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Author Topic: Internal drum mics  (Read 1957 times)

Mark Schneider

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Internal drum mics
« on: January 10, 2018, 05:35:31 pm »

I love the sound of double headed toms that are mic'ed from inside.  I also like how the Shure Beta 98 sounds on toms, but have only used them on the outside.  Two questions:

1. Would the 98 be able to handle the SPL of being inside of drum with a top and bottom head?
2. Would it actually sound decent, or would all the added reflections being inside make it sound like garbage if mounted inside?  I didn't want to try it until I know the answer to the first question!
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 06:36:23 pm »

The spl using the patented "May" mic mounting system (mics inside the drum) should not be significantly louder than the mic outside the drum, mounted similarly close to a drumhead...

Further the mics inside using the May system are generally at right angles to the drumhead, so up/down motion of drum head is not in line with the mic diaphragm.

I have never heard complaints of mic overload, but perhaps search on a drum forum (there are several).

JR

PS: I wouldn't expect the bottom (resonant) head to increase SPL inside... it will change the pitch of sundry resonances.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 01:31:22 am »

I love the sound of double headed toms that are mic'ed from inside.  I also like how the Shure Beta 98 sounds on toms, but have only used them on the outside.  Two questions:

1. Would the 98 be able to handle the SPL of being inside of drum with a top and bottom head?
2. Would it actually sound decent, or would all the added reflections being inside make it sound like garbage if mounted inside?  I didn't want to try it until I know the answer to the first question!

I found the May SM-57 elements to sound best when pointed 90 relative to the batter head (as JR mentions).   Straight on they sounded "plinky".  I've not worked with a drummer who used Beta 98 on the inside...
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Gert Sanner

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 07:26:11 pm »

Internal Drum Mikes are great for various reasons. Firstly they almost make gating obsolete, they can be a lot more consistent and they of course look better.
In my time as a FOH engineer for a quite well known band with a possible better known drummer we used the May system. We used AKG D112 capsules modified by May. One thing I can say is that it is not as simple as putting the mike inside, put the skin on and go. Every Tom Tom is different and you have to find the right position and angle inside the drum. Many a Drumskin will die in the process of that Search. When you get it right however you will essentially have a plug and play drum. But you will also miss a bit of Room on the Mikes. So make sure you have good Overheads to get that part of the drum sound back.
I am pretty sure the 98 capsule can do the Job, but the attachments available will not cut it. The position needs to be ( once found) absolutely fixed. And the 98 gooseneck will move in Transport etc.
The May System will no move. It also provides a clever cabling solution and is completely  drill free.
In short, Internal Mikes are great, but you have to do it right!
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Don T. Williams

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 01:51:11 pm »

Just a caution about using the Beta 98 mounted internally - I have had the capsules "back off" on these mics.  The result is a horrible "crack" from the mic.  Twisting the capsule back tight solves the problem for a show or two.  It has become standard practice to make certain the capsule is tight whenever we use these.  Inside a drum that would be difficult.

Disclaimer: I work mostly in an area with a lot of oilfield activity and electronic contacts of all types really get dirty easily. They say it's the gas in the air.  It smells like money to us but . . .
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 02:04:47 pm »

Just a caution about using the Beta 98 mounted internally - I have had the capsules "back off" on these mics.  The result is a horrible "crack" from the mic.  Twisting the capsule back tight solves the problem for a show or two.  It has become standard practice to make certain the capsule is tight whenever we use these.  Inside a drum that would be difficult.

Disclaimer: I work mostly in an area with a lot of oilfield activity and electronic contacts of all types really get dirty easily. They say it's the gas in the air.  It smells like money to us but . . .

Back in my early days I did a lot of work in southwest Kansas, traveling through counties with large feedlots.  The locals said it smelled like money but it sure smelled like steer manure to the rest of us.

"Pornography is question of geography"  - Tea House of the August Moon
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

John Chiara

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 04:25:04 pm »

I love the sound of double headed toms that are mic'ed from inside.  I also like how the Shure Beta 98 sounds on toms, but have only used them on the outside.  Two questions:

1. Would the 98 be able to handle the SPL of being inside of drum with a top and bottom head?
2. Would it actually sound decent, or would all the added reflections being inside make it sound like garbage if mounted inside?  I didn't want to try it until I know the answer to the first question!

