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Low end drum recording - where to use best preamps?
Old 10th August 2022
  #1
Gear Head
 
Low end drum recording - where to use best preamps?

Hi all, I’m doing some drum tracking next week - one-man production with me playing and engineering. I’m taking my selection of low end gear to a large room I’ve used before to track, but I have a few more pieces than last time, particularly preamps. My main question is which mics on the kit do you prioritise your nicer preamps (and therefore which ones do you leave to your interface preamps)?

I play a 4 piece, mid level kit with nice sabian cymbals (mostly HHX), will tune them nicely and do all the right stuff. Style is mostly indie rock. As I only have 1 day in the space, I’m planning to put up a bunch of mics so I have versatility at mixdown.

Planning kick in (Peavey PVM520i), kick out (Studio projects C1 with K47 capsule swap), snare (57s top and bottom), toms (i5s or beyer SDCs depending on which sounds better), overheads (MXL R144 ribbons - I used these previously and love them), rooms (likely behringer ECM8000s taped to the floor Steve Albini style) and maybe a front of kit mic (MXL960 tube LDC) and or a heart mic (EV RE50).

I have 4 channels of 1073-ish - 2 GAPremier Pre573s and 2 Alctron MP73as; 2 channels of tube (ART Pro MPA2); 1 channel transformer-coupled FET (Triton D2O), and a Studio Projects VTB1.

Where would people suggest prioritising the Neve-ish and tube preamps? Neveish for close mics and tube for overheads? Neve-ish for close mics and overheads and tube for rooms or front of kit?

Appreciate any suggestions for starting points!
Old 10th August 2022
  #2
Registered User
Depends on the drum part arrangement. But generally, snare and hihat would be my choice.
Old 11th August 2022
  #3
Lives for gear
I personally don’t even mic the high-hat, so there is nothing that would make me prioritize my best preamp for that.

It is according to the setup. You could go snare-top and Kick-drum. Or if you use the close mics only to blend in with the overheads then I would put my best preamps on the overheads.
Old 16th August 2022
  #4
Gear Guru
 
🎧 20 years
When I think about Drum Channel Triage, I might be looking at two super high-end channels and six channels of junk. I am not directly familiar with the OP's specific preamps, but they mostly seem to be decent quality. There might be some "flavor" considerations here, but that is always going to be subtle and would depend largely on the specific goals.

On drums, usually I will prioritize the 'best' preamps available for overheads. To me, overheads are not only usually the 'picture' of the drum set, they are the most demanding application since they are exposed to the full range of sound.

But sometimes the drum mixing philosophy will emphasize the close mics instead, so maybe kick and snare might be reasonable alternative "priority" channels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by melodic dreamer
I personally don’t even mic the high-hat, so there is nothing that would make me prioritize my best preamp for that.
I do sometimes mic the hi-hat, but even when I do, it never seems to me to be that demanding an application. It would be slightly ahead of snare-under.
Old 27th August 2022
  #5
I would say use the "cleanest", not necessarily the "best" with the microphone(s) that require the most gain. As I believe that's really where a mic pre-amplifier will tell you whether it's "good" or not. Noise floor and distortion characteristics.
Old 28th August 2022
  #6
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
I would not use the ARTs for anything but room mics, or possibly front of kick if it’s well outside the kick. Assuming the 1073-ish are the cleanest, I’d use those on kick, one of the snare mics, and overheads. Not familiar with the other 2 types of pres you mentioned, but whichever has the highest headroom should be on the other snare mic. Any close mic on a snare drum, especially if it’s a 57, will quickly sound like a wet fart if you put it through a pre that can’t take the SPL very well.
Old 28th August 2022
  #7
Gear Head
 
Thanks for the input everyone. In the end I went with the GAP premier on kick in and snare top, the Alctron (OEM version of GAP I believe) on toms, ART on overheads, D2O on wurst and VTB1 I think was on front of kick. I’m batching my tasks and it’s a one man project done in limited free time, but I’m pretty happy with the results.
Old 30th August 2022 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you haven’t done it pull the inner mesh out of the head baskets of the R144’s and swap in the Edcore transformer and they’re more usable than they already are. I use ribbons on OH’s too because of the nice roll off of the highs. They tame the harshness. How do you like the results of the Art’s on OH’s with the 144’s? I have 2 MAP Golds (older silver versions) and two Peavey VMP-2’s just for tracking drums but have not tried them yet. I’m building a studio from the ground up. I won’t be in it for a bit still.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugsmasher ➡️
Thanks for the input everyone. In the end I went with the GAP premier on kick in and snare top, the Alctron (OEM version of GAP I believe) on toms, ART on overheads, D2O on wurst and VTB1 I think was on front of kick. I’m batching my tasks and it’s a one man project done in limited free time, but I’m pretty happy with the results.
Old 30th August 2022 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian M. Boykin ➡️
How do you like the results of the Art’s on OH’s with the 144’s? I have 2 MAP Golds (older silver versions) and two Peavey VMP-2’s just for tracking drums but have not tried them yet. I’m building a studio from the ground up. I won’t be in it for a bit still.
I’m very much a hobbyist, but have been surprised by how much I enjoy the drum sounds I’m getting with this setup, and I attribute this to using the 144s as overheads significantly. I seem to prefer lower-fi, less trebly sounds with a bit of a HF shelf than trying to tame the highs from cheap condensers. The ART is a solid pre that does what I need, and sounds better to me than the interface preamps.
Old 30th August 2022 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
All ribbon mics are nothing more than a ribbon transducer, wire that connects it to a transformer and more wire that connects it all to the XLR Jack all housed in a mic body. Don’t underestimate what the R144 can do. The Art MPA Gold and MPA II have a full plate voltage tube circuit. They cut cost by using solid state input and output stages in place of transformers. The op amps used are NE5532 and OPA2134. Both widely used in high end industry standard gear. Your using the frequency response of the ribbon mic to tame the frequencies you don’t want to hear. The mic is your EQ. That’s the best way to record. That’s why mic choice and preamp choice are so important which is probably why you asked for advice in the first place. Don’t sell yourself short.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugsmasher ➡️
I’m very much a hobbyist, but have been surprised by how much I enjoy the drum sounds I’m getting with this setup, and I attribute this to using the 144s as overheads significantly. I seem to prefer lower-fi, less trebly sounds with a bit of a HF shelf than trying to tame the highs from cheap condensers. The ART is a solid pre that does what I need, and sounds better to me than the interface preamps.
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