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Old 02-18-2003, 06:56 AM
Siberian Siberian is offline
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Default large or small diaphragm condenser for drum overhead, and why?

I have read countless posts talking about drum overheads, and while most people talk about using condenser mics, nobody really addresses why they like to use large or small.

Can I get some opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of both?

From what I gather, large diaphragm will not pick up the higher cymbal frequencies as well as the small ones... and thus they will sound warmer... no? On the flip side, small diaphragm will not pick up as much of the punch of the overall kit, and thus sound thinner. If you close mic your toms, kick, and snare, then maybe small diaphragm would be better... right? If you only use the overheads and a room mic, then I would assume the large diaphragm would be a better choice.

Anyone want to comment?
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Old 02-18-2003, 07:15 AM
minimoog minimoog is offline
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Default Re: large or small diaphragm condenser for drum overhead, and why?

you could use either large or small, depending on what sound you want to achieve for each song. it helps to have a clear idea of this before you start a production.

to roughly summise,

large = spoungy OR clangy, depending on your choice of mic.

small = bright OR glassy sounding, once again, depending on you choice of mic.

for large diaphragm, i like U67's, C414's, U47's and the Rode Classic 2. large microphones can be difficult to get into an XY or MS configuration over the kit so i generally use them spaced. the trick is to get them both equidistant from both the snare and bass drum to preserve your centre image and minimise phase issues.

for small diaphragms, i like KM84's, C451's, AT4041's and these carlrecs that my friend owns. i don't know what they're called. i'll usually set up small diaphragm condensors in an XY configuration but i may also use them spaced (if i want 'close' cymbal mics as opposed to overheads)

i also like ribbon mics such as the Coles Electroacoustics 4038. if you hate cymbals that go pish, these are your guys.

if you use no close mics, i'd probably go for the bigger microphone or the ribbon as you'll get a fuller representation of the kit.
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Old 02-19-2003, 08:44 AM
Siberian Siberian is offline
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Default Re: large or small diaphragm condenser for drum overhead, and why?

considering I am close mic'ing the kick, snare, and toms, I am thinking maybe the small diaphragm would be a better choice only because I don't want to end up with too much low end and thus have a muddy drum mix.

Aside from that, I haven't been able to find a decent large condenser that I can afford two of anyway. And I definately want a stereo image on the drums so going with a single won't cut it.

I'm thinking maybe doing two small diaphragm overheads like the Oktava MC012 or Rode NT5 because they can still pick up some of the low frequencies and I can get stereo matched pairs of either mic for $300. Then down the road as finances become available, I will slowly invest in a couple of decent large diaphragm condensors for overheads and other stuff.

Would that make better sense?
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:32 AM
yessiree yessiree is offline
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Default Re: large or small diaphragm condenser for drum overhead, and why?

The Oktavas are a nice option, if you can swing the extra money, get them with the extra capsules so you can use them as omnis as well as cardioid. If you have a good sounding kit and a pretty even player, two omnis as overheads sound AWESOME. Add a kick and snare close for the ability to boost those if you need it, but I became an omni believer after hearing some dry drum tracks done ONLY with two omnis. The placement was roughly two feet straight out on either side from the drummers head, at about ear level. The mics were pointed nearly straight down. It was well balanced and sounded tight but had a reality to it that close micing sometimes doesn't capture. If you are going for a realistic sound, omni is your friend.
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Old 02-21-2003, 09:55 AM
where02190 where02190 is offline
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Default Re: large or small diaphragm condenser for drum overhead, and why?

FWIW, I've used both the RN-4 stereo mic and the NT-5, and found them to be extremely thin, and painfully bright.

You might check out getting a pair of Audio Technica 4041's. Nice pattern, very flat.

Hope this is helpful.
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