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Minimal mics to record drums ques

chrisjnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,315
My band is looking to record a 4 piece drum set with minimal mics. What is the least we can get away with? We currently only have 4 SM57\58 mics. I am thinking sm57 on the snare, sm57 on the bass drum, sm57 on the hi hat, sm57 on the floor tom and two over head condensers to get everything else.

Technically I could run 8 mics into my XR16, but I dont want to buy a lot of expensive mics.
 
Messages
1,138
Sm57 by itself on the kick is gonna sound terrible.

Get a proper kick drum mic or you'll get a weak, amateurish sound.

57 on snare is great. Probably fine on Hi hat too.
Need 2 condenser mics overhead if you wish to record in stereo. 1 if mono drums are OK.

57/58 are called vocal mics for a reason.
If you want to get a decent sound, I'd recommend a kit like this at a minimum:
The kick mic leaves a little to be desired, but the rest of this kit sounds great.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PGADrumKit7
 

chrisjnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,315
Sm57 by itself on the kick is gonna sound terrible.

Get a proper kick drum mic or you'll get a weak, amateurish sound.

57 on snare is great. Probably fine on Hi hat too.
Need 2 condenser mics overhead if you wish to record in stereo. 1 if mono drums are OK.

57/58 are called vocal mics for a reason.
If you want to get a decent sound, I'd recommend a kit like this at a minimum:
The kick mic leaves a little to be desired, but the rest of this kit sounds great.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PGADrumKit7
While the mics look great, the idea of spending $500 on mics that will spend 99% of the time in the box in a closet is a problem for me. How about a budget bass drum mic and a couple MXL condensers?

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/audix-f6-kick-drum-bass-frequencies-microphone
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
I'd close mic every drum, forget the HH.

See if you can borrow or rent a decent pair of SDCs for OHs.

Use the 57 on the kick and blow in a sample, at mix time. Win/win.
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
4,981
Sm57 by itself on the kick is gonna sound terrible.

Get a proper kick drum mic or you'll get a weak, amateurish sound.
Yeah, not really. 57 inside the bass drum, shoved way up against the beater can be a great sound... a sound you've heard a bunch of records. Especially combined with an outside subkick and/or sample reinforcement its often a winner.

Ditch the hat mic. Nobody needs a hat mic. Maybe 3% of drummers need one.

My minimum, if we're miking everything and there's bleed from amps is 5... bass, snare, rack, floor & mono overhead. Overhead is usually somewhere in an arc that runs directly over center of the kit to looking over his head. Depends on the room, drums & balance of toms vs cymbals.

What other mics do you already own? Got a "vocal mic" like a cheap Chinese LDC? That's your overhead, especially if you don't want to spend any money! Mics are mics. In the real world they're rarely dedicated "kick mics" or "vocal mics" its just a microphone and they're multipurpose.

All of those cheap packages are garbage, better to buy a few good mics that you can use on anything and everything.
 

JCM 800

Member
Messages
6,614
The minimum need to record a kit is...

1. Sure, almost nobody does that but it can be done. I saw a video Eric Valentine did with a single mic on a kit and it sounded amazing! Of course he's Eric and has a nice studio and that one mic was a killer mic.

OK my real answer. The minimum I would prefer to use is 4. I've done it quite a bit with great results. D112 inside kick, SM57 on snare top and AT4050s for OHs. It can be freeing to work with minimal drum mics. If I have complete freedom, the right room and the gear, I would mic up every single drum and have at least 1 pair of rooms, possibly 2. It can be nice to have the option of using all the mics but it can be a big rabbit hole too. If you have the self control you can pick the best mics from all those for what's appropriate for the song. It could be just a pair, it could be every single one.
 
Messages
1,939
If you don't have experience miking kits I think mono is the way to go at first. That way you avoid phase issues that come from having stereo mics that are not equidistant from the source.

