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grumpyguts

Drums through PA

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Up till now for gigs our drummer has been using an electric kit. After some nagging he is considering buying an acoustic kit.

For a typical pub gig is it necessary to mic up bass drum and snare? I guess I'm probably asking a typically general question but some opinion would helpful. If yes we need to buy stuff to make it happen.

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Half the time we mic up the bass drum, on special occasions we mic up the toms. It needs to get to outdoor venue before we need to mic up the rest of the kit!

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='grumpyguts' timestamp='1501959943' post='3348522']
OH - Over head? One mic for everything else?
[/quote]

Yep if your drummer knows how to tunew and play his kit it will balance perfectly if you place the mic over his right shoulder about a foot above him,pointing at the center of the snare.

In a pub stereo drums are pointless ime... Edited by 51m0n

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Does it not depend on the variables? Genre, size of room, how hard he hits? I've never needed an overhead in a pub, and rarely a snare mic. If needed wouldn't micing the snare and toms be more practical than an overhead?

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Posted (edited)
Depends on what you want but I'm trying to get some cymbals and hats as well as toms out front, evenly balanced. It's the easiest way to do it if your drummer can play.

The snare mic is pretty carefully treated, compression, eq and a touch of reverb, the over head is almost dry.

I'm not adding a lot to fhs, but it's a 7 piece band with a percussionist,the drums need to be the backbone ....


And yeah we're loud 😅 Edited by 51m0n

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I've done a lot of engineering in pub sized venues, and whilst it does depend on the drummer and the venue, my default setting is mic up kick and snare,Cymbals will generally cut through, and most pub audiences aren't bothered with frilly tom tom stuff being quieter . ( not my description...) Given time and space I will do hi hat and overhead as well, but the bare minimum is make sure the kick and snare can be heard.

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[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1501965146' post='3348561']
Yep if your drummer knows how to tunew and play his kit it will balance perfectly if you place the mic over his right shoulder about a foot above him,pointing at the center of the snare.

In a pub stereo drums are pointless ime...
[/quote]

I used to play with Dave Mattacks and his minimum was always a single mic over the shoulder (left, in his opinion). Add kick if necessary. I figure he would have some kind of inkling.

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Condenser (typically a Sennheiser e614) over the right shoulder pointing at the snare (will pick up the hats and splash (if in use) - the rest is loud enough to pick up in the periphery of the mic pattern, a 57 on snare, d6 on kick for all gigs. Where the gig is big enough, the whole lot comes out. The overhead is where the majority of the kit sound will come from (including the snare).

As an idea, I consider a loud drummer one where you can't get the overhead mic over the ambient sound of the drums through the PA without killing the audience with drums.

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If the snare is a Ludwig Black Beauty def do not mic it up, as it will already be at least 27 times louder than everything else in the room anyway.

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[quote name='Steve Browning' timestamp='1504531217' post='3365467']
I used to play with Dave Mattacks
[/quote]

We are not worthy!

We used to mike up drums so that the guys with in-ear monitors could hear them, even if we didn't need it FOH.

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[quote name='Lozz196' timestamp='1504546545' post='3365600']
If the snare is a Ludwig Black Beauty def do not mic it up, as it will already be at least 27 times louder than everything else in the room anyway.
[/quote]
Aw man, they are like the best snare ever. Needs to be miced so they can hear it in the next [s]county[/s] country.

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For me the answer is no, or at least not usually. The limiting factor for most pub bands is the ability of the sound engineer, and the time taken to set up. Keeping it simple is always a worthwhile thing to think about. Mostly the drums are too loud anyway unless you are lucky with your drummer. Acoustic drums sound really nice, poorly miked ones not so much. It's not really a case of shoving any old mic somewhere near the kick and automatically getting a good sound, it takes a lot of skill/experience.

You really need to listen to your sound. does it need more drums? If not then why do it? Do you have someone out front mixing? If not you can't tweak the sound anyway so again why make it complex. Obviously if you are playing bigger venues you'll need PA support and a lot of bands like a bit of extra kick drum in the mix but it is horses for courses and I'd need a reason to start miking the drums. If you do then go on the internet and start researching, I quite like two overheads, have a look at the 'Glyn Johns' method.

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One of the biggest problems with kits in enclosed areas in general is cymbal bleed into the vocalists mics. Micing up with overheads makes this even worse and you get a summing of really nasty high frequencies. Try and EQ them out and the vocalist sounds weird.

A great drummer in such situations switches his fills to a motown vibe rather than splashing all night!

I am musing the idea of perspex screens for some venues that we do - but from what I've read, this is a horrible environment for a drummer unless they are on inears - due to the sonic power just being reflected straight back at them!

