When to mic drums?

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Hi All, We are playing on stage in a large hall, circa 200 people. mainly xmas songs, slade wizards etc. we have 3 vocals bass and guitars going through a 1200 watt PA. https://ibb.co/5ht0ZFT

Do you think we need to mic the drums to? I think we do but a.) we haven't played this type of venue before and b.) we are on a budget!

Can we get away without mic'ed drums what do you think?


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  • I'd say your PA is too small for that all, and wouldn't put drums in it.

    R.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 4223
    Rule of thumb - when it's not your PA, and not your sound guy ;)

    IMHO you could put a kick drum mic, and coincident pair (well) over the drummer's head, but no more
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 44048
    Does the PA have subs? If no, don't even put the kick drum through it, let alone the whole kit. It will mess up the mix for the rest of the instruments and might even overload the speakers. In fact, if it doesn't then it's probably too small for that space anyway. If it does have subs, then put the minimum amount of drums - especially kick - that you can through it to fill out the sound rather than trying to get the PA above the level of the kit itself.

    Quality is always more important than volume. Always.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • In an ideal world I’m a fan of micing everything (at least if I’m not manning the desk!). That means all drums and amps. Not for added volume, but just to control everything and get the right mix at the lowest volume possible. It also helps you keep stage volume as low as possible, which is usually a good way to a good overall sound and better performance.
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  • Yes it’s a peavy pro 15 speakers with tops and subs. The reason we got them was to improve the sound and get a good balance rather than volume.
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  • For 200 people in a hall, yes. Absolutely you must mic the drums.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Kare wa amanojaku desu
    彼は天邪鬼です
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  • For 200 people in a hall, yes. Absolutely you must mic the drums.
    He's got a 1200 watt PA - too small for that hall. Putting drums through it would be self-defeating. Need a bigger PA, or play quietly.
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  • For 200 people in a hall, yes. Absolutely you must mic the drums.
    He's got a 1200 watt PA - too small for that hall. Putting drums through it would be self-defeating. Need a bigger PA, or play quietly.
    Didn't say whether his equipment was good enough or not.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Kare wa amanojaku desu
    彼は天邪鬼です
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2352
    In that room with 200 people you need a bigger PA and mics on everything imo.    
    I would suggest you hire in a local engineer with their gear and just enjoy playing.   
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 4280
    I've done many a gig in a room that size with 2 SRM450's and a couple of subs . Personally I would mic everything but being mic'ed doesn't mean you have to use it, just means it's there if you do need it. Watt's don't mean a great deal when it comes to PA .... the large HK linear pro rig we own and hire out is only actually 400 watt tops with 500 watt bins but it's deafening and more than capable of serving 300 people outside. Conversely I repaired a set of 600 Watt Alto's a couple of weeks ago and they couldn't produce anything like the SPL the 400 Watt HK tops could. To know how loud a PA is you need to know it;s SPL and angle of coverage ... Watt's don't tell you a great deal really ... specially these days when even brands like JBL are selling 120 Watt active speakers as 300 watts RMS

    The mistake people make with mic'ing drums and putting other wild transient and low frequency instruments into a PA is not processing the signals. High pass filters and compression can make life a lot easier for the PA and result in a cleaner sound and less failure of gear. With this in mind the type of desk you use is more important than the type of PA when it comes to mic'ing everything

    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • As a general rule, if I have subs I always stick a mic in the kick. I then add hat and snare (in that order) if I can. In your case to give you a bit of extra room in the PA I would take the bass guitar out of the PA and put the kick in it
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 24503
    Danny1969 said:
    I've done many a gig in a room that size with 2 SRM450's and a couple of subs . Personally I would mic everything but being mic'ed doesn't mean you have to use it, just means it's there if you do need it. Watt's don't mean a great deal when it comes to PA .... the large HK linear pro rig we own and hire out is only actually 400 watt tops with 500 watt bins but it's deafening and more than capable of serving 300 people outside. Conversely I repaired a set of 600 Watt Alto's a couple of weeks ago and they couldn't produce anything like the SPL the 400 Watt HK tops could. To know how loud a PA is you need to know it;s SPL and angle of coverage ... Watt's don't tell you a great deal really ... specially these days when even brands like JBL are selling 120 Watt active speakers as 300 watts RMS

    The mistake people make with mic'ing drums and putting other wild transient and low frequency instruments into a PA is not processing the signals. High pass filters and compression can make life a lot easier for the PA and result in a cleaner sound and less failure of gear. With this in mind the type of desk you use is more important than the type of PA when it comes to mic'ing everything

    This. ^^^
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  • You (@Danny1969  and @octatonic ) are speaking with the benefit of experience and expertise in this field. The OP is clearly inexperienced. He has a PA adequate for a smaller venue and is playing in a largish Hall. What we might do with compression and eq is probably beyond what he is capable of at the moment.

