Miking up drums

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irish_admiral
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Miking up drums

Post by irish_admiral » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:19 pm

Hi all

Anyone have much experience with drum mics? We're looking to start miking up a drum kit at church in a few months, and am looking for some decent quality used kit that we can slowly add to. Want to keep it fairly simple to start off with... so kick, snare & overhead(s).

We've got a pair of Shure Beta 57s that I was going to use for kick & snare initially, and then I was going to find a pair of overheads for the toms and cymbals. We'll then get a dedicated kick drum mic and eventually get tom mics, if necessary.

So the overheads i'm looking at are some Rode NT5s, which I heard work well for that. What sort of used price might I find? New, they're about £230 in the UK.

Any other suggestions?
Joe

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Ohara
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by Ohara » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:55 pm

I wish I could be of more help, there was only one show I played where we needed to mic up the drums, well more than the kick and an ambient mic. What we did was rent a drum mic set (can't remember the make for 100% but I am almost positive it was a shure set) from a local music store. We worked out a deal ahead of time that if we liked and decided to buy we would get refunded the price of the rental and have it put towards the cost of the mic kit. It worked good, but I think to do it properly you also need to have a mixer dedicated to the drum mix as they were unfortunately very dominating in the mix (house pa and sound guy so that could have also been a factor lol). But if I were looking into mics for the drums I would check into buying a set, worst case you will have more than you need, but it was nice to have mics on the toms, especially when we did Sympathy for the Devil.
You might find a kit on ebay (ya I know everyone says that, but it is true) that is reasonably priced, or ask your local store if they have any rentals they would like to sell, as I have also purchased amps this way in the past and got great deals.
Sorry I couldn't be more help in steering you in the right direction, but it gives you a couple of ideas.
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Borderline Productions
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by Borderline Productions » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:03 pm

The 57 will work for the snare and the bass drum. When you are ready for better bass drum mic, I have liked the AKG D112. It is a dynamic mic and doesn't need phantom power.

For overheads, some people swear by ribbons, but they need lots of preamp and they can warp with phantom power and may not do well outside of a studio setting as far as wear and tear.

The better choice in your situation is a pair of overhead condensers. You can go either large or small diaphragm. I have used cheap NADY cardoid large diaphragms and had them sound great. I have used Neumann TLM103 and have it sound even better. The upper range boost that makes them a great vocal mic can make the cymbals sound a little shrill. I have used AKG C1000s as a stereo pair and they sounded pretty good if you are thinking small diaphragm on a budget. I just got a Violet Gold Finger which sounds incredible on percussion (about $400-$500 each), but I only have one, so I haven't tried it as an overhead. I like a condenser on the hi-hat, but that's me. 57 will work for toms, but micing the toms are the last priority. The nice thing about the 57s is you can use them for lots of other things.
Bob

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baytamusic
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by baytamusic » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:34 pm

irish_admiral wrote:Hi all

Anyone have much experience with drum mics? We're looking to start miking up a drum kit at church in a few months, and am looking for some decent quality used kit that we can slowly add to. Want to keep it fairly simple to start off with... so kick, snare & overhead(s).

We've got a pair of Shure Beta 57s that I was going to use for kick & snare initially, and then I was going to find a pair of overheads for the toms and cymbals. We'll then get a dedicated kick drum mic and eventually get tom mics, if necessary.

So the overheads i'm looking at are some Rode NT5s, which I heard work well for that. What sort of used price might I find? New, they're about £230 in the UK.

Any other suggestions?
Those Rode mics should work well. You may also want to consider Large Diaphragm condensers. I'd pick up a bass drum mic too and use your 57 on the snare. You'll be able to get a good drum sound with four mics assuming the kit sounds good and the room sounds ok. Miking toms is tough sometimes, I'd avoid it if it isn't absolutely necessary. You could always use your spare 57 on a tom if it's really important in a specific song.

I'd look into the Sterling Audio condenser mics too. Word is they are pretty good for the price.

My suggestions are more for recording though.

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Re: Miking up drums

Post by David Verb » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:00 am

In my home studio I use a Beta 52 for the kick drum, SM57's for snare, toms, and hi-hats each, and the NT5 matched pairs for the overheads.

In my opinion it makes for a pretty accurate mix.

What's more important is your placement in the room for good acoustics.

I think if you would like to keep it low cost, just use your 57's for the essentials and NT5's for the overheads.
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blacklight_uk
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by blacklight_uk » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:25 am

For live stuff you're probably better off with small diaphragm condensers as they're much more directional than LDCs (tighter polar pattern and therefore less spill). Most common live mics I've seen for overheads are the Shure SM81s, though they're pricey for a pair.

