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Mic'ing drums?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jacobrownoly, Oct 18, 2013.


  1. jacobrownoly

    jacobrownoly

    Jun 16, 2007
    Hi, just looking for some mic'ing up tips!

    I play in a wedding/function band looking for advice on what to mic up when its comes to the drums.

    We normally play anywhere from 100-500 people and we always mic the kick, as we put almost everything through the PA the drums sometimes feel in the distance (not because the rest of the band are too loud, I think its more a balance problem)

    Should we be using an over head mic or a snare mic?....any suggestions?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Ideally you really should have a mixer with enough channels to allow you to devote up to a half dozen channels for the drum kit alone, in addition to the channels you'll need for miking instrument amplifiers, vocals & acoustic instruments, plus channels for direct feeds of keyboards, electronic drums/percussion, and bass. Smaller bands in particular have a habit of underestimating the number of channels they can use, and there's just no reason for it. Or they cheap out on the mixer, because they don't want to pay for more channels. :rolleyes:

    That said:

    * one mike for the kick drum (two for a double kick drum kit)
    * one mike for the snare & hi-hat
    * one or two mikes for the toms
    * one or two overhead mikes for the cymbals

    MM
     
  4. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    If your drummer has a vocal mic in a typical position, it will pick up a lot of snare and hi-hat.

    What to mic (or not mic) has a lot to do with the room, too. Record your gigs and review them later to find out if the drums sound balanced, or distant, etc. Adjust micing to suit.
     
  5. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Triggers
     
  6. yeah, an overhead should do the trick.
    experiment with a few different angles to find the sweet spot for your drummer, and make sure you roll off anything under ~100hz or so.
     
  7. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    How to record drums with 4 mics video:

     
  8. Yep, that's pretty much my way too (mystic's description):

    First: just kick

    Second: kick plus one overhead

    Third: Kick plus two overheads and snare mic

    Fourth: Full pack of drum mics.

    You move down the list as more is needed.

    Keep in mind that you start to need an awful lot of channels, especially for the full pack of drum mics. In my theatre (where I work) I've got a 32 channel board. For many live band situations, if you're mixing from stage, you don't have that capability. In that case I'd probably use one portable mixer just for all the drum mics and send that feed to my main mixer, or (better) separate the kick out and send all the rest out of the portable mixer.
     
  9. jacobrownoly

    jacobrownoly

    Jun 16, 2007
    The thing is we only really have 2 channels free for the drums, 1 is kick and the other sounds like from what I have read an over head mic.

    If I mic the whole kit I would probably have to go out and buy more gate/compressors to deal with all the mic noise too.

    For all gigs... if it is possible to get a great sound using just a kick and one over head then I would be really happy.

    Many thanks for all the replies and advice!
     
  10. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. Now if someone could just talk my drummer into it.
     
  11. How would you like to be told to play a midi bass like a playstation? Easy for us to say "man that triggered kick sounds killer and takes 5 seconds to dial in".
     
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    A good OHD will do ya fine. I use a Rode NT3 and like it. If I could afford it, I would use a Sennheiser 441. As it is the Rode will be here a while :). You can go crazy with drum mics or do it simply. Sometimes, simply actually is the better method. Ideally i like a 4 mic setup, but I've done plenty of gigs with just a kick and ohd mic when I was channel constrained. It is easier to mix 2 as well. Much nicer if they are 2 really nice mics as well...
     
  13. yeah I played with some triggered/electronic kit drummers, and it kinda sucks.
     
  14. stonewall

    stonewall

    Jun 14, 2010
    ontario,Canada
    I mic toms and kick every gig.If snare is weak i will mic it too but rarely does it need it. I never use an overhead nor have i ever heard a band that make overheads sound good.If to few channels are an issue i have never had any problems sharing one mic between 2 toms.
     
  15. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    12 mics on my drummer's kit. None of them overhead or condensers. I use Y cables on the floor toms, kick drums and snares ( yes snareS).

    Sounds freakin' beautiful.
     
  16. claytitan

    claytitan

    Mar 12, 2008
    Tennessee
    I was subbing in with a group a couple weeks ago. I stepped out front during sound check and was thoroughly impressed with the drum sound coming from this little kit. Later I figured out he was using triggers. If it sounds good it is good. Doesn't matter to me what the drummer wants to use.
     
  17. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    Something to consider:

    I always mic the kick. You have to mic the kick, or you have no control of where it is in the mix.

    I always mic the toms. You don't always need to control the toms, but usually you do, and you can always set a slider on ZERO if you want.

    If it's a small room, you probably don't need to mic a snare. Seriously. Snares are already loud enough, and they are usually of a frequency that travels.

    In a larger room, mic the snare.

    You should mic the high hat.

    Overhead mics?

    Are you kidding? The cymbals are already bleeding into every mic on the stage, unless you're on a concert-sized stage. Even then, they are bleeding into the other drum mics! There is almost never any need for overhead mics. If we were paying a sound guy, and he started setting up overhead mics for any venue smaller than a huge theater or stadium, I would stop him right there, and I would regret hiring him.

    More mics means more mess, and more to mix. Always start out as simply as possible, and always go out front, and let your ears tell you the story. We have played more shows with the snare mic on zero than any drummer would want to know.
     
  18. With only two mics, it's tough. Kick for sure. You can try a second mic over the toms and snare area, preferable under the cymbals instead of over them. I've used a cardiod between and just above the rack toms, aimed at the snare. The problem is that without individual close miking, you'll still have that 'distant' sound.
     
  19. TimmyP

    TimmyP

    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    After the kick (for feel), the weakest thing in the kit is the floor tom. The things least likely to need help are the snare and cymbals.
     
  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    Don't forget the hi-hat. It is the little cymbal that couldn't.
     

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