Room mic placement

Let's talk about kits and mics, new and old. What are you using? What do you want? What's the difference?

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Room mic placement

Postby Lee Cardan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:10 pm

I think we should talk about this

- what are you looking for in a room mic sound
- what are your common room mic choices
- what are your common room mic placements

At EBS, I'm lucky to have a fantastic live room to exploit, and with a healthy amount of compression on overheads, complemented by small amount of heavily limited room mics (Distressors on Nuke, or Chandler Zener doing its thing) I can have some real fun with this. But I feel I could be doing more

Best results so far have been by using 57s pointing away from the kit, aimed at a reflective corner or wall (about a foot away from it). On mixdown I realign everything to the kick and snare close mics, and mostly like what the room mics are doing to my kick.

What are you doing?
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby adamcal » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:39 pm

For me part of the bigness is the distance and therefore the time delay, aligning them to the close mics will make it a little smaller, but whatever works.

I mostly use a pair of C414's in various stereo configurations, depending on what mood i am in. sometimes a pair of beyer 160 ribbons if its getting too bright for the song. also a mono neumann M149 as FOK. Standard stuff.

I also have a little akg omni clip-on thing permanently hanging, its just a talkback mic or if I need to listen into that room and sometimes that gets recorded too.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby ChrisW » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:02 am

This is my experience working regularly with Peter Henderson, as I don't own a studio and am not an engineer.
Almost always U87's. We've dabbled with expensive vintage Telefunken, Neumann's and Coles/RCA ribbons, but most of the time it's U87's.
On previous projects we haven't liked time aligning the ambience.
The room is the key. The room sometimes dictates the mics. If it's an average room, or a bit trashy, you might as well use trashier mics and smash the audio with a coloured compressor.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby GlennS » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:37 am

- what are you looking for in a room mic sound

It might sound wanky, but in my head I often define it as "pow" and/or "boom"

- what are your common room mic choices

C12B, Neumann KM120, 4038.

- what are your common room mic placements

A single mic in front of the kit. Faulkner stereo (2 fig-8 mics 20cm apart pointing straight ahead).
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby Ben M » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:55 am

what are you looking for in a room mic sound

Depth and width

what are your common room mic choices

U87, R84, K2, plus other ribbons.

what are your common room mic placements

M/S about 2.5 m in front of the kit plus I add a 'Halo' mic above the drummers head pointing down to the kick, snare and toms.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby Chinagraf » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:05 pm

I don't get time aligning room mics, but I want them for a room sound and not to reinforce frequencies.
Time aligning takes the room and depth out of them. At least for me. That's not to say it's wrong, it's just not right for me.
Last edited by Chinagraf on Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby Lee Cardan » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:48 pm

wow great responses so far!

I will just clarify, I don't ALWAYS time align, just sometimes when I find I can really hear the slap-delay and it doesn't suit. In these cases, I usually still like the tonal complement the room mic gives me - hence the time alignment

Keep em coming!
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby The Tasmanian » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:11 pm

2 room mics in cardioid about 200mm off the floor -in front of the kit, either side - but fairly close to the kit - with a touch of compression.
By being low to the floor, you get rid of the smashy cymbals.
By being close to the kit it is much more useable in more situations than a distant room mic.
Also I usually put a long distant mic - a Ribbon about 5 meters away for a huge mono room (usually compressed to the hilt)
This is for the really roomy distant sound - which IME is better in mono.
The 2 different setups can be blended together to give a vast array of room tones.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby ChrisW » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:34 pm

anguswoodhead wrote:
I also mic the kitchen which is next to the main room when tracking at Heliport - this mic is magic.


Nice one.
I would do that more if studios had accessible anterooms, that weren't subject to toilet flushing noises, or teaspoons tinkling in cups.
Like you say though, always a fun mic to integrate into the overall kit sound.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby Chris H » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:50 pm

I usually go mono with room mics. One for the room dominating, a ribbon with the null facing the kit. Usually fairly high if the room is big, often behind the drummer.
One focused on the kit, usually a LDC, about the hight of the kick and back 6 Ft or so.
I don't compress when tracking, rather experiment with the comp when mixing. The LDC is the one that usually gets heavily compressed in the mix.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby waitup » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:40 am

The Tasmanian wrote:By being low to the floor, you get rid of the smashy cymbals.


Yes! I haven't put a room mic in the air since I started doing this. Royer R121 are usually my dudes for this.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby spandex man » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:20 am

Im kinda late to these threads, havent been on the forum for a while.

I like a Royer SF12 somewhere in front of the kit, i just walking around til i find somewhere that sounds good. Also, its only one more mic stand and im lazy :P. Otherwise a pair of TLM170s in omni 5-6 metres away and 2-3 metres high sound really good. Im pretty happy with SSL pre's for the rooms, the 4000 channel comps are awesome too if you want to get a bit more length out of the hits. Ive tried an R122 being raped by a Distressor a few times, but i get a little too excited by the flashing lights and over do it.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby jkhuri44 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:41 pm

point a boom mic (Senheiser Shotgun mic) @ a snare... from up high...in the corner of the room...

interesting sound....
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby rick » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:02 pm

waitup wrote:
The Tasmanian wrote:By being low to the floor, you get rid of the smashy cymbals.


Yes! I haven't put a room mic in the air since I started doing this. Royer R121 are usually my dudes for this.



if you wrap foam around the back of a ribbon mic you also block off the high freq content to the back of the ribbon
which changes the way the figure 8 sounds and means you can lift it up high to get the ambience of the room away from the Low Feq boundary effect of the floor and still not get smashed by high freq stuff

kinda like a freq selective cardioid ribbon - in fact i have often thought of buying a bunch of chinese ribbons and sticking the foam inside the shell so it was semi permanent but i thought i best keep that a secret till i tried it

( was that my outside voice typing again ? damn )
I better start a chinese ribbon modding service quick before anybody else takes the credit for my brilliant idea !
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby Ben M » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:39 am

The Tasmanian wrote:2 room mics in cardioid about 200mm off the floor -in front of the kit, either side - but fairly close to the kit - with a touch of compression.
By being low to the floor, you get rid of the smashy cymbals.
By being close to the kit it is much more useable in more situations than a distant room mic.


Chris...I tried this technique on the weekend with 2 sm7's over the usual m/s. Got great results. Thanks.
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Re: Room mic placement

Postby The Tasmanian » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:15 pm

Great news Ben.
I use this pair on nearly all recordings, change mics and patterns depending on the drummer.
Some time's it's 2 x ribbons in fig8 - or 2 x STC ball and biscuit's (which is killer for rock)
And the most important part is it works really well when you get to the mix as it puts the kit in a larger space without sounding too roomy - and final bonus is being close room in stereo it really helps with width of the drumkit, without needing to solely rely on the overheads for apparent width (which is actually the main reason why I do it )
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