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POLL: favourite mics, pres, EQ & compression for drums...
Old 6th June 2002
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
🎧 15 years
POLL: favourite mics, pres, EQ & compression for drums...


WEll i love tracking drums more than anything else....

So.. lets here ya favourite setup for a generic rock date or whatever you record most and get the best results from...

Mine is:

Kik close : AKG d112 -->API 512 ---> Manley Pultec
kik distant Neumann FET 47 -->API 512 -->distressor
Snr top #1 SM-57-->API 512
Snr top #2 KM-84 --> Shep SN8
Snr bottom SM-58
Rack(s) Senn 421
Floor(s) Senn 421
OH's: KM-83 omni's--> Shep SN8 --> Manly variable MU
OH 2(recorderman type setup): AKG 414 e/b silver if i can get them!
Rooms: Fet 47 Manley Pultec --->Urei 1176

all preamps unless noted are Neve 1073...

Its a very expensive setup .. one which i am very spoilt to have access to but it truly does ROCK!!!!!!

SO i would love to hear all your favourite configs...
Old 6th June 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I always do things a little different each time. Most times I'll try to get away with not using the compressors sooo.... Here's my general starting point. Mics will get swapped if stuff sounds bad.

Kick in - Beta 52 > 1272 > 160VU
Kick Out - 414B/ULS (figure 8) > Daking
Snare - 57 > Daking > 160VU, 1176 or Aphex 651 Expressor
Rack Toms - Sennheiser MD504 or 421 console (Trident 65)
Floor Tom - D112 > Console
OH - Oktava MC012 or AT4031 > Presonus MP20 or AMR VMP-2
Room Right (snare side) Beyer M260DX with Sank mod > Telefunken V672 > Demeter VTCL-2a, Expressor or 160VU
Room Left - Whatever's left, maybe a TLM 103 or 57, low to the ground into some kind of preamp, maybe the other Daking or a Joe Meek

I might also throw a 57 or something about a foot and a half off the ground, behind the drummer, next to the floor tom and kind of aimed at the kick and compress the **** out of it. Sometimes I'll do the 57 over the drummers head into a Sansamp thing like John Agnello. Anything to make it a little interesting if we have time.
Old 6th June 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I love tracking drums and this question is a classic. Here's what I've been using lately:

Kick in: 421 plus ATM25 or RE20 in (2 mics)
Kick out: 47fet or RE20 or 414 or U47 out
Snare top: 57 (plus sometimes a 451 -20dB pad)
Snare bottom: 414ULS or Calrec 1050 or whatever is left
HH: 451 ck3 or 414
OH: 451 ck1
Toms: 421
Room: U87s, 57s, U67s, U47...wherever in the room the magic is. I like to leave the door open and put a mic way out in the hallway or the lounge also.

Pres: 1073s or desk 9k direct to tape using shortest & simplest signal path.
Multitrack: Studer A820 2" or PT via AD8000s.
Choices: Skins, sticks, kick pedal, position of the goose feather pillow in the kick drum, tape, level of each mic to tape.
No comp or EQ on tracking.
Tune drums and move mics until the sound is good.
Sometimes I mix together the snare mics to one track and the tom mics to two tracks before hitting tape, sometimes I track them all separately.
Much of the overall sound comes from the OH mics.
Old 6th June 2002
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
🎧 15 years

Hi Jon....

So what are the pre's like on the SSL 9K?... there are no 9K series in Australia right now.. however there is one on the way so i have been told?

Are they boring and lifeless like E and G series?

IMHO some of the best albums of the 80 and early 90s sounded so bad becuase of the fact that they were totally tracked and mixed through an SSL..

Take for example.. the 'Stone Roses' debut album. As awesome as it still is and it's now 13 yrs old!!!!!! it was tracked and mixed all on the same SSL which is why sonically it lacks some balls and oumph and bottom end crunch that something cool like Neve, API, focusrite could have given this record. I still love it so i should not bitch so much .... its just hard sometimes to take your engineers hat off even when u listen to your favourite albums!

