Thread: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

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  1. #1
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    Default The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    I get a lot of questions about this, so I thought I'd bounce some examples from a recent (ish) session

    of course, it's not always just 4 mics, but I often only need the basic 4 or 5 in a mix and so I thought I'd show the differences.

    We start with a mic in the bass drum (SM7) and a mic on the snare (KM84), with a mic positioned in front of the hanger toms and above looking down from perhaps 1.5 to 2 feet away... that's the Right Side mic (and here it is a U87).
    It's counter part on the Left Side, is another 87 off to the side of the floor tom(s) and looking in across the kit at the snare, about a foot off the drum.
    this puts them roughly the same distance from the snare, but I am by no means anal about it.

    1) in the first clip it is just these four mics.
    2) in the next, we add a mono room mic... it's usually an STC/Coles 4038, but in this case it's an RCA 77dx. Perhaps 6 feet in front of the kit.
    3) next we add a mono 'overhead', another 77dx.
    4) and lastly the same thing but with a compressor on the mono room.

    I hope someone finds this useful for discussion!

    I am fully prepared for the inevitable "it won't work for me because of my (fill in the blank: drummer, room, "genre" <ugh>, astrological sign, intolerance to gluten, etc.)"
    4 mics.wav
    4 mics with mono room.wav
    4 mics with mono room and mono OH.wav
    4 mics with compressed mono room and mono OH_1.wav
    Last edited by weedywet; May 7th, 2016 at 06:41 AM.
  2. #2
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    This is great. Invaluable information presented in a clear way. Thanks so much.

    Just so I understand, have you done some compressing and eq'ing of the mics in 4 mics.wav?
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    there is some eq going in, but no compression except on the room mic in the last example
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    Thanks for posting. I like to record drums with one or two mics a lot of times, but lately I have been wondering how to best add a stereo image while still keeping the mics minimal, and without relying too much on close mics. So I might try this out soon.

    Do you have any pictures of something like this? I know you've posted some before of your drum setups, but are you saying that if you look at the drums from the audience perspective, the 'Right' mic is actually a little left of/or out in front of the snare? [i.e., not to the right of the snare]
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    The nice thing is that you don't have to use them all.
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    The nice thing is that you don't have to use them all.
    I often record a few extras, especially when I record a lot of songs in one go, and/or I have a feeling that I may need to alter things a bit down the line on a per-song basis.

    One or two may be "Factor X" mics that may sound cool on certain things (a cheap dynamic in a large glass flask is a recent example). The problem I have with recording many mics for "options" is that sometimes, I get unduly attached to something that might have been best to keep out of a certain song altogether. Sometimes that option ends up confusing me rather than helping me.


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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    I"m not usually big on "options".

    if the highhat is a tiny bit low (for example) it's not going to ruin the record, odds are.

    I will sometimes use that mono overhead just to narrow the stereo image, if I feel that's warranted, without panning in the L and R mics. Of course the mono room also does that, but I might not always want it 'roomier' depending on the room in question.

    in the example posted, I actually mixed it with the room in about that balance, but none of the OH in the final mix.
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique


    Do you have any pictures of something like this? I know you've posted some before of your drum setups, but are you saying that if you look at the drums from the audience perspective, the 'Right' mic is actually a little left of/or out in front of the snare? [i.e., not to the right of the snare]
    the right side (as you look at the drums) mic is more in front of the kit looking in, rather than all the way on the right (HH) side.

    I thought I had a pic from the actual session in those clips, but I can't seem to find it.
    this is the gist though:
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    Wow, thanks Weedy!
    This is great info...
    I'll listen to the samples as soon as I'll be back in my studio.

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    Default The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    The "Tom" mics, those are in cardioid? Or omni?
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    Very useful; thanks for posting this!
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    The "Tom" mics, those are in cardioid? Or omni?
    everything is cardioid except the figure-of-eight ribbon room mic (and ribbon overhead if used; which isn't there in the set up in the photos but is in the clips)
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    Again, thank you for taking the time to share.

    Why the blanket on the kick? Keep the kick out of the other mics, or keep the other drums out of the kick mic, or something else?
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    Yes. It's to keep the bass drum out of the room mic primarily.

    I usually like the bass drum to sound closer.
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    I've been dealing with room mic tracks that I wish had less kick drum in them. It's pretty time consuming and challenging when I have to get the drums sound out of mostly overheads and room mics and there is so much kick mic in those tracks that I can't process the kick without processing everything else.

    I have a separate (inside) kick drum track that I can make sound perfect (to my standard) but there's little room left for it.

    To get the drums sounding pretty good (which at first seemed impossible) required quite a bit of trial and error with EQ and compression.

    The next time I record drums, I'm doing the tunnel thing.
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    But this isn't quite "the tunnel" thing, is it? That's when you place another kick drum without heads in front of the main kick, and use it as a resonator, is it not?

    I often use a blanket to cover the kick drum, if I use a ribbon or LDC in FOK. If it's a live session, it would be to minimize the bleed of other instruments such as guitars into the fok mic. If it's a layering session, I might be concerned with cymbals bleeding into the fok mic. Can't recall it being an issue with to much kick in the rooms...

    @weedy: I've often had problems with the mic on the floor tom side, picking up too much tom, to be able to use it as an "overhead" eg. general balanced representation of the overall kit sound. Of course placement according to drum and drummer is key, but sometimes it just doesn't seem to work for me. Have you encountered similar problems?
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    everything is cardioid except the figure-of-eight ribbon room mic (and ribbon overhead if used; which isn't there in the set up in the photos but is in the clips)
    I notice that the room mic is quite high, do you always set it like that, or do you sometimes place it closer to the floor?
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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    It's hard to tell how high that mic is off the floor.

    It looks (so incredibly) high, but it also looks bigger than the kit.


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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    But this isn't quite "the tunnel" thing, is it? That's when you place another kick drum without heads in front of the main kick, and use it as a resonator, is it not?
    The "tunnel" is usually done with packing blankets or similar, supported by for example mic stands, chairs, or even a drum shell. The idea of the tunnel is most often to isolate an "outside" kick mic from cymbal leakage or room reflectivity. Sometimes, this mic is placed several feet from the kick drum - depending on the tuning and size of the drum, low frequencies may need a little distance to fully develop.

    What you are referring to is more like a "resonator" drum, typically a larger kick with one very thin head, tuned in such a way as to create a low, "singing" sustain on the kick (and in part, by nature of how transmission works, on the whole kit).


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    Default Re: The weedywet 4-5 mic drum technique

    @weedy: I've often had problems with the mic on the floor tom side, picking up too much tom, to be able to use it as an "overhead" eg. general balanced representation of the overall kit sound. Of course placement according to drum and drummer is key, but sometimes it just doesn't seem to work for me. Have you encountered similar problems?

    not really,
    only if there are a ton of cymbals set up, in which case I probably come in closer to the drum

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