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Title: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Matt Davis on October 26, 2020, 01:58:37 pm
Hello,

Were needing some new overhead mics for our drum cymbals at my church. This is for live drums application, playing mostly contemporary music.
The snare will have a Shure SM57, the toms will have Sennheiser e904s, and the kick will have a Shure Beta 52A and a homemade sub-kick.

Im wanting to get some opinions for the overheads for the cymbals. Well have two crashes (18 and 16), a ride (20), and hi-hats (14). They will all be Zildjian K Custom Dark. Our intention is to use two overheads. The mics should have enough room in the enclosure to be able to be placed up to 3ft above the cymbals. Our budget for both mics combined is up to $500, but I could probably go a bit over if I can convince my pastor.

Some of the mics Ive been looking at are the Rode NT5, Rode M5, Shure SM137, and Audio-Technica AT4041. I am 100% open to any and all ideas and suggestions.

Thank you so much!

Matt
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Art Welter on October 26, 2020, 02:14:52 pm

Im wanting to get some opinions for the overheads for the cymbals. Well have two crashes (18 and 16), a ride (20), and hi-hats (14).
Matt,

I used to use AKG-C451 and Shure SM-81 for cymbals, until comparing them to the Audio Technica AT-37.
The Audio Technica AT-37 is a great sounding and relatively inexpensive cymbal mic, though I'd suggest using a separate mic for hi-hat.
At the present price, it appears that three AT-37 would put you one dollar over your mic budget, but worth every penny  :).

Art


Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: David Simpson on October 26, 2020, 02:29:39 pm
Shure KSM 137's and SM81's have long been popular choices in this application. I have been a fan of the 81's over the 137's, but it is all about what you do with them. Is there a way you can rent / borrow a few mics to see what works best for you before you buy?

~Dave
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Matthias McCready on October 26, 2020, 03:40:48 pm
Hello,

Were needing some new overhead mics for our drum cymbals at my church. This is for live drums application, playing mostly contemporary music.
The snare will have a Shure SM57, the toms will have Sennheiser e904s, and the kick will have a Shure Beta 52A and a homemade sub-kick.

Im wanting to get some opinions for the overheads for the cymbals. Well have two crashes (18 and 16), a ride (20), and hi-hats (14). They will all be Zildjian K Custom Dark. Our intention is to use two overheads. The mics should have enough room in the enclosure to be able to be placed up to 3ft above the cymbals. Our budget for both mics combined is up to $500, but I could probably go a bit over if I can convince my pastor.

Some of the mics Ive been looking at are the Rode NT5, Rode M5, Shure SM137, and Audio-Technica AT4041. I am 100% open to any and all ideas and suggestions.

Thank you so much!

Matt

Earlier this year I had the chance to do an overhead shootout at work: we had SM81, SCX25, KSM32, C414, a beyerdynamic set (I forget which), and a pair of ribbons. I am probably missing another pair or two mics that we tried as well.

With that shootout, I came away being really impressed with the Shure KSM32's, with that Room, PA, and kit they actually sounded better than the C414's! Not what I expected. The KSM32 really holds its own and is a pretty decent overhead. You may be able to find a used pair in or around your price range if you look hard.

Ironically the SM81 was one of the mics I disliked the most in the shootout; however I really love them! An SM81 is such a useful mic to have in the toolbox, and it is almost always my first choice for an overhead for something more budget friendly as it is a predicable mic. Additionally if you want to get a nicer overhead mic down the road it is really great for bottom snare or as a general purpose condenser. A pair of these is worth considering.

There are of course better things out there for more money, but that is not always feasible.

Two more thoughts:
1) You should look into a bottom snare mic if you do not have one.

Personally I would rather have one overhead and use a second mic for snare bottom, it makes the snare sound so much more life like; 3D if you will. My usual go to's are a E906 (which is nice a thick sounding for this application) or an SM81 (crisp and tight, although 1.5k can get a little
weird).
 
