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Thread: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

  1. #1

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    Default Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    Decided I need to start mic'ing my drums at gigs. Based on some live recordings, the hats and cymbals cut pretty well, but the bass, toms and snare could use some help. I'm on a budget, and I hate setting up PA systems, so simplicity is the key. Keep in mind, I play 1-up/1-down. Right now, I have the following that I can use;

    (1) GearOne kick drum mic w/short stand (not great quality, but not bad)
    (3) Steinhauer condenser mics (pretty good quality)
    (1) 24V Phantom power supply to run the condensers
    (1) Shure 57
    (3) Shure 58
    (9) Digital Reference vocal mics (the cheap ones, but sound OK)
    (2) available channel inputs on our powered mixer I can plug into
    (0) extra mic stands available

    I'm sure I could make something work with what I already have, but I could spend around another $200 if needed. I'm thinking of buying a CAD Pro-4 mic kit (1 kick mic, 2-tom mics, 1-snare mic). If I ever play my 5pc kit, I could use my extra kick mic on the floor tom, so I'm covered there. I think the CAD mics with built in clips would be much easier to set up than trying to use regular mics on stands...plus we never have enough room on stage anyway.

    My questions are; What do I need for mixing? Do I buy a simple 4 or 5 channel mixer (fairly inexpensive) and then run the output into one channel on our powered PA? Do I need any FX on the mixer, or just basic level control? I assume I can use the built-in FX on our PA on just one channel and not on the other vocal channels, but I'm not sure. Do I even NEED any FX or EQ on the drums? Do I want the drums coming back through the monitors or will that mess with us on stage? Any insight would be appreciated!
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    All the gigs I've played had a sound guy, and the club/bar/venue had their own mics and gear for the kit. So I can't give any expert insight, but here are my thoughts from what experience I do have. Setting up mics and mixers for a gig is not as scientific as setting up for recording. I would think with the gear that you have, you would only need a 4 or 8 channel mixer. I wouldn't think you'd need effects, other than possibly a touch of reverb, depending on the venue. If you watch Craigslist, you can find a Mackie 4, 8 or 12 channel mixer for under $100, easily. I would recommend get more channels than you currently think you need. You never know what you may want to add later on. I've actually had one of those GearOne kick mics. They're not bad at all. I'd use the Shure 57 on the snare, and either of the vocal mics on the toms. I've used the CAD-Pro mics you mentioned as well. Pretty good bang for the buck! I would think there's no need for condenser mics if you feel your cymbals are cutting through the mix well enough. I would try to get a couple live recordings with your current set up, plus a mixer, and decide from there if you want to invest more money in higher quality mics. And as far as monitors, I love in-ear monitors. With the right mix of drums and the rest of the band, IEM's can be a huge help. But even if you don't want to do in-ears, there should be some drums in the stage monitors, the amount would depend on the venue, and personal preference of you, and the band. I once played a gig at a venue that had a 6 foot tall drum riser on top of a 4 foot tall stage, with 2 huge monitors just for the drums. The acoustics of the room were terrible, but the sound from the drum monitors was amazing. I could hear every nuance of every instrument, and they sound guy mixed in just the right amount of drums. It made staying in the pocket so much easier.

    Of course, I could be wrong...
    Last edited by Powertrip240; 01-24-2016 at 06:35 AM.
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    I wouldn't d go too overboard. With a band like yours you should try to keep a more organic sound. Maybe concentrate on the bass and snare. 57 on snare and bass mike on bass. Those are your bread and butter drums.

    all the best...

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    I'm going to use this mic set up as an example on how the sound engineer mic'd my 5pc kit at the Amador County Fair recently. It was an outdoor event and probably fits the bill as something you might consider.

    5 mics used on kit:

    1- overhead
    1-snare
    1- kick
    1-rack toms (placed between both rack toms)
    1-floor tom
    *1 vocal mic (picked up the hihat)



    Overhead placement:



    Floor tom mic placement:



    The drum mics were wired to the main mixing board. No sub-mix needed:


  5. #5

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    continued...

    The stage was pretty small since we were a "support act" and the sound engineer had the entire mix going through two 12" speakers on sticks (which I despise). 4 vocals mics, 5 drum mics, two guitar amps mic'd and a DI for the bass all running through (2x) 12" cones



    Question:

    What do I need for mixing? Do I buy a simple 4 or 5 channel mixer (fairly inexpensive) and then run the output into one channel on our powered PA?


    Answer:

    If mixing drums as a sub-mix, use a inexpensive PA head. I use a Peavy XR8600. Take the output of the sub-mixer (red box) and run it into the main board as a line input. If your running your mics to the main board, use the least amount of mics possible to keep it simple.




    Question:

    Do I need any FX on the mixer, or just basic level control?


    Answer:

    Basic level control. You might add a touch of reverb to the snare channel if you sub-mix.


    Question:

    I assume I can use the built-in FX on our PA on just one channel and not on the other vocal channels, but I'm not sure. Do I even NEED any FX or EQ on the drums?


    Answer:

    In my opinion, run the drums dry and maybe a bit of reverb on the snare. You might need to squeal out the EQ band if you use a sub-mixer for the kit before you start the sound check.


    Question:

    Do I want the drums coming back through the monitors or will that mess with us on stage?


    Answer:

    In my opinion, keep the drums out of the vocal monitors. It may throw off your singers. If you need to have anything in your monitor (your vocals) keep it so you can hear yourself sing but if you don't sing, you may want to put the kick in your floor monitor.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    One mic in the kick with one condenser overhead. If you feel the need to create a sub-mix get a small Mackie like a 1202 or 1402. These can be found for around $100. I've seen some of your gig pics and mic'ing the entire kit seems a little overkill. A simple strong kick with an overhead to give some shimmery high end to the rest of the drums and cymbals should be just the medicine you're looking for

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  7. #7

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDog View Post
    One mic in the kick with one condenser overhead. If you feel the need to create a sub-mix get a small Mackie like a 1202 or 1402. These can be found for around $100. I've seen some of your gig pics and mic'ing the entire kit seems a little overkill. A simple strong kick with an overhead to give some shimmery high end to the rest of the drums and cymbals should be just the medicine you're looking for
    I agree

    all the best...

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDog View Post
    One mic in the kick with one condenser overhead. If you feel the need to create a sub-mix get a small Mackie like a 1202 or 1402. These can be found for around $100. I've seen some of your gig pics and mic'ing the entire kit seems a little overkill. A simple strong kick with an overhead to give some shimmery high end to the rest of the drums and cymbals should be just the medicine you're looking for
    Quote Originally Posted by kay-gee View Post
    I agree

    all the best...
    Yep, this would work great!

    Also, I do have those CAD mics you are looking at. Let me know what your best deal is if you are planning on buying them. I might be able to save you a few bucks if you would be interested in "hardly used and still in protective case" models.
    Signature here

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    Aw the heck with using two mics...just use one overhead and you should be fine! Did that many times and the one overhead filled in what was lacking in the overall mix.





    Some gigs I used no mics:


  10. #10

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    Most of the gigs I played in my life had NO mikes LOL

    all the best...

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Basic drum mic setup; advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by kay-gee View Post
    Most of the gigs I played in my life had NO mikes LOL

    all the best...
    Must be nice!!


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