I've done demos with a single condenser in cardiod pattern about a foot in front of the kit, 7-8 feet up and pointing downward toward the snare. You'll have to play with the lateral placement to get the best balance of toms and cymbals. With a few minutes of experimentation you'll have a surprisingly full picture of the kit. Then add a second mic for the kick, since the mono OH mic will pick up very little of it. I've even used a 57 for this duty - yeah it's not a kick mic but it can sound just fine if the kick is tuned and damped we'll. Probably the easiest but most overlooked part of getting good drum sounds (besides the player) is tuning the kit well.

EDIT: Wanted to add that I used the CAD m179 as the mono OH. It's a great first large diaphragm condenser as it has variable patterns and a pad. Speaking of pads, this mic will be pumping out a hot signal so you match need an additional pad at the mic preamp/mixer to avoid clipping the preamp. If you run into this problem you can buy external pads, I think Shure makes a nice one that will pad the signal -20dB.
 
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champion ruby

Member
Messages
1,803
I pretty much stick to 2 mics + sometimes a snare mic or a max of 4 mics if I do GJ. 421 inside the bass drum and whatever I feel like for a low overhead which could be a C38b, 4038, M160, 441 or even an SM57 for certain drummer friends I don't trust around nice things.

Some minimal miking resources:
(second apogee link shows a neat placement for a low 57 OH)
http://www.apogeedigital.com/video/video-recording-drums-with-apogee-duet-2
http://www.apogeedigital.com/knowle...record-drums-with-two-microphones-and-duet-2/
http://blog.westlakepro.com/richard-swift-and-why-4-tracks-are-still-cool/ (Sm7b overhead and whatever kick mic)
 

tribedescribe

Member
Messages
698
Minimalist for me would be kick, snare and stereo OH. Ideally though since you have 57's I would mic the toms. I hate mono OH, and only like lead vox and bass in the center of my mix. For mic's you seem hung up on the fact they will only be used for drum. Why not look into some versatile dynamics like the heil pr30/40, md421 or sm7b? In addition to kick they can be used for electric guitar and/or vocals. For Overheads get a pair of sdc like shure ksm137 or line audio cm3's. They can also be used for acoustic guitar if needed.

If you really want to cheap out, this set below is very good for the price. I was given this isk set as a freebie to audition in my home studio and in the right hands it will deliver the goods.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/iSK-DSM-7B-...283209?hash=item236d47e389:g:JXoAAOSwbYZXfQR8
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,351
Depends on style, drummer and recording scenario. Stereo pair for overheads, snare, and kick are the essentials in most cases.

Also, I've gotta recommend quality over quantity. Rather than blow hundreds on tom mics with your budget, invest in overheads you might actually keep for several years -- add the tom mics down the road. I'd put the majority of the money towards good overheads then grow over time. A D112 and SM57 (or other mic for the snare) can be had used for cheap.

Stereo may not be strictly necessary but… it makes a big difference. We probably don't disagree on that.

Bonus: Good "overheads" can be used on just about any instrument, where bass is not critical.
 
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tenchijin2

Member
Messages
3,030
The song in my sig file was 4 drum mics. Stereo overhead in A/B configuration, kick, snare. I prefer using a "real" kick mic and condensers for overhead duty. I've used others but for a conventional sound you need conventional technique and gear.

I've experimented with spaced pairs, blumlein, oort, glyn johns method, recorderman, close mic'ing, room mic'ing, multi-kick mics, multi-snare mics, ribbon mics, and on and on. I enjoy the process, but ultimately in most cases I can get a very usable sound with 4 mics. It helps to know what you're trying to accomplish first, and then mic'ing according to that goal. Of course in the beginning you won't really know but as you gain experience that is the way it works.
 

electricity17

Member
Messages
870
I'd recommend what's being called the Glyn Johns technique: 2 overheads, plus kick and snare mics. But if $500 seems like a lot to spend, then there's gonna be a cap on what you're getting. Have you thought about renting mics and an interface for a weekend or something like that?

To answer the original question, I think the bare minimum is two mics on the drum kit: mono overhead above the snare, plus a kick mic that's out in fron of the kit a foot or two in front of the kick drum. Worked for the Beatles and the Black Keys, so could work for you. At the end of the day, a lot of this comes down to the drummer and their ability to tune the kit, balance their playing, etc.
 






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