clintrubber

Sorry for the OT, but we'll be recording the day after tomorrow and wanted to ask for the recording-experiences of the people here:

We're wondering about max kickdrum SPL-levels.

In other words, can a condenser mic specified at 142dB SPL max
(0.5% THD, 1kHz, 10dB pad engaged) be safely used in, or in front of a kick ?

We have intended other mics for other sources already and have
this one (Samson C03) left. It'd be a shame to damage it but if it can withstand a kick we expect it'll be usable for the task.


Thanks,

   Peter


ebartlet

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2004, 06:45:14 PM »
SPL and the burst of air from a kick drum are two different things.  The SPL rating is sufficient.  As long as their is not alot of air moving where the mike is, it should be fine.  Can it handle the air?  Some condensors can and some cant.  As long as you don't put the mike in the cutout in the front batter head, you'll probably be fine.  

Eric Bartlett
Eric

Eric's Audio Repair
http://amprepairnashville.com

soundguy

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2004, 07:50:58 PM »
People talk about destroying mics on loud sources and Im not gonna argue that a mic can be damaged, but unless you have some museum mic worth $10K, I wouldnt worry too much, if it doesnt sound distorted, stick it there.  That said, Ive never had any trouble with condensers on kicks, these days I usually use a soundeluxe 195 or a Blue dragonfly deluxe with no problems.  

dave

chips are good with dip...

clintrubber

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2004, 06:52:26 AM »
Thanks both !

This sounds like: "just use it, and if it doesn't sound distorted it won't get damaged either", right ?

About positioning: thanks for the warning, we won't be putting it in the cutout of the front skin. That's were the most air is moving, correct ?

I'm not sure if we'll be able to put the mic inside the kick and if so, I'm not sure if the air flow there is much less than at the cutout.

OK, we'll start with the CO3 in front of the kick and see from there.

Thanks !

    Peter

zebra50

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2004, 07:32:28 AM »
Hi Peter,

Personally, I don't like the sound of  'mic inside kick drum'. It's necessary for live gig PA work, but not for recording.

A couple of things to play with. Try the condenser about 1-2 meters back from the drum. If you need separation then you can build a 'tunnel' around the mic by using a chair and a blanket. This can give you a 'big' sound. I have even done this with ribbon mics.

Another experiment is to use an old speaker as a microphone (this has been discussed here before). Currently I'm using a 5 inch speaker, but I've had good results with 12 and 15 inch speakers by just putting a guitar or bass cab facing the kick drum. Wire the output of the speaker into your mic preamp. The signal will be pretty hot! This will only pick up the low end so you'll need a 'real' mic as well. Mic the two signals together, and play with the polarity of the signal. The beatles used this method to mic up bass guitar (allegedly!).

I usually get 90% of the bass drum sound from the overheads anyway.

Have fun

Stewart
Ribbon microphone services
http://www.xaudia.com
Microphone blog

ebartlet

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2004, 08:54:45 AM »
Quote from: "zebra50"


A couple of things to play with. Try the condenser about 1-2 meters back from the drum. If you need separation then you can build a 'tunnel' around the mic by using a chair and a blanket. This can give you a 'big' sound. I have even done this with ribbon mics.


I agree, generally I prefer a more ambient (natrual) sound, but if you do want to close mic, avoid blasts of air and you'll be fine.

Quote from: "zebra50"

I usually get 90% of the bass drum sound from the overheads anyway.


Wow! I have been doing this lately with either a stereo pair or mono mic and no other mics.  I like using a minimal amount of mics unless the drummer really sucks and I'm expected to make them sound good.  Everyone want's to use a zillion mics and roll off the overheads below 3Khz.



Eric Bartlett
Eric

Eric's Audio Repair
http://amprepairnashville.com

zebra50

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2004, 09:06:36 AM »
Eric,
I'm totally with you. I much prefer an 'open' sound for drums. We like to work quickly and creatively. Bung up a pair of overheads or stereo room mics and off you go. Last week I got a great sound from a single SM58 beta about 4 feet in front of the kit.

It had been left there from the guide vocals and we grabbed a quick take whilst we were working out the drums for the song. There's a good chance it'll make it onto the final version.

I guess if you want that 80's close mic'd rock sounds, this isn't going to work for you.
Ribbon microphone services
http://www.xaudia.com
Microphone blog

ebartlet

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2004, 11:00:18 AM »
Last week I recorded a rockabilly band.  Everyone was miked.  I miked the lead vocalist with a stereo pair.  There was an almost perfect mix of the band from the vocal mikes!  I wouldn't have dared to try it without the other mikes, I happended to be an accident.  Everything sounded pretty good off the stereo pair.

Eric Bartlett
Eric

Eric's Audio Repair
http://amprepairnashville.com

PRR

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2004, 11:56:47 AM »
Damage level for condensers is MUCH higher than 140-150dB SPL.

The real pressure comes when you slam the lid of the trunk.

Your "142dB SPL at 0.5% THD" mike, used at 150dB SPL, will probably make more than 0.5% THD; that's all they say. However at those levels the air itself will make around 1% distortion, and that's part of why you want the very-close very high pressure sound: the "edge" on the thud.

clintrubber

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2004, 02:39:49 PM »
Thanks again all.

