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Author Topic: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!  (Read 979 times)

Duncan McLennan

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Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« on: March 05, 2014, 09:03:44 am »

I'm trying to decide between a few options for stereo pairs that will primarily be used as drum overheads, but sometimes used for my grand piano, other percussion, and marimba/vibes/xylo. Drum OH priority number one, though.

Full disclosure: I work for a company that sells AT and Shure. I don't profit from selling their products, but just wanted to let you all know.

These mics will be used both in the studio, and live. So I'm looking for something fairly accurate, but with reasonable rejection and off-axis tonal characteristics so they'll work in a live (wedding band) scenario. I tend to dislike hyped sounding mics. They make all my vintage and dark cymbals sound modern, so what's the point? Here are the main options I'm considering.

ATM450:
I've used these live and love the depth and 3D feel that they give my drums. Price is certainly right too! However I found them a little crunchy in the midrange and wasn't nuts about what they did to hi-hats. Is this something that can be EQ'ed out?

AT4041:
Haven't used these, but from what I hear, they don't have the midrange crunch. How do they compare to the ATM450?

AT4040:
Generally a fan of these. Haven't used them much on drums. I wonder about the directivity in a live application. I find myself more and more interested in using ORTF live, and I don't know if an LDC will be suitable here in terms of even HF response, bleed, and off-axis response in this configuration.

Shure KSM137:
I have never used these, but I seem to remember hearing that they were modelled after a Schoeps, which is why they appeal. I've used CMC6 and vintage CMC5 a few times on piano and chamber music stuff, and was blown away at the transparency and openness. Don't know how either would be on drums though.

I appreciate all comments about these mics, and an open to suggestions for over pairs around the 500-600 range. Of course I want to stick with AT and Shure due to the fact that I have dealer pricing available to me.
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 09:13:35 am »

I am an AT450 fan. I have never noticed anything about the high hat but I usually close mic that anyways.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

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Jay Barracato

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 10:42:46 am »

I have 6 ea 4041 and love them.  I do not know what "midrange crunch" is but doubt I'd like it on acoustic guitars or mandolins or orchestral section pickup.  I think the 4041 is superior to the SM81.  We don't have any KSM137 so I can't compare them.
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dick rees

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 11:42:52 am »

I'm trying to decide between a few options for stereo pairs that will primarily be used as drum overheads, but sometimes used for my grand piano, other percussion, and marimba/vibes/xylo. Drum OH priority number one, though.

Full disclosure: I work for a company that sells AT and Shure. I don't profit from selling their products, but just wanted to let you all know.

These mics will be used both in the studio, and live. So I'm looking for something fairly accurate, but with reasonable rejection and off-axis tonal characteristics so they'll work in a live (wedding band) scenario. I tend to dislike hyped sounding mics. They make all my vintage and dark cymbals sound modern, so what's the point? Here are the main options I'm considering.

ATM450:
I've used these live and love the depth and 3D feel that they give my drums. Price is certainly right too! However I found them a little crunchy in the midrange and wasn't nuts about what they did to hi-hats. Is this something that can be EQ'ed out?

AT4041:
Haven't used these, but from what I hear, they don't have the midrange crunch. How do they compare to the ATM450?

AT4040:
Generally a fan of these. Haven't used them much on drums. I wonder about the directivity in a live application. I find myself more and more interested in using ORTF live, and I don't know if an LDC will be suitable here in terms of even HF response, bleed, and off-axis response in this configuration.

Shure KSM137:
I have never used these, but I seem to remember hearing that they were modelled after a Schoeps, which is why they appeal. I've used CMC6 and vintage CMC5 a few times on piano and chamber music stuff, and was blown away at the transparency and openness. Don't know how either would be on drums though.

I appreciate all comments about these mics, and an open to suggestions for over pairs around the 500-600 range. Of course I want to stick with AT and Shure due to the fact that I have dealer pricing available to me.