2) Play with positioning

I am not sure what your enclosure is like. I have been in some really nice ones that were spacious, had AC, and sounded phenomenal and were thereby easy to get a great mic sound; I have also been in many that made micing and mixing a kit a more challenging endeavor. All that being said 1 mic could work better than two depending on the situation, which allow you to get a nicer mic (SCX25 used or something that someone else might suggest)



Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Weaver on October 26, 2020, 05:16:50 pm
Matt,

I used to use AKG-C451 and Shure SM-81 for cymbals, until comparing them to the Audio Technica AT-37.
The Audio Technica AT-37 is a great sounding and relatively inexpensive cymbal mic, though I'd suggest using a separate mic for hi-hat.
At the present price, it appears that three AT-37 would put you one dollar over your mic budget, but worth every penny  :).

Art


This right here.


AT is the king of the budget condenser mic.




Also, is this in a fully enclosed drum booth? I have one of these for our youth band and I repurposed some old Sennheiser hanging choir mics for the overheads and they work fantastic. I stuck a screw into the ceiling of the drum booth and zip tied the mic's thin cable to that to hang at the right spot. Outside of the booth you can't even see them.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Weaver on October 26, 2020, 06:19:05 pm
Also, since I'm sitting through a rehearsal with nothing better to do I made a little clip of our setup.

This is a DW kit in a fully enclosed drumsheild/booth thing. Plexiglas front and half-sides, with a fuzzy, absorbant rear wall, roof, and part of the side walls.

Kick Beta 52
Snare SM57
Hat Rode M5
Toms Sennheiser 604's
OH's Sennheiser ME 34 or 35. I actually don't know, since we just had these laying around when I got here.


https://soundcloud.com/highspl/drum-example

The first 36-ish seconds are the OH's only. Unprocessed except being panned L/R.
From 36 seconds to 1:02 are all the drum mics raw and unprocessed except being panned.
From 1:02 to the end is my 5 minute gate/EQ/compression job just for this little demo.

The track came from a youth night performance. Nothing special, just the first one I grabbed.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Nathan Riddle on October 26, 2020, 07:58:09 pm
Obligatory, OH aren't super important.

Dont spend too much.

https://www.prosoundweb.com/how-to-ruin-a-mix-stop-enough-already-with-the-cymbals/
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Steve M Smith on October 27, 2020, 04:13:39 am

AT is the king of the budget condenser mic.
When I search for AT37, all i can find is an Audio Tehcnica record deck cartridge.
Even a search on AT's website doesn't find anything.
Is the Pro37 the same mic?


Steve.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Mike Caldwell on October 27, 2020, 07:39:57 am
When I search for AT37, all i can find is an Audio Tehcnica record deck cartridge.
Even a search on AT's website doesn't find anything.
Is the Pro37 the same mic?


Steve.

Yes, they just shortened the name.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Matt Davis on October 27, 2020, 12:43:50 pm
Thanks for all the great suggestions!

Currently I'm leaning towards getting 3 Audio-Technica Pro 37s.

I'm also considering a sE Electronics sE8 matched pair for the OH, and then getting either an Audio-Technica Pro 37 or Shure SM137 for the hi-hats.

I'm personally unfamiliar with the sE8s, but I've seen a lot of great reviews for them recently, and I listened to some audio of them being used on drums. Maybe I'm crazy, or they were just mixed really well, but they sounded as good to me as many recordings with $1000+ mics.

Does anyone have any experience with them?

Also, we have a few spare SM 57s at my church, so I might throw that on the snare side. Ive used them on my snare side previously. Thats a good option, right?
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Luke Geis on October 27, 2020, 01:38:12 pm
I LOVE AKG C414's, but at the level I provide for, I can't justify the expense, so I purchased a set of AKG C-214's. They are purportedly a C414 capsule in a chassis that has been dumbed down to a single pickup pattern and only has a HP and an attenuation circuit. I think they sound amazing for the price and was ( before the scamdemic ) looking to acquire a second pair. They are just natural sounding with an airiness to them. The C-214's is not the same caliber as the 414, but is close enough considering it is less than half the price. I love them anyway. I have used them for voice-over work, walk up's and announcements and they pull a win every time.