I've used the Beyerdynamic Opus 83s in the studio before and actually preferred them to mics costing 20 times as much on certain kits (more specifically quite washy, thick cymbals as they tend to give a tighter, more focused sound). Good example of right tool for the right job. For £115 each they're a steal.

You could also look at a pair of used AKG C451s - pencil condensers again, slightly brighter than the Opus 83s and another common sight at gigs.
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irish_admiral
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by irish_admiral » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:21 am

Hi guys

Thanks for the advice: any other options, keep them coming. We meet in a big conferencing room at Cardiff City stadium, and placement is - unfortunately - out of my hands mainly. We're going to encounter some problems, I know, but it was mainly getting a feel for a few options for small diaphragm mics which aren't too pricey, and might crop up used.
Joe

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riffmonster
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by riffmonster » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:51 am

We mostly don't bother miking the drums as they are flippin loud enough!

The odd times we do I've found a couple of overheads seem to do a good job of putting some drums into the mix (usually sm57s).

We were using kick and snare mics, but were having loads of feedback problems so have stopped using them. I had bought some cheapo chinese mics for the drum kit, OK for recording but not that good in a live noisy situation imo.

:D
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irish_admiral
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by irish_admiral » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:55 am

Yeah, i'm aware i'm going to have to put a gate on the mics to stop errant howling.
Joe

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ESBlonde
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by ESBlonde » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:45 am

OK some things to consider.

Snare can be loud, unless you have to process it (comp/reverb) do you have to mic it directly?
Technique and placement of mics is far more critical than anything else, EQ and processing are small fry by comparison.
Do you have adequate PA and I really mean low end power and or subs here.
Is this for one drummer or is it a hot seat?

I'm going to recommend good old school technique with 3 mics. Thats two overheads and a kick drum. The Beta 57as will work, get them inside and facing the beater contact point about 5" away, that gives the best attack/body/separation. If you have an old SM57 laying about unused - remove the transformer (hidden in the goo in the handle) and connect the capsual direct to the mic input of the desk to create a Shure Bass drum mic. The transformer overloads and distorts badly). When you get the shopping list together I recommend the Audix D7 kick drum mic - easy to place and very responsive too without that pre scooped tone of the Shure Beta52 (which I have too but rarely use).

For overhead(s) octavia make some nice quality condensers at reasonable money and they certainly punch above their weight. If you want a nice budget mic kit then Superlux is good or Red5 and upgrade the kick mic for each when you can. Another overhead choice would be the Red5 condensers, they do a pair for about £100 and mine seem very capable for the money.

For overhear position, form the heads together in the XY position and have them come over the drummers right shoulder pointing at the line halfway between the kick drum hoops. These will pick up everything nicely and then blend in Kick drum for flavour. This works reasonably well with a single condenser overhead.

Do not be afraid to experiment with positions but this will be a good start and for most drummers/kits. The problem comes from inexperienced players that can't control their dynamics and insist on thrashing the snare - but you have that problem without mics anyway ;-)

Red5
http://www.red5audio.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Superlux
http://www.millennium-music.co.uk/produ ... key/p/ppp/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There are plenty of online guides of 'How To' for drum mic techniques so read up a lot and then incorporate that into your own technique.

HTH
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irish_admiral
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by irish_admiral » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:20 pm

Yo...

It will be a hot seat, and i'm going to have to teach my PA guys to tech for drums, hence I want to go for simple techniques to begin with.

Currently have no subs, but i've warned out pastor that the sound will be a bit anaemic when we go to full drums without them. The bass sounds a little wimpish as it is. We've currently got 4 Mackie SRM450s.

I'd seen the Red5 mics - they were on my radar as one possible kit to get, but I didn't know whether i'd end up getting rid of the rest of the kit at some point. Hence i'd prefer to just build up a good kit from what we've got, which is a couple of the Beta 57s, a couple of SM58s, and a Senn e845. Bear in mind I need some of those mics for vocals & guitar. Hence the plan was to go with a 3 or 4 mic setup on the kit to begin with, and to be honest, that would probably be fine for a while.

Ideally, i'd prefer not to have to upgrade mics again, hence I was willing to buy decent stuff used if I see it going.
Joe

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ESBlonde
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by ESBlonde » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:05 pm

In that case don't waste money on a special kick mic yet, any advantage will be wasted without some subs. I'd get a pair of the Red5 condensers or the superlux equivalent (S241) and use one of the Shures in the kick - Make sure there is a hole in the resonant head if you mic up regularly or remove the head completely, third choice is to mic the resonant head and usually about 1/4 way in from the edge and hope the percussive/click gets picked up by the overheads.

Nice superlux with lots of features value. They get good reviews
http://www.thomann.de/gb/superlux_s241.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

scroll down to the RV4s - I use a pair of these live.
http://www.red5audio.com/acatalog/Condensor_Mics.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Be aware that to get kick drum tone those little mackies are gonna get beat hard and have the available headroom sapped for other concurrent audio. Thats why subs have BIG power amps and are capable of 2 or 3 times the handling of the rest of the system. Big boom you won't get but a better balance is possible, however if the vocals and keys and acoustic instruments are already using most of the available headroom don't expect water into wine ;-)

HTH
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irish_admiral
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by irish_admiral » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:33 pm

Yeah, I know. It's currently money we don't have. I oversee PA, so just keep quietly buying things we need rather than getting cheap 12 month bodges that we can afford. However, subs are a little more obvious, so i'll have to have a conversation with the budget holders. Luckily i'm the church accountant, and I know how much money they have, so I can't be fobbed off that easily.

The aim is to get a pair of subs that will see us through until we need to make a major investment in PA gear (talking tens of thousands), so i'd probably just get a pair of Mackie 15 inchers, because we're not going to need too much welly at the moment. We're about 140 in services right now. I'd expect that to get up towards 200 towards next summer, and more thereafter. Realistically, we're not going to make a major PA investment for a good handful of years, so it's just a case of bodging through in the meantime.

I'll see what the Rodes go for, or any of the others mentioned, and if they're round about £100, i'll get them. If they go way over, i'll look into the Superluxes or Red5s.
Joe

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ESBlonde
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by ESBlonde » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:38 pm

Joe some thoughts on your bottom end :oops:

Do you have a competent joiner/woodworker in the congregation? It might be possible to build nice looking boxes that are part of the architecture for a reasonable amount of money. Bass cab design is specialist but there is a whole bunch of info online so you can select the drivers and then design the enclosure to suit the driver and incorporate it into the podium/steps whatever. Then you just new a big ol’ amplicator. BUT like so many things audio, placement makes a whole bunch of difference ( i.e. look up half space loading). Failing that some used Pro bins stripped down and painted.

I can’t help thinking that if the drums need to get above that Mackie PA you have, then the PA is fairly stretched already and getting a balanced drum kit sound above that is a significant volume jump which might require a mindset change from some traditional worshipers? Not that I know, just raising issues you didn’t know you had. :lol: To that end it might be interesting to borrow something one weekend to demonstrate the possibilities to those that nodd decisions through. OK no more politics now.
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irish_admiral
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Re: Miking up drums

Post by irish_admiral » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:53 pm

Lol, i'd just as soon keep away from my bottom end. It's oversized enough as it is.

On topic, we moved to Cardiff to help start this new church, so have seen it through from 20 people to 120 and onwards. The church the original founding group came from is a fairly big 'un... we're talking 800+ people in services, and some meetings which are much larger. The music is basic rock 5-piece band, contemporary style, and they've got a good EV rig in there which shifts a considerable amount of air.

Our demographic is also reasonably young, so we're happy with the idea of volume (even with our current 'acoustic' setup, we'll still get 90-95db at the desk quite happily), and i've got a number of mates who do PA in big churches, and have done PA on a professional or semi-pro basis before. Only none of them are in Cardiff.

The main issue is getting the church leadership to fork out money on decent PA gear when they (a) have other priorities for limited church cash, and rightly so, but (b) forget or just don't realise how much decent gear costs.

I'm educating them on (b), with the help of some friends who do PA at similarly large churches, but there's not much we can do about (a) unless people dig a bit deeper into their pockets.

The other thing to consider is that we rent space - we don't have our own building - and the guys I have doing PA are adequate at best... principally as i've taught them from scratch, and I don't know that much. Otherwise i'd have looked at lining up a fixed installation pronto, got a digital desk and just saved settings for everything.

So we need a rig which is reasonably portable - it has to go back to our storage place in a white van & trailer - and isn't going to cost too much, because when we do get a fixed location for the church, i'll look at spending a lot of money on something good.

Miking up the drum kit will just happen so as to provide some balance to the sound really. When we get drums, i'll shove them in there purely acoustically, and show the leadership team what it sounds like when we don't mic up.

No pipe organ & pews to tear up here...
Joe

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