I like the idea of tracking on consoles with 'flavour or colour' and then mixing on SSL which provide more precise control and surgical EQ when it comes time to mix. For example I find that when i have had the opportunity to mix on an SSL the EQ allows far more scope for manipulation and cutting and shaping than that of a vintage neve ( module dependant). I generally am able to shape something from what i or someone else has been able to record.

However when i record and mix something on vintage Neve I find myself EQing hard on the way down to remove and add things. So when i come to mix i have the core sound of what i want, becuase i have cut out all the crap that i dont need and then can use the simple but gorgeous sounding 1073 EQ's for addtional spice and flavour instead of tracking flat and having to make decisons that are beyond the scope of the 1073's becuase they are simple EQ's when u think of it; they dont have overlapping frequencies etc which would solve some of the problems. But they still are the desert island pre for me!

But having said that a great combo is an SSL with a rack of neve modules to put a bit of fat bite into the sheen that an SSL gives.


Old 9th June 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Hi Wiggy,

Different me, the Neve 10xx pres sound punchier & more forward in the high-mids than the SSL J series pres, but the J pres go deeper and sound bigger & more phat down low...

The J series pres were a major step up in signal quality over the E and G series. I favor a simple signal path, so when tracking with the desk pres on the J, I like to use the "fader" switch to bypass the channel electronics and routing matrix and go straight to the group output buss amp to tape.

All things considered, if there were a dozen or more Neve 10xx's at hand, I'd probably use all of them when tracking drums. I love that sound. As it is, I use the ones we have here on the kick and snare mics.

Old 9th June 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar
🎧 15 years
boy oh boy ! u guys work to hard 4 sure !!


re 20 in bass drum at a push but i never use it ..

no more buggering around with loads of mics n leads

no more balancing the kit ...

sounds good as well

granted it doesnt suit everyone but its my bag

come on tyson !
Old 10th June 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I'll use three or four mics on a kit when I can get away with it. Actually I did that last week.

414 outside kick
57 on the snare
Oktava MC012 with omni capsule about 4" up and over from the drummers right knee, slightly over the bass drum
Beyer/Sank M260DX over the drummers righ shoulder

Most of my sound came from the 414 and MC012. I had to add a little of the M260DX for sparkle.
Old 10th June 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar
🎧 15 years
less mics is ok!



i mean where are u going with all those mics 1984?yell yell


i began to suspect a few years back that using over 14
mics on a kit meant not knowing where to put one of them...

u get a more focused direct and more powerful sound ..

tho if u have a drummer with a zillion silly things u might need a zillion silly mics but then youd be making a silly record but
getting paid...which is work and thas ok

not much fun tho

i also think that it can spoil the fun 4 the drummer
as its always made to be such a big deal 4 him to record...

give the guy a break

maybe he just wants to plug in and go mad as well
without spending hours setting up like it was a heart bypass operation

u know the score

bass drum now mate boom boom boom

middle tom again woomp woomp

lo tom *silence* oh

go and check mic and patching etc

what a pain

by that time he is either bored or scared or to hi

okk okk
Old 10th June 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar
🎧 15 years
kick- SD u195>cranesong flamingo [fat engaged]

snare- sm57>cranesong flanimgo [fat engaged] sometimes a crown cm700 instead for more crack or sometimes a u195 on the side of the snare

overheads- B&O sankified BM5>API 312's

toms [if needed]- senn 604's>whatever [not important, just safety mics]

room- SD u99>API312
Old 10th June 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Hi Damian,

I think it depends on the style of music and context of the drums in the song...each session and artist has different needs and I do it differently every time.

FWIW the patching and mics are set up by the assistants before the artist even arrives. Even with 14 drum mics plus bass guitar, 2 guitars and guide vocal, the technical side shouldn't get in the way of the artist and performance.
Old 10th June 2002
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
🎧 15 years

Damian and Jon..

Its all in the applciation.. i have been through the whole 3 or 4 mic thing and have done 22 mics as well..... i admit i did feel like a total ******(tosser) but it did dound good.

About 1984.... yeah they had heaps of mics on thier kits.. and AMS RMX 16 to make it seem infinite... but therein lies the skill of an engineer to make all those mics work in unison as a cohesive sonic imstument within their own right. I have seen heaps of assistants **** this up completely and sit there and scratch their heads etc and even some so called 'competant engineers' as well.

