Questions about micing drums for live sound

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Moxsam, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Moxsam

    Moxsam Member

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    I'm just getting into micing live drums and have a few questions.

    When I research simple drum micing techniques it seems a pretty common approach is kick, snare, and one or two overheads. However I also commonly read that cymbal bleed into vocal mics can be a problem and that cymbals tend to cut thru the mix on their own anyway. I realize the overheads are there to capture the whole kit but it seems that overhead mics would be overkill for cymbal sound.

    If the kick drum is the first drum to get lost sonically on a loud stage it would stand to reason that the floor tom and the other toms would be next.

    1. Does it make more sense to mic the toms instead of using overheads that will probably pick up too much of the cymbal sound?

    2. Would these tom mics pick up some (good) cymbal bleed anyway?

    3. What about hi-hat? Does it cut thru well on it's own? Or does it tend to bleed into the snare mic? It seems like a very important component to capture the groove yet doesn't seem to get as much attention as the rest of the drum kit.

    Anyhow I have a lot more questions but I will start there. I'm looking at buying some drum mics and wondering which direction to go.

    Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Empros

    Empros Supporting Member

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    The sounds you typically get from bleed are more muffled, a darker sound. Could be great if you want that sound though. If you mic the toms, depending on what mic you're using, let's just say it's a SM57, it'll be picking up what's right in front of it - the tom, because of it's pickup pattern. Mics are usually pretty directional. The cymbals would be behind the microphone and thus, the mic wouldn't really pick up their true tone. Overheads give a more clear picture of the kit's sound. Really comes down to what you want/prefer.

    Hi-Hat does get picked up from the Snare mic, but I usually EQ a snare mic to accentuate the snare and the Hi-Hat gets lost in that process. Hi-hat's get picked up just fine on the overheads, they cut through enough.

    Really, all this talk is meaningless because everybody has such different tastes. Some people want a really loud hi-hat sound (see Rated R by QOTSA) and some people like a darker, buried hi-hat sound. Just depends on what you want!
     
  3. gigs

    gigs Member

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    Not a pro here... but been gigging a long time and love to mic drums live and for recording.

    What I have learned is to get two really good condenser mics over top. These pick up the cymbals and toms and high-hat very well if properly placed. One good mic for the kick (get a good one) and one for the snare (sm57 works). The high hat will be picked up by one of the up-top condensers and a little bleed from the snare mic.

    Don't overdo the mics, 4 good mics is enough, imho.

    We also have a 6 channel mixer for the drums. Let the drummer set the volumes/EQ/effects and then send a stereo drum signal back to the main mixer (via the snake) so that two main mixer channels are dedicated to drums (left and right). X-over to push the kick thru the subs.

    Once you do it, mark the settings on the drum mixer and main mixer two drum channels... and sound check is fairly easy the next time you do it.

    Spend the money on two good condenser mics and a kick mic and spend the time to position them properly. The snare will be picked up by the condensers, the snare mic will give it extra attention/control in the mix.
     
  4. jim683

    jim683 Member

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    for a small stage, some mic the kick and nothing else. I'm a drummer and hate the sound of the drum kit when this is done.

    If there are mics and channels available, I try to mic the kick, snare, and toms and use just enough to get rid of the cardboard sound from the toms. this normally works and cymbal and hi-hat gets picked up by the other mics.

    on a larger stage, I have used kick, snare, and 2 OH's and got a nice blend of the entire kit, no need for tom mics, but I also will use tom mics when needed.

    Unless the venue is small, I will set up and mic everything and then turn off what I don't need in the mix.

    Everything changes if using IEM. One band I work with uses all IEM's and request to have a mic on the hi-hats as well.
     
  5. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    Overheads are for larger venues.
    Drum mic's in order of priorities IME.
    Kick
    Snare
    Hi hat
    All toms
    Overhead (in addition to hats)
     
  6. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    My band's drummers are also vocalists, so we just use a kick drum mic and there's enough bleed from the rest of the kit into the vocal mic. This is for a fairly small room. In larger rooms we will add one overhead. Different story for drummers who are not vocalists.....
     
