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  #1  
Old 10-11-2009, 10:31 AM
zv yoda zv yoda is offline
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Default Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Hi folks,
Great to see the drum room finally open. My home set up is a 12 x 12 ft room. I have to track & mix in the same room (no alternative). It has some treatment, but still sounds like a 12x12. Ceiling as about 7-8 ft high.

My question relates to overhead mic positioning... I've tried the usual techniques & would love to hear what works best for folks.
- XY over centre of kit. Does the job, but no sense of space. I find panning the close mics just gives a false sense of space
- Recorderman. Tried this recently. I like the way it projects the crack of the snare & the physical layout of the kit... but I found some phasiness in the cymbals
- Spaced pair (3:1 rule?). I think I would like this best if I could get it to work... but the cymbals sound very harsh (because the mics are lower than with the other methods)

I also close mic each drum. I constantly switch between overheads vs. closed as the main source & can never make up my mind. I’d like mostly room/overheads (and just use the close mics to fill it out) but in reality, the room ambience isn’t great, so I often EQ out the bottom end from the overheads & leave mainly cymbals coming through.

So, what works for you? Any suggestions on how I could fix the cymbals harshness/phasiness?


My kit is a maple Pearl Session Custom (10, 12, 14 & 22) with a 14x5 Master maple snare. I use various cymbals (Sabian AA/HHX & Zildjian A custom/Z). Mic-wise:
  • AKG D112 & SM57 on the kick
  • SM57 on snare (top only – never did use the bottom track, so stopped micing it)
  • Rode NT5 matched pair for overheads.
  • I have cheap Thomann mics on the toms (for now... Beyer Opus 88s on order!!... and an Octopre LE with ADAT to replace my ADA8000)
Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2009, 12:27 PM
Digitopian Digitopian is offline
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Hey Yoda, regarding the spaced pair.... there is nothing that says you can't raise the overheads higher. I'm not really sure how you are trying to apply the 3:1 rule in this situation but if you are not having phase issues and you raise both your overheads to the desired height by the same amount then it would seem that you would achieve your goal.

What I do regarding Spaced pair situation, and have seen a number of other engineers do the same is find a middle point in the kit. Some use the center of the snare, and I have heard others using the kick pedal as a reference point and make each OH equidistant from that point. Using this center point as a reference is at least in theory supposed to avoid phasing issues.

I have never heard of recorderman technique, so if you could share how that method works it would be great. I am always looking to try new mic'ing techniques.

Also, there is a technique known as the Glyn Johns method which many people have used to great success and if you google it you'll find a ton of info about it.

The only other thing I can think of is that if there is any possible way to change the dimensions of the room by putting up some sort of make shift wall perhaps from the wall to and through one of the corners of the room so that it is not a perfectly square 12' by 12' room may help. Any sort of offset at all would probably help as a perfectly square room is far from ideal because everything is perfectly parallel. Anyway just some thoughts....

Edit: Oh last thing, It has been my experience that even in really nice large well treated tracking rooms with high ceilings I just about always end up using a HPF to roll out some of the lows out of the OH's because of some of the strangeness that occurs regarding hearing the delayed kick drum etc, in the overheads.

Hopefully more duc'ers will chime in!
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2009, 01:52 PM
Trazan Trazan is offline
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Well, it depends on style, room etc etc, but I usually use something similar to ORTF over the drummers head.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:54 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Here's another suggestion; First, set the kit up so its NOT in the center of the room(a square room will have major issues in the center). Now, assuming the ceiling is drywall(ie NOT acoustically treated), put your overheads on tall booms, spread them apart to observe the 3:1 rule(mics 3 times farther apart as they are from the cymbals) and angle the mics up(45-60 degrees) toward the ceiling. Now raise them as close to the ceiling as possible without actually touching. What this creates is the same effect as a boundary mic and it will eliminate a lot of phasing issues with sound that enters the mics AFTER bouncing off the ceiling(think about what happens ABOVE your overhead mics in a small room).
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Criss crossing a pair of 451s centered about 10-12 feet from the floor at the center of the kit can add some interesting imaging.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:20 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM@METRO View Post
Criss crossing a pair of 451s centered about 10-12 feet from the floor at the center of the kit can add some interesting imaging.
Yes indeed, but hard to do with an 8' ceiling
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:27 AM
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EGS EGS is offline
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

What works for me? To avoid phase issues, I use a single OH mic. I position it over the right knee of the drummer (left for a lefty drummer). I hang it fairly low, maybe 2 feet higher than the drummer's head. Hi-pass at 200hz. This only works if the cymbals are naturally balanced. That is, if one cymbal is louder than the others, you'll have problems. It's powerful and never phasey. Drummers love the sound !!!
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  #8  
Old 10-14-2009, 11:19 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

I like an SM-2 over the kit
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Yes indeed, but hard to do with an 8' ceiling
That's what saws are for.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Overhead mic technique - what works for you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Yes indeed, but hard to do with an 8' ceiling
That’s what saws are for.

With low ceilings try loosely tacking a few garbage bags or a plastic tarp to the ceiling. This can disturb HF reflections just a little and improve phase anomalies.
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