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I play drums in a regular jam, I wear plugs and cannot hear other instruments well. Thinking about buying a couple of microphones to stand up in the middle of the room and feed them into a small mixer and use headphones.

What would be a good set of mic's for that application?

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  • Why not just get better earplugs? Etymotic makes great balanced earplugs that cut a good amount but not too much. I wear them for every practice. – Todd Wilcox Oct 18 '17 at 4:33
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I've had really good experience with a set of custom molded earplugs with the interchangeable attenuators removed. They deliver very clear sound and still offer enough hearing protection. If microphones are in the budget, adjusting the earplugs might also be an option. Also getting enough hearing protection from headphones can be tricky. I expect IEMs are better in this respect.

For mics in a semi-basement like practices space, I've had decent luck with a pair of Cascade ribbons in a Blumlein or M/S setup. This can a) go in the middle of the action and b) allows controlling the stereo image width. These mics are not terribly sensitive so you either need a good preamp or to drop something like a Cloudlifter inline.

Another option might be to snag a Zoom and use either analog or digital monitoring to drive your phones. Has the benefit of capturing a rehearsal recording at the same time. I find both their X/Y and M/S mics more than adequate for rehearsal recordings.

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Sounds like you don't care about sound quality, just want to be able to hear. So I would get something cheap.

I would just get one Behringer ECM8000 ($59.99 USD on amazon). That's an 'omnidirectional' mic, so you can just hang it from the ceiling and call it good. It does require 'phantom power' though, so make sure the board you get has that capability.

Alternatively, I would get something I could use elsewhere as well, like the CAD e70 ($103.58 USD on amazon). This one also requires phantom. And also like the last one, you can place it anywhere (best, however, would be away from yourself, and closer to the other members of your jam).

Lastly, you could just get an SM57 ($129 USD on amazon, this one includes a stand and cable) and put it off the the side, trying to aim 'across' everyone.

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I also play using IEMs, and for me using two directional condenser mics for the room works very well, especially combined with a couple of mics used as drum overheads. This also allows me to control (to a certain degree) the volume of myself and the rest of the band.

Although I haven't tried using an omni in the room, I suspect that the balance would be off, and that I would hear too much drums compared to the rest of the band. But this will vary depend on musical style, the ability to hold the volume down for the whole band and personal preference. As for mic choice, any cheap condenser will usually work; I've used a couple of Samson C02 which worked okay enough for practice, pairs are for sale with stands and cables for ~$150 on Amazon.

If you plan on using the mics live I'd do as in the other answer; spend a bit more and get better mics. Ideally, see what other people in the area use and see if you can try them out. Personally I tend to go with Røde NT3 when I'm playing myself, but as a sound tech I tend to end up with AKG P170, Sennheiser E614, AKG C214, or Shure SM81 depending on availability and budget.

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A "man cave" tends to be a comparatively small room with comparatively hard walls. That means that you actually don't want to hear the room: it will have significant resonances. An omnidirectional microphone takes sound from a 3D angle of 720° which includes floor and ceiling reflections. A cardioid takes half or less. Actually your best bet is getting a reasonably close caption of the individual players, namely a band mix. For monitoring, you don't need expensive mics with good frequency response. Four cheap directional mics and a small mixer will deliver a clearer picture than one great omnidirectional.

So when in doubt, go for quantity over quality. When you try using a single microphone, a cardioid from the front of the group is likely better than an omnidirectional in the middle.

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