  7. Moxsam

    Moxsam Member

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    OK thanks for the replies so far guys.

    I'm looking at the following two drum mic kits:

    1. Shure
    - 3 SM57s
    - 1 Beta 52

    2. Audix
    - 1 D6
    - 1 I5
    - ADX51s

    Any thoughts?
     
  8. Moxsam

    Moxsam Member

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    Hey just noticing that when you buy a drum mic kit you get a considerable savings versus buying the mics separately. Plus you get clips and a case. Too good to be true???
     
  9. B Money

    B Money Member

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    my band usually mic's the kick, toms, and high hats. The high hat mic picks up a lot of the snare.
    In the smallish rooms we play, the snare and cymbals cut through very well on their own, so they don't need much assistance from the PA.
    We bought a cheap-ish CAD drum mic package and it works fine for us.
     
  10. MLG Audio

    MLG Audio Member

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    Get yourself a good kick drum mic (beta 52, akg d112 etc.) and pick up a pack of sennheiser e604 clip on mics. That what I use and they sound great on anything. I keep the sm57s that came with the shure mic pack to use on other things around stage.
     
  11. speakerjones

    speakerjones Member

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    Totally depends on what kind of band it is (jazz, metal, other?), what the venue is (small club, outdoors/large stage?), and what the drummer plays like. If you have the channels free, I'd recommend mic'ing as much of the kit as you can. Better to have it mic'ed and leave the channel muted than to wish you had a mic there. In small venues, cymbals tend to carry, and will get picked up by open vocal mics on stage. On large stages where the band is more spread out, or outdoors where sound dissipates more quickly, you'll be more in need of picking up those cymbals. I like big sounding toms in my rock mixes, so mic'ing them closely is important to me, whereas when mixing jazz, I treat the kit as a whole instrument, often doing just a stereo pair, if the stage volume allows me to. That Audix kit seems a good way to go (though I've never used the ADX51's, some condensers are better than none). Then work on getting some D2/D4's or something similar for those toms.
     
  12. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    The shure 57 kit is pretty solid. You might do better hunting for a handful of 57s used. I see them as low as $60 each locally. And then track down a D112 for the kick.
     
  13. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    This is pretty much my take, I'm a drummer and sound engineer.

    I really don't mind the sound of just the kick mic'ed up, I only add enough of it to add fullness and presence to what it is projecting acoustically. Helps fill the sound, especially if the bass guitar is in the PA. Mic'ing the toms to fill out the cardboard tone is key if the band is more tribal and tom heavy in their songs.

    I do this in the smaller venues, kick mic and my vocal to bleed through a bit. I also use either a condenser vocal mic or Heil PR series vocal mic to get the bleed to sound a little more hifi.

    Yep, add the Audix D6 to the kick mic list. The kick mic gets used the most, so do skimp here. The D6 is really easy to use as it is not quite as picky with positioning. The Sennheiser e504/604 mics are nice, low profile, convenient. Audix DP5 pack is great, or the FP5 to save a little $.
     
  14. Belmont

    Belmont Member

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    kik, snare, toms, h/hat always get mic'd, overheads for larger rooms.
    the overheads are for picking up the cymbals only (in my case).
    I gate the kik, snare and toms, I use Klark and Drawmer gates, this makes all the difference in the world, I wouldn't consider doing a gig without them.
    the Audix or Shure kit, either one is quality, I probably go with the Shure, Audix are nice too.
     
  15. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

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    I vote for the Audix.
    They have a kit for drums and they take a high sound pressure in a small size.
     
  16. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    I bought this Sennheiser kit. It's worked out great, comes with a decent case as well.


    Look at this on eBay:

    http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=151628487682

    Sennheiser DrumKit600 Drum Kit Microphone Set w/ E602 E604 E614 NEW

    Over time I've picked up another e602II and 2 more e604's. I keep the e614's in a separate mic pouch in with my vicL mics as I don't generally use overheads in the venues I provide for.

    [​IMG]
    I usually mic:

    Kick
    Snare
    Toms

    :aok
     

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