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Title: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Mark Norgren on January 15, 2019, 08:53:22 am
I run sound for our band and am wondering about better/easier ways of mic'ing drums.  Our drummer insists on running mics each drum (8) and I'm thinking this is way over kill.  We usually play small rooms, theaters for 100-200 people.  I run a Midas M32R, DL32 stage box, QSC KW181 (4) when needed and QSC KW 153 (2) tops.  We are your average cover band, at times we add horns and more singers, up to about 12 max in the band total.

Just wondering what people suggest.  How many, placement and other thoughts would be great!  I have done drums with three mics before, maybe four, but eight seems like a waste of time.  We have space on the board, just don't want to mess with the setups.  I appreciate any suggestions.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Will Knight on January 15, 2019, 09:52:09 am
Please go to your profile and change your name to your real name as required by the rules when you first registered. Otherwise your post will be locked by the moderators.


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Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Chris Grimshaw on January 15, 2019, 10:11:56 am
Please go to your profile and change your name to your real name as required by the rules when you first registered. Otherwise your post will be locked by the moderators.


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+1.
You have to click through a lot of pages to join this forum, and they all tell you what you need to do.

FWIW, if you ask 10 different sound engineers, you'll probably get 10 different answers on how to mic the drum kit. More info would be useful. How loud is the drummer? How extensive is the kit? Why does the drummer want eight channels?

Chris
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 15, 2019, 12:05:35 pm
Travis, Chris, Helge, Steve... we don't reply to posts that violate the real name requirement.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Dave Pluke on January 16, 2019, 06:22:17 pm
I have done drums with three mics before, maybe four, but eight seems like a waste of time.  We have space on the board, just don't want to mess with the setups.  I appreciate any suggestions.

First question, do you ever find you use all 8 mics on the kit in question?  If not, perhaps you can consolidate to kick, snare and a couple of overheads.  If your stages are smaller, the vocal mics are probably picking up the cymbals and you could close mic the toms instead of overheads.

If you do use all 8 mics, the best compromise is to run a subsnake and let the drummer patch all the mics with shorter cables near the riser and keep things cleaner at the stage box.

You've got multitrack capability on the M32.  Why not record a gig and find out what's coming through each mic?

Dave
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Luke Geis on January 16, 2019, 08:47:42 pm
I once had a band that I worked with that was adamant about micing the whole kit. For recording of live events and documenting performances, this is a way to get the overall best outcome. From a live reproduction standpoint for small venues, less is more. Less setup time, less equipment to worry about losing or damaging, and less work to soundcheck and mess with the channels during the show. For small shows, I cut things back to the smallest number of open channels that allows everything to have the potential to be in the PA. This means that kick snare and a single overhead is often more than enough for drums. If I feel like stereo, then I will do 4 channels for the drums.

If they want you for your technical prowess and ability, then I would tell them that you feel heavily that going over the top at all shows, while good practice, will cost them time and energy that may take away from the core of the objective. Setup, soundcheck, breakdown, cost, damage, theft all lead up to attrition that takes the focus away from the core objective.

I don't particularly like to spend an extra 20min total setting up, sound checking, and striking gear I don't need. If you double the number of mics from 4 to 8, that is another 10min roughly of setup. Which leads to another roughly 5 min sound checking ( assuming you spend only 1 min or so on each channel ) and then another 5 min or more breaking down. To do that you also have the cost of an extra 4 mic cables, and if you're like me and have a $1,300 drum mic kit, you have at least half the value of the mic kit out and able to be stolen or damaged. Then your time to consider. 20min longer is a half hour more of billable time, and if going on flat rate, it is literally going against your $ per hour. The best choice is to do what is the most prudent given the circumstances and objective goals.

While it may not win you any jobs, the cold hard truth is that the show isn't about them, it's about the people in the crowd. Going overkill doesn't guarantee better results and from a production standpoint less often adds up to more. Your skill and talent is every bit as important as the band members and you are just as judged and critiqued as they are. So they need to trust that you will make the best decision not only for them but yourself. Cost is a factor, your time is a factor, and the total sum of all the productions is certainly a factor.