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we played in a small club with it's own PA the sound guy came out with a comment I'd never really thought about before, "we'll mic up the kick, no need for the rest the vocal mics will pick up the drums anyway"
edit, we had a really good sound as well Edited by PaulWarning

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[quote name='PaulWarning' timestamp='1504693245' post='3366576']
we played in a small club with it's own PA the sound guy came out with a comment I'd never really thought about before, "we'll mic up the kick, no need for the rest the vocal mics will pick up the drums anyway"
edit, we had a really good sound as well
[/quote]
Yup, it's a real thing. And it's a right pain to deal with.

Can't EQ it out because the vocals sound weird. Can't gate on lead vocals as it sounds pants... especially when there's talking and singing going on... and stuff with lots of dynamics. As stated above, bleed into vocal mics and concurrent use of overheads on the drums may be the recipe for a disaster in a small or reflective venue!

With my band, I never sit up with the kit in the centre of the stage - I always have the kit on the far side of the stage... it looks different and gets people talking - but above all, as I tend to mic the kit, I do it to minimise bleed into the vocal mics. It was actually seeing Counting Crows that turned me onto this... the support band (I forgot who they were now) had their kit mid stage and I remember hearing the obscene amount of cymbal noise coming through the lead vocalist's mic. Cut to CC and because the drums were on the far left of the stage, the difference was immediately apparent. Edited by EBS_freak

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I nagged him out of his electronic kit for the following reasons.

1/ I don't want to rely on the foldback in order to hear what he is doing.
2/ The audience expect to see a kit, it provides a focal point - a few black plastic circles is disappointing visually.
3/ I don't think it sounds as good.

Thank you for all the replies, as I expected my question was a bit pointless as there are so many variables there is no easy answer. Mr Drummer has yet to find an acoustic kit. However, I have a dep gig on the 16th with an acoustic kit in attendance - I will pay a bit more attention and see what if any goes through the pa.

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Always at least the kick. Not for volume as such, just for feel. Some venues get the snare, a very few awkward or massive rooms get the lot.

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[quote name='grumpyguts' timestamp='1504725452' post='3366937']
I nagged him out of his electronic kit for the following reasons.

1/ I don't want to rely on the foldback in order to hear what he is doing.
2/ The audience expect to see a kit, it provides a focal point - a few black plastic circles is disappointing visually.
3/ I don't think it sounds as good.

Thank you for all the replies, as I expected my question was a bit pointless as there are so many variables there is no easy answer. Mr Drummer has yet to find an acoustic kit. However, I have a dep gig on the 16th with an acoustic kit in attendance - I will pay a bit more attention and see what if any goes through the pa.
[/quote]

IME audiences and musicians do a lot of listening with their eyes rather than their ears. I used to play in a band that had during it's lifetime 3 different drummers with 4 different electronic kits. The one that the audiences seemed to like the most was the drummer who's kit looked like a normal acoustic kit, but had heavily damped drum shells fitted with bugs which provided the triggers. In reality all the different drummers were triggering exactly the same drum sounds which came from a rack full of synths and samplers, the only difference being the playing style of the drummer and how well they had set up the trigger to MIDI parameters on their drum brain modules.

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I play in a 9 piece function band, with a soundie and a good PA. The whole kit is mic'd. I think it's usually total overkill!

When we rehearse, we use an active wedge for vocals, nothing else mic'd up. Always sounds great, always feels good. Why not this way in a pub?!

My thinking is, I'm there to provide entertainment, to enhance a punters night. Not hold them in place with decibels/deafen them! It's not all about the band!

I think if more people subscribed to a more modest volume approach, more people would enjoy the music (and form nicer memories chatting with their friends etc) and maybe there would be more gigs for us lot to play!!!

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I think a lot of pub gigs would be more successful if drummers paid more attention to volume balance. I generally find kick and toms are too quiet and snare and cymbals drown everything out. I've noticed the band Vulfpeck always damp their snares even at large gigs with cloth, presumably in keeping with their low volume ethos. Does anyone make low volume cymbals?

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[quote name='Pea Turgh' timestamp='1505851520' post='3374808']
I play in a 9 piece function band, with a soundie and a good PA. The whole kit is mic'd. I think it's usually total overkill!

When we rehearse, we use an active wedge for vocals, nothing else mic'd up. Always sounds great, always feels good. Why not this way in a pub?!

My thinking is, I'm there to provide entertainment, to enhance a punters night. Not hold them in place with decibels/deafen them! It's not all about the band!

I think if more people subscribed to a more modest volume approach, more people would enjoy the music (and form nicer memories chatting with their friends etc) and maybe there would be more gigs for us lot to play!!!
[/quote]
This, lost a lot of rooms with too much volume :(

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