Monthly Archives: June 2015

RECORDING: Miking drums

There’s tooooooo much info out there, about drum-miking. All you have to do is search youtube for “drum mic test” or “how to mike drums”, “recording acoustic drums” or anything like that. TOOOO much info.

Here are a few videos I think explain things the best, starting with tuning drums.

That guy explains stuff perfectly, and I tried it. It works. AMAZINGLY. And fast. God, I wish I knew this years ago. Thanks, Rob.

Now onto miking:

The video above seems to REALLY favor Audix mics, which are great…. but, the info in here is quite good.

Another really good video, and straight to the point. The investment’s higher with the mics in this video, but you can get great results with similar mic types. Such as V67gs for overheads, and room mics. Or MCA SP-1s for overheads, and/or room mics.

An engineer friend of mine prefers the following mics, if you have a low budget (under $1000) for drum mics:

Shure SM57s for all the toms, and snare (4 total if you play a 5-piece- $400 new or cheaper used)
Shure Beta 52 for the kick drum ($150-ish)
Cascade Fatheads (pair) for overheads ($350/pair)
(or a couple MXL V67Gs for overheads ($200/pair)

I also love Sennheiser’s 421 for the toms (especially the floor— these mics aren’t that cheap) or the e604s (these mics are quite reasonably-priced) for the toms…. and, I actually quite like an SM57 on the kick drum (Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” album was recorded like this… and my god, the sound of Chad Smith’s kick… is HEAVENLY on that record.

You can also go the route of those cheap mic packs, like CADs or whatever. I’ve used the CAD and Samson packs and I think the snare mic in the CAD pack is quite decent, and the tom mics (from the CAD) are ok only on smaller toms, but the kick mic is garbage, and the overheads… don’t even bother. These packs will run you about $200 or less, but I say go with the good shit. It’s a big investment, but if you want good-sounding drums, you gotta get the good shit.

Miking drums isn’t easy by any means, but if you spend a little time choosing the right mics, and especially tuning your kit, you’re in good shape. Good luck!


RECORDING: Neumann TLM102 mic

I picked up one of these (luckily) on ebay, for only $390. Mint-condition, and in black finish, which I wanted. It’s a $700 mic.

I am absolutely floored with how great this mic sounds, on my vocals, and I’m extremely pleased with the upgrade. I’ve been using the MXL v67g for many years, as well as the MXL V63m, and MCA SP-1. They’re all great, GREAT mics, especially for the price, but I think from now on, I’m doing all my vocals (and the vocals of my collaborators) with the TLM102.

Here’s a small piece of me covering The Innocence Mission’s “Where Does The Time Go”, the first couple verses:

No EQ, very little compression, and very little reverb. Absolutely amazed.

Pick up one. Have you been weary of how your vocals sound, with cheap Chinese mics? Have you been thinking “well, I sound ok… but… I dunno.” Are you one of those people who sounds kind of better, just singing in a room, un-miked (I feel like I am one of those people). If you are, get this mic. It will do your voice justice.

Neumann mics just kill. Kill. Clear, and real-sounding. I don’t know how to explain it any other way.

RECORDING: Best Kept Gear Secrets

This entry will probably raise the price of all this stuff I’m about to mention, but here goes, anyway…

CAD M179 mic
Sells new for about $120. I have read that pro engineers LOVE this mic and it is extremely versatile. Haven’t used it, but no one has a bad thing to say about this mic.

MCA SP-1 mic
Sells new for about $60. Apparently it is one of the most-used inexpensive mics in studio situations. From lead vocals to drum overheads, the SP-1 is a go-to mic.

Behringer ADA8000
Can be found new for only $180, or used for $125. Need 8 more channels for your home studio, via ADAT/optical? Nothing can be found cheaper. It has 8 XLR ins and 8 XLR outs (but you don’t need the outs if you’re using the optical connection for the 8 additional inputs). It’s relatively quiet, as long as you don’t push the gain too hot (sounds like ass at near-max gain). A lot of audio interfaces come with optical inputs these days, including the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo
Sells new for only $69. A 2-input USB audio interface with phantom power? And by Focusrite? There isn’t a better deal out there, if you’re getting into home recording. Good friend of mine calls it the “cute little hamburger”. It rules.

Best condenser mic for the price, in my opinion. $95. It sounds great on female or male vocals, and acoustic guitars, too!