Drum mic'ing help

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Faze 2 Studios
Member Since: Aug 15, 2005

Hey guys, I've neevr recorded Drums before and am going to this weekend and was wondering if you guys can just give me a quick crash course in how to do it. hah. I realize its not a 2+2=4 kind of thing, i know ill have to paly around with things, and ill have time to do that this weekend, I jsut want to get a sense of where to start. And I have 4 mic's to do it with.
Here's my mic's:
1 Shure Beta 52
1 Shure Sm57
2 rode Nt1-A's

Now i know how to pissition the beta52 on the kick, but what about the sm57 on the snare? Where do i want to mic facing? middle of snare?up, down, sideways, at an angle? lol and how high off the snare drum? should it be over lapping with the drum? if not how far away horizontally to the drum? i wish i coudl draw pictures heh.
And as for the NT1-A's are overheads, i have no idea where to begin with those.
I'm also having trouble understanding "phaze cancellation". how do you stop it? I read somewhere about a 3 to 1 rule about placing over head mic's, what is that? ahhh
so lost.

anyhelp would be sweet,

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Since: Aug 17, 2004

Nov 15, 2005 05:29 am

Beore I sart, I wrn you mykey board isbroken.


'Phase' is the the difference in time sound takes to get from one mic t another mic in a sereo situatation. Depending upon the time delay between the two mics, different frequencies will cancelaccordingto t heir wave lenghts. To get rid of it, once you haverecorded the files, zoom in reallyclose and try to allign the snare and the kick with the overheads sound wave. Look for the transient peaks the represent snares and kick. This will make sound arrive at all the microphones at the same time. DO NOT allign te overheads though! The time delay between the two overheads will create phase issues but these can be used to our advantage. The time delay creates a stereo image, and without the delay, the mics will sound MONO wherever you pan them. So with ver heads try to 3 two oe rule instead.

Try placing the Nt1A's s an 'AB' stereo pair over the drum kits. This means, basically, one on the left side of the drum it and one on the right.

The 3:1 rule states that the distance between two stereo AB microphones should be 3 times the distance from the nearest sound source to minimize phase issues.

Expriment with the snare mic position. I find that the pointing down towards the edge of the skin give more crack while the centre has a more balanced tone. Underneath has more rattle.

Since: Jan 12, 2004

Nov 15, 2005 07:53 am

OK, Im nae expert drum MIC'er (I tend to get some help from a good drum tech I know when needed) but, for the ones I recently done I:

1) Fired the bass drum mic just in front of the bass drum, right at the point where it gets SMACKED, back maybe a couple of inches or so. There was no hole so couldnt use it, though you say you're sorted for Bass drum so I wont bore you with this...

2) On the snare, I had a 58 (minus grille) makeshift 57 pointed at an angle (South west is best way to describe it) facing down right at the centre of the snare and a little above it to also catch the hat...

3) I had but one B1 as an overhead which I hang above the kit, slightly to the left to catch all cymbals etc - bit lop sided but alas, picked it all up.

After around 10 mins experiemntation, I had a "relatively" decent sound. I'll be postin the results up soon...I dont profess to say its perfect and some may even dislike it totaly but with 3 mics, I think it turned out well (though I spent a lot of time mixing it and adding things like compression, verb etc and eq)...anyway, results are comin soon...judge for yourself.

With the 2 overheads I'd hand at either side of the kit to pick it up nice ambiently, but, as I sya, drums arent my fortae....

Check the articles on this very site - there is a series of EXCELLENT articles on the very subject of drum mic'in!!

Good luck


Faze 2 Studios
Since: Aug 15, 2005

Nov 15, 2005 05:37 pm

so if i follow the 3 to 1 rule, to get rid of any other phaze cancellation ill have to do it while mixing and not recording? Ill have to match up the snare and kick mic to one of the overheads, but dont alieng the over heads to eachother correct? which overhead should i aliegn the snare and kick to?