Hmm...so absolutely NO drum sound recorded EVER had a mic inside the drum. Sounds like one more way to make the drum sound totally different from what anyone in the room hears from the kit.
Not a fan. YMMV
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 07:27:50 pm »

Hmm...so absolutely NO drum sound recorded EVER had a mic inside the drum. Sounds like one more way to make the drum sound totally different from what anyone in the room hears from the kit.
Not a fan. YMMV
You forgot the smiley face icon... ::)

Drumheads move both in and out the same exact amount, so direct sound mic'd from either side will not sound very different.

One could view an internal mic as being bandpass filtered by the drum shell and heads... one might even say the sound is "drumpassed"(tm). Not a bad thing for live sound.

JR

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 08:43:58 pm »

You forgot the smiley face icon... ::)

Drumheads move both in and out the same exact amount, so direct sound mic'd from either side will not sound very different.

One could view an internal mic as being bandpass filtered by the drum shell and heads... one might even say the sound is "drumpassed"(tm). Not a bad thing for live sound.

JR

Maybe "Blind Johnny C" didn't see it back in the day, but it the single head "concert toms" were frequently mic'd from the inside/bottom with Senny MD421.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Stephen Kirby

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 08:46:01 pm »

You forgot the smiley face icon... ::)

Drumheads move both in and out the same exact amount, so direct sound mic'd from either side will not sound very different.

One could view an internal mic as being bandpass filtered by the drum shell and heads... one might even say the sound is "drumpassed"(tm). Not a bad thing for live sound.

JR
It depends on how they're tuned.  For folks who tune them close together this is probably true.  A local 1st call drummer/teacher I know tunes his reso heads a 6th above the batter.  Works better on his Jasper Gretschs than his Yamahas but he typically has the reso quite a bit higher than the batter.  Acoustic sound in the room comes out as a lower pitch than either.  Strange but that's how it works out when he gets them tuned right.  Sustain is controlled without being dead and no damping needed.  They just go "boom!".  Close mic'd from the batter side, they sound like any other drums but with more controlled sustain.  Not sure what an internal mic would sound like on these.  I can't get quite the same pitch differential on my thinner shelled D'Amicos, they choke.  But I do have the reso on the floor tom a 5th above the batter.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 10:02:04 pm »

It depends on how they're tuned.
I don't care how they are tuned, the two opposite sides of the same drumhead will vibrate at the same amplitude and same pitch.
Quote
For folks who tune them close together this is probably true.  A local 1st call drummer/teacher I know tunes his reso heads a 6th above the batter.  Works better on his Jasper Gretschs than his Yamahas but he typically has the reso quite a bit higher than the batter.  Acoustic sound in the room comes out as a lower pitch than either.
There is a phenomenon with timpani/kettle drums where they are perceived as sounding a lower phantom note pitch than they actually make but this is a well understood psychoacoustic mechanism. The kettle/tympani make two closely spaced lower resonances (fundamental and first overtone) that are spaced exactly one half octave apart (1x and 1.5x), so your brain perceives that half spacing difference, as a phantom lower note at 0.5x the fundamental pitch. This is unique to the closed back timpani/kettle drum, and how they sound even bigger (lower) than they are.
 
Quote
  Strange but that's how it works out when he gets them tuned right.  Sustain is controlled without being dead and no damping needed.  They just go "boom!".  Close mic'd from the batter side, they sound like any other drums but with more controlled sustain.  Not sure what an internal mic would sound like on these.  I can't get quite the same pitch differential on my thinner shelled D'Amicos, they choke.  But I do have the reso on the floor tom a 5th above the batter.
Detuning batter and resonant heads will pull the after-ring pitch up or down, but the lower resonances will be dominated by conventional tuning. Note: the fundamental is defined by the combined average tension of both heads, so with both heads detuned significantly apart you will get a fundamental and two different first overtones (so three different lower pitches) but drums always make multiple different pitched resonances.