The hardest part is telling someone who is essentially an employer that they need to relinquish control. It is easier, after all, to simply just say yes and do what they want, but that is entirely up to you. It is pretty hard to sell a case to someones that less is more when they know you can simply turn them on and off as needed regardless of what the event is. Arguing the $ per hour can sometimes help them see, but often they don't care because you agreed to X anyway. So the long and short of it is you have to decide how heavy you want to put your foot down.

As to mic technique, I use the Glyn Johns method when I use a 4 mic drum kit. Used to do far and away, close and direct, and even XY, but have settled on the Glyn John's trick as being the best compromise. It isn't stereo per se, but it gives an open feel and you get a good balance between drums and cymbals. The snare tends to live on one side of the mix more, but the snare is typically to one side more anyway.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Eric Snodgrass on January 16, 2019, 09:04:13 pm
As to mic technique, I use the Glyn Johns method when I use a 4 mic drum kit.

For anyone that doesn't know the Glyn Johns drum kit mic technique, watch on YouTube as the man himself sets it up and explains it - Glyn Johns Shows His Mic Technique (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GGNcGHn5BI)
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Dave Scarlett on January 16, 2019, 09:32:05 pm
You probably enjoy running sound per your post, not setting up 8 mics, clips/stands, and running all the cables too. Then tearing down and properly putting everything away, maybe even having to pay for all of it.

You've got a digital board so set up a drum sub group and leave it at that. I'll bet his need for 8 mics on the kit will diminish pretty quickly if he has to do all the work.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 16, 2019, 10:54:48 pm
I run sound for our band and am wondering about better/easier ways of mic'ing drums.  Our drummer insists on running mics each drum (8) and I'm thinking this is way over kill.  We usually play small rooms, theaters for 100-200 people.  I run a Midas M32R, DL32 stage box, QSC KW181 (4) when needed and QSC KW 153 (2) tops.  We are your average cover band, at times we add horns and more singers, up to about 12 max in the band total.

Just wondering what people suggest.  How many, placement and other thoughts would be great!  I have done drums with three mics before, maybe four, but eight seems like a waste of time.  We have space on the board, just don't want to mess with the setups.  I appreciate any suggestions.

So is there another consideration for fully micing his kit?  Recording the shows, IEM transition, or is this his ego?  It almost doesn't matter because long term, he will "win".  Remember that just because it has a mic, doesn't mean you use the mic in the PA.

I agree this is a potential PITA with damage/loss exposure and a commitment of resources that might be used elsewhere but considering this is a client request, how do you monetize it to reduce your dissatisfaction with having to do it?  If you can't get more $, then see if you can make this part of the drummer's set up.  He has to place and wire the mics on his kit.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Geert Friedhof on January 16, 2019, 11:48:03 pm
Just run with it. 8 mics is not a big deal. I usually run 5 mics if i can get away with it: Kick, snare, hihat and 2 overheads, but on larger stages i always close mic everything, sometimes up to 14 mics for drums alone. You can always turn them off.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Mark Norgren on January 17, 2019, 08:02:23 am
I appreciate all the comments, especially the video on Glyn Johns, had not heard of that before.  I currently run them all into a DCA and it hasn't been too big a deal for me because he sets up his own kit.  Just that it takes him a ton of time to set up.  I think I can get just as good of sound with 3-4 mics and have done that for years.  I'm currently running all Shure mics.  What mics are guys using for drums? 
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Mike Caldwell on January 17, 2019, 08:27:37 am
I appreciate all the comments, especially the video on Glyn Johns, had not heard of that before.  I currently run them all into a DCA and it hasn't been too big a deal for me because he sets up his own kit.  Just that it takes him a ton of time to set up.  I think I can get just as good of sound with 3-4 mics and have done that for years.  I'm currently running all Shure mics.  What mics are guys using for drums?

Mic brand is not really that important, all the major mic companies have drum mics or drum mic packages that will work fine.
The biggest choice is picking a mic that has the mounting, form factor and size you want to work with.

Myself I use Audix D series on 80% of a drum kit, hat and over heads I change out as needed.

