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Mics & Placement for drum tracking
Old 3rd March 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Mics & Placement for drum tracking

Hi guys, I've made a few threads lately as I'm investing in recording gear to record my band and have gathered alot of great advice so far..

So I am going to be tracking the first three drum tracks for my album. We are going to be recording in a large space with Gobos placed round the kit.

Next week I'm planning on buying - 2x Rode NT5's(overheads), SM57(snare), Shure Beta 52a or Audix D6 (kick)

I've been doing alot of research and I'm going to go with the Glyn John 4 Mic technique.

On the day i will record a few practise takes of the drummer and see where i'm going to position my kick and snare mics and how far away from the kit my overheads will be..
The drummer will have the manager at the music shop tune his kit too so thats that taken care of.

So do you guys think the above looks like a good plan? In my head i seem to think I've covered everything i should need? Is there anyone who wouldn't buy a particular microphone I've stated or feels they have a piece of advice that would benefit me?

EDIT - I also have a Rode NT1a lying round, should i add that in somewhere? maybe as a room mic, or place it outside the kick or something?
Old 4th March 2014
  #2
Deleted User
Guest
If you get it right, the Glyn Johns method is very effective. I think you're on the right track.

You didn't specify the genre. In general, though, I prefer the Beta-52 over the Audix, when it comes to the kick. This is particularly true when I'm not using a close mic on the beater area.
Old 4th March 2014
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Tirmu's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
I'd definitely use the NT-1a as a room mic. You don't have to put that in the mix if you don't like it, but you just might

- Tiko
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
moathouse's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User ➑️
I prefer the Beta-52 over the Audix, when it comes to the kick.
i agree with that.. the 52 is more flexible and takes eq well. the D6 just sounds like a D6. this should work out...on minimal mic'ing, just remember, the playing becomes an even bigger factor!!
Old 4th March 2014
  #5
Deleted User
Guest
Must haves:

1. A great sounding kit.
2. A great drummer.
3. A great sounding room.

Anything less is turd polishing.

If you do a great job setting and dialing in the mics, you'll probably be very happy with the results.
Old 4th March 2014
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
If I can offer one piece of advice from my limited experience. Don't lock yourself into a certain micing technique. I had done my research and decided like you on the same Glyn John 4 Mic technique, yet in practice I could not make it sound right, possibaly due to lack of experience. So I started experimenting and finaly wound up using a hybrid recorderman technique, with a mic on the underside of the snare since I had a nice image of the top.

So basicaly what I'm saying is take the time to try different techniques and see what sounds best with your drum and room and style of music.
Old 4th March 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglesnh4 ➑️
Hi guys, I've made a few threads lately as I'm investing in recording gear to record my band and have gathered alot of great advice so far..

So I am going to be tracking the first three drum tracks for my album. We are going to be recording in a large space with Gobos placed round the kit.

Next week I'm planning on buying - 2x Rode NT5's(overheads), SM57(snare), Shure Beta 52a or Audix D6 (kick)

I've been doing alot of research and I'm going to go with the Glyn John 4 Mic technique.

On the day i will record a few practise takes of the drummer and see where i'm going to position my kick and snare mics and how far away from the kit my overheads will be..
The drummer will have the manager at the music shop tune his kit too so thats that taken care of.

So do you guys think the above looks like a good plan? In my head i seem to think I've covered everything i should need? Is there anyone who wouldn't buy a particular microphone I've stated or feels they have a piece of advice that would benefit me?

EDIT - I also have a Rode NT1a lying round, should i add that in somewhere? maybe as a room mic, or place it outside the kick or something?

strictly speaking, the "Glyn" technique is a THREE mic one...

think of it from the context of everyone recording drums with a bass drum mic and a single 'overhead' condenser to pick up the whole kit... so it's high and centred over the snare.
eventually, people start to say (in rock especially) 'we need more of the low tom' so he adds a mic on that side looking across the kit.
the big 'innovation' was that he sometimes panned those mics out against each other.

when he added snare mic, he did it on the other side and ALSO looking across the kit, at the snare from outside the drummer's left side and looking in (see the Let It Be rooftop for example)

most people how add a snare mic do it much closer and aimed down and in at the snare; like a 'conventional' snare mic'ing.

the issue with this if there is one, is that it doesn't always play nicely with that overhead for snare sound and imaging (especially if you pan the two condenser overall mics out left and right)
so what a lot of us did (and do) was move that overhead both lower and forward... so that it's more looking in and down at the kit from in front over the rack tom(s) as a counterpart to the one looking in across the floor tom.
then you balance those two mics (L and R if you want, or centre and left as they actually are as you look at them) and add the close snare into the picture.

the real 'trick' is only to move the mics around to get the balance between toms and other stuff to be right. and you NEED a drummer who sounds balanced.
the great thing about it is you really get a true picture of the player.
the bad things about it is you really get a true picture of some players.

Jimmy Page used to walk out in the studio after listening in the control room and ask John Bonham to make his ride cymbal louder or softer in the middle 8, etc.

if you can't, or won't, work with the drummer to fix balances this might be why some people say "it doesn't work"


But on the whole the fewer mics you use the more coherent and solid the imaging is going to be.

