Unlike the previous setups, the two overheads allow for a beautiful panning job, making the drums sound cohesively wide. Thankfully, I eventually saw the sine, and ever since I’ve had a clean track of one to four microphones per session. Not a chance. A few other basic starting blocks for various scenarios are to have the overheads in XY position (angled at 90-degrees from each other), two drummer’s perspective mikes (one near each shoulder, using the head as a baffle, and from here on out referred to as “double parrot”), or to have a stereo pair as room mikes. The distances of all of these mikes from the kit is directly proportional to how close and open the drums sound, and with no close mikes to reign it back in, it’s important to evaluate an appropriate balance. If the ceiling is low, it’s best to work with cardioid condensers, as ribbons by nature work as figure-8 pickup patterns and will catch a lot of unwanted reflections from the ceiling. The two main positioning strategies to maximizing auditory potential are either with both microphones in distant placement, or with one as a distant mike and the other as a close mike. To counteract this, some engineers prefer to measure from the imaginary “center” of the kit. Artists like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, and John Coltrane typically used one to four microphones on a kit, depending on the album and the year it was made. Both can sound great, but there’s an interesting balance of power between the two methods. That said, here are some suggested steps, setups, and treatments to make the most out of a minimalist recording setup. Prior to plugging anything in, the most important thing to do first is figure out where in the room the drums sound best. The two best steps to avoiding cymbal overload are to simply play the cymbals quieter and to use the less bright-sounding ribbon mike instead of a condenser. We’ll explore the different sounds you get by placing a stereo mic in different locations, and we’ll work with two mono mics as well. Make no mistake—minimalist drum recording setups are not the answer for every situation. The kick mike, placed about halfway inside the drum (for instance Shure’s Beta 52A or AKG’s D 112), and pointing a little off center, is added as a precautionary inoculation of an extra chest-thumping 50Hz boost and a 2–5kHz clicking attack. To even the arrival times you can place the two overhead mics at two different heights, as few as 2–3 inches or up to 8–10 inches if necessary. While options increase greatly as more mikes become involved, the basic concepts of distant and close mikes still work for most setups involving anywhere from three to five microphones. The fewer microphones used, the more responsibility gets placed on a solid, balanced drum take. Part 2: Drumset Tuning, Drum Miking 101, Part 2: Two-Microphone Setups, Hybrid Drumming Basics – 3 Contemporary Scenarios That Meld Electronics and Acoustics, 6 More Mobile Apps Every Drummer Should Know, Drum Miking 101, Part 4: Four Microphones. Four Mics. Some ribbon mic options that work well on drums include the Royer R-121, sE Electronics X1R, Blue Microphones … The front-of-kit (approximately 2′ back from the kick and 4′ up), meanwhile, is the punchiest. The purpose of this mic is to fill in the kick drum so that it is more apparent and punchy in the drum mix. Starting with the simplest setup possible, it doesn’t get much easier than a one-mike operation. Getting a good drum mix isn’t only up to the engineer, as the drummer plays an even more critical role. It is in fact very possible to get great-sounding drum tracks with only a few choice microphones. The third mic will be positioned as a close mic on the kick drum. If you have three microphones, this triangle approach can give a balanced, full sound to your drum recording. Having an artistic plan instead of a “let’s see what comes out in the wash” attitude is a smarter approach that will save time in the mixing room. Note, however, this method only prevents the snare from being out of phase, and any other drum or cymbal may still be somewhat phase-y. Just remember that every room has a character of its own, and different locations will greatly change the gestalt of the drums, particularly the kick and toms. With the addition of a dynamic mike (Shure’s SM57 is the standard, placed approximately 1″ away from the head and rim, pointed at the center of the snare), it’s possible to fatten up and focus in on a “closer” snare tone. With one distant and one close mike, stereo imaging is stymied, but there’s more control over the tone of a specific drum. And if the drummer is tracking with the band in the same room, switch them out with hypercardioid condensers for the most isolation possible. According to Johns, it was the first time Bonham was actually happy with the drum tones (and rightfully so. The engineer on that track, Andy Johns, brother of Engineer Glyn Johns, is greatly responsible for this definitive Bonham sound. Although sonically limiting and leaving a little something to be desired, the one-mike strategy can be just what the doctor ordered, if given the right drummer and the right song. Opt out through the unsubscribe link in any marketing email. All have a character of their own, and experimentation is the best way to learn about them. While stubborn opinions abound on what’s the best way to configure the traditional triumvirate, the basic format is a front-of-kit mike, a hi-hat side overhead, and a floor tom overhead (somewhat near the drummer’s right shoulder). The track is muddied with grit; it’s fairly monophonic; and of course, he’s John Bonham and you aren’t. While in a large house, Johns recorded Bonham with two M160 double-ribbon microphones placed approximately halfway up a stairwell in the foyer, compressed to all hell, and affected with a Binson Echorec delay. King Crimson’s Gavin Harrison, Bill Rieflin, and Pat Mastelotto, Catching up with Trigger Hippy’s Steve Gorman, Catching up with Trigger Hippy's Steve Gorman, Strictly Technique – Consecutive Flams part 3: Inverted Motion, Odd Groupings Over Samba with Mike Johnston, Creating Opportunity – Five Key Components for the Working Drummer, Get the Sound You Want From Your Drums! Because there are two overheads involved, phase cancellation becomes a serious concern. With a large-diaphragm condenser at the helm, it pretty much has every drum covered. Kick (bass) drum. The height of the overheads (anywhere from 30″ to 60″ from the snare) should be positioned with consideration to the height of the ceiling, the distance between drums and cymbals, and the drummer’s sensitivity to dynamics. A second mike with its own separate track can add just enough sonic control to season a mix and bring out some real flavor. $4.99 month with no contract! And yet as epic as that drum mix is, do the drums sound perfect? This month we’re adding a second microphone. The distance between the mic and the drumset was our focus. Would that tone work for just any song? Back when I was a junkie I’d do anything to get my next mix. But the drummer’s-perspective position might just be the most realistic. They sound huge!). It’s harder to polish an erratic and disjointed performance with studio magic—wimpy snare cracks and pussyfooting tom rolls combined with overbearing trashy cymbals can be the death of the backbeat, and a minimalist setup can’t resuscitate that kind of issue. Shure SM7B A Shure SM7b (inside the kick aimed at the beater) and AKG D112 (in front of the kick) serve as Jae’s kick drum mics. The three best locations for this rather important piece are as a room mike, a drummer’s perspective mike, and a front-of-kit mike. As I said earlier, some drums and cymbals are going to end up closer to the overhead mics than others. With two distant mikes, it’s possible to get more of a stereo image of the kit. All Rights Reserved. Let’s start our journey into minimalist drum miking with a 2-mic setup that features one mic as an overhead to capture the overall kit sound, and a second mic as a spot mic on the kick drum. Sensitivity and awareness are key, and drummers that learn to mix by playing have plenty more work in their future, so set up some mikes, mix from the sticks, and give the faders a rest.

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