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Hello you lot!

Ok, this maybe dead easy for some of you guys, i guess thats what i'm hoping for.

Basically, I have a macbook running Logic Express 8 and the simple USB M-Audio interface with one XLR input. I have a SM58 mic and have hung this from the old school sprinkler bar in our rehersal space. All i have wanted to do is record some live big drums, i have done this and the result is probably as you imagine. Not terrible but lacking somewhat.

Anyway, I am thinking of buying a H2 because I want a small, portable and easy way of recording all manner of things but being able to record drums that I can later edit in Logic would be brilliant.

The question is this -

Would the H2 give a better [if not good] recording sound than my madhap mic and laptop 'set-up'?

Thanks in advance!

Rob.

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H2 will probably have about the same sound quality as the SM58, but it will provide you with a stereo mix. Why not spring for an H4N and get a few more inputs?

What kind of drums are you trying to record? A set, or an actual big drum? There are different answers for each of these.

If you're trying to record a set, I would record directly overhead with a stereo setup like the H2 or a pair of AKG Perception series mics. They're not expensive and it sounds like you're on a budget. Your drummer will need to be more tempered on his cymbal hits because of the mic placement, but you can (with a little work) get a nice, usable mix from just a stereo pair overhead. Ideally, you'd go with something a bit bigger - mic the snare (top and bottom if you can), stereo pair overhead for cymbals, mic the tom bottoms, and one in the kick's hole. I think CAD has a good little set for micing.

You also want to decrease the distance between your mic(s) and your source. In a room, you'll get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc reflections that are nearer to your original source level that will muddle the recording. As high a source level you can get with quieter reflections will result in something more usable.

If you're recording a true big drum (which I think you are not), you'd want something with a great low-end response like a Beta 52.

A note on the SM-series mics - they are designed for live shows in rough environments and were designed what seems like 100 years ago with no changes since. Think punk rockers who like to swing the mic and end up dropping it a few times. It's built like a tank, but has the dynamics and response to match - not very nice, but sturdy and a good workhorse if you're not doing anything too high end in the LIVE environment. Recording/studio mics are an entirely different matter. They're more delicate, but you get a 1000 times better recording.

BOTTOM LINE: Really anything is better than your current setup (mic far away and of low quality). H2 good, H4N better, and any sort of nice small capsule condenser mic pair will be even better.

Good luck!

  • First off,may i apologise for posting this question twice, i'll blame fat fingers! Also, i realise that i need to be more specific with info and such. I have a basic but workable knowledge with some of this, i'm just TERRIBLE at explaining things clearly! All that said, the answer you have given is great, lots for me to consider and try out. Thank you. I will be recording mainly kick,snr and floor. I like a roomy sound rather than sharp recordings,I have a bit of experience with that I just dont really like the seperation. Situation specific of course. I'd love H4N,I should save really. – teratogens Jun 24 '11 at 8:03
  • @teratogens ah, okay. honestly, while the H4N is fun, you already have a good computer and should really invest in something that will let you do multitrack recordings. i like Presonus.. they have the FireStudio Project 10x10 that gives you a lot of options. it's about $500, but the ability to professionally record your band with no studio time is priceless. you can always worldize different tracks (see other posts for that) after the fact to get that natural "roomy" sound. record clean, add noise and you'll save yourself a lot of frustrations. good luck!! – VCProd Jun 24 '11 at 13:17
  • VCProd, just had a quick look at Presonus whilst at work and well, their stuff looks great! There is a fair amount of this kind of thing around but theses appear to be quality and not ridiculously expensive! I may get myself a H2 over the weekend as i want to start building up some field recordings and then work towards something like the FireStudio. THANKS! – teratogens Jun 24 '11 at 14:37
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IMO, the H2 would win in terms of portability, stereo or quad recording, ease of use, mounting options, the sound of a cardioid condenser mics, and battery power. The SM58+laptop would win in terms of possible multi-take recording, access to multiple discrete tracks (albeit recording only one at a time), realtime effects while recording, and the ruggedness of an industry-standard dynamic mic. (FWIW, I'd opt for an SM57 for instruments over a 58 if my mic budget was

If you want to record drums, at least you'd get the drums in stereo. Of course, the anal sound engineer part of my brain (admittedly, it's quite small) would want a stereo pair of overheads, a snare mic, and a kick mic, at a bare minimum, but that requires four XLR inputs and pre-amps for some or all of the mics, depending on what mic one chooses. But that's clearly another big step beyond just going from mono to stereo, which you'll probably want to wait on for the future.

The H2 is pretty bad for quiet sound sources due to the high self-noise of its microphones, but for drums, as long as you don't clip the signal (there are no compressors or limiters on the H2), I think having one at least gives you some options for recording.

  • 57 and 58 are basically the same.. different grill changes the response pattern. shure.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1118 – VCProd Jun 23 '11 at 16:12
  • Your note about the compressor/limiter is a damn good point. The impatient child in me just wants to go out and buy something but as I said above, I should probably save a little more and get something that will make everything better and easier i guess. I recorded our bands Ep with the shocking set up, live and then overdubbed guitars, bass and vocals. It works for the kind of din we make and it was merely a local CDR thing but I nearly cried everytime I attempted to 'mix' anything! I'm thinking, get a H4N, two mics for overhead use might be a cracker, although the kick will still be lost – teratogens Jun 24 '11 at 8:10

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