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Drums live on stage - 4 channels

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Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby Magic Matt » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:29 pm

I have 4 channels on my recorder I can use for drums. This is a blues band, so there's bass guitar, lead guitar and blues harp amps on stage (each have their own channel), plus a vocal monitor near the drummer (he insists on having one - vocal is fed from PA into the recorder, but so far I've not heard phasing issues).

My plan is...

Bass Drum (Shure SM57) - positioned about 2 inches inside the hole (as far in as I can basically), aimed half way between the drum centre point and the beater impact point.

Snare Shure SM58, positioned about level with the Hi-Hat, aimed across the surface of the drum, on a stand in front of the kit.

Drum Overheads (2 x Rode NT3) Height wise both about 1ft above cymbal height, aimed across the kit (there's usually no space to put them behind the drummer at the venue). I tend to pitch them down about 10 degrees. If you were to draw a line through their axis, it would make an X with the cross-point above where the bass drum pedal is.

The idea being the overheads are for a stereo image of the overall kit, but having the bass drum and snare mics gives me a bit more control over balance.


This has worked pretty well for me before, but is there a better way to place the mics? I don't get much opportunity to sound check before recording as I'm in the band and the venues we play in are pubs/clubs who don't like long sound checks, so experimentation is usually pretty limited.
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby Wease » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:49 pm

now - Uthlope is a "one" for mic-ing kits....and other stuff....he likes his miking

there's something about string, bass drums and snares and optimal points for placing overheads....someone clevererer than me will tell you......

however.....it's all in the sound (man).....have you got some raw/uneqed section of the drum recordings you've done so far.....for reference like

and, as you say...every venue you play is different....including crowd noise, reflections, room acoustics etc etc....which kinda makes it hard for a "one stop" solution or technical placement map to work.
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby Neokoenig » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:23 pm

For studio use with minimal mics, recorderman or glyn johns are the usual go-to techniques. There's tonnes of stuff about that if you google it.

If you can possibly get something like an audix D6 or D112 on the bass drum, I'd think you'd notice the difference too...
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby Magic Matt » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:48 pm

Raw recordings unfortunately no longer around. The last recording I did this way was over 4 years ago, so I've only got mixed-down stuff.

I have a Rode NT1-A, but as far as I know the bass drum would be far too loud for it (rated max SPL 137dB), as it's a 1" capsule condenser and seems very sensitive. (Sounds absolutely stunning on the acoustic guitar though). I'd also have a heart attack if it got knocked over. I don't really want to buy any more mics, as I need to buy a new recording interface, laptop needs replacing soon... just not got an unlimited budget.

The band are not as fussy as me... they just want it to sound "better than those crap recordings we get when we stick two mics in front of the band and some idiot stands near them talking loudly and getting pissed"... I want it to sound pretty much like a bought CD... or as near as I can get it. :)

I'm just Googling those techniques - thanks!
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby Magic Matt » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:17 am

I must admit I'm liking the look of the Recorderman technique, possibly putting the bass drum mic in as a third, phase inverted, "just in case" it needs a boost (I can always leave that channel muted on mix-down). I know the bass drum has a lot of bottom and from memory that gets lost a bit usually, so it usually does need its own mic.

Am I understanding it correctly - by keeping the mics equidistant from the bass drum and snare, you get a tighter reinforced sound?
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:20 am

Live is not really my thing, but if it was I wouldn't go down the recorderman road. The mic's will end up too far away from the kit IMO. If you must, then get the overheads centred on the snare, but leave the kick to the close mic.
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby James Perrett » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:11 am

A picture of the kit layout would probably help. If spill is really a problem, you may want to put the mics much closer to the toms but the exact positioning is very kit dependent.

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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby bonesinc » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:57 pm

I have recorded quite a number of bands in exactly the way you're going to.
With limited channels available (I have 8) I would choose the Recorderman setup with an extra mic for the kick drum. I always need it for a bit of oomph but rarely need an extra on the snare. Although I do put one on the snare if there's a spare channel. This might be a bit dependent on your choice of mics though.
This setup gives me a nice and tight sounding kit. Plenty of stereo, and the balance between cymbals and drums is really good. The mics are pretty close to the kit (I use the length of two drum sticks as distance between snare and mics), so it works for me in a limited space. If you haven't got time to experiment, go for Recorderman. It never failed me.

Sorry for this to be my first post but I had to chime in since I've been doing this for the past time and I'm really fond of how it sounds. So I wanted to share my experience on the issue.

Cheers,
Matt

P.S.
The drums on those tracks are recorded like I described above. They're mixed tracks but I think you should be able to decide if it would work for you. It's a funk group by a couple of conservatory students, recorded in a very small café.
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Re: Drums live on stage - 4 channels

Postby Magic Matt » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:15 pm

Sounds pretty spot on to me!! - The drums sounds a bit tighter and crisper than I'm getting which having now listened really closely I am sure is down to the snare phase/comb filtering. I think just knowing to reference the distance from the snare is going to make a big difference overall. I am also very much liking the idea that you get one mic setup and move it up/down to get the overall balance, then the second mic is just "over there, same distance from the snare"... seems quick, easy and very effective.

Thanks very much for the help - I think I now know exactly what I plan to do. :)
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