It's (that modified approach) still the way I start, at least, on drums for almost everything I do.
And I've been using it almost as long as Glyn.
Attached Thumbnails
Mics & Placement for drum tracking-drums-2.jpg  
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Great. thanks for all the replies guys, the drummer is really light handed, jazz style drumming so he's a good guy to work with... I've just found out he works in a music shop and said we can track the drums after closing hours..
Here is a picture of the shop where we will be recording...

i went into the shop today, it's quite a dry sounding room..
when i clapped, i could here slight reverb but not much at all..

we are going to move all of the guitars out the room so there is no vibration of the strings when he plays the drums..

what do you guys think?
Attached Thumbnails
Mics & Placement for drum tracking-1961481_10151902118772115_1197932422_n.jpg   Mics & Placement for drum tracking-1903561_10151902118777115_1142606639_n.jpg  
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman ➑️
strictly speaking, the "Glyn" technique is a THREE mic one...

think of it from the context of everyone recording drums with a bass drum mic and a single 'overhead' condenser to pick up the whole kit... so it's high and centred over the snare.
eventually, people start to say (in rock especially) 'we need more of the low tom' so he adds a mic on that side looking across the kit.
the big 'innovation' was that he sometimes panned those mics out against each other.

when he added snare mic, he did it on the other side and ALSO looking across the kit, at the snare from outside the drummer's left side and looking in (see the Let It Be rooftop for example)

most people how add a snare mic do it much closer and aimed down and in at the snare; like a 'conventional' snare mic'ing.

the issue with this if there is one, is that it doesn't always play nicely with that overhead for snare sound and imaging (especially if you pan the two condenser overall mics out left and right)
so what a lot of us did (and do) was move that overhead both lower and forward... so that it's more looking in and down at the kit from in front over the rack tom(s) as a counterpart to the one looking in across the floor tom.
then you balance those two mics (L and R if you want, or centre and left as they actually are as you look at them) and add the close snare into the picture.

the real 'trick' is only to move the mics around to get the balance between toms and other stuff to be right. and you NEED a drummer who sounds balanced.
the great thing about it is you really get a true picture of the player.
the bad things about it is you really get a true picture of some players.

Jimmy Page used to walk out in the studio after listening in the control room and ask John Bonham to make his ride cymbal louder or softer in the middle 8, etc.

if you can't, or won't, work with the drummer to fix balances this might be why some people say "it doesn't work"


But on the whole the fewer mics you use the more coherent and solid the imaging is going to be.

It's (that modified approach) still the way I start, at least, on drums for almost everything I do.
And I've been using it almost as long as Glyn.
cool thanks for sharing.. how would you generally go about mixing the overhead microphones using this technique then? i know it's going to vary on the kit, the room and the song etc.. but is there a basic guideline or a general rule of thumb you would stick to ?

P.S i love punchy drum sounds! haha
Old 4th March 2014
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
i love this drum sound.. Jeff Buckley - Forget Her - YouTube
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglesnh4 ➑️
cool thanks for sharing.. how would you generally go about mixing the overhead microphones using this technique then? i know it's going to vary on the kit, the room and the song etc.. but is there a basic guideline or a general rule of thumb you would stick to ?

P.S i love punchy drum sounds! haha
I'm not sure what you mean!

the 'overhead' mics (such as they are, as only one is even remotely actually 'overhead') ARE the drum sound in this case... the snare and bass drum just get added for fill in.

it depends on the rest of the music in the track mostly as to whether I end up putting the high side (hanger tom side) mic in the centre or on the right.
Old 5th March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I learned a valuable lesson when we tracked my album. My partner had always used one on kick, one on snare, and a single overhead. I insisted on using 2 overheads (which we did) and when it came time to mix we couldn't get the snare out of the one overhead (the closer one), which led to a lot of compromising. We need to remember all the bleed that takes place. Of course, it can be your friend, but it NEEDS TO BE SYMMETRICAL, in my opinion. It will make things much easier to balance later on.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman ➑️
I'm not sure what you mean!

the 'overhead' mics (such as they are, as only one is even remotely actually 'overhead') ARE the drum sound in this case... the snare and bass drum just get added for fill in.

it depends on the rest of the music in the track mostly as to whether I end up putting the high side (hanger tom side) mic in the centre or on the right.
So obviously I'd go about mixing my kick and snare with the beta 52 and sm57 to my desired sound, then how would I mix the two overheads?
Old 6th March 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
well, again,
in the real, original 'Glyn', or typical London studio, approach, you had the single overhead which is the bulk of the drum sound.
you make THAT sound right, and then add as much, and only as much, bass drum mic and/or low tom side mic as you need.


I tend to use a left and right 'looking in' mic, as I said, and balance those left and right and then see what it 'needs' to go with it.

if you're getting enough snare, you don't need the snare mic... or you use as much of it as you DO need.

because the trend is toward a lot f bass drum in the balance, you will almost certainly want the bass drum ic mixed up the middle fairly loud.
for this reason, I will often blanket or otherwise cover the bass drum in order to keep the sound more in its close mic and less into the L-R, farther away, mics.
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