I have two pairs of KSM 137's I bought when they first came out, having had great luck with the 32's.  Now that the 141's are out, I'd opt for them over the 137's.

That said, I prefer to use a pair of AT 871r's pulled down as tightly as possible onto the kit.  Properly positioned, the pair of them and a kick mic are all I usually need.
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Chris Hindle

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 12:34:20 pm »


AT4041:
Haven't used these, but from what I hear, they don't have the midrange crunch. How do they compare to the ATM450?


Don't know about the 450, but I have 4 of the 4041's.
Normal use is overheads and hat, and I have had easy success with them on many other instruments. Once ran out of 57's on a free-for-all fair thingy, and used a 4041 on the lead guitar ! Not an obvious choice, but roll off the top a bit, and boost 4K and all was good. Sounded just like a 57.
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Duncan McLennan

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 06:43:16 pm »

I have 6 ea 4041 and love them.  I do not know what "midrange crunch" is but doubt I'd like it on acoustic guitars or mandolins or orchestral section pickup.  I think the 4041 is superior to the SM81.  We don't have any KSM137 so I can't compare them.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure what it is either. All I know is I hear hi-hats through an ATM450 and it gives me chills (in a bad way). It's somewhere around the 1-2k region, and it bothers me. Unfortunately I can't describe it any better than that!
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Duncan McLennan

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 06:44:51 pm »

I have two pairs of KSM 137's I bought when they first came out, having had great luck with the 32's.  Now that the 141's are out, I'd opt for them over the 137's.

That said, I prefer to use a pair of AT 871r's pulled down as tightly as possible onto the kit.  Properly positioned, the pair of them and a kick mic are all I usually need.

Thanks Dick. Are you sure you mean 871R? That seems to be a boundary mic.
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dick rees

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 07:20:00 pm »

Thanks Dick. Are you sure you mean 871R? That seems to be a boundary mic.

Sorry.  Typo.  873r, but it's an older model which has been replaced by the U873 now.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 02:24:14 am »

I haven't used many things Shure lately that has had me in awe. I am not a fan of the SM81 at all and find it dull and lifeless. I do love my Shure Beta 91 though! I have been a large fan lately of Audio Technica and think they are producing some good stuff at affordable prices. The majority of my current mic selection is AT. I currently use cheap ( wish I didn't have to say it ) Behringer C2 mics as overheads. They honestly sound pretty good. They match well and I find them to sound very natural. They do lack a little bit of depth and that 3D appeal higher end mics have, but I would use them over an SM81 any day. I have used some AKG C414 mic's as overheads and can say there is a difference! They have that air, breath and clarity that they are famous for, but at that price too! AKG has a lower end mic line called the perception series and the P120 mic in that line sounds pretty good. It has that depth and clarity but does have a thinner sort of metallic sound to it. I can't place my finger on it. it sounds good, but has something that leaves more to be desired? Perhaps a little too much air? I have also used some Sennheiser E614 mics and really liked them. Nice natural, open and deep sound, while still rugged. They are a small diaphragm condenser mic, but sound bigger. A little higher priced at about $200 new, but they do sound good. Then again I have used some really low end CAD mics that also have sounded pretty darn good...... It's all application really. You can find that even the cheapest mic in the world will work for something. I have come across a few situations where the high end mics with all their clarity and depth of sound, was too much and took away from the feel of the way I felt the show needed to be. Nothing worse than having a blues or rock band that needed a little bit of grit and lower fidelity to really bring the feel and life of them to light, but had too much performance ( so to speak ) to get the desired sound.......
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Helge Dr. Bentsen

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Re: Help choose between some stereo pairs (mostly drums)!
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 05:18:32 am »

I sold off all my other condenser mics last year and bought some DPA 4011 and 4018.

Now I don't worry about sound quality anymore, 4011 works on anything from melodica to F-16.
4018 gives you less off axis-sound than a 4011, but has a slight more colored off-axis sound.
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