So i guess its what ever turns u on .... but i do like having control in the mix with all those extra mics... it does help and make a difference in the end result.

Old 18th June 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar
🎧 15 years

i agree with everything everyone has said ! (a first)

oh hang on no i dont .... wiggy more mics more control ?

m not sure i find i can control things more with less .. but as i say thats just me im easily bamboozeled... i think jon had it pegged ... different artist different
solution ... i have been working on one 1 thing 4 sum time and have found A way it works ...

i was an assistant enjineer on a mutt langer record ...

maybe im having a reaction !! (15 years later)

also the kit matters alot in this mentioned ...

and the room ///

and the weather ..

and oooo shoot me *bang*

most drums on contemporary english rock/indie records sound awful tho and i know how they are dun ...same old same old ...

have fun trackin and remember ... LETS BE CARFUL OUT THERE !

pps wiggy . 22 ! i bet u loved it !
Old 18th June 2002
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
🎧 15 years
'most drums on contemporary english rock/indie records sound awful tho and i know how they are dun ...same old same old ...'

I just got home and put on a new CD by a welsh band called 'Mclusky' man they ****ing rip and roar for a pommie 'indie' band.. IN YA FACE everything very good rock/punk whatever it ROCKS hard. But then again it is an Albini job so that might have something to do with it?

Their is a distinct difference in drums tones between those of UK and U.S.A records in general... i suppose IMHO the UK drums suit the song more and the U.S ones are just LOUDER! lol but they all sound good so its all in the application and the song!... besides US has oceanway.. need we say more!

Old 21st June 2002
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I tend to use different thing for different projects. I generally like the ATM25 on BD and the ATM23he on SD. I also like to mic the shell of the SD if it is wood. 421s work great for toms, but so do Audix D2s. I like 4050s in omni for the room, but I also like them as overheads. I like SM81s for overheads too. In a minimal mic set-up I'll use a 70s U87 as Box with it. I don't have two of either (yet). A 414 through the VB on SD shell can be quite nice. A Beyer 834 makes a nice room mic. I love the Great River MP2 for overheads, but the Drawmer 1969 works too.

Do you see where I'm going here? I don't record the same band all the time, so I don't do the same thing all the time.

Old 30th June 2002
Here for the gear
🎧 15 years
OH: BK11>Altec 1567a>Meek VC1
OH: BK11>Altec 1567a>Meek VC1
Snare: Beyer M201>Peavey VMP2>Distressor
Kick: EV RE38>Hardy>Distressor

Works for me...
Sometimes I'll pare it down to a single Coles 4038 for the OH...

Old 30th June 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Further to my posts above about mic pres for drums...

Ed C. recently finished up a month of tracking the Rolling Stones here in Paris.

The interesting thing is, he worked on an SSL 9k and, to his surprise, ended up using the console pres on everything -- instead of the 1073s. He was really, and I mean really, pleased with the sound. I heard a couple of the tracks and it did indeed sound awesome. (Another change was that he used Royer 121s instead of 57s on most of the gits.)

He recorded the band on a Studer A820 2" to Emtec 900 tape, with a PT+Apogee rig at 48/24 synced up for extra tracks beyond the first 22.

A820 2" is what I'm currently using for drum tracking sessions as well, with GP9 tape...and a sweet big room.

Oh, the importance of a great b f room.
Old 1st July 2002
Jules's Avatar
Often used set up

BD - AT25 inside - API pre
BD - Royer 121 outside - API pre
Both summed in a Pultec mono valve mixer then into Neve 1073 into DBX 160VU into Fatso jnr

Sn - Sm57 - Neve 1073 - DBX 160 vu - Fatso jnr

Toms - M149's - Helios pre/eq's

OH - Royer SF12 - Giant valve mic pre "Early Bird" by Thermonic Culture (?) - Focusrite 215 eq - SSL compressor - Cranesong Hedd

HH - 451 (with -20 pad) - NTI mic pre/eq
Ride - Manley Langevan - NTI mic pre/eq

Under snare - whatever... dont put one up much..