I have never really been a fan of the SM81's. To me they always seemed too dense and heavy sounding, stuffy I guess you could say. I have used the Shure KSM-32's and they are also a great option. What I didn't like is that they are a full-size mic, so they are bulky, and perhaps a bit less robust. In terms of SDC options, they are more apt for the job honestly. The Rode NT5 is a great option and I have and still use to this day, a pair of Behringer C-2's. For a budget mic, the C2's are hard to beat. They have a little more self-noise than perhaps your higher-end mics, but they sound good and are rather utilitarian. I have used them on snare, tom's, conga's, stringed instruments, and of course as overheads. I would take the C2's over a pair of the Shure PG81's any day of the week if that is any indication. I was going to pick up some NT-5's or a pair of SE Electronics SE7's, but I opted for the C214's and never looked back.

The AT4041 is another good option if you again don't mind a big bulky mic with the isolation cage going around it. I have AT2010's which are the AT 2020 capsules in a handheld microphone. They are my go-to vocal mic, sound great, and perform well. So an AT 2020 may also be a more affordable option if you really want an LDC.

As for overheads, while the general consensus is that you really don't NEED them, they really do glue the kit together and give it some dimension. With mild to moderate use and clever EQ, you can use it to enhance the drums to great effect. So while not a requirement, for me I would rather have overheads than not if the situation affords it.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Weaver on October 27, 2020, 02:07:09 pm
Thanks for all the great suggestions!

Currently I'm leaning towards getting 3 Audio-Technica Pro 37s.

I'm also considering a sE Electronics sE8 matched pair for the OH, and then getting either an Audio-Technica Pro 37 or Shure SM137 for the hi-hats.

I'm personally unfamiliar with the sE8s, but I've seen a lot of great reviews for them recently, and I listened to some audio of them being used on drums. Maybe I'm crazy, or they were just mixed really well, but they sounded as good to me as many recordings with $1000+ mics.

Does anyone have any experience with them?

Also, we have a few spare SM 57s at my church, so I might throw that on the snare side. Ive used them on my snare side previously. Thats a good option, right?

What do you mean by snare side? Snare bottom mic?


Honestly if you have some 57's, throw them up for OH's and Hat and just try. There's nothing wrong with a 57. Are there better options? Sure. But many famous recordings have been done with just 57's and nobody complained.



https://www.sageaudio.com/blog/recording/two-critically-acclaimed-albums-recorded-100-microphone.php
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Matt Davis on October 27, 2020, 03:17:46 pm
What do you mean by snare side? Snare bottom mic?

Honestly if you have some 57's, throw them up for OH's and Hat and just try. There's nothing wrong with a 57. Are there better options? Sure. But many famous recordings have been done with just 57's and nobody complained.

https://www.sageaudio.com/blog/recording/two-critically-acclaimed-albums-recorded-100-microphone.php


Yeah, on the resonant head side where the snare wires are. If Im not mistaken, we have two spare SM57s. Would it be best to use them on the bottom of the snare and on the hi-hat, and get different mics for the OH?
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Weaver on October 27, 2020, 06:29:50 pm

Yeah, on the resonant head side where the snare wires are. If Im not mistaken, we have two spare SM57s. Would it be best to use them on the bottom of the snare and on the hi-hat, and get different mics for the OH?


That would be fine I think. Many people use a 57 for the HiHat.

Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Mike Caldwell on October 27, 2020, 07:22:38 pm
I have AT2010's which are the AT 2020 capsules in a handheld microphone. They are my go-to vocal mic, sound great, and perform well. So an AT 2020 may also be a more affordable option if you really want an LDC.


