I learned Something about drum room Mic's today

I learned Something about drum room Mic's today


I am doing my first project since rewiring my console. I was tracking drums today. Typically, I am using sm-81 pencil condenser mics for overheads. I will also use a pair of inexpensive ribbon mics as room mics because they are very robust sounding. I stuck a couple inexpensive LDC condensers as well so that I could have a “bright and Dark” pair of overheads. I also sent both pairs into the console on their own tracks on a mult so I could compress them without risking the original tracks. It also gave me the opportunity to hear them closer to what they will sound like when I mix.

The toughest part of dealing with room mics is cymbals volume. What I noticed is that as I compressed the bright pair of condensers the cymbals matched much more closely what was in the overhead mics and therefore it wasn’t as noticeable. When I compressed the darker ribbon mics the cymbals interfered far more because the mid-range of the cymbals cuts through from them. Even though the cymbals are just as loud they blend much better.

I am surprised it took me this long to notice this:)


Super cool! I gotta try this!


I know exactly what you’re talking about, but if I could turn it on its head…

Strikes me that what happens is you end up with loads of meaty 1-5k, say, for the cymbals in the room mics, then also the usual 10k+ brighter stuff in the overheads. So you end up with too much cymbals over too broad a range, vs using brighter room mics than keep that lower region clear.

Sometimes I like it when the cymbals have way more going on in the lower range, and clear the high stuff for just the transient snap of the shells and other percussion, plus the air in the vocal. Feel like it can let me push the drums harder without things getting top-heavy at a volume that works with the other instruments.

But then, it’s so arrangement and taste-dependent, I wouldn’t say one way makes more or less sense than the other. And when it comes to cymbals, number 1 way of managing them is to help the drummer pick ones that aren’t too bright and then bash them about the head with them until they learn not to hit them as hard. :joy:


You could mess with it on a virtual instrument like XLN or BFD and observe a similar effect. In the software, program a loop with some cymbal crashes. Take a pair of room mics, EQ then different, then mash them and see what effect the room bus has when its blended with the primary drum bus.


The rooms and overheads are my primary balancing mechanism, and I hate it when I get tracks where people positioned the overheads to capture the cymbals but they’re shit out of phase with the snare. Here’s a pic from one I was at recently where I thought the producer did a really nice job accounting for balance and phase.


A big room helps drum sounds so much. I am very blessed. Getting phase and balance correct is very important. Getting too much or not enough snare in overheads is a big problem. I love tracking a good drummer that lets me move the cymbals as high as possible above the kit. This makes a world of difference.


lol…I should have requested the overheads be suspended 30 feet in the air on the cherry picker at this session lol. I wonder 2 things… a) what they would have sounded like and b) how the studio manager would have responded. I’m pretty sure they don’t have 30 foot booms.


How high did he have the overheads from the ground? I typically find that between 8 and 10 feet give a very accurate picture of the kit.


I don’t think I’ve ever placed an overhead 10 feet in the air lol. Haha…thats funny to think about. But hey, if it works for u, the sweet!


I want to do some shoot outs this summer. One that I will document is overhead distance:)