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Two mics or many?

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Two mics or many?

Postby extraborg » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:40 pm

I'm hoping to start recording my drums and trying to decide whether to use a drum kit set such as the Shure PGDMK6 - 6 Piece Drum Mic Kit or simply buy a matched pair of condensers, such as the Rode NT5s. Once I've bought cables, stands, etc, it is pretty much the same price. I have another Rode mic (NTK) that I could use for the kick if I went with the nt5s. I guess my question is: am I better off going with two decent condensers or many budget mics with a separate mic for each drum? Any advice would be gratefull received.Thanks.
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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:55 pm

I am VERY sceptical of mic 'kits'. They invariably contain a few duffers to make up the numbers and keep the price attractive. In that particular kit there's not one mic that I'd beat down doors to possess.

I'd suggest more slowly collecting carefully chosen mic's to end up with your own 'kit'. A pair of NT5s and a couple of SM57s would be a good start - and not something you'll be struggling to find a buyer for later when you move onto bigger and better things. ;)
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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby 2M » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:15 pm

Even though I'd say you'll be better of with fewer better mics than with more budget versions I guess the answer to you question largely depends on the sound you are after. A few things to consider;

- Fewer mics would mean less of a close micing situation, meaning you'd depend a bit more on the sound onf the room.
- Depending on you style of playing, the toms are not as prominent as the snare, kick and cymbals. Does it make sense to grant them an individual mic at the expense of mic quality for the rest?
- If you are after a closed mic sound, minimizing the influence of the room, than the option with multiple mics might be better.

My personal preference with my small arsenal of mics is to use a good snare mic (sm57) and a good kick mic (pg52, same as the one in that set you mentioned), and then compliment with 2 good overhead mics (i use 2 seMinis). Mic placement is ofcourse crucial when using this more 'open' mic technique for drums.

Hope this helps,
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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:48 pm

Agreed....Get a basic kick, snare and overheads setup to start with, and work from there. The issue with using just two mics is that you tend to get a lack of weight in the kick drum (unless your two mics are a kick and a mono overhead) and less ability to balance the snare in the other words you're restricted by the drummer's ability to self balance.

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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby chavernac » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:17 pm

The more mics you get, the more phase problem you ll get...
The way I like to do it is to get a stereo pair of Balanced OHs.
I insist on the balance otherwise it is just not usable. I want to hear EVERY piece of the kit the same way and especially not too much cymbals.
The one mic on the kick. One mic on the snare.
This way I get a punchy sound, and felixiblity at mixing without a headache.
Of course, this is a different ball game if the toms are played AND important in the song. same with the hihat.

Here is a a tutorial on how to mic a full drum kit. A bit of too many mics for my taste... but hey! it still works!

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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby matt keen » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:52 am

I used to feel that the practical minimum was 3 mics and go for the old Glyn Johns set up- still do
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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby extraborg » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:43 am

Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to answer my question. From your answers, I feel my best bet is to opt for fewer better quality microphones - I like the idea of trying to record with three - and then rely on balancing the sound by the way I play. Will be good in terms of simplicity and hopefully improve my technique. I understand, of course, that I'm not going to get a close-miked sound, but I can alsways invest in more microphones later on. Thanks again! :)
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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:45 am

Three mics are enough for a good drummer who can balance the sound of the kit without any help but unfortunately these drummers are rarer than you might think. Hence you'll almost certainly need a snare mic and possibly the odd tom mic. I would suggest you go for a decent kick mic and decent overheads but maybe add a few of the budget Yoga (or Pulse) D606 mics to add a little weight to the toms if needed.

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Re: Two mics or many?

Postby BigAl » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:01 pm

I agree. I have just recorded a kit and I wanted to do it without a complex set up.
Kick - ATM25
Snare - ATM63HE
O/H - One GT55 facing down, just above and in front of the drummer's head.

Excellent result. In fact, don't really need the snare track. Kit sounded rich and natural with the ATM25 providing a nice kick sound which the O/H didn't really pick-up.
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