The AT 2020's are decent mics, I have a few and have used them for over heads.

I would not call them a LDC though since the mic element is only about a half inch in diameter.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Steve M Smith on October 28, 2020, 04:15:39 am
Honestly if you have some 57's, throw them up for OH's and Hat and just try. There's nothing wrong with a 57. Are there better options? Sure. But many famous recordings have been done with just 57's and nobody complained.


Indeed. Back in ye olden dayes, we would have had nothing but 57s and 58s on the drums. A 57 between the snare and hat, another one shared by two toms, a 58 on kick and anther one as overhead. No one in the audience complained about our mic choice.




Steve.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Dave Pluke on October 29, 2020, 04:03:41 pm

I'm also considering a sE Electronics sE8 matched pair for the OH,

I'm personally unfamiliar with the sE8s, but I've seen a lot of great reviews for them recently, and I listened to some audio of them being used on drums. Maybe I'm crazy, or they were just mixed really well, but they sounded as good to me as many recordings with $1000+ mics.

Does anyone have any experience with them?


I'm generally a fan of sE mics and have a matched pair of sE5's (pre-sE8).  They work very well for overheads, both live and recording.

Cannot compare them to the AT Pro37's, though, as I haven't used those.  I was, however, impressed by a pair of less expensive AT2021's when used on a jazz kit in a live situation.

Dave
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Chris Sieggen on October 29, 2020, 04:31:50 pm
Hello,

Were needing some new overhead mics for our drum cymbals at my church. This is for live drums application, playing mostly contemporary music.
The snare will have a Shure SM57, the toms will have Sennheiser e904s, and the kick will have a Shure Beta 52A and a homemade sub-kick.

Im wanting to get some opinions for the overheads for the cymbals. Well have two crashes (18 and 16), a ride (20), and hi-hats (14). They will all be Zildjian K Custom Dark. Our intention is to use two overheads. The mics should have enough room in the enclosure to be able to be placed up to 3ft above the cymbals. Our budget for both mics combined is up to $500, but I could probably go a bit over if I can convince my pastor.

Some of the mics Ive been looking at are the Rode NT5, Rode M5, Shure SM137, and Audio-Technica AT4041. I am 100% open to any and all ideas and suggestions.

Thank you so much!

Matt

Ive had to resource drum overheads on a budget many times, thus the choice usually comes down to what I can afford and whats available. A go to scenario for me has been looking for a barely used matches pair of Rode NT5s. They are not my absolute, go to favorite, but often can snag a pair off EBay/Reverb for 250-300.00, leaving some extra cash for some mic stands/cables/clips that I always need as well.

The Rodes are a really nice SDC, and work well for overheads. And you can use them for other sources if say to I dont have a drummer that day and need an extra cajon/mango/fiddle mic.

They are a little cloudy in the low mids, but can be easily tweaked via EQ.

AKG 214s can often be found barely used in the 250ish range. I snagged a pair to mic a piano and they work great.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Weaver on October 29, 2020, 06:01:52 pm
The AT 2020's are decent mics, I have a few and have used them for over heads.

I would not call them a LDC though since the mic element is only about a half inch in diameter.

 A lot of people like the 2020 and other 2xxx series mics, but to me they sound way too hyped in the high end. They are very sibilant, which is the opposite of what I want in an overhead. Cymbals already have too much high frequency, so a flat, or even a slightly rolled off mic does me better.

There is a remarkable difference stepping up to the 3xxx and higher range in AT's lineup. I have a pair of 4045's and could not ask for more for any live situation.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Matthias McCready on October 29, 2020, 09:37:59 pm

Yeah, on the resonant head side where the snare wires are. If Im not mistaken, we have two spare SM57s. Would it be best to use them on the bottom of the snare and on the hi-hat, and get different mics for the OH?

