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Old October 22nd, 2006, 08:24 AM   #1
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SM-57s for drums

Has anyone used SM-57s for drums? Particularly I'd like to know if the SM-57 can cover a kick drum adequately. I wouldn't mind buying another SM-57 or two, but I'm not a pro or enough of a specialist to buy a drum mic set.
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 08:30 AM   #2
 
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SM57's are an emergency go-to mic for drums. Been used a LOT for drums in the past. It's not by any means an optimal mic, but will surely work in a pinch.
Kick's are probably the last thing I'd want an SM57 on. I've done it in the past, both in studio and stage, and have been "OK" but a large diaphragm is preferable.
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 03:14 PM   #3
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If you are recording at the high-end of the pro level, the SM-57 is probably not the best mic for a bass drum but is pretty good for almost everything else. It is one of the "workhorse" microphones of the music industry and is a pro level mic. If you are wanting better sound than you get with most consumer/prosumer equipment, the SM-57 will do that, even on bass drums.

Once a mic has been used for bass drum, most pros will not use that mic for anything else after that.

I have a project recording studio and I perfer the SM-57 for vocals (mine, depends on the singer), mic'ing guitar amplifiers and most drums. I use a Sure Beta 52 for the bass (it was made for that) and various condensers for the cymbals. Mic'ing drums is an art into itself. Pointing the mic at the right "spot" on the drum head can drastically change the sound.

If you use SM-57's most people would be hard pressed to tell you weren't using a $1000+ microphone.
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 05:58 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Redman

Once a mic has been used for bass drum, most pros will not use that mic for anything else after that.
.

Please qualify/explain that comment?
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 09:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Redman
Once a mic has been used for bass drum, most pros will not use that mic for anything else after that.
If you're implying that after use on a kick drum, a mic is physically altered so as not to be usable elsewhere, I would disagree that it's an absolute.

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Old October 22nd, 2006, 09:53 PM   #6
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I actually prefer AKG c1000's or the rode nt3 for the basic setup and an Electro Voice RE20 for the kick. However, I sometimes place a 57 about a foot from the RE20 to mix in for a little extra.

The 57's will work on tom's and the snare but you will get a better sound with condensers. Wait....maybe not a better sound. Why dont we say a sound that you can do more with. Dont tell anyone but I really do like the sound of a 57 on a shallow snare drum ;)
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 11:14 PM   #7
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Spot, Ty,

Several engineers that I know, and several articles I've read discourage using a kick drum mic for anything but kick drum. I've been told, and read, that the SPL is so great that it looses capability on the highs. Especially when "close mic'ing". Some engineers I know label a microphone "Kick" once it has been used to mic a bass drum so it doesn't get mixed with their other mics.

Although I've never seen a before and after frequency response chart. Might be interesting.
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 11:53 PM   #8
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Yep - with a normal mic (something not designed to withstand the pressure) the high SPL of the kick drum compresses the diaphragm to the point it will it will squash the 'full' dynamic range. It's not a bad thing for bass drum persay, but it will hamper it's use elsewhere.

My drummer uses pretty much only SM57s for live sound (quality sound, quite cheap, and most importantly easy to locate if one breaks/is lost before a gig). There's a definite audible difference between a kicked 57 and one that hasn't been.

Good all purpose music mics!
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 12:20 AM   #9
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I hear the AKG D112 is used a lot for kick.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 03:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Largent
I hear the AKG D112 is used a lot for kick.
Besides the SM57, other dynamics like the EV RE20 or 27 are also in the running
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 07:18 AM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Redman
Spot, Ty,

Several engineers that I know, and several articles I've read discourage using a kick drum mic for anything but kick drum. I've been told, and read, that the SPL is so great that it looses capability on the highs. Especially when "close mic'ing". Some engineers I know label a microphone "Kick" once it has been used to mic a bass drum so it doesn't get mixed with their other mics.

Although I've never seen a before and after frequency response chart. Might be interesting.
As Ty said above, it's absolutely not an absolute that the mic is damaged or not.
I've used several 57's over the years on kicks, and used them on vocals right after. The placement on the kick, question of relief hole or open kick, proximity, muting, etc all come into play.
It *is* quite possible to damage the capsule, but on that same note, a damaged head still doesn't provide a good sound; the snap of the kick, or the sound of the beater on the head is gone as well.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #12
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To answer your original post...I have used sm57's on drums before. I have used them to capture top toms, top snare, and to capture the click of the beater on a kick drum. I was most pleased on the toms and snare but it was ok for click.

As far as microphone compression, dynamic microphones(i.e. sm57) do take a little more time to start the diaphragm moving and therefore compress the transient as compared to electrically charged large diaphragm condenser microphones and small diaphragm condenser microphones. I'm sure there are a few exceptions to this but this is generally true.

If you are looking to purchase an sm57 for a stand alone kick mic then I would say don't buy it. The frequency response of this microphone starts to rolloff around 150 hz and this is often a crucial area for the kickdrum. I would look at a D112, Senheisser E604, or a Shure Beta 52. With that said, you might try it as a second kick mic sometime.

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Old October 28th, 2006, 11:37 AM   #13
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If I had to record an album with one kind of mic, I'd probably pick an sm57. If you want a good kick mic, then go for an audix d6, akg d112, or the shure mic that was mention. I've used Senn 421's with some success (the coolest live kick sound I ever got was with one) and RE20's can be good too. In fact, Re20's and 421's are pretty bad-assed multipurpose mics too.

The SM57 excels at recording certain things in certain conditions, but not necessarily here as everybody has mentioned.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 07:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bob Sandifer
I actually prefer AKG c1000's or the rode nt3
How do you use the nt3?
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Old October 28th, 2006, 07:36 PM   #15
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Fred, what are you using on snare?
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