Microphones not so desirable on drums

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Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Lee » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:41 am

This post is for people who have used various microphones and achieved a not so desirable result. For example, every-time I've used any Rode microphones as rooms,OH's or on hats they sound too harsh. In conclusion they are "bright" microphones and using them on bright metallic objects such as cymbals isn't complimentary. I will try to avoid using them in the future.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:10 am

100% agree - even their supposed nicer top of the line mic's are unusable in most drum recording situations.
Their market is bedrooms where the user has no EQ - so they wind up the top end to make (inexperienced) people think they are getting a detailed top end.
I cant use them on anything - let alone drums.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:12 am

Just to add to that
There is some mods/tube swaps that can made to some models to help them to be not as bright
Last edited by The Tasmanian on Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Drumstruck » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:27 am

Have to respectfully disagree guys :-o - very happy with my Rode NT1s as overheads (generally XY) - especially when playing with brushes. Also use an NT1a and NT-2 (MS) and am pleased with the results from them. I can't comment on their other models.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Chris H » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:47 am

Depending on the room, that bit of bright can be just the thing, especially when recording in a fairly dead room, though i agree that the tonality of the highs on some of the Rodes is a bit gnarly. I have done away with my early NT 1 for that reason and rarely use the NTV. I find the NT 5's to be an option for drum OH's or snare,when i want a slightly different sound that my other choices in SDC's (AKG 451 EB's or Neuman KM85's. The Classic 11 and the K2 are sometimes used for toms, OH or room mics. Neuman U87's have a bit of a lift in the highs as well. It's definitley a case of matching the mics to the other variables: room, kit sound and skins, music style even the way the drummer hits and what sticks are used. All these things go through my mind as we are setting up and hearing the combo of factors for the first time.
I had the prejudice that sampson mics would be crap but we miced the studio kit with them a year or two ago and the dynamic mics sounded great....the SDC's weren't up to it.
I have many "shitty mics" that are great for drums in one or two scenarios and useless for anythingthing else....my analogue plugins so to speak. In general, I would almost go so far as to say there is no mic that isn't suitable for drums....(or trombones and banjos for that matter) :-B
Favourite mics though is another thread, but for me it's a fairly long list.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby GlennS » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:50 am

Even the not so desirable can be desirable at times.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:58 am

Working on a drum loop project we would raid each studio's mic cabinet looking for weird mics to add variety to our loops.
One time we set up a Funkberator mic about 4 metres in front of the kit.
When we got the recordings home we were appalled. It was tinny and only captured a small band of audio in the middle frequency range. We managed to use it on one loop, which was still embarrassing as it sounded bad not in a good way.
Most bad mics can be bad in a good way. You can smash them in a compressor, or distort them a little.
In the end though we sometimes struggle to use these sounds, and you can't help pushing the faders up on the great sounding mics and pulling down the 'bad' mic until it's not really there any more.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby kalkman » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:29 pm

Drumstruck wrote:Have to respectfully disagree guys :-o - very happy with my Rode NT1s as overheads (generally XY) - especially when playing with brushes. Also use an NT1a and NT-2 (MS) and am pleased with the results from them. I can't comment on their other models.


i've used 2 NT1 (originals) on OH too - i thought off-axis stuff was kinda weird & phasey. but when i removed the mesh from inside the grill (it's 2-3 layers thick in places) and it made a huge difference, to my cloth ears anyway. they look ridiculous with their big yellow rubber capsule mounts though
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby AnthonyMF » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:28 pm

Sm81's on snare's just don't work as well as Pg81's to me!

When I started out, I did a lot of recording with Shure's PG drum mic kit. and quite a few times wound up using one of the Pg81's as either snare bottom, or taped to a 57. When I got the chance to do this with an Sm81 I was so disappointed!

I'll agree about the Rode mics on drums, to an extent. I've had poor experiences using the Rode K2 as a close mic on anything drum related. But as the mid in an M/S overhead setup it was fantastic. Mind you, I've been using ribbons as overheads ever since...
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby reddirt » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:11 pm

Haven't used them much in the studio but the NT2000 was golden as an O/H in a 3 mic live -jazz-ish set up. The cymbals just sounded very "right" so my limited experience says an emphatic yes.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby The Tasmanian » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:21 pm

Ive used the NT2000 modded with NOS valves, better caps etc on the grand piano at the Grove - and they did sound nice - but stock, I'm not so sure (insert scared)
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Jason » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:34 pm

I have a pair of NT5's with omni caps and they work well as room mics but my room is quite dead too so it kinda evens things out with the whole bright top thing.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Mark Bassett » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:02 pm

I don't mic hats.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby adamcal » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:44 pm

Any mic that is expensive and will be destroyed by a stick hit is not desirable when you have to pay for the repair yourself.

otherwise, they make the best drum mics.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Lee » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:57 am

Why don't you mic hats Mark? If you had to mic a hat at the request of a client what would you reach for?
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Phoenix » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:50 pm

It's easier to talk about mics that are desirable on drums. I'll attempt to explain two things;

1) If you're using particularly sensitive mics (condensors) make sure they have good if not excellent off-axis frequency response. Don't use shitty condensors with overly pronounced high frequency characteristics. The bleed on these mics are often very ugly sounding. Rode and SE come to mind. They can be good front on for some sources but really suck in a multiple mic'ing situations where you have to deal with phase relationships.

2) Stay with the classic dynamics ie 421,57, D12 etc and know how to point them. Carefully consider their sound rejection characteristics and use that to your advantage.

Hope I made some sense. Peace (%)
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby dave01.cooper » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:25 am

One time we set up a Funkberator mic about 4 metres in front of the kit.
When we got the recordings home we were appalled.