An SM57 is one of my favorite hat mics. In most mix contexts when I have a nice detailed pair of overheads, I rarely need more sizzly hats, and thereby the SM57 provides lots of body. I often go farther down this rabbit hole by turning it into an even dirtier sounding mic, liberally using the high-pass and low-pass filters, digitube (or the NLS plugin) and lots of compression. I only use a little a bit of the channel, but it adds some crunchy character and body to the kit.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Mike Caldwell on October 30, 2020, 01:44:50 am
A lot of people like the 2020 and other 2xxx series mics, but to me they sound way too hyped in the high end. They are very sibilant, which is the opposite of what I want in an overhead. Cymbals already have too much high frequency, so a flat, or even a slightly rolled off mic does me better.

There is a remarkable difference stepping up to the 3xxx and higher range in AT's lineup. I have a pair of 4045's and could not ask for more for any live situation.

Sometimes on the right situation I'll put up AT4033's on percussion or overheads, yea there's no comparison!
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on October 30, 2020, 01:39:45 pm
I do great on the small/mid shows using just 3 mics. Either Audix D6 or B52 on KK, SM57 or Audix i15 on snare and AT4041 on O/H. I have had folks express pleasant surprise at the results.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Chris Grimshaw on November 01, 2020, 03:23:26 am
When I was looking, it was difficult for me to demo lots of different mics, so I had to rely on shootouts and comparisons posted online. I went through a lot, and paid most attention to the clips where there's no processing being applied. There's a link to one below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9NkAd8f4vk

I wanted some SDCs that I could use for pretty much anything, from choir recording to drum overheads to live instrument micing.

I eventually chose the Beyer MC930 mics, and I'm very glad I did. They sound great, on-axis as well as off, and compare well against Neumann's KM184s which cost considerably more. The MC930s include a low-cut switch which (contrary to most) is a shallow filter that starts around 250Hz. That rolloff shape flattens out the proximity effect nicely, and IIRC is optimised for 12" pickup distance.

I've used MC930s for all sorts:
- Main stereo pair for classical recordings (low self-noise helps here)
- Stereo overheads plus kick (had to play with positioning to get the drum/cymbal balance, sounded great when it was right)
- Spot mics for classical instruments
- Many different instruments live on-stage

Always been pleased with the sound: most of the time, there's no processing required - makes soundcheck very easy. Push the fader and move on to the next channel. GAS periodically kicks in, and I buy more of them. Up to seven so far.

Chris
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Scott Slater on November 01, 2020, 07:34:55 am
I like SM81s, but for a more budget friendly choice the Pro37s are great.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Steve M Smith on November 02, 2020, 03:20:39 am
I do great on the small/mid shows using just 3 mics. Either Audix D6 or B52 on KK, SM57 or Audix i15 on snare and AT4041 on O/H. I have had folks express pleasant surprise at the results.


I quite often use just kick, snare and overhead too.  Even on bigger stages with more drum mics, I will try to use one overhead.




Steve.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Patterson on November 02, 2020, 11:09:27 am
We just got the se4400a and I'm really liking them. really smooth but still have a nice top end.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Chris Grimshaw on November 03, 2020, 04:27:51 pm
Got a couple of those, too. Decent mics. Enjoy!

Chris
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Gavin Whitner on February 12, 2021, 03:47:17 pm
I use a pair of AKG C214's for my band. Pretty happy with the performance for the money. I originally bought one for rapping, after seeing it recommended (https://musicstrive.com/best-rapping-microphones/) for its sound quality to low-medium budget rappers, and later got another to use the pair as drum overheads for our band's recording sessions.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Steven Cohen on February 15, 2021, 02:14:34 pm
Hello,

Were needing some new overhead mics for our drum cymbals at my church. This is for live drums application, playing mostly contemporary music.
The snare will have a Shure SM57, the toms will have Sennheiser e904s, and the kick will have a Shure Beta 52A and a homemade sub-kick.

