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Thread: Microphone For Room Recording Drum Kit?

  1. #21
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    I used to record rehearsals with a couple of SM57's into a cassette recorder and a small mixer. If you pay attention to the input gain and properly balance it with whats going on in the room, there's no reason at all not to get recordings that will tell you what is going on with the band.

    But that doesn't really answer your question about whether this mic you have would make a good room mic for recording drums......So here's a take on that. First..I record a lot of drums and have for many years. In bad basements, quality studios, home built rooms, outside at a festival, on a back porch, under an awning, in a garage with the door open and the door closed etc etc etc...

    For a "room" mic to be an effective use of a separate track, the room needs to have some quality to it. There can't be a bunch of comb filtering going on, there can't be a standing wave at some set frequency, there can't be an uncontrollable slap echo......That being said, a condenser with the ability to to have several patterns can be useful. THAT being said, a recordist has to know what things sound like in their room at different spots. You do this by spending the time with someone playing the instrument you want to add a "room" sound to, and moving the mic while listening to it. If you have a control room , and an apprentice, and a second person to play stuff, this is an easy thing to do. If you are recording in the same room as the instrument (drums) are housed in, it's not easy at all. No matter how much help you have. You simply won't be able to isolate your ears in a way that the only thing you hear will be the instrument being played through said mic at different locations.

    But wait! There's more! Getting things to sound good requires work and sometimes it's 'work-around-problems' work.

    This where it gets to be fun. Trying all sorts of things. If you find you're alone in trying to experiment on stuff because your band is more interested in other things, you will do well to recruit someone else to help. But it is easier with help.

    I get good "room" sounds sometimes by leaving open a door to the drum area and putting the mic in a hallway. Sometimes the adjacent bathroom has the perfect ambience for a track. In cases like this it makes very little difference in the type of mic you use but makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the mic preamp and the converters since you're asking for them to reproduce information that will be lacking in presence and gain at the source.You have to be able to add gain without noise in oreder for this to work as well as you'd like. Adding a track with a bunch of noise floor isn't really adding anything at all.
    Last edited by cavedog101; 4 Weeks Ago at 23:26.
    Chord with this, Teddy......

  2. #22
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    A few years ago I setup a pair of AKG P150s about 2 mtrs in front of a stage . Guitars,bass,keys and a micc'ed up singer PLUS a loud drummer. I had to set levels (NI KA6) to handle his snare cracks. In fact, 30mtrs away behind a wall, in the bogs the sound was still very audible and the drum balance a hell of a lot better!

    The P150 are a competent cap' mic but nothing special but they handled that level easily, without the 10dB pad engaged either. So, either your front end is cracking up chap or that mic is faulty.

    Dave.

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    Thanks for that guys. I'll get the specifics posted shortly. I think you're probably right that it's not the mic as it doesn't feel that loud to me.

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    There aren’t that many variables fortunately. Here’s how I did it …

    With the mic on the -20db setting and trying it out with just a drum kit and the mic is quite a long way from the kit …

    The mic goes into a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer (into an XLR input) with the gain dial centred. This is the little black dial right under the inputs, and the “level” dial at 0 (also centred). The main mix dial is also centred at 0.

    Then from the main outputs (1/4” jacks) it goes into a Tascam Porta 2 four track cassette tape recorder, with the setting gain/level dial at “line” far left (the lowest possible), and faders at 3, pretty low down. It goes up to 10 and down to 0.

    I suppose it is possible that the distortion could be coming into the signal at the Tascam but I suspected the mic was the culprit! However, it could be the Behringer, or the Tascam at the end of the day! The distortion was not that bad but was much worse with the Behringer “level” dial up to 90 right (3pm).

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    Quote Originally Posted by cavedog101 View Post
    This where it gets to be fun. Trying all sorts of things. If you find you're alone in trying to experiment on stuff because your band is more interested in other things, you will do well to recruit someone else to help. But it is easier with help.
    I think you’re damn right Cavedog! The band aren’t interested and just want to get on with it! To me it’s a really shame not to record and listen back later because we’ve spent all that time practicing the songs and all that money on the gear and then have no bloody idea what we sounded like! I am seriously thinking about getting someone in to help sort this out. We’d actually need four people. We’re a three piece band and we’d need another person to fiddle with the settings while we’re actually playing.

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    The mixer may be it. The gain on the mixer is pretty good, so centre is probably way too much. Does the little red clip light come on?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth Williams View Post
    The mic goes into a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer (into an XLR input) with the gain dial centred.
    First thing to do if your signal is distorting is turn down the mic preamp gain.
    If turning the gain right down to minimum still results in distortion, introduce a pad.

    If your biggest pad and minimum gain still results in distortion, something funny is going on.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

  8. #28
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    Aha! I have a Xenyx 802 and used it for a time driving a 2496 sound card. The mic inputs have a headroom of +12dBu (at 10dB gain) that's about 3V rms and so you are not going to clip that IF you are sensible with the gain trim pot.

    The mixer also puts out "pro" level, the 0 LED indicates a main output of +4dBu iirc but the Tascam is I bet a neg ten device? You should not have the mixer LED strip going much about the -20dB mark much of the time.

    Also, how does the mic sound from the headphone output of the mixer?

    Dave.

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    Thanks guys. It could be the mixer gain being to high then.

    Back in the days when I was playing by myself and standing near the PA speakers and mixer unit, (which is what the mixer is right next to) I used to be able to see the lights on the mixer but not very well. I had to sort of stand side on to the vocal mic, do a vocal into the side of the mic (while playing the guitar) and glance at the mixer. It looked to me like it was flashing just the green lights but I couldn’t really see it properly.

    Now I play with a drummer I have to stand at the other side of the room and haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of seeing the lights. There are two ways of sorting this out, 1) would be put the mixer in front of me on the floor where I can see the lights properly and set the input gain accordingly, but the easier option now is to ask the guy who runs the practice room to help us with set up.

    That's what I think is going to be the easiest way of doing it. It’s promising that you guys don’t think it is the mic that is the cause of the distortion. That’s good news! If all we have to do is turn the mixer gain down. That’s music to my ears, and my wallet!

  10. #30
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    I am pleased Gareth that a solution now seems very close at hand.

    Input overload of "simple" microphone amplifiers (truly professional desks have comprehensive attenuators as well as massive headroom) can be a problem, especially for audio interfaces.
    One solution is a coulple of inline XLR attenuators. 10dB types are usually adequate. These are readily available and, if you shop around, fairly cheap.
    I doubt you will need them in this situation but their existance is always useful to bear in mind.

    Dave.

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