Join Ryan Hewitt for an in-depth discussion in this video Mic'ing the toms, part of Drum Setup and Mic'ing in the Studio.
- For toms, I'd generally start with a 421. It's a simple dynamic mic. Again, you want to make sure that you're thinking about the flashlight concept of looking at the mic and seeing what it's going to pick up. Now the angle of the mic, again as with the snare drum, is going to determine how much attack we have, versus how much tone and sustain. So, if we look more at where the stick is gonna hit the drum in the middle, we'll get that attack. And if we look more at the edge of the drum we'll get more of the tone and the note of the drum. So, it's sort of the balancing act between those two 'cause each drum sounds different.
And each drummer plays the drum differently. So, if the drummer's bashing it, you're gonna get a lot of attack and not much tone. So, you'll wanna move the mic down a little bit. Still maintaining a certain amount of distance from the mics. Probably around three fingers again. to get a little bit a perspective on things. But then if the drum is really dark and doesn't have a lot of attack, you can move the mic back towards the middle of the drum. Now sometimes this mic doesn't work. Sometimes it's picking up too much bleed. Sometimes it's not bright enough to get a accurate picture of the drum.
In that case, I'd turn to sometimes a large diaphragm condenser like a C414. ATM 25 dynamic mic also works really well. The positioning of the mic is also affected by, I call it the 'energy field'. As with the kick drum, I'll feel where the air is moving the most and I'll place the microphone there. So, David, if you'll hit the drum for me. (banging) It's interesting, on this drum, there's a lot of energy coming off the rim area.
So, I'm actually gonna go a little further than I normally would. Again. (banging) I might take this one a little bit further than normal, away from the drum, and we'll just see how that sounds once we get the preamp fired up. So, for the floor tom, I use pretty much the same technique. Generally, I like to use the same mic, so it's a similar sound. The toms will generally be of the same type of drum so it sounds all of a piece. Again, we wanna have the whole kit sound like one instrument. Not 'tom a', 'tom b', 'tom c'.
So, I like to use the same manufacturer of toms, and generally the same microphones. It doesn't always work. Again nothing's 100%. But in this case, we'll start with a 421 and we'll see how that goes. And other mics I like on the floor tom, D12, D112, ATM 25. They all work pretty well. 57's if you got nothin' else, will be fine. So, David, if you'll hit the drum for me. (banging) So, that force field feels about the same to me, so we'll leave the mic where it is and see how it sounds.
- Working with a drum technician
- Choosing drums, cymbals, and heads
- Tuning drums
- Mic'ing the kick, snare, toms, and cymbals
- Placing room mics
- Creating a special sound with stunt mics