Really?! have gotten some awesome room drum sounds with the funkberater pointed at the top of the kick about 3 meters back SMASHED thru a valley people 610. Great cymbal sustain! Albeit need to do some pre record eq but can get it to sit just right in a mix.
+1 for not a rode fan either however, a Rode Classic II as a mono overhead sounds great. They're pretty rad room mics too, not to mention a solid vocal mic.

I've definitely over grown my 451c's on hats, too sizzly and overhyper IMHO. Lulu's are a bitching hh mic as are 84's or 85's but we already knew that!
tried a set of cascade fathead II's on under tom mics once with 421's on the top, didn't really work for that. no definition for the resonant head but just unwanted 'woof'. Overheads they're great though

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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby mylesgm » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:03 am

I've owned a few rode mics and sold almost all of them for a variety of reasons but the NT6 mics are pretty decent and very flexible for the purpose I have here in Swaziland. I use them inside a Rode windjammer in a variety of stereo arrangements, X/Y, A/B, ORTF etc. This is possible because they have interchangeable capsules, the capsules are remote mounted, the preamps have pads and hipass filters and the mounting system is excellent. With the addition of a custom stereo bar my father-in-law and I tooled up it is a perfect flexible and portable location recording setup and they actually sound very good too.

Not only that but because I have limited mic options here in Swaziland (brought the NT6 pair and a pair of SE4400a which if you haven't heard you should) I've been using them on sources I usually wouldn't. Nt6 as a kick mic is actually really impressive. Heaps of transient action but also plenty of the tone even way down low. I'm going to have to experiment with SDC on kick a lot more when I get home.

Here's a pic of the setup without the blimp cover. I used this to record rural choirs for a an upcoming release, very natural sounding system feeding an Fostex FR2-LE.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby ChrisW » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:25 am

dave01.cooper wrote:
One time we set up a Funkberator mic about 4 metres in front of the kit.
When we got the recordings home we were appalled.


Really?! have gotten some awesome room drum sounds with the funkberater pointed at the top of the kick about 3 meters back SMASHED thru a valley people 610.



Presumably there is more than one model of Funkberator? This one had that nasal, old fashioned telephone quality to it.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Kurt » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:48 am

Maybe it was fucked?

ChrisW wrote:Presumably there is more than one model of Funkberator? This one had that nasal, old fashioned telephone quality to it.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby ChrisW » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:30 pm

Could've been.
Although the studio was otherwise run in good condition.
It wasn't an issue by the way, we were just experimenting with mics we'd never used before, and that one was easily the worst sounding.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Kurt » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:55 pm

Could just be a dodgy lead. One channel on my multicore sounds "thin" compared to the others (and often buzzes), I'm guessing that somewhere there is a minute short. One strand of one wire touching something it shouldn't!

It's probably be good for recording the whole kit for a black metal record...

ChrisW wrote:Could've been.
Although the studio was otherwise run in good condition.
It wasn't an issue by the way, we were just experimenting with mics we'd never used before, and that one was easily the worst sounding.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby mylesgm » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:43 pm

If you have a channel on your multicore that sounds "thin" you are probably missing either the + or - signal from the balanced connection. Easy to check not necessarily easy to fix though I find that 9/10 it is a dry solder joint in the connector itself.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby ChrisW » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:10 am

It wasn't a dodgy cable.
I don't understand why it's hard to agree some mics suck on drums? That was the whole point of the thread.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Kurt » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:17 am

When one person has a very high opinion and another reckons it's rubbish it may just be a difference of opinion, or there may be a problem... Either way, I thought it may be an interesting avenue of exploration. Obviously not.

ChrisW wrote:It wasn't a dodgy cable.
I don't understand why it's hard to agree some mics suck on drums? That was the whole point of the thread.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Kurt » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:20 am

Cheers. I've been too lazy to chase it up. I just try and avoid that channel! I really should look into it...

mylesgm wrote:If you have a channel on your multicore that sounds "thin" you are probably missing either the + or - signal from the balanced connection. Easy to check not necessarily easy to fix though I find that 9/10 it is a dry solder joint in the connector itself.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby ChrisW » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:17 am

OK...
I found it 'not so desirable'.
The mic itself may have been f***ed.

Found this on TapeOp:
The Funkberator MD-21. Weirdest mic, sounds weirder. I thought it was a messed up diaphragm (moving coil) and in the process of checking it out, destryed it. Stupid. It stil looks real cool though.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby dave01.cooper » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:47 pm

The Funkberator MD-21. Weirdest mic, sounds weirder. I thought it was a messed up diaphragm (moving coil) and in the process of checking it out, destryed it. Stupid. It stil looks real cool though.


That's classic!

And yes I'm sure there are more than one Funkberator... Ours is a MD30-2 supplied by the holy grail of eclectic microphones, the Hookemeister.

I don't understand why it's hard to agree some mics suck on drums? That was the whole point of the thread.


Good point. I'm going to put it out there and say that sometimes a 57 sucks on a snare. If it doesn't fit the genre of music or the tone of the drum then one could say 'it sucks'. No?

On another topic, many here used binaural recording for drums? what mics have you used that suck on that style of setup?

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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Paul Maybury » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:52 pm

AKG D112. Yuk. Love the D12 though.
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Re: Microphones not so desirable on drums

Postby Kurt » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:10 pm

Never tried a D12 but I agree the 112 is over rated, at least for metal sounds. I try really hard to like my Audix D6s but there's something I don't like about the top end :(

Paul Maybury wrote:AKG D112. Yuk. Love the D12 though.
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