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Drums, drum set (7 questions and replies)
How would you suggest to mike a drum kit, i.e. type of mic and distance from each instrument?
Reply: A typical Crown mic setup for a rock drum set is two CM-700s overhead for cymbals, a CM-700 on the snare drum, and another in the kick. If necessary, add more CM-700s close to the toms. Each tom mic is about 2 inches above the head and 2 inches in from the rim. The snare mic is about 2" over the rim, and the cymbal mics are about 2 to 3 feet over the cymbals. To get a tight kick drum sound, put a pillow or blanket inside the drum bottom, pressing against the beater head to tighten the beat. Cut a few dB around 400 Hz to remove the papery sound.
If you don't have Crown CM-700 mics, try cardioid dynamic mics on the drums and cardioid condenser mics on the cymbals. Some people have simply used a PZM-30D or PZM-6D on the drummer's chest, or on the ceiling over the drum set.
Often you can mike a jazz drum set with just one or two cardioid condenser mics (CM-700) overhead, plus another mic of your choice (like a CM-700, PZM-30D or GLM-100) in the kick drum or near the kick drum head.
Do you offer a set of mics for drums?
I recently purchased a pair of CM-700s for overhead cymbal miking. About how far away should they be from the cymbals? Where should I set the switch: flat, low-cut or rolloff?
With loud rock or blues recording, you might want to boost about +6 to +9 at 12 kHz and cut -3dB at 5 kHz. This helps the cymbals be a little brighter for this kind of music.
I am a drummer who sings through a Crown CM-311A (the best). I want to use two overhead mics to pick up the cymbals and toms. What does Crown make that can accommodate me?
Reply: The Crown CM-700 cardioid condenser mic ($259 each, street) works great. You might want to get a matched pair, model CM-700MP ($515/pair street). Although the mic is mostly flat up to 15 kHz, I usually boost about 6 to 9 dB at 12 kHz for extra crispness on the cymbals. You can even boost a few dB around 100-200 Hz to bring out the toms.
I need to purchase drum mics for PA. I don't need anything insanely professional and my budget is low. What mics do you recommend? What else would I need besides the mics?
I'm about to buy my first PZM mic and I'm wondering what mic to start with - I'm going to use it for drums... Can you guys help me choose a mic for this application?
Reply: Our budget PZM is the PZM-185 ($177 street), which works on phantom power or a AAA battery. It emphasizes the upper frequencies (cymbals). A step up in quality is the PZM-30D or PZM-6D ($299 street), which work on phantom power. They have a flatter frequency response and can handle very loud sounds without distortion. The PZM-30D accepts a detachable standard mic cable, while the PZM-6D is smaller and has a permanently attached thin cable. They sound the same.
As for miking, you can gaffer-tape the PZM to your chest to pick up the entire set. Or if you are recording the drum set under a low ceiling, you can gaffer-tape the PZM to the ceiling over the set. Some people hang the mic by its cable inside the kick drum. Although the PZM-185 probably will distort inside a kick drum, the PZM-30D and PZM-6D can handle the kick drum without distortion.
I want to try miking drum sets at my club using two GLM-200's glued together, facing away from each other to achieve coincident-pair stereo. I would place this mic combo right on the top kick-drum rim (beater side) centered between all the other drums (floor, toms & snare), one facing towards the snare, the other towards the floor tom. I have been using a mono condenser mic and it has been sounding really good, I just add a little low end. Do you see any problem with this?
Reply: The GLM-200 can handle 131 dB SPL before distorting, so if your drum playing isn't super loud, the GLM-200 should work fine. It will need some bass boost.
When you glue the mics together, be sure not to block the front and rear openings on the mic capsule. Ideally one mic would be upside down on top of the other, with both mics angled apart +/- 45 degrees from center (see the figure below). You might need to angle them apart as much as +/- 80 degrees from center.
If the mics are back to back, they might reject the rack toms too much. Experiment with the angle between mics before gluing them to make sure all the parts of the drum set get picked up equally well. You might use tape or clay to hold the mics together temporarily.