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Nov 15, 2005 06:39 pm

For the snare mic, point it at the spot on the drum head where the drummer is going to hit.

Point it AWAY from the hi-hat because you don't want it to pick up anything but the snare. The overheads will pick up all of the brass and room ambiance.

And distance it a couple of inches off of the drum head. I had mine too close and the drummer couldn't hit very hard without overloading the preamp.

Faze 2 Studios
Since: Aug 15, 2005

Nov 17, 2005 03:50 pm

should the overhead mic,s be outside the parameter of the drum set? or floating over like, the snare and the oposite ended crash?

wow im confused heh


Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 17, 2005 08:42 pm

Well I think they kinda covered it but I'll put it into a little more detail.

When setting up your overheads you will need to find a height that give you good overall sound and stereo spread. Then take a measurement from one mic to the nearest drum or cymbal. Then using the center of the kit for referance spread the 2 mics out so they are 3 times the distance apart from each other as the distance was to the nearest drum or cymbal.

A good starting point is maybe 3 feet above the kit and about 6 feet wide. Then you will have to experiment from there.

crazy canuck
Since: Nov 25, 2004

Nov 18, 2005 10:45 am

Hey Meltdown5, I'll pass on an overhead trick that I use that once you get the hang of, is near flawless for phase issues (it's easy to do as well!).

Put one of the NT1's directly above the center of the snare drum, facing the drum directly at a distance of about 32 inches (ironically about the exact length of two drum sticks end to end).

Put the second NT1 above the drummers right shoulder, also 32 inches from the center of the snare(assuming he plays right handed, hats on his left side). The mic will be very close to his head but shouldn't be in his way.

Now, the slightly tricky part. Measure how far the first mic you put up is away from the center of the kick. Now adjust the second mic (over his shoulder) so that it is 32 inches from the snares center, but also the same distance from the kicks center as the first mic was. This will take some time and fine tuning but dont stop till you have it.

When you pan these mics left and right you have now placed the kick and snare in the center of the image, and ALL close mics that you add to this will be in perfect phase with the overheads. Since you have the kick and snare in the center of the overhead stereo image, when you add the close mics for the kick and snare you will have incredible punchiness and clarity to the drums.

Since these overhead mics may not be in the ideal place as compared to the drummers cymbals, move the cymbals around slightly to get the balance that you need, but I find with the overheads placed this way you will end up with a great balance of kit/cymbals. It sounds very strange and will look strange but take a listen, you will be surprised!

As for the 57, if you don't like the sound of it pointed directly where the drummer hits the snare, try aiming it inbetween the point of impact and the rim, this sometimes gives me a better balance of body/crack. You will however already have a pretty good snare sound just from this overhead placement!


Ultra Magnus
Since: Nov 13, 2004

Nov 19, 2005 03:09 am

The snare always takes the longest to get the sound i want. If the guy's a hard hitter then often the OHs are picking up the crack, especially in a smaller room, so then i mic from the bottom, directing away from the hat and the kick to reduce the bleed. If not then it's top or shell for me. Micing the shell can be really nice actually, the crack is less direct so you can get a better take on the ghosting or lighter playing in between the harder hits.

jimmie neutron
Since: Feb 14, 2005

Nov 19, 2005 06:10 am

One of our drummers was easy: 2 overheads, which picked-up the snare "drum" part very nicely, along with the hat, cymbals & toms (they were the "primary" source of drum audio), SM-57 underneath the snare, got that "shhh" sound of the snare and a bit of hit "kick", and a "I forget what it was" (Shure 55???) up front of his kick drum. EQ and mixed to stereo for 2-track rtr tape deck recording and it was great. Then we had to get "fancy" with our next drummer, and never did quite get it right after. Experimentation (moving the mics around), as has been mentioned, is the best bet, 'cause your room acoustics, the way the drummer plays, the heads they're hitting, the quality of the shells, setup, yada yada yada, all play a part in it...

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