    Not sure what else to say - I'd stick to minimal instruments in the PA, keep the volume down, and watch the bottom end.

    Failing that, where are you, and what's your budget? I could pop down with my rig :) (unlikely to be viable as I'm in York)

    R.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 44048
    robinbowes said:

    He's got a 1200 watt PA - too small for that hall. Putting drums through it would be self-defeating. Need a bigger PA, or play quietly.
    I'm not sure about that. I've played a hall at least that big with a PA smaller than that - 1150W (750W through 1x12" + horn tops, 400W through 1x15" subs), plus adequate backline (50W 1x12" valve guitar amp and 250W 1x15" bass amp) - and it was fine. The kit was mic'ed with one on the kick and an overhead. I wouldn't have said we were quiet either, the guitar amp was up at the point of power stage overdrive and sounded great... couldn't have gone any louder, but it was limited by vocal feedback as much as available power anyway.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • ICBM said:
    robinbowes said:

    He's got a 1200 watt PA - too small for that hall. Putting drums through it would be self-defeating. Need a bigger PA, or play quietly.
    I'm not sure about that. I've played a hall at least that big with a PA smaller than that - 1150W (750W through 1x12" + horn tops, 400W through 1x15" subs), plus adequate backline (50W 1x12" valve guitar amp and 250W 1x15" bass amp) - and it was fine. The kit was mic'ed with one on the kick and an overhead. I wouldn't have said we were quiet either, the guitar amp was up at the point of power stage overdrive and sounded great... couldn't have gone any louder, but it was limited by vocal feedback as much as available power anyway.
    You too have the benefit of knowing what you're doing :)
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 24503
    ICBM said:
    robinbowes said:

    He's got a 1200 watt PA - too small for that hall. Putting drums through it would be self-defeating. Need a bigger PA, or play quietly.
    I'm not sure about that. I've played a hall at least that big with a PA smaller than that - 1150W (750W through 1x12" + horn tops, 400W through 1x15" subs), plus adequate backline (50W 1x12" valve guitar amp and 250W 1x15" bass amp) - and it was fine. The kit was mic'ed with one on the kick and an overhead. I wouldn't have said we were quiet either, the guitar amp was up at the point of power stage overdrive and sounded great... couldn't have gone any louder, but it was limited by vocal feedback as much as available power anyway.
    You too have the benefit of knowing what you're doing :)
    It is easier than people think it is.
    The most complex thing is ringing out the room and you just need a graphic EQ for that.
    It takes 10 mins max and you can learn how to do it by a youtube video.


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  • kennedydream1980kennedydream1980 Frets: 349
    edited December 2019
    I always mic the kick drum regardless of the venue, as once the band kicks in it will get lost. If the venue doesn't call for a mic on every drum then I won't go for that, sometimes it's overkill. However I always put a condenser mic up as an overhead to capture the rest of the kit, in some venues this is a far better solution. In really small venues this might not be on through the FOH speakers, in that situation it's only there so everyone can hear the kit through their IEM's.

    With regards the venue posted by the OP, that looks like a typical village hall type setup which will carry the sound really well. I would think you could get away with a mic on the kick and an overhead and it will sound fine.
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  • On the subject of 'ringing' a room I've found a pink noise generator on eBay for about £20 but can anyone suggest an RTA mic?  The cheapest I can see are around £69.  Is there anything worth having for less?  Alternatively, can you recommend something worth picking up on the s/h market?  I struggle with singers who a) often don't arrive until you have ten minutes to go and b) if they manage to get to a soundcheck don't use their mics/voices anything like they would when singing..

    On another topic related to the post, what's the secret of mixing the kick drum and not getting a load of bleed from the floor wedges which, in a typical gig, are about 6ft away.  

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  • uncledick said:
    On the subject of 'ringing' a room I've found a pink noise generator on eBay for about £20 but can anyone suggest an RTA mic?  The cheapest I can see are around £69. 


    Behringer ECM800 for around £30.  I have one and they would do the job in a live situation.
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  • Musicwolf said:
    uncledick said:
    On the subject of 'ringing' a room I've found a pink noise generator on eBay for about £20 but can anyone suggest an RTA mic?  The cheapest I can see are around £69. 


