Bang on the Drum All Day: Learning About Miking Techniques

This piece offers a fresh look at drum kit microphone techniques, including by taking a less conventional approach at what could work best.

Bang on the Drum All Day: Learning About Miking Techniques
Ask 10 drummers – or 10 sound engineers – and you’ll get 10 different suggestions for how to mike a kit. And that’s fine. Ultimately, let you ears be the judge.
Bang on the Drum All Day: Learning About Miking Techniques
Ask 10 drummers – or 10 sound engineers – and you’ll get 10 different suggestions for how to mike a kit. And that’s fine. Ultimately, let you ears be the judge.

Drums News

Bang on the Drum All Day: Learning About Miking Techniques
Exclusive Roland TD50KV-FC Electronic Drum Kit A Best Match for Churches
Drums in Church: Rhythmic Blessing or Holy Terror?
Controlling Drums In The Worship Environment

Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.
·

My father used to say something in the line of, “Son, opinions are like drum miking techniques. Everyone has one.”

Truthfully, there’s an overwhelming amount of information already out there on this topic, so rather than rehash it here, let’s explore a less conventional approach. I’ll admit that it’s a unique method, as it’s a hybrid of studio techniques and some ideas “begged, borrowed and stolen” from engineers I admire.

Solo overheads in your headphones some time, and listen to how much “room sound” they’re leaking into your mix.

Picture a snare drum. Let’s mike the top and bottom heads. Remember that in a properly wired system, a positive pressure on the mic’s diaphragm creates a positive voltage on XLR pin 2, which pushes the loudspeaker cone forward.

OK, now hit the drum. Bang. The stick pushes down on the drum head, which moves away from the top mic (negative pressure) and toward the bottom mic (positive pressure). This means our bottom mic’s initial transient is a positive voltage, while the top mic’s is negative. (If you doubt this, make a recording and use DAW software to zoom way in on the waveform.)

We send both signals to the PA and create a tug of war at the loudspeaker cone, which is being told to move in and out at the same time. This creates a partial cancellation that’s very audible, typically as a loss of low-end “body” in the snare sound. Luckily we have a polarity inversion switch on the input channel, which “flips over” the waveform (by swapping XLR pins 2 and 3 at the preamp), so both transients are headed in the same direction.

Staying Positive

I don’t intend to enter the fray regarding whether absolute polarity is audible (most research suggests that it is not). Rather, let’s focus on keeping as many of our drum inputs as possible in polarity with each other. Convention and AES Standard both say positive pressure equals positive voltage equals outward (toward the audience) loudspeaker movement, so let’s go with that.

Start with Input 1, the kick drum mic. The beater (the part of the pedal that strikes the drum) will push the drum head forward (away from the drummer), which is toward the kick mic. It’s pretty common to mike both inside and outside kick, but they’ll both generate a positive transient.

It’s conceivable that the kick and snare would be played at the same time, so they shouldn’t be in polarity with each other. If we follow standard practice of inverting polarity on the snare bottom, our kick transient is positive-going, while both snare channels are negative-going. For this reason, I advocate flipping polarity on snare top instead – now kick and snare are all positive transients coming through the PA.


Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.


Article Topics

Technology · Musical Instruments · Team Management · Leadership · Team Development · Acoustic Environments · Attenuation · Cymbals · Drums · Loudspeaker · Miking · All Topics

Support and Enhance the Worship Message

The latest strategies for sound, lighting and facilities can help you better attract and engage with your congregation. With Worship Facilities’ insights on leadership, communication and administrative tools, each issue shows you how to design and maintain your facility and how to adapt it to meet the changing needs of today’s members.
Explore the success stories of others, and find ways to enhance your weekly services. Get a free subscription to Worship Facilities magazine. Subscribe today!

Comments

©2017 Worship TechDirector · A Division of EH Publishing, Inc. d.b.a EH Media. All Rights Reserved.