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Equipment standard (microphones – setup)

October 1, 2011

My main concern when it comes to microphones is that I want to feel they express the energy of my musical intentions.

Until now, I’ve let sound engineers use their own microphones and I’ve used a split, a return bus or my own built-in microphones to get sound into my setup. So, as previously mentioned, it’s up to the engineer to decide the mix between the acoustic drum set and the sounds coming from my computer.

I have a dream … My own sound engineer.

Well, until then, I’ll have to come up with something else.

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This is what I’ve been thinking:

I’ll need to have my own microphones or that a sound engineer lend me his for the concert. I connect them to my sound card and route the sound directly (zero latency) to each their output and DI-boks. The audio is also sent into my computer, processed, and then sent out on selected outputs: If I’ve been looping I’d send each looped sound source to their corresponding output (kick to kick, snare to snare etc) so the sound engineer would get exactly the same as if I were playing, and it would sound the same since it goes trough the same EQ, Compressor etc on the mixing board. All other sounds, processed drums, triggered sounds etc. will be sent out two other DI’s, here I can control the levels before it’s sent out. So, if I choose to only play processed sounds (I often do), I can do that with out the drums being mixed into it.

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Graphically it would be like this:

Still, there’s the challenge of the drums acoustic sound, I’ll just have to play at extremely large venues.

Well, back to the microphones.

Compared to the Preamp A/B-test, the differences between the microphones were huge.

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Kick microphones:

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AKG C 547 BL

I feel that this microphone enhances the qualities I like with my kick drum:

It picks up a lot of the resonance and boosts the low-end.

Crown PZM 30 D

This microphone sounds similar to the  AKG C 547 BL, but somehow it presents a shorter resonance time and less low-end and therefor I feel it’s dryer then the AKG C 547 BL.

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Snare microphones:

AKG C 518

Stick:

Brush:

I feel this microphone it quite “tight” and it presents a lot of the snares, that I like.

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10-6

Beyerdynamic TGX 5

Stick:

Brush:

This microphone boosts a lot around 750Hz, which I feel gives it a cheap character.

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UKKO by b-band

Stick:

Brush:

This one also presents a lot of the snares, but it feels not as rich and tight as the AKG C 518.

When using brushes I really like this microphone because it feels very close and  contains a lot low-end.

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All recordings done with an ISA828 preamp.

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Regarding microphone placement, I took pictures with my iPhone, but since I’m running a beta version of the newest iOS, they accidentally got deleted, guess I learned something there.

The kick microphones were placed on a small peace of fabric inside the kick drum with no drum head on the front side.

The snare microphones were placed on the snare rim between the small tom and the hi-hat facing the stroke area (in this case, the center) of the drum.

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I look forward to add more microphones to this test. Suggestions?

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As a summary I’ll say I prefer the AKG microphones because of their stated qualities. It’s good to know were to invest.

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Thank’s to Anders Tveit, Erik Struts and Snorre Saga for inspiration on this subject.

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