close mics just isn't necessary. I tune pretty open so the overhead should pick up the toms no problem. Is auxiliary bleed going to be out of control if I try this? Usually I'm pretty close to the amplifiers... I'm sure it will need to be placed dramatically lower than I'm used to for recording. Any input, experience, smart remarks?

Thanks,
Eric
 

Drum-El

Member
It's really going to be all in the mic and how you position it. I will say this. I run a mono overhead for my in ear monitor rig. It doesn't go to the PA, but just lets me hear my cymbals better with the in ears in. There's so much bleed from the singer's monitor, that I don't need any vocals in the cue mix at all. If I were running it in the PA though, I'd position it differently.
 

chachi

Junior Member
Here is a great tip (at least I think so) when it comes to micing a drumset with one OH and one kick-mic.

Place the Overhead looking over your left shoulder from behind pointing to the snare.
This will give you a nice snare, tom and hihat sound without the cymbals being too prominent.

If the hihat is too prominent do the same thing with the right shoulder.

This can also be combined nicely with a snare bottom mic.

Watch to not point it at the monitor though.

Fabian
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Eric, on smaller gigs, I use a pair of Rode NT5's as overheads + a D112 on bass drum. On super tight stages, I tend to lower the overheads & fire them forward in to the kit. Essentially peaking over my shoulders at around 2 foot above shoulder height when I'm sat at the kit. Never any bleed issues like that, & the toms get picked up nicely. With a bit more stage room, I raise them up & position as standard to get a better stereo image, then usually close mic too. I never mic the snare when using our own PA, but I do at festival gigs, otherwise it freaks out the engineer ;)
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I'll go a bit against the conventional wisdom here. I own a small sound reinforcement company doing small corporate things and street festivals. The kind of thing where you can basically hear the drums but you want to just "reinforce" them a bit. SDCs are for recording cymbals. Live in a large venue you can use them on hi-hats and to pick up the top end of cymbals although more and more folks are using LDCs for cymbal overheads. This is when all the toms are close mic'd.

In a smaller venue, the cymbals carry pretty well. You will also get a fair amount of cymbal in the frontline vocal mics. Solo these mics into cans sometime when nobody is singing into one, mostly you will hear cymbal, especially from the front and center lead vocalist mic that's directly in front of the kit. If there's enough cymbal in the room, you may only need a kick and snare mic. Especially if you are going for a fat deep snare sound that doesn't cut. In fact, outdoors, tom mics may be more useful than overheads since the sound of the toms dissipates while the cymbals get in everything.

In a 2 or 3 mic situation I put an SM57 overhead, directly over and pointed at the snare. The balance of a dynamic (without the hyped top end) will pick up the snare and toms and not be overly saturated with cymbal ping or wash. This also approximates the balance of the kit that the drummer hears (the over the shoulder thing).

Here's a little experiment you can do to prove this to yourself. Record a ride cymbal with an SDC. Run it though a parametric eq or something where you can adjust the high shelving frequency. Set the shelf to a nice gentle 6dB/octave and while listening, turn the frequency knob without looking at the numbers until the playback of the cymbal sounds to your ears like it does when you're playing it. Now look at where you've set the cutoff. Probably below 10kHz. Maybe as low at 5k but IME somewhere around 7k sounds real. Now why did you pick that SCD over a dynamic? Because cymbals have high frequencies and you need it?
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
I have been using very dark, dry cymbals that get lost under the guitars and usually our singer faces his mic off-axis from the kit. I think If I could get some cymbal body and bass drum in the PA it would help. I'll try my i5 as an overhead first and see how that works. With some of the added sparkle from my SDC's (ADX51's) on our recordings they sounded perfect -- not too bright. However I think a powered condenser will be too sensitive for a live application so I like the idea of a dynamic overhead. Will report back when I get the chance to try it.
 

denisri

Silver Member
I offer this based on my experiance....small room-no mic, little larger room-overhead, little larger- mic on bass, snare, overhead. Larger rooms will have house PA full close mic. Denis
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Just on bias, using a dynamic as an overhead screams all kinds of wrong to me but Aeolian makes a very compelling case for it in this instance. I would advise just experimenting at home. I run two SDC omnis with an LDD bass drum mic as my own personal monitoring rig when I'm practicing and I'll be experimenting more with positioning tomorrow. If you are running drumless tracks for practice and isolating headphones, you can get a fair idea of where you are mix-wise. If you want to simulate a 'gig', stick a vocal mic up six feet away from your kit and work out which parts of the kit bleed.

It's not the same as doing it on gigs but it's definitely worth playing with.
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
Just on bias, using a dynamic as an overhead screams all kinds of wrong to me but Aeolian makes a very compelling case for it in this instance. I would advise just experimenting at home. I run two SDC omnis with an LDD bass drum mic as my own personal monitoring rig when I'm practicing and I'll be experimenting more with positioning tomorrow. If you are running drumless tracks for practice and isolating headphones, you can get a fair idea of where you are mix-wise. If you want to simulate a 'gig', stick a vocal mic up six feet away from your kit and work out which parts of the kit bleed.

It's not the same as doing it on gigs but it's definitely worth playing with.
I too reeled in horror the first time I saw a live sound guy put a single sm57 overtop of my kit, but it worked, man...

That's a good idea. Ever since I gave my brother a kit, I haven't had anywhere to practice though :\

Another question: Are there any kind of small in-line limiters I can use between my mixer and my IEM's? I don't want to blow my ears out in the event of feedback. My monitors haven't arrived yet but I'm sure I need to start looking into this...
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Google search took me all of two seconds and I found this:

http://www.rdlnet.com/product.php?page=242

Looks solid to me.

EDIT:

I know Canford used to make small in-line limiters at different input and output sensitivities that were permanently attached to the cable. Unfortunately I can't seem to find them on their website. That was a real idiot-proof solution.
 
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