An open sound is definitely something desirable here - would suit the jazzy feel of several of the songs (for context/FWIW, instruments are said drumkit, dble bass, surf/noise gtr and samples).

Because of the recommendations against putting the mic inside the kick the eventual SPL-issues seem to be solved at the same time. Nice !

No more mics than necessary, yes, like that one. We'll be using 'the recorderman-trick' from the old place, with the two overheads (one above, one up&rear, both two drumsticks away from the snare).

Thanks again everybody for being so responsive - this is a nice place,

   Peter


soundguy

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2004, 03:13:19 PM »
Peter-

Everyone has a different perspective on things, its important to realize that nobody ever made a good sounding record following advice.  Make sure you keep an open mind to new ideas regardless of what info you read online.  You should place your microphones where they sound best on the instrument that you are trying to record in the acoustic environment that that instrument is being recorded within.  In the case of acoustic recordings, without trying to offend anyone here, I find it a bit ridiculous to dole out specific advice unless you know the a)source and b)room.  These two things will far determine what you have to do in order to make a good recording vs. what you read on the interenet that seemed to be the best approach.  If you are tracking on a neve 8068, perhaps a condenser with a 5K peak would be really helpful to get the right style of "click" into your beater since you've constantly got the slow high end battle happening with a console like that.  If you are tracking on a digital platform, the exact same signal path can sound really thin.  If you are using a felt beater, that 5K peak might also be really good as opposed to a wood beater where it might be too much.  The way the drums are tuned will play nearly a %100 part of the sound of the recording you make and the way you place the baffling inside the kick in relation to the front and back heads, of if you use a front head or if you use baffling or what that baffling is, all these things will effect your outcome.   If your kit is on a riser, or on a concrete floor or a wood flooor or a carpet floor or a concrete floor with carpet or a riser with carpet or a wood floor with carpet or a riser with two carpets or a wood floor with two carpets, this will all effect the sound of the kick drum.  

I can go on and on but Im guessing you can see where Im going...  You can EASILY put a condenser inside a kick drum and get a very open sounding kit if you know what you are doing.  Its impossible to have any kind of intelligent discussion about drum kit mic'ing unless you KNOW how you plan to attack the mixing process.  If you know that you are going to put a hipass filter at 4K on your overheads, than you know your kick drum micing is going to need to carry the kick drum in the mix in a very particular way.  If you know you are adding 4dB at 120hZ to your overheads, than obviously your kick drum mic'ing is going to represent a very different thing.  You can use a kick drum mic to record the sound of the kick drum for presence in your mix, or you can use it just so you have a source to compress for rumble, finding your kick definition from other mics in your setup.

I used to post alot on other boards in regards to "recording advice" and it ultimately became very frustrating for me as unless you are there, with the gear, with the circumstances, its all ultimately kind of worthless as there are far too many things dependant on this or that for some advice like "put it here and turn the knob that much" to really have any relevance  in my experience.  Believe me, Ive had some very experienced people give me their grammy award winning advice on how to record stuff and in the end you always have to listen.  Open your mind, set up your mics and listen.  If you arent moving mics around alot on your session, you should try it out and see if your recordings improve, they probably will.  A microphone is set with the ear, not with the eye and the perfect mic setup is one that reflects a plan far more than a good sound.  Listen to Red hot Chili Peppers "blood sugar sex magic" really incredible sounding drums on the record, but if you listen closely to the kick or snare up close, those are really terrible sounds that I dont find too flattering, but they work with the plan in many ways better than records that have a great sounding kit all alone...

Use your ears, its the only way.  Only you will know, on your gear, in your room with your musicians trying to achieve the sound YOU envision, only you will know what sounds really good.  I can give you my advice based on my room, my kit, my gear, etc. and I can virtually guaranttee that it wont translate whatsoever to someone using a digital recording platform in a different room.  Keep the difference in perspective in mind when you filter the recording advice you get online.  Everyone has had great things to say on this topic, but they'll all take you to different places.  Close mic'ing a kit wont necessarily give you "80's" sound if you gate the close mics and use them to trigger room mics, that can give you a wildly ambient sound...  Perspective is everything.

Whoah, sorry to freak out, I gotta get off to my session-

dave

chips are good with dip...

clintrubber

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2004, 03:49:02 PM »
Thanks Dave,

Quote
Whoah, sorry to freak out, I gotta get off to my session-


No, no freaking out here - it's much appreciated. You mention more than a few truths. The question here started originally because we were afraid to damage this Samson mic. Along came a few 'sound'-suggestions & subsequent questions. More than agree that advice on a computer-screen about sounds can only be that, advice on a screen - there's no sound
involved. But still, it all gives us valuable insights and directions to experiment in - or directions to ignore because one can have own ideas about certain suggestions etc. The internet is great about getting certain facts & ideas across (like, no LD condensers are usually OK for such applications, but take care about this & that). The room & sound are not involved here yet. That became the second aspect of this, and good suggestions cam along - which, fully agreed, we could try/skip etc and see if they'll fit for what we're doing and what we're after and under the conditions we're doing this all.