Corridor mic - Sen 441 or SM57 - API - Trident 9066 eq - Distressor

I think I will give the SSL compressor 'the sack' on tracking.. I may hop it over to bass! (like I used to use it) I am going to skip the SSL comp on my mixes, and just use it on drum sub, so I can skip using it on OH on tracking perhaps... dunno

Making this and Stedle's EQ thread is giving me food for thought...
Old 1st July 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I pay a lot of attention to my BD sounds.

One thing that works for me that seems to be a little different is that I use two mics inside the BD...a 421 for the clicky attack and an ATM25 for the meat. The 421 is roughly 6" out pointed more or less at the impact point and the ATM25 is a couple of inches further away and well off-axis. The combo of the two, plus a third mic 3' away outside, gives me all the frequencies I'm looking for. As usual, YMMV.

I don't compress any of the drums while tracking, since I know I'll be putting mults of them through 160s, 1176s, desk compressors and distressors at mixdown.

Old 2nd July 2002
Lives for gear
sonic dogg's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Has anyone ever noticed the correlation between continuous impact of something and insanity??

kik atm25
'other'kik a peculiar sounding sm57 one of a kind
snare can be audix d-1 or sm 57 or for jaz guys adk sk-1
toms sm57,audix d-2,audix d-4 or nuttin' at all
oheds adk sk-1 X old crappy beyer dynamic set at odd angles depending on the kit
sometimes I'll throw in an octava md-319 and just mic the snare close for punch and the kik...
hat is always this piece of crap atm63 which is damn sweet eq wise and cost me 12 bucks at a garage sale....sure it bleeds like a mother but thats what gates are for .....right? I know its all cheep **** to you big dogs but ....BUT...I've got a GREAT sounding kit and thats where it starts anyway....
Old 2nd July 2002
Lives for gear
sonic dogg's Avatar
🎧 15 years
OH jon, theres absolutely no eq or nothing goes on at tracking...them drums are what you hear in the room....BTW, Jon....interesting to see you use much the same set-up for kik as do that atm25 for the BEEF.......peace
Old 24th August 2002
This post is the coolest!
Me, well I am a little different as I stay in my studio and my kit only moves around the room and I do no other bands currently as I got out a few years back. So I am able to fine tune constantly and at this point I now that little crappy room.
Kick D112>BA1272>Distressor>Langevin Pultec ripoff
Snr T 57>512>Elop>Manley Mid-band
Snr B 57or504>BA1272>Elop sometimes
Toms 57(straight down at head 3/4 off)>Digimax
OHs GeffelM300's>512>ADM's I had racked (secret weapon)
I also keep either a 103 or 4050 to a 512 sometimes through an old StudioMaster compressor I traded a computer case for handy to move around the kit. Depending on the song my band is working on, I will place it to add the right hootz-spa. Most of the time it either gets the 4ft in front of kick thing or the near the floor 6-8 ft. out facing the floor tom. Really it is the mic that I use moslty to achieve an overall vibe with. I have placed it in the far corner and gated it for a nice addition to the snr.
Old 25th August 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
We're tracking a rock band this week. Here's the current setup:

OHs on whole kit - 2 x 451 CK1 (lots of the overall sound happens here)
Kick 1 - ATM25 inside (with a goose-feather pillow)
Kick 2 - 421 U4 inside
Kick 3 - U47fet outside
Kick 4 + Snare Bottom - 414ULS
Snare Top - 57
HH - 451 CK3
Individual cymbal mics - U87s and Calrec 1051s
Toms - 4 x 421 U4s
Room Mics (20 feet away) - 57s and Oktava MK219s
"70 feet away down the hall" room mic - U47

Bass - RE20, 57 and 421 micing an Ampeg SVT2Pro head and Ampeg 8x10 cab, mixed to one track. No DI.
Git1 - 57, 421, and MK219 micing a Soldano 100+ and Mesa Triple Rectifier, mixed to one track.
Git2 - 57, 421, and MK219 micing a Marshall JCM800, JCM45 and Fender Twin, mixed to one track.
Guide vocals - SM58 or SM7.

Total 30 mic inputs recorded to 18 tracks on a Studer A820, GP9 tape, flux +9 over 185nW/m, PB up 0.5dB at 10, +1dB at 16, +0.5 dB at 100 and +1dB at 50.
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