    Behringer ECM800 for around £30.  I have one and they would do the job in a live situation.
    This is exactly what the ECM8000 is designed for, particularly with the Behringer UltraCurve Pro DEQ2496.

    They work well.

    R.
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 3029
    Musicwolf said:
    uncledick said:
    On the subject of 'ringing' a room I've found a pink noise generator on eBay for about £20 but can anyone suggest an RTA mic?  The cheapest I can see are around £69. 


    Behringer ECM800 for around £30.  I have one and they would do the job in a live situation.
    This is exactly what the ECM8000 is designed for, particularly with the Behringer UltraCurve Pro DEQ2496.

    They work well.

    R.

    Yes this,

    Firstly always use the same vocal mics (and a set of the same for all voices). Then pre set the monitors for a flat(ish) response with the ECM to even out dispertion and crossover difficulties if they are passive/Bi-Amped or cheap actives. Do this outdoors in the open without reflected sound to distort the findings. Now set this as the default for those monitors. It gets you 70% there before you start and you just have to get placement right and sort out arising issues. On a night where there is no time, you are in a decent starting position regards feedback.
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  • Red 5 started doing one their stuff is usually quite good https://www.red5audio.com/product/rv200-measurement-microphone/
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 740
    Our drummer would mic his entire kit if we were playing in a phone box! :)
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  • Hi all. In the end our sound guy (the sax players husband) pulled out last minute so thankfully we had a dep who stood in and really knew his stuff. We mic’ed the kick drum and a couple of mics above the toms and cymbals. Everything went through the desk. I went out front for a song and it sounded awesome. Had everyone dancing and singing up to the 11pm curfew. (Was due to finish at 10.30) so a good night.! Thanks for all the advise
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  • TJT1979TJT1979 Frets: 47
    Glad it worked out!

    I have a related question for the experts. As a minimum for most situations, people tend to recommend a dynamic on the kick, and condenser(s) overhead. What is the benefit of 2 overheads rather than one? Is it just to pick up a wider spread?

    Thanks in advance.
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2352
    TJT1979 said:
    Glad it worked out!

    I have a related question for the experts. As a minimum for most situations, people tend to recommend a dynamic on the kick, and condenser(s) overhead. What is the benefit of 2 overheads rather than one? Is it just to pick up a wider spread?

    Thanks in advance.
    Yes - with a single OH you might struggle to pickup everything in the right balance and no stereo, that said it I’ve used just one plenty of times when you’re only looking to add a tiny bit in the PA.  
    I prefer L & R above the hats and ride and straight down to minimise the snare pickup depending on the drummers playing style.  
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 2219
    Here's a (rather too small) picture of the drummer at a gig I did PA for on Dec 20th:



    I use a pair of condensers in ORTF arrangement, typically central over the whole kit, or slightly towards or above the snare.

    Drummer is Dave McCluskey, playing with Heather Findlay at the NCEM.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 4280
    edited January 3
    TJT1979 said:
    Glad it worked out!

    I have a related question for the experts. As a minimum for most situations, people tend to recommend a dynamic on the kick, and condenser(s) overhead. What is the benefit of 2 overheads rather than one? Is it just to pick up a wider spread?

    Thanks in advance.

    You only tend to need or be able to use condenser overhead mics on larger stages. Dynamic cardioid mics have a reasonably tight pattern so although drum spill will get in guitar and vocal mics it's generally manageable as in 75 % wanted signal 25% unwanted spill being a typical bad scenario. With condenser mic's the pattern is far wider and even .... on a typical small stage with the guitar amps only a metre or so from the drums the condenser mics will pick up everything as well as the drums. This can be a problem with more like 50% wanted cymbals and hats and 50% unwanted out of phase shit sounding spill ! 

    For pubs, small to medium club gigs you generally find it's best to mic the kick and toms .... whether you mic the snare depends on how hard your drummer hits. For some drummers their snare hit is so loud it will get into the vocal mic's, the guitar mic's and your be fighting to reduce it not make it louder.  Other bigger gigs or softer hitting drummers mic the snare as well. 

    Don't aim the tom or snare mic too far down towards the drum .... it may seem like the right thing to do but the sound of the head develops above the head not on it. Try a gentle angle down and try to put the mic somewhere the drummer won't hit it but also so the hi hat and ride are in the mics dead zone ... otherwise a tom or snare mic can quickly become a hi hat or ride mic. 

    If you are gonna use overheads then a quick and trusty method is to use a spaced pair equal distance from the snare and pref in phase with the kick drum. As ever though with drums the results will totally depend on how well the drummer can balance themselves ..... with drums you literally can't polish a turd 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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