Quote
Whoah, sorry to freak out, I gotta get off to my session-


Me too, should get my stuff together for tomorrow !

  Thanks & enjoy that session,

   Peter

Svart

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2004, 05:59:32 PM »
I work with this setup most of the time..
LDCx2 4-5 feet in front of the set around waist height, one pointing at the hats, the other at the opposite ride(conventional setup), a mic for kick, and a snare mic that is usually about a foot away from the snare at an angle that suits the sound you want.  very open and airy.
Welcome to the GroupDIY leper colony! when something falls off, we just replace it with a tube!
occupation: General Electron Mayhem

Alesis X2 information repository:
http://www.theopiumdenproductions.

zebra50

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2004, 04:12:46 AM »
Quote
its important to realize that nobody ever made a good sounding record following advice.

 :green:

Quote
In the case of acoustic recordings, without trying to offend anyone here, I find it a bit ridiculous to dole out specific advice unless you know the a)source and b)room


No offence taken, but I've got to say that the spirit of my post was to share some things that have worked for us on some occasions, on a budget, in a not-too-great room. I wasn't trying to say 'you must/must not do it this way' Maybe some people out there want to experiment and see if it works for them.

Quote
Close mic'ing a kit wont necessarily give you "80's" sound if you gate the close mics and use them to trigger room mics, that can give you a wildly ambient sound... Perspective is everything.


Now that sounds like something fun for me to try to try. Dare I even say 'good advice'.

Cheers!
Stewart
Ribbon microphone services
http://www.xaudia.com
Microphone blog

soundguy

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2004, 04:33:23 AM »
hey stewart-

yeah, as my post probably illustrates, Im pretty well burned out on internet advice.  Didnt want to come off jumping down anyones throat or anything.  Internet recording advice is mostly rubbish, its all about listening and more often than not, the main things people want advice about are completely subjective things.  How do I get a good drum sound?  Good drum sound?  ugh...

Anyhow, using a close mic to trigger tom mics was a trick I picked up along the way, you can cram some crappy mic right down on the skin so you get a good signal to the gate, you dont even record that mic, just use it to open the gate and then you are free to place the gated mic thats gettig recorded where ever you want.  This was handy for putting a condenser on the shell a bit further back, where alone, the kick drum would always wind up triggering the gate.  You could use it for super compressed room mics if you want your fills to pump, etc.  When you see drum micing setups on stuff like Alex VanHalen's kit with 300 mics, I would bet that some of those mics were not going to tape, but were just there to serve as triggers for other mics.  Its a useful thing to get into if you have more than two days to track your drums...

Thats a good bit of  black and white tips and tricks.  As to WHERE to put those mics, you just gotta listen and make a cool sound.  As far as a "bad" sounding room goes, not all rooms are ideal, that is for sure, but if you listen to some stuff thats out there, the bulk of detroit motown comes to mind, you can take a bland sounding room and make it sound pretty awesome if you try.

dave

chips are good with dip...

tony dB

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2004, 05:55:26 AM »
bottomline in all the internet advice concering recording you get will ALWAYS be, experiment as much as possible using this advice you gathered and USE YOUR EARS, they're the final judge.

Also trust them (your ears), if it sound right, it is usually right (taking in consideration that your monitoring and controlroom are reflecting the real world), in case your controlroom is not so perfect, tape and/or burn a cdr after soundchecking some drums and listen on other systems to see how this translates...

The eventually "bad" sounds you discover should be compensated, or even better bring your controlroom closer to what you discovered on the various systems where you verified...

This can take several projects to get it right...
I track and mix 11 years fulltime in my studio and i still make acoustic-adjustments every few weeks, depending on what i hear/expect, and i can consider my acoustics pretty well done here you know...

The best advice i ever got was use your ears, can't say it enough...

tony dB

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2004, 05:59:22 AM »
and most drumsound like some cutting in the 300-400 hzregion, no matter what room they are tracked in or what mices you used...

Sorry for going offside topic...
got inspired,
hope you forgive me  :green:

it's mostly because of the fact that i've gotten so much info out of this forum, that i want to contribute some information on stuff i DO know very well (compared to my electronicsnovicestatus that is  :green:  :green:  somewhat limited)

tony dB

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2004, 06:33:33 AM »
to answer your Q, i have put a 414 on several occasions inside a kickdrum. Both recording and microphone still sound good  :thumb:

clintrubber

[OT] condenser mic safe for kick ? (Samson C03,142dBSPL max)
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2004, 06:31:45 PM »
Thanks again to everybody who responded.
We experimented & tracked and think that for what it could be we got decent results.
It was a '10 hour put all your gear in the room, connect 1000 cables, find sounds & get tracking, disconnect 1000 cables & get out on time'-thing.
So that's not optimal, but that room is decent sounding and we've done similar things before. If each next session is better we won't complain.
We're now putting this all away for a few days to re-enter with fresh ears,
see what we really got and start further work.

And yep, the LD condenser in front of the kick did fine.

Bye,

   Peter


 

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