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drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

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drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby jodaki » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:30 pm

I have 2 4038s hanging from the ceiling over my drum kit at the moment but Im not happy with the sound so far.

They are awkward to keep moving around so I thought Id see what people think is the best placement for them.

Using a Gretch Catalina under a 2.5m wooden ceiling in a room 12m x 9m. The Mics are currently 133cm from the centre of the snare but in front of it, they are looking slightly back at the centre of the snare as accurately as I can guage it (rather than down to the floor). Because the mics are pointing to the snare the nulls cross a few metres in front of the kick drum (and obviously dont cross behind the kit).

I expect the cymbals to dominate the overheads, which is fine, but Im looking for a bit more balance with the drums. Perhaps this is simply a matter of moving the OHs a bit further behind the drummer to see more of the skins.

However, I did wonder if the angle Im pointing them at (and also therefore the direction of the nulls) is important. I should think it is...
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby jodaki » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:50 pm

The overheads are in-phase with each other btw.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby CS70 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:14 am

What is that you are not satisfied with?

If the technical aspects of recording are ok, the most common issue with drums is the room and the filtering that occurs at that position in that room. There is no ‘best’ about OHs being over or behind the kick, alas, in each room you have to move around and try.

If I work in a room that is entirely new to me, I always start with the snare, moving around and finding the place with less reflections or that otherwise sounds best to me, then mount the kit around that. Often a ceiling absorber is very useful to change the filtering

The worse the room, the more I keep the OHs low to reduce filtering as much as possible. Higher ceiling rooms often sound better.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:29 am

If I was using ribbon mics in a room that size and shape my first thought would be not to put them 'overhead' at all but in front of the kit. Being figure-8, ribbons pick up equally from the rear, so if you have a low reflective ceiling, you'll get an awful lot of 'bounce' from that. By contrast, if you put them out front and upright, the ceiling/floor reflections will be in the mics' null zones. You'll also typically get a stronger balance of drums to cymbals that way.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Argiletonne » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:21 am

weird,
I drum,.
what kind of drummers do you record?
do you know of the triangle system for monitoring at a desk with a pair of speakers,.
anyway gotta go.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby jodaki » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:19 pm

christiano wrote:If I work in a room that is entirely new to me, I always start with the snare, moving around and finding the place with less reflections or that otherwise sounds best to me, then mount the kit around that.
That's a great idea :thumbup:

sam wrote:If I was using ribbon mics in a room that size and shape my first thought would be not to put them 'overhead' at all but in front of the kit.
Yes I think this may be a case of being on autopilot. I've used Coles 4038s before for overheads on drums and other stuff and they've been great, but were positioned higher and under a much higher ceiling. The drums sound nice where they are so I will try moving the mics onto stands in front as you say.

If Im losing the OHs, would you use some other mics, maybe wide cardiods, for overheads or just not worry about OHs?
And if the Coles are on stands out front, are they now my room mics? I had a couple of OC818s doing that already...

Ill see if I can coax something lovely out of the kit here because it's a nice place to play but failing that I have another spot with a high-ceiling but sadly less feng shui that I can move it to.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:52 pm

I've seen it done both ways -- ie with the front mics replacing overheads or in addition to overheads. You'll need to be quite careful with placement if you do both. If you're getting enough cymbals from the mics positioned in front then I'd have thought they would work OK on their own.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:58 pm

Hi Sam,
I asked about this a while back and one of the things that was emphasised was the need to avoid the mics being in the same plane as the cymbals as that would result in a very funny sound (apparently, I've never got round to checking it).
So would you go for a high or low mic position? Or would that also depend on the ceiling height and floor material?
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:32 pm

blinddrew wrote:...avoid the mics being in the same plane as the cymbals as that would result in a very funny sound...

Cymbals radiate almost no sound in the plane of the disc itself, but because the cymbal tilts and swings when struck, there will be some sound emitted along that axis, but it will be highly variable in both level and timbre. So it's better to place the mics either above or below the level of the cymbals.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:34 pm

:thumbup: Thanks Hugh, I thought it was something like that but couldn't find the original thread. Cheers.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:38 pm

I suppose the sound the audience hear from the cymbals is in the horizontal plane? I haden't thought about the fact that as a sound guy I would routinely place the mics above the cymbals (especially avoiding the edge of the Hi-Hats for obvious reasons)?
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:47 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I suppose the sound the audience hear from the cymbals is in the horizontal plane?

If the band is on a stage, and/or the drums on a riser, the audience would be hearing cymbals from below... Or at a big gig, via the PA miked from above.

But even in a pub floor gig where the the cymbals might be near ear height for the audience, they will hear mostly reflected sound from the ceiling and floor.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:50 pm

:thumbup: Pub gigs, small to medium sized indoor venues and (very) small outdoor festivals are my area of expertise/experience so that makes sense.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:50 am

Sam Spoons wrote:I suppose the sound the audience hear from the cymbals is in the horizontal plane?

In addition to Hugh's answer I'd say that drummers very rarely set their cymbals up horizontally so the audience at a small gig with a stage will usually hear the sound from underneath the cymbal while the drummer hears the sound from above.
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Re: drum overheads in front behind or over the kit?

Postby jodaki » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:36 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:In addition to Hugh's answer I'd say that drummers very rarely set their cymbals up horizontally.

Yep, especially the ride, though the hi-hat is also tilted on my kit.
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