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Mixing Vdrums and miked real cymbals

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  • Mixing Vdrums and miked real cymbals

    This is probably a bit 'niche' but I thought it worth asking if other Vdrummers who used real cymbals live had experience of this.

    Increasingly I find that renovated pubs and clubs I play in the UK are stuffed with sound insulation making them both acoustically very 'dead' and often downright weird (particularly where lots of rooms have been knocked into one space and where