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Overhead placement for good stereo image

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
For recording drums, I mic the kick, snare and use two LDC overheads in varying positions. I like the Recorderman placement and I've had decent results by putting the overs about 3' up, and spaced even between the kick and snare...about 2'-3' apart.

I like the overs in stereo but the recorderman method can be too unbalanced for hard panning. I can hard pan with the overs as described in the second senario but i'm just wondering if anyone has advice on getting a really balanced stereo image from the overs. Thanks in advance....Rob
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
X/Y and mid-side are pretty easy to deal with in terms of both centering the snare and phase coherency (though if using MS as an overhead it will be complemented by a set of room stereo mics.) When using recorderman or Johns style micing I'm not intending to match it up with hard panning the drums across the entire stereo spectrum, I think they match up much better with moderate panning or summing to mono. Panning drums hard L to R is an easy default to fall into because it gives the impression of hugeness coming through your monitors but there's something to be said for the punch of a more moderately panned kit.

I see you understand what i'm getting at and I fully agree with your comments. I like the Johns/Recorderman method for better balance between the cymbals and toms. I agree when using that, the kit does seem "tighter". I just miss the full stereo aspect for certain types of songs.

I understand X/Y... can you explain "mid-side"? I'll do a google search also. Thanks
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
Well, I did a lot of research today. Seems a lot of guys are using stereo pairs in varied configurations. That has worked well for me but I also found some guys using an ORTF setup for a decent stereo picture so i'm gonna give that a try next week.

Anyone have experience with an ORTF setup? Any drawbacks?
 

Jaradc

Member
Messages
124
I use an XY Config above the drummers head, ask him to hold his sticks straight up, and put the mics about 6 inches above that.



Assuming you aren't familiar with stereo mic techniques, maybe someone will find out something new today, the XY stereo mic technique is a coincident pair (mic capsules together).

XY Stereo
-XY Stereo uses two cardioids placed at the same point but angled out anywhere from 90 degrees to 135 degrees.
-A difference in level, not time stereo.
-Sounds great when dropped into mono

The most important thing is that they are NOT touching, but spaced as close as possible.

A-B pairs sound nice also, but i'm a fan of XY.
 

Jaradc

Member
Messages
124
I see you understand what i'm getting at and I fully agree with your comments. I like the Johns/Recorderman method for better balance between the cymbals and toms. I agree when using that, the kit does seem "tighter". I just miss the full stereo aspect for certain types of songs.

I understand X/Y... can you explain "mid-side"? I'll do a google search also. Thanks
Midside is as follows...

MS Stereo
-Mid side stereo microphone technique uses one cardioid microphone and one bi-directional microphone. Very good to get a stereo recording and translates well when brought to mono.
-To achieve MS Stereo you would take your bi-directional and split it to the left and right channel. You would then flip the polarity of the signal on the right channel and keep the left channel normal with no phase flip.
-Some boards and certain pieces of gear will have an MS matrix which will flip the phase on the channel needed and sum all your signals properly.


So its a Cardioid Microphone and a Figure 8 patterned microphone. You set them up like this...



The polar pattern of this mic setup looks like this...


Which gives you a pretty nice image.


Ok, this is where it might be a little tricky.
As you can see the cardioid is in the middle, and the figure 8 will be the sides. What you are going to do is split (duplicate) the figure 8 microphone into another channel, panning the 2 channels left and right to make them stereo. But now the two channels will be completely phased, and you will here nothing. This is where you would flip the phase on the right channel using an MS matrix, or a reverse phase patch cable. I know it sounds more complicated than it really is so if you have any questions please just shoot me a pm. But thats it!
 

Jaradc

Member
Messages
124
Sorry for all the responses hah, but ORTF seems to be most guys choices like you implied. Its basically an A-B pair spaced 17cm apart at 110degrees. As always, here is my little chart.

ORTF Stereo
-Office de Radio-diffusion Television Francaise.
-ORTF uses two cardioid microphones spaced 17 cm apart and angled at 110 degrees.
-Much wider image than X-Y.
-Works well when dumped into mono, can result in low frequency loss.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
I generally use a spaced pair, maybe 4' apart.

One thing I always do is measure the distance from the middle of the top snare head, to each OH mic and make sure they're the same distance. This ensures that the snare is in phase, in the OH's.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
Thanks so much guys. If I can get my drummer to be patient for a while I really want to work with this info. I think I got a bit lazy on overhead placement and I was just tossing them up there and going for it. Surprisingly enough, that worked out OK for some songs but not so good for others. So I went to the recorderman method and got great results....but not for everything. Our latest song is pushing me to try to get the most from a stereo drum sound. The drum parts lend to it. (at least in my brain!)
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
I generally use a spaced pair, maybe 4' apart.

One thing I always do is measure the distance from the middle of the top snare head, to each OH mic and make sure they're the same distance. This ensures that the snare is in phase, in the OH's.

4' hey? I've gone maybe 3' max so far with a spaced pair. Do the toms still pick up well? If I went to 4', would it be beneficial to bring in another mic down on the toms? The trouble I seem to get with a spaced pair is tons of cymbals and weak toms. I can, and have added a 5th drum mic but I really like to keep it to 4 tracks. Actually, I might be able to try that again. I got the drummer to back off on the cymbals by cranking the highs and compression on the overs while tracking! Maybe a wide spaced pair is worth another try since I figured out how to get him to shut it down some on the cymbals!

Thanks again, Rob
 




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