Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] For this listening session, I mic'd up the rack and floor toms with three different types of mics. There's a large diaphragm condenser on the left, a small diaphragm condenser in the middle, and a dynamic mic on the right. Here it is on the rack tom, and then here you can see it on the floor tom as well, coming around the side there. So we're going to go and listen to the different examples here, and I'm going to switch between the large diaphragm condenser, the small diaphragm condenser, and the dynamic mic pairs, and what I want you to listen for is the bleed that we're getting from the other elements of the drum kit.
Listen for the kick drum level and the tone, and we're going to zoom in and think about some of this a bit. Listen for the ride or hi-hat sound, depending on the part of the song, and the sound and the level of these ride and hi-hat parts. And then when there's a crash, too, real important to consider, especially on the rack tom sometimes, how loud is the crash sound from the cymbal and how brash is it, how much is it coming through these mics? And then of course the final thing, and sometimes the most important, is listen for the sympathetic ring of the toms when they're not being hit as they ring out as the rest of the kit plays.
So here we're going to listen a little bit, think about some of these elements, and I'm going to come back around, starting with a large diaphragm condenser. (percussive music) Now listen for the small diaphragm condenser.
And then the dynamic. In all cases, the toms sound pretty decent on their own. It's what I'm worried about is just the sounds between where the toms aren't being played. Let's listen again, now listen, I'm going to jump between them, and listen to just the tone and level of the kick drum. Large diaphragm condenser first. (percussive music) Small.
Dynamic. And note how the large diaphragm has a little bit more pronounced kick drum in general. (percussive music) Small diaphragm. And on the dynamic. Just slightly different. Now listen for the ride and hi-hat levels here real closely. (percussive music) And now we're going to go over to the small diaphragm.
And then the dynamic. The dynamic mic is obviously quite different, a little more of a nasally quality to it. The large diaphragm and the small diaphragm pick it up in slightly different ways, a little bit of a different kind of brightness on the transients, and now let's listen real quick, especially hear it after the fills, to the crash cymbal, and think about the brashness of that.
(percussive music) Okay? And in here on the small diaphragm. (percussive music) A little bit lighter tone to it there. And then the dynamic mic. (percussive music) Definitely a lot brasher, a lot more forward. And then the last thing to listen to, and my favorite part, especially if you're recording on tape or something, is how much sympathetic ring are these mics bringing out while the toms are not being hit.
So you're listening for kind of the woo in the background. So listen really close, here's the large diaphragm condensers again. (percussive music) Here's the small. And then here's the dynamic.
And all sets of mics reinforce different parts of that ringing tone. There's a little bit higher focus on the dynamic, if you listen really close. (percussive music) Woo woo woo, in that area. The small diaphragm is a little different than that. (percussive music) A little lower, and then the dynamic, the large diaphragm condenser. (percussive music) Maybe even a little bit lower than the small diaphragm. So they kind of focus in different ways. Knowing how these mics all react to the toms, to the rest of the kit, is really important.
If you're not cleaning up these tracks, like in ProTools I'll clean all the tom hits up and make sure they're not playing in the background when the toms aren't being hit on most sessions, then you don't have as much to worry about on some of these cases. But if you're tracking the tape, like I mentioned earlier, you really need to make sure that the bleed while the drums aren't being hit, while the toms aren't being hit, doesn't cause problems with the mix and it doesn't add tonalities or weird rumbly noises in the background that are really distracting.
This sort of micing goes far beyond whether just the mic sounds good on the toms, but really how it works with the rest of the kit and how it works in the mix that you're doing. So try the different mics that you have and learn the character of each one and how they work on your drum kits and your toms.