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Hi guys,

im looking for a mic for recording that works well as a room mic, such as a drum room mic, but that also can be versatile and be used for vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, etc.

Mostly what I’ve heard so far is to go for a decent condenser mic with variable pattern for different instruments. Others have mentioned ribbons or even dynamic mics as another way to go.

Recommendations I’ve heard so far are the Rode NT1000, Rode K2, Aston Spirit, Beyerdynamic M160, SE brand ribbons, AT 4050, etc.

What are your recommendations, either from this list, or above and beyond the above list? 

Thank you!

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Hi John,

In my opinion, many different mics can be well used as a drum room mic. An important factor to consider is the the mic location. You can try experimenting placing the mic different parts of the room, different directions, height, etc. If your room is smaller, you could also try placing the mic in another room.  I record drums in a small room, but i keep the door open, then place the room mic in the room across the hall, with that door shut. I would maybe consider the acoustics of the room when choosing a mic. For example if the room is bright sounding then avoid using a bright mic.

I am currently using a Shure SM81 as my drum room mic, using the positioning I just mentioned. It does well in my situation because the environment is somewhat bright but the mic is fairly neutral and flat. I originally got the SM81 to record acoustic guitar, but in my opinion its quite a workhorse, does fairly well on many instruments. I even use it for vocals. In my latest song called "Winter" (link below in my signature), the SM81 was used to record the drum room and also the lead vocal. I also used SM81 to reinforce the sound of the drum sidestick as well.

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You were mentioning some mid priced microphones - if anyone following along is a cheap bastard like me any of the omnidirectional measurement microphones work well for room and even overhead. They are SPL limited so not good for guitar amps or close miking drums but good on acoustic guitar and such. Least expensive one I've seen is https://www.amazon.com/Apex-220-Measurement-Microphone/dp/B001GKY6D0

Edited by RoadRanger

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On 2/26/2020 at 10:02 PM, davie said:

Hi John,

In my opinion, many different mics can be well used as a drum room mic. An important factor to consider is the the mic location. You can try experimenting placing the mic different parts of the room, different directions, height, etc. If your room is smaller, you could also try placing the mic in another room.  I record drums in a small room, but i keep the door open, then place the room mic in the room across the hall, with that door shut. I would maybe consider the acoustics of the room when choosing a mic. For example if the room is bright sounding then avoid using a bright mic.

I am currently using a Shure SM81 as my drum room mic, using the positioning I just mentioned. It does well in my situation because the environment is somewhat bright but the mic is fairly neutral and flat. I originally got the SM81 to record acoustic guitar, but in my opinion its quite a workhorse, does fairly well on many instruments. I even use it for vocals. In my latest song called "Winter" (link below in my signature), the SM81 was used to record the drum room and also the lead vocal. I also used SM81 to reinforce the sound of the drum sidestick as well.

Hi Davie, thanks for the reply! Ironically enough, I recently bought two SM81’s to use as overhead drum mics, and I haven’t even had the chance to test them out yet! So that’s great to hear they do well as drum room mics too, an added bonus.

I was thinking of buying a large diaphragm condenser with variable pattern as a general purpose or versatile all rounder. Thing is, there are so many good ones out there and it’s tough to choose one!

The Aston Spirit is one I’ve heard good things about. The AKG 414 too, though I’ve heard it’s not the best for vocals. Rode K2 also a contender.

I do prefer warm and dark tones, so not sure if there’s some in that mid price range bracket that are better for that?

thanks again!

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On 2/28/2020 at 4:04 AM, RoadRanger said:

You were mentioning some mid priced microphones - if anyone following along is a cheap bastard like me any of the omnidirectional measurement microphones work well for room and even overhead. They are SPL limited so not good for guitar amps or close miking drums but good on acoustic guitar and such. Least expensive one I've seen is https://www.amazon.com/Apex-220-Measurement-Microphone/dp/B001GKY6D0

 

Warm Audio just announced a new premium package version of their WA84's that now include both cardioid and omnidirectional capsules. They're not exactly cheap, but compared to a pair of vintage Neumann KM84's with a set of KM83 capsules, they're quite a bargain. 

Here's a link to my review of the WA-84's, which was done prior to the release of the omni capsules. 

 

 

I'm not sure if Warm Audio is going to be selling the omni capsules separately for those of us who purchased the WA-84's prior to their release, but I sure hope so! 

 

 

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So, how do those compare to the Rode M5 for 1/4 the price?

Today I got in a pair of the Apex 220 "just because" ;) - I'm impressed that they came with individual calibrations for the $35 each I paid for them. I was prepared to see cheap plastic but they have nice aluminum bodies.

The rehearsal studio I'll be recording in has a mic mount on the ceiling that is either right above the snare or can be moved to be so - I'll probably semi-permanently mount one of the 220's up there to try some 3 mic drum recording. The room is a large basement with an insulated ceiling that might also be a good candidate for room mics - it's live but not too live IMO.

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