That all said you could take a handfull of 57's and get the job done with good results.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Chris Hindle on January 17, 2019, 08:47:10 am
I'm currently running all Shure mics.  What mics are guys using for drums?
AT-4041's on overheads and hat, ND-408's and 308's on rack and floor toms, snare, and roto-toms, 57's on toys and snare bottom(when needed), D-112, RE-20, Shure 52 or something else on Kick. Depends on drum, player, and style of music.
Old, maybe. But certainly NOT obsolete.
Chris.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Rick Powell on January 17, 2019, 08:49:42 am
I appreciate all the comments, especially the video on Glyn Johns, had not heard of that before.  I currently run them all into a DCA and it hasn't been too big a deal for me because he sets up his own kit.  Just that it takes him a ton of time to set up.  I think I can get just as good of sound with 3-4 mics and have done that for years.  I'm currently running all Shure mics.  What mics are guys using for drums?

We use Shure SM57 on snare and Audix D series on everything else (D6 kick, D2 on rack toms and D4 on floor tom), with their spring-loaded D clip on the rack and floor toms. We donít usually mic overhead or cymbals; the snare mic and vocal mic pick up enough of the hi hat and cymbals. 4 to 5 mics total depending if the drummer brings one or 3 rack toms. When we do sound outside of our band, we occasionallly use more mics at the clientís request or if it is an especially large kit with double kick, numerous toms, etc.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Mike Monte on January 17, 2019, 10:06:35 am
I run sound for our band and am wondering about better/easier ways of mic'ing drums.  Our drummer insists on running mics each drum (8) and I'm thinking this is way over kill.  We usually play small rooms, theaters for 100-200 people.  I run a Midas M32R, DL32 stage box, QSC KW181 (4) when needed and QSC KW 153 (2) tops.  We are your average cover band, at times we add horns and more singers, up to about 12 max in the band total.

Just wondering what people suggest.  How many, placement and other thoughts would be great!  I have done drums with three mics before, maybe four, but eight seems like a waste of time.  We have space on the board, just don't want to mess with the setups.  I appreciate any suggestions.

A normal club kit for me is: D6 on kick, e604's on toms, plus two sm57's as OH's (sometimes only one OH, sometimes I don't mic the toms depending on venue).
The above works fine for me in club applications.
Outdoors I will add a 57 for the hat, snare, etc. if it's windy or as needed.

FWIW:  I have never met a drummer that refused an offer to mic his whole kit.
If it is a band that you do steady work with:
Get an 8 channel drop-snake and make a "loom" of short xlr cable and label the female jacks; K (for kick), HT (high tom), MT, FT, OH1, OH2, HH, SN.

Run the drop snake to the kit, plug in the loom and drape the xlr's on the kit with each cable placed where they need to be.  Have a couple of boom stands and and kick stand at the snake. 
Give the mics and mounting clips to the drummer and let him mount/place the mics as part of his set up / breakdown.

I anticipate that it will get old quickly...

It has been my experience that drummers (for some reason) always seem to the the last one to fully set up; always hanging cymbals at the last minute, etc. thus mic'ing a kit at that time can be a bit of a "dive" (hook-up, no sound check, EQ, and mix on the fly).




 
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Mal Brown on January 17, 2019, 11:17:47 am
If the tomíage goes beyond 2 rack and 2 floor then that rack of highs / octonbons / roto toms is not getting micíed...  unless I have a rider that I simply have to obey...

I am deep in e604ís for Tomís.  If Iím feeling lazy (read small park festival with 20 minute band cut overs). The Iíll use on on a snare. Otherwise, 57 or i5 on the snare, socked 57 on the hat, D6 or 421 or ae2500 on the kick.

Rode mdc mics to under mic cymbals for a rock show.

Maybe some sdcís for ohms- they probably wonít make it to an foh mix though...

Jazz setup is more like 412 on the smallíish kick, 441 OHD, maybe a 57 on the snare - also probably not used unless 8 completely blew the OHD placement...
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Chris Grimshaw on January 17, 2019, 02:09:17 pm
What mics are guys using for drums?

Kick: SE Electronics X1D
Toms/snare: Sennheiser e904
OH: Beyerdynamic MC930

I like those mics. Push the fader and they sound like the instrument.

Most of the time, kick and overhead is enough, but I'd rather have the toms etc mic'd and not need to push the fader, than to need more of the floor tom and not have a mic on it.

Chris
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Luke Geis on January 17, 2019, 02:58:43 pm
I have been utilizing a 5 piece kit from Miktek lately. The PM series is really nice!!! I use AKG C214's for overheads!!! For hi-hat I have been using a cheap Behringer C-2 and it works great, although I am on the hunt for a nicer SDC to fill that role. I also have a Shure Beta 91 that I use for kick and I would say it is still probably my favorite, but drummers are looking for the more modern kick sound these days it seems. The PM11 from Miktek is a good balance between an Audix D6 and the Shure Beta 91. Lots of low end, plenty of click and attack with a good balance of mids. Less scooped sounding than the D6 and not as much attack as the Beta 91.

The AKG C214's are worth the money!!! They aren't a C414, but they sure bring the sweet, full and open sounding characteristics of them along. At around $200 each it is a little scary bringing them out on a low-end gig, but they just work so well. I have also used them on guitar and am looking at getting another pair to do just that! The C214 is turning into one of my favorite semi-affordable mics. Not too expensive and not too cheap and works really well for a multitude of things. One thing I really like about them is that they respond to mic position really well. If you move it a little it doesn't drastically change the sound ( as some mics do ), but it does make a change that you can quantify and make an educated decision on where to move it too.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Peter Kowalczyk on January 17, 2019, 03:55:30 pm
For super-simple gigs, I'll mic the Kick only.  Snare and brass usually cut juuuuust fine in small rooms / small stages / in close proximity to vocal mics.

Most 'basic' gigs, I use 6 channels of Drums:

Kick  - beta52
Snare  - beta566
Hat - ADX-51
Tom 1 - e604
Tom 2 - e604
Ride - ADX-51

I looove great sounding toms.  I'd so much rather close mic them than rely on Overheads to pick them up.  It's worth it to me to run those two extra channels.  Gate em, add some 'verb if appropriate, and hassle your drummer about tuning them nicely (the difference between well tuned / badly tuned toms is not trivial).  Position the ride mic relatively close and compress it to capture some detail without becoming overbearing when the drummer really lays into it.

My standard 'Template' has 10 channels of drums; I may or may not use all of them:

Kick In - e901
Kick Out - e902
Snare Top - b56
Snare Bottom - e604
Hat - e614
Tom 1 - e604
Tom 2 - e604
Tom 3 - e604
OH-L - ADX51
OH-R - ADX51

On X32 or other block-of-8 type systems, this positions the two overheads on CH 9 and 10 where they make a convenient stereo pair.  Snare bottom is so tasty - I like to compress the bottom with a much longer attack than the top to let that 'Crack' thru.  Tom3 is often unused, and then available for sample pads and such.

This 10-ch setup is probably overkill for the OP, who's asking for simplicity.  But, since you're using an M32 with (presumably) plenty of channels available, you could consider setting up the full-featured template file, then pick and choose which channels to use based on the gig.
Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Jeff Bankston on January 17, 2019, 04:56:17 pm
For loud gigs mic each drum. If 2 toms are next to each other you can put a mic between them. I like 4 mics for recording my drums. 2 AKG C460B/CK61 overhead and 2 AKG D12E about 3 feet out front about a foot off the floor. I have a double bass kit with 4 toms thats spread out. The 4 mics gives a sound similar to sitting about 8 feet out in front of the kit. Recordings are also made with a close mic on each drum.

For live gigs I mic each drum. I put an SM57 on each tom and the snare. An AKG D12E on each bass drum. There are no holes in my bass heads and no muffling. 2 AKG C460b/CK61 overheads and an AKG C460B/CK61 on the hihat. The overheads dont capture my hihat very well.


Title: Re: Suggestions for mic'ing drums
Post by: Mark Norgren on January 17, 2019, 07:22:52 pm
Wow!  Thanks for suck a great response!  One thing for sure, we are all over the place in terms of techniques and equipment.  I have been running a Beta 52 and a bunch of old school 57 for the drums.  They seem to work well and I get decent results. 

I guess I am getting tired and looking to downsize my gig rig.  I use to bring every monitor, light, fog machine, mic......I had in the arsenal.  My thinking is to scale back a bit.  My band sometimes swells to about 12-14 when the horns show up and then all bets are off!  Those shows I play guitar and hire a sound guy so I can relax a bit.