Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] It's common to see a pair of mics up and over a drum set, to pick up cymbals and the sound of the whole kit. But how often do you see a pair of mics out in front, looking at the kit? How different does this sound than a pair of similar mics up and over the kit? Here's the regular overheads that I recorded earlier. (drum beat) So here's a pair of mics up and over the kit in a typical fashion.
(drum beat) And here's a pair of mics out in front of the kit. (drum beat) Now listen again, and listen for how different the symbol overtones are, for the ride cymbal. We'll go to the next section here. And here's the regular overheads. (drum beat) In front of the kit.
Regular overhead. Front of the kit. You can hear the front of the kit's a little bit lighter tone, a little bit less of the bell sound of the ride cymbal. Quite different, now listen again here and listen for the room ambience. These come out in different ways depending on where these mics are set up. So once again, we're starting with the mics up and over the kit, in an XY pattern. (drum beat) In front.
Over. In front. The time of the reverberation of the room is a little different. When you're in front, it seems a little bit shorter, the snare sounds a little bit shorter, but it's a different kind of ambience, and that's a real interesting fact to think about when you're picking a placement for these mics. And also, listen again now, we're going to go back to the top part, and listen to the sound of the kick drum, and the definition of the kick drum.
Here we are with the overhead pair. (drum beat) In front. Over. In front. There's just a slight different kind of definition of the kick drum, which gives you a different imaging and a different picture. Now listen also to see how they work when paired with a close mic.
So you just have a kick and a snare mic on here. We'll go to the regular XY overheads over the kit. (drum beat) And then we're going to go to the front. (drum beat) And the overhead. Front.
You note how the way that they work with those mics, it just feels different. You need to be careful, the one thing is if these mics that are in front of the kit are too close to the kit, and they're picking up the crash cymbal, and the cymbals, and the ride, too closely, you'll hear kind of a phazy, wooshing sound as the cymbal goes up and down past the plane of the microphone. Four feet or more back from the kit usually alleviates this problem. I always think of this front of kit micing as a more open, a different kind of room tone, and kind of a picture of the drums.
And lots of times, if I need like a jazzy sort of tone, like I'm doing a jazz session, or maybe a songwriter session, I'll use this kind of micing as opposed to going up and over the drum kit in a typical rock fashion. So always keep these in mind, try this out in the space that you record, and decide for yourself when to use it or not.