1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Awesome simple way to mic drums

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I do sound and play at Church. Our drummer has returned to our group. Even though we have plenty of channels on the mixer and lots of mics.... I want a quick simple way to mic the drums, considering setup time is limited. Our Sanctuary has a very high ceiling and it is a large room seating 1000 people. It has very lively acoustics so you almost don't need to mic the drums but I wanted to fill in the sound and have some level of control at the board. My friends kit is a simple jazz set up with snare, 2 toms, kick, high hat, ride, and crash.

    So here is the solution I came up with. I stuck an SM57 and inch or two above the side of the bass drum about half way between the two toms pointing up towards the snare drum. I stuck it far enough back on the kick that it could just barely "see" both toms and the ride. Also the way we set up there is nothing but air behind the drummer the closest wall or ceiling is at least 100' back.

    I was amazed at how well this one mic setup filled out our sound. It was huge. The only draw back I saw was the ride sounded a little funny if the drummer used a light touch on it but otherwise the sound was great.

    Has anyone else ever mic'ed drums live with only one mic and good results?

  2. Can’t quite visualize your placement, but that’s pretty impressive. t. The fewest I’ve used is three, not for live but for a recording: Two condensers placed on either side of the kick drum, aimed upwards, and a third regular mic dedicated to the kick drum. Got great results. I was surprised that the recording sounded way better than the drums I’m used to hearing on professionally-recorded albums. Just goes to show how a natural, uncompressed recording can go a long way in lieu of high-end studio gear.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club #133
    Fretless Club #943
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly
    My Basses

    Groove Doctor likes this.
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Most churches I've played at or been to with full sound, use a drum shield (or cage) and mic everything..
    I've run many club and festival bands with 3 - kick, snare/hat and OH.
    Gearhead17 likes this.
  4. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Very close to this....

    If I would solo the channel I am not sure it would sound great but... for "sound reinforcement" it adds the part of the sound we need. Also having nothing behind the drummer probably helps with feedback avoidance.
  5. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    You put your drummers in cages? How mean LOL they should be free! Our Church is very unique in the the musicians are not on the altar or platform but off to the side. We may have people sitting within feet of where the band sets up. It is almost like a theater in the round. I am very glad that our drummer can play with a light touch... or else nobody would want to sit by us!
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    LOL - yes drum cages.. allows FOH full control of the drum, keeps the db below the standard c-weighted 90db threshold and means one can use drummers who can play something other than jazz :)
  7. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015

    That's a looooong video for what amounts to a screenshot @ 1.31. We don't even see a drum or mic until then anyway...
    Efficiency! We don't care who you are, who your work for, or listening to what you're going to do (it's already in the title). Get on with it!
  8. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Yea sorry about that... that just happened to be the first video I found that shows this technique. The only diff for me is I used and sm57 and it was closer to the kick drum but also a bit lower to the side of it.
    Ox Boris likes this.
  9. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    LOL actually my drummer isn't particularly experienced. Doubt he even knows much jazz. We are just used to playing small crowded rooms at acoustic levels. We probably play in those conditions more often that we do with full PA systems. IMO opinion drummers that can play with a light touch are worth their weight in gold. I much prefer the tone of most drums when they are hit softer, AND it is much more pleasant for me as a bass player to actually be able to hear and think while standing by the drums!
  10. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Free range drummers are much happier but can be difficult to keep on task.
  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
  12. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned SUSPENDED

    A single mic can work magic in a live setting. I've seen it done many times... a dynamic mic just off center of the snare head measured two-and-a-half sticks from the skin. The right mic in the right place can work wonders. I mean, all recordings used to just be one mic in a room with the musicians placed 'strategically' to get the right balance.
  13. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I agree with you 100%. Good drummers with touch, and a PROPERLY tuned kit are few and far between. That's mostly why larger churches use drum cages.. to contain the "beast".. In my case - for both church and secular gigs - I'm all IEM, so not so worried about drum noise. At church we have a drum cage, for secular our drummer is a pro (toured with Miranda Lambert for 4 yrs and Doug Stone for 4) and keeps it down. Apologies for the shameless drummer promo :) - I'm still blown away that he considers us good enough to be in a band with!!
  14. Daedraziel


    Aug 19, 2013
    Toms River NJ
    I don't know what to think about this idea without trying it. It goes against what I am comfortable with when I'm running live sound although I suppose it wouldn't be impossible to find that "sweet spot" to put a quality dynamic mic. Neat idea though and one day id like to give it a shot.
  15. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    A drummer I play with recommended this technique after reading about it in some pro audio magazine. He brings a high quality clip-on type mic (some AKG model, looks like a lavalier but is often used to mic grand pianos), which he puts on the bass drum rim, between the snare and floor tom.

    I must admit I was sceptical at first, but this single mic sounds much better than most multi-mic setups in small rooms. Our tech says the only problem is the hihat is not loud enough in his mix (but the cymbals and hihats direct sound is usually all that is needed anyway).
  16. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    I do this a lot, although often in conjunction with a kick mic. I use an omni condenser in that exact spot though. An omni dynamic works well too. The condenser I use was made by a guy in North Carolina, called naiant. I bought them when he first started and they were insanely inexpensive. It's built into what would be an xlr connector (well, it still is), so very easy to keep out of the drummer's way. As long as the drummer knows how to balance their own playing then it's fantastic.

    Oh, and I hate drum screens, cages, houses, etc. If that's needed, it's a sign that everyone needs to turn down. You can get pretty good isolation by using the pattern of your mics.
  17. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    We have never run the drums through the PA (although we have miced them ;) ). I would like more kick, but we don't have any subs.

    However we may be picking up a new drummer who is much quieter than the last. So I thought I might just throw one mic on the drums just in case. Glad to know this might be enough.
  18. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    :) Been there, done that!
  19. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    I can see a single mic in the right place in a "live" room could help. If it sounded great, welll… As my recording arts teachers told me when I asked about a similar situation, you were lucky. :)

    I've miked drums for recording and live performance (and both simultaneously) with 3 mics. This works really well for me.

    1. Kick (front, not the beater side)
    2. Snare and hi hat (ish)
    3. Floor tom and cymbals, somewhat overhead

    The kick almost always needs a bit of help. Adjust level to taste and according to style of music.

    2 and 3 get panned right and left to taste, not necessarily panned hard. You have to look at all the things the drummer hits kinda from his or her perspective and split it up with those two mics. Be aware that crashes can be murderous and don't point directly at them, just get the gist of them in the mics.

    About drum cages, the one venue I played in with my latest band, that was about the best I've been able to hear myself. We were able to turn our amps down. Our drummer doesn't play too loud... it's just that drums are loud.
  20. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I can vouch for this technique working really well for being so simple. I used pretty much this technique back in the 4 track cassette days. I positioned my single dynamic mic (cheap-os, and eventually a 57) a little more centered on the bass drum and pointing about 15 degrees more towards the floor tom.
    I don't like playing behind the plexi cages at all, but understand the use of them on lower volume mixes.

Share This Page