Im wanting to get some opinions for the overheads for the cymbals. Well have two crashes (18 and 16), a ride (20), and hi-hats (14). They will all be Zildjian K Custom Dark. Our intention is to use two overheads. The mics should have enough room in the enclosure to be able to be placed up to 3ft above the cymbals. Our budget for both mics combined is up to $500, but I could probably go a bit over if I can convince my pastor.

Some of the mics Ive been looking at are the Rode NT5, Rode M5, Shure SM137, and Audio-Technica AT4041. I am 100% open to any and all ideas and suggestions.

Thank you so much!

Matt

What ever you choose, consider the after the sale service. I know that Shure and I believe Sennheiser offer flat rate repairs after the warranty is over. With Shure, the mics are usually back in service in a week or two, no pun intended. Not saying that AT, Audix and others don't have similar, just something to consider.

For us, SM137 is a general purpose, rugged, small capsule condenser that fits in a standard mic clip that costs $180. 
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Scott Holtzman on February 16, 2021, 12:55:26 pm
I like SM81s, but for a more budget friendly choice the Pro37s are great.


I so respect your opinions and I do not have a quality pair of SDC's.  There is a kit of these on eBay 2 with the stereo bracket and a case.  Paypal, 0 interest, could pay for them out of my "allowance" serious GAS kicking in......help





Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Nils Erickson on February 17, 2021, 07:34:55 pm

I so respect your opinions and I do not have a quality pair of SDC's.  There is a kit of these on eBay 2 with the stereo bracket and a case.  Paypal, 0 interest, could pay for them out of my "allowance" serious GAS kicking in......help
Do it.  I assume you meant "help" encourage you.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Tim Weaver on February 17, 2021, 09:32:07 pm

I so respect your opinions and I do not have a quality pair of SDC's.  There is a kit of these on eBay 2 with the stereo bracket and a case.  Paypal, 0 interest, could pay for them out of my "allowance" serious GAS kicking in......help

Try 'em! You'll be seriously shocked if you've never used them before.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Caleb Dueck on February 17, 2021, 10:24:00 pm
For us, SM137 is a general purpose, rugged, small capsule condenser that fits in a standard mic clip that costs $180.

I just noticed today that you can get a 2-pack of A-T 4041 mics for a good price. 

Seems like there are a few inexpensive mics that are pretty good (Pro37, SM137, ADX51, etc), then a step up (4041, KSM137, Aston Origen, Audix M1280 or whatever the Micro model is, etc). 
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Steven Cohen on February 18, 2021, 08:45:13 am
What do you mean by snare side? Snare bottom mic?


Honestly if you have some 57's, throw them up for OH's and Hat and just try. There's nothing wrong with a 57. Are there better options? Sure. But many famous recordings have been done with just 57's and nobody complained.



https://www.sageaudio.com/blog/recording/two-critically-acclaimed-albums-recorded-100-microphone.php

And for those just a little bit older, here is another famous recording done with just 57s,
https://www.barryrudolph.com/stellar/300dollardrumsound.html
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Nils Erickson on February 18, 2021, 01:43:37 pm
And for those just a little bit older, here is another famous recording done with just 57s,
https://www.barryrudolph.com/stellar/300dollardrumsound.html
Wow, what a great article, thanks for sharing it!  I just went back to the song to refresh my memory.  Funny coincidence to see this, as just this morning I had watched them play "She's Gone" on Old Grey Whistle Test for no particular reason.  No EQ, no compression, all SM57s.  How interesting.
Title: Re: Drum Overhead Mic Suggestions
Post by: Steven Cohen on February 18, 2021, 03:00:14 pm
Wow, what a great article, thanks for sharing it!  I just went back to the song to refresh my memory.  Funny coincidence to see this, as just this morning I had watched them play "She's Gone" on Old Grey Whistle Test for no particular reason.  No EQ, no compression, all SM57s.  How interesting.

Here is something a little more recent. Now they have a bigger budget for condensers for the O.H.!
https://www.livefromdarylshouse.com/currentep.html?ep_id=13