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In two days, I am supposed to record a rock (more like hardcore) band. I'm definitely no professional, rather doing it as a favor since I have most of the equipment.

I am starting with the drums and I normally record with an AKG drum microphone set. Therefore, I would use a D112 for the kick drum. However I can't get my hands on the microphone set and now I am stuck with the following microphones to record the drums:

  • 2x Shure SM57, using them for the toms
  • 1x Shure SM58beta, probably for the snare
  • 2x AKG C535EB, two matched small condensers, as overheads

And I have:

  • 1x crappy old Sennheiser vocal mic
  • 1x rather new AKG dynamic vocal mic (don't know which one, the band's singer has it but can't tell me the model)
  • 1x AKG Perception 220 (large diaphragm condenser)

Now, just from your experience:

  • Can I record a kick drum with the AKG Perception or will it distort or even damage the microphone?
  • Should I rather just use a dynamic vocal mic to try to capture the beater sound and then maybe trigger the rest?

Triggering would definitely be an option since the music style fits it. I'd much rather use the Perception as a second mic for the snare (e.g. on the bottom).

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Not a real answer, so: I did in a pinch use a crappy old vocal mic for a kick, and it worked fine. You aren't likely to get a good crisp "click" with it, but rather a "doommf", but hey, it's better than no kick. :) Maybe it suits the style, I never recorded a hardcore band. :) –  Lennart Regebro Feb 18 '11 at 7:26
    
Well I'd probably use it for the beater sound and mix it with a triggered kick, so yeah, better than nothing :) –  slhck Feb 18 '11 at 8:44

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm guessing that you have the Perception 220? the maximum input SPL is 135 with a whooping 0.5% THD (here) so it's probably going to struggle a bit. I do put condensers on the kick drum but usually a bit far out, building a tunnel if possible (extra kick, or even a thick duvet will do). The shure beta 91 was built for this purpose and exhibits 156dB SPL with 1%THD.

Try it. It shouldn't hurt. But since you are recording a "hardcore" band chances are it's going to be loud. And the drummer will want to just give everything he has, probably meaning playing even louder than usual.

If it doesn't work, I would suggest you find a nice resonating spot inside or right around outside the front shell (you can feel it with your hand!) and then use your crappy dynamic inside, next to the batter for the detail. You can then balance them and process them together. You could then grab your perception and place it far away in the room. If you still need that low end boost, try finding a node for it. But have a listen, sometimes it might be too much or the room be too small and you end up with a muddy, low mid honk instead of a nice round low-low end.

Usually, studios that have enough microphones to spare, they will give you a selection of mics that they already use on kick drums. Some mics will not like it and it will deform the diaphragm over time. Some facilities being aware of it put to aside some valves, condensers even ribbons (even a pair of U87) that they use on drums, they have labeled "use this on kick" - heheheh. What I'm trying to say is, give it a listen. You can hear if the mic is not coping with it. If there will be a damage, it will be medium to long term.

If you have an assistant, you can have the pleasure of having him scanning the drum inside out with the mic until you shout on his poor ears (remember, he's already kneeling in front of the kick drum with a loud drummer in front) "THAT'S THE SPOT, HOLD IT THERE!!!!!" Or you can grab a more enthusiastic member of the band! ;) But usually the hand trick will do it, most of the times. I did have it doing the exact oposite (no low end whatsoever) a couple of times hence emphasizing - use your ears.

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Thank you for the very detailed answer! I'll try to make the best of it! –  slhck Feb 18 '11 at 8:43

Use the condenser if you can. Just make sure it's not picking up the other drums. You could put it inside the air hole or right outside of it. Fiddling around with it is probably the best way to find out since it depends on the size of the bass drum and how loud the player kicks. Hardcore band, I'd say put the mic outside the drum so the double bass doesnt sound fuzzy. Not entirely sure, I'm just a stupid bass player.

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