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Thread: Ceiling height and it's influence on O/head choice......Harvey?

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    Ceiling height and it's influence on O/head choice......Harvey?

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    Harvey,

    I doubt there is a definitive answer, however here goes;.........considering that most of us don't have purpose built studios and are using a converted basement, spare room or garage as a studio, and that a lot of these rooms will have limited ceiling height,..........how much should that influence the choice of mics for overheads between LD's, SD's and the even smaller omnis like the ECM8000.

    OK, I know there are numerous variables, but is there a rough guide that can be applied?




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    OOOOOH!!

    I'm very interested in this one as well. I use my basement, which is finished and kind of a nice sounding room except for the lower ceilings. I often wonder if there is something that can be done to "fake it" even just a little.

    Great question, AUS!

    heylow

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    Well, I've been trying to guess an answer for myself for some time, but figured I'm not the only one in this situation, hence the thread........................ I don't really want to buy a pair of mics, only for example, to find that the small diaphragm condensers I purchased aren't suited to the physics of the room and that I would have been better with either LD's (NT2, C1, B1, etc) or ECM8000's.

    Unfortunately, I don't have an "in house" kit, and I guess I'm somewhat reluctant to ask those drummers I know to either loan their kit or bring it in and spend hours here while I experiment.

    We have our first serious recording of drums approaching soon and my other option is to set up with 2 pair of o/heads,( NT2's and Octava MC012, both of which I can put my hands on)......set one of each up side by side and use 4 tracks for o/heads.......see which ones work the best and scrap the others tracks.


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    aus, I bet you'll be happiest with the MC012's as your overheads.

    FWIW, Harvey's own space for recording drums has a fairly low ceiling, and that hasn't stopped him from recommending the ECM8000's as overheads.
    -kent

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    The ceilings in both our studios are exactly the same height; 7' 6". In those rooms, we've gotten great o/h drum sounds with a pair of Shure, SM-81s, a pair of MC012s, two Audix TR-40s, a pair of EV C15Ps, two Behringer ECM8000s, and last week, we used a Sony C38 on the ride and the TLM103 on the crash side.

    The small room is pretty dead so we don't have many reflections, and the large room is well diffused. It's really more about placement and the sound you're looking for. Is the mic close enough to "hear" exactly what you're trying to record? Is it far enough back to "hear" the whole sound?

    Maybe we're thinking about mics and polar patterns all wrong here. Maybe we should think of mics in reverse, like flashlights, with the pattern creating a spotlight on what we're trying to record.

    A hypercardioid would be similar to a tight, sharply focused beam, a cardioid a more spread out beam, and an omni more like a bare bulb. The trick is to shine the light just right, to highlight only the things you want people to see, or "hear". Move a flashlight in too close, and it won't illuminate the whole object. Move the flashlight too far back and it lights up more than you want to see.

    There's no rule, except use some common sense, think about what you want to achieve, and consider the tools you have to work with. If something doesn't work in one position, try another position.

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    Harvey--that flashlight analogy is perhaps the coolest single thing I've read here! It makes so much sense and its a great way to visualize what one will be focusing on with different mics and placement. This idea is one of those "why didn't I ever think of that!?" kind of things thats been right under my nose. Once again, you are the beacon of light in the shadowy world of homerecording. Thank you!

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    what i think the original question asked and what i kind of wonder too is more a question of how room acoustics interact with certain mic/pickup types. i liked harvey's explanation of how to visualize pickup patterns, but the answer didn't seem to address the problems of room reflections in different conditions. i would imagine that in an untreated low ceiling boxy room, close directional pickup would be most desirable as the room probably isn't going to add any pleasant ambience of it's own and it would be wiser to get as little of the reflective sounds as possible. you could maybe try putting some sort of absorbant material on the ceiling and around the drums to keep reflections to a minimum with cheap shit like blankets, carpets, heavy drapes etc. i'm sure there's no set rule about ceiling heights, i guess what's really important is how the drums sound in that space and whether you like it or not. if it sounds boxy, try to make it sound flat. i'm rambling now and really don't have anymore "useful" information to offer, but as always i would say try to find a book on the subject.

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    Harvey,

    Thank you.........the flashlight analogy has just given me a better understanding of how I will approach placement. I presume that if I am looking at a particular mics "Polar Pattern Diagram", using this analogy, the further out the line is from the source point then the more light in that direction.

    Dragnalus, actually was correct in his interpretation of the original question.............I guess I am trying to anticipate potential mic type/polar pattern problems before I start.

    What type of treatment, if any, is on your ceilings..........specifically over the drums area.

    Regards,

    ChrisO

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    Harvey, Harvey... you just made me wanna go to the studio right now and make new tests with mic O/H placements...
    Think Differente!

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    In keeping with the original question, I would say that given the less than ideal sounding spaces in which we home reccers record drums, tighter patterns like MC012 in cardioid will generally be preferable to an omni pattern that's going to bring in so much of the undesirable ambience.

    That said, placement is everything. Placed low enough, the ECM8000 is going to have its signal dominated by the kit such that you probably won't hear enough of what's going on in the corner to matter.

    Have I really helped by telling you tighter patterns are GENERALLY preferable in spaces that don't sound good? I bet not. Harvey doesn't have a huge drum room, but it's acoustically optimized. Treat your space for the best sound, even if that does call for tons of reflection control. Then, concentrate on placement of mics.
    -kent

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