For TMI see http://circularscience.com/about-drums

JR
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John Chiara

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2018, 03:31:44 am »

Maybe "Blind Johnny C" didn't see it back in the day, but it the single head "concert toms" were frequently mic'd from the inside/bottom with Senny MD421.
No...I had single headed drums!
But a mic inside a drum gets sound bounced back from all angles with very short delay times. It always sounds like the inside of a small garbage pail. There is no way that is gonna sound like a top and/or bottom mic outside the drum. I wouldn't mic a conga by shoving a mic inside near the head. I guess you could..but..😇
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 10:51:07 am »

No...I had single headed drums!
Mics are routinely shoved up inside kick/bass drums
Quote
But a mic inside a drum gets sound bounced back from all angles with very short delay times.
If the mic is closer to the drumhead than the shell, any reflected waves will be lower amplitude, and there are not many flat surfaces inside a drum shell so I expect the reflections to be diffuse.
Quote
It always sounds like the inside of a small garbage pail. There is no way that is gonna sound like a top and/or bottom mic outside the drum. I wouldn't mic a conga by shoving a mic inside near the head. I guess you could..but..😇
A tall small diameter drum (conga) can act like a port (helmholtz resonator). If you stick a mic down into an open drum shell the room sound leaking into the mic will take on a characteristic drum sound (I call drumpass filter). The sound coming from the heads will be louder, and similarly sound shaped. 

One company actually makes (made?) drums in what look like garbage pails (don't ask me why? Customer is always right, yadda yadda).

JR
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 05:25:28 pm »

You probably don't want the capsule at the axis of the drum.  Everything would focus on that line.
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Ned Ward

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2018, 01:25:33 pm »

Internal drum micing is a compromise for live sound. In the studio, you have hours to find the right snare for the track, the right mic and position, and the right dampening. Usually you don't have a Hiwatt stack right next to you bleeding into every mic. Kenny Jones would be the example here - an MD421 in the bottom of the tom is going to pick up a lot less of Pete Townshend's deafeningly loud amps back in the day, but in the studio, they might have used mics on top and bottom of the heads.

Live, having a consistent sound to work with that speeds up setup and teardown can be a lifesaver for a drummer and a band. Does it sound the same as your favorite tom mics on the outside? Maybe not, but having a relatively isolated signal may give the mixer more opportunities to sculpt a drum sound vs. dealing with all that bleed.
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John Chiara

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2018, 06:42:34 pm »

Internal drum micing is a compromise for live sound. In the studio, you have hours to find the right snare for the track, the right mic and position, and the right dampening. Usually you don't have a Hiwatt stack right next to you bleeding into every mic. Kenny Jones would be the example here - an MD421 in the bottom of the tom is going to pick up a lot less of Pete Townshend's deafeningly loud amps back in the day, but in the studio, they might have used mics on top and bottom of the heads.

Live, having a consistent sound to work with that speeds up setup and teardown can be a lifesaver for a drummer and a band. Does it sound the same as your favorite tom mics on the outside? Maybe not, but having a relatively isolated signal may give the mixer more opportunities to sculpt a drum sound vs. dealing with all that bleed.
I guess. I mix about 20 bands a month...of all different genres...never have any problems with 604's on the rims. It may be more convenient for a number of reasons, but in small festival type shows...if someone showed up to play a 1/2 hour set with internal mics, I wouldn't even take the time.
It all depends. If inside and something happens with transport and setup/tear down, then you have to take the drum apart? Don't know about you but my shows work at high speed and that would not be an option.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Internal drum mics
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2018, 12:36:05 am »

I guess. I mix about 20 bands a month...of all different genres...never have any problems with 604's on the rims. It may be more convenient for a number of reasons, but in small festival type shows...if someone showed up to play a 1/2 hour set with internal mics, I wouldn't even take the time.
It all depends. If inside and something happens with transport and setup/tear down, then you have to take the drum apart? Don't know about you but my shows work at high speed and that would not be an option.

It depends on what happened.  If the mic position changed it's a drum key and thumb screw or 2 to make the adjustment and tighten up.  As most of the *May* system uses a vibration isolation mount on the mic element, it's unlikely that removal of a drum head would be needed except in the most damaging of situations (in which case the drum or head(s) have likely been damaged, too.

In the situations of fast paced, no sound check gigs I frankly don't sweat the band's back line gear.  They make their choices of brands, models, tone and use.  I do the best I can with what they give me and 40 minutes later we're onto another band.  I quit feeling guilty about "band shit" a long time ago.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut
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