Ben Lowe Drum Microphones Essay

Submitted By BenedictLowerdick
Words: 1017
Pages: 5

Drum mic setups
The drumkit has 6 main parts:
The kick, the snare, 2 high toms, at least 1 low tom, a hi-hat, and a variety of cymbals such as the crash and ride
The familiar acoustic drum sound is result of balance among playing techniques, proper tuning and mic placement
A poorly tuned drum will sound just as out of tune through a good mic as it will through a bad one. Therefore the drum must sound good to ears before mics are even started to be set up.
Since the drum set is one of the loudest sound sources in a studio setting, it’s often wise to place it on a riser. This reduces the low-end ‘thud’ that can sometimes leak through the floor into other parts of the studio. The drums could:
Be placed in their own room, separate from other instruments
Be place in the large studio room while the other instruments are placed in smaller iso-room or are recorded direct
Be placed in the studio while being enclosed by divider flats to reduce leakage
Kick drum
Best choice for the kick drum mic is a large diaphragm dynamic mic.
Bass boost happens when using a directional mic at close working distances
Even a minor change in placement can have a massive effect on the overall sound
Closer to the head means warmth and fullness, but further away will emphasize the high frequency click
Mic closer to the beater emphasizes the hard thud, but off center captures some characteristic skin tone
A good mic for kick drum would have to be the AKG D112
Alternative mics include Shure Beta 52 & 91 and the Electro-voice RE20, all of which are dynamic mics with large diaphragms suited to low frequencies.
Snare drum
A snare mic is aimed just inside the top rim of the snare at a distance of about an inch
The mic should point away from all other drums and cymbals
The mics polar response should be cardioid
A crisp, bright snare sound can be achieved by placing an additional mic on the snare drum’s bottom head pointing straight at the wires
It’s probably a smart idea to reverse the bottom mic’s phase polarity as the bottom is a different phase to the top
The sound can be dampened with either dampening rings or by taping a billfold to the top of a drumhead
Spill from the bass drum is a problem despite the fact that you can safely roll-off the low frequencies so it’s smart to try and angle away from it.
The classic snare mic is the Shure SM57 for both top and bottom as it is a cardioid dynamic microphone tuned for the clean reproduction of amplified and acoustic instruments
Overheads
Overhead mics are generally used to pick up the high frequency transients of cymbals with detail, whilst also providing a blend of the drumkit as a whole
Condenser mics are often best choice for their accurate high end response
Most common mic placement is the spaced pair, where two mics are hung above the left and right sides of the kit
These mics equally distribute between the L-R cymbal clusters to pick up the respective instrument components in balanced form
The other most common placement is the coincident placement, which will often produce a good stereo overhead image but with a minimum of phase cancellations
The AKG C414 is usually first choice due to it being a multipattern condenser microphone that offers a choice of nine polar patterns for the perfect sonic capture, but AKG C451s and Neumann KM184s are equally good
Rack Toms
The upper rack toms can either be recorded individually or by placing just one mic between the two at short distance
When recorded individually, a ‘dead’ sound can be achieved by placing the mic close to the drum’s top head
A more lively sound can be achieved by increasing the height…