Drum Set Mic Kits - Any good ones?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by AshlandBump, Jan 26, 2005.


  1. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Member

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    I've heard mixed things about those drum set microphone kits (5-7 mics, made by Nady, Samson, Shure, etc.). Are there any decent sets out there for less than $250? We'd be using it recording and for live situations. Our drummer has a bass drum, one riding tom, one floor tom, snare, two riding cymbals and a high hat.

    Any suggestions or opinions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Here's a couple of unique sets to check out from Earthworks...

    http://www.earthworksaudio.com/

    I use a matched pair of Earthworks TC40Ks for overheads, a Sure Beta 52 for kick, an Audix D1 for snare, and AKG C418s for toms.

    Of course, that's a lot more than $250 for a set, but you asked for opinions, so there you have it. :D
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I considered posting mine but decided it wasn't "meaningful" enough.
     
  4. amper

    amper Member

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    Sorry, I can't recommend any below $250, but I will tell you that what I'm using on drums to record our new album is 3 Shure Beta 57A's (rack tom, floor tom, snare--also good on guitar amps), 1 Shure Beta 52A (kick drum, doubles on bass amps), and two M-Audio Solaris large-diaphragm condensors (overheads, double on vocals and everywhere, really) in mid-side stereo. Figure about $140 a pop for Beta 57A's, $170 for the Beta 52A, and $300 each for the M-Audio's, street price.

    I was going to go with Shure KSM44's for the overheads, but at $700 a piece, I couldn't afford them. KSM27's are also about $300, but they only have one pattern (cardioid), and I wanted a multi-pattern mic (for the figure-8 for M-S stereo). The Solaris' are fairly well-rated.

    So, a grand total of about $1200 for mics, but the Shure's are industry standards, and can be used for a variety of tasks. Also, they will always be in demand if I decide to ever re-sell them. Cheap drum mics *might* be OK, but you probably won't ever want to use them for anything else.

    Shure has a kit with 3 SM57's and a Beta 52A. I'm not sure why they don't offer a similar kit with Beta 57A's inplace of the SM57's. I'd sure like to have a purpose built case for my mics.

    Eventually, I will probably go ahead and get the KSM44's, but my studio budget is blown for this year...
     
  5. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    What is the purpose of your recording? You really aren't going to get very far with your budget, but I think you can get something adequate for a demo.

    First off, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't had much success recording drums, so discount my comments appropriately. What I think I know is that most people rely on the overhead microphones for their main drum sound and then add in the other specific microphones (snare, kick, hi-hat, toms) to get the mix that they want. I've head plenty of recordings with just overheads and maybe a kick and snare drum added that sound great. Heck, some people just put a single microphone in front of the kit and call it a day. Honestly, drums bleed so much anyways that every mic is going to pick up the whole kit to some extent.

    I'd suggest that you look at some of the cheap small diaphragm condensors microphones that are on the market for use as overheads. The Oktava MC012 mics got a lot of positive recommendations on another thread, so that might be a good place to start. Check eBay for low prices, as Guitar Center sold these at $99 for a pair when they were getting rid of them. Then you'll probably want a kick mic and a snare mic. I know plenty of people who have used an SM57 on a snare. You can find these new for $80, less on eBay. I'm not sure what to recommend for a kick, though there are plenty on the market. Maybe budget another $75 for a used one. All told, I think you could get the overheads, snare, and kick mic within your budget. Then you'll need stands and cables. I'm assuming you have a mixer to use as mic preamps.

    I think my main shortcomings when recording drums have been the room that I was recording in and not experimenting enough with placement. If your room sounds bad, I think your drums are going to sound bad.

    I wouldn't sink your budget in to microphones for the toms and hi-hat yet. Good luck!

    Bryan
     
  6. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    Amateur/home recordist here. I bought the inexpensive kit and have been happy with results, but there are some other factors in the recording equaltion.

    Kit: One of those $140 3-tom + 1-bass mic package dealios from MusicFiend, in a hard case. I was pleasantly surprised at how solid the pieces were, including the mounting hardware. I then put an SM57 on the snare/hi-hat and one overhead.

    I then ran the mic cables into an inexpensive mixer, and the stereo out signal has the drums arranged and panned from right to left.

    Lastly, the stereo out signal goes into an inexpensive compressor, then into two channels of the recorder.

    Points to make: The quality of the recording also depends on what you do with the drum mics' signals: mixing, panning, and compressing. I also am able to gate the drum mics (at the compressor) so that the loud guitars and bass don't bleed into the drum mics on a live recording.

    Kiwi
     
  7. bigroy

    bigroy Member

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    For live, try a good kick mic (AKG D112) and a midpriced studio condenser type for an overhead (AKG 3000 or Rode NT1).

    We used this for years on our drum kit. We mix from stage, and got great results. Place the condenser facing the kit over the rack toms, with the pickup pattern aimed equidistant between the snare and toms....... Experiment....... I may have some recordings featuring that setup. Email me if you want to hear an example. It does a good job in catching most of the drums, and some nice ambience.

    We only abandoned that technique because our drummer bought a set of DW's with the May system. But I still like the sound we got from the previous arrangement.
     
  8. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    Buy a cheap drum mic kit and spend the money on adecent set of drum heads it will matter more that expensive drum mics.

    Also do not mic drums too close especially the snare, people see PA set ups and think you have to get the mic 1 inch from the head but hey think about the sound of a drum kit is a lot more than the 120db's coming from the stick hitting a bit of plastic.

    four inches is close enough with any dynamic mic to get decent separation.

    Personally I go with a cheapo $75 bass drum mic and a beyer 201 on the snare with a $100 stereo electret as an overhead.

    My kit is a Sonor and I have spent hours tuning and damping the heads for recording.
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    This is a critical key to great recorded drum tone. Do I know how? Well, uh... no. Either the drummer does it himself or I hire a drum tech. Worth every penny, like hiring a piano tuner.

    I was talking to a percussionist last week about tuning his djembe... it looked to me like a major undertaking, a real pain in the ass. He told me yes, it is. He feels technique is more important than tuning, but that tuning makes the difference between a merely good drum track and a great one.

    He suggested I that if I want another djembe I get a Remo. They're easy. :)
     
  10. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    By the way, the Earthworks drum mic kit consists of 3 mics - 2 overheads and a kick mic, which also uses their new KickPad, in-line gadget, that basically EQs any mic to optimize it for kicks...

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/KickPad
     
  11. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Member

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    A lot to think about - thanks for the responses. I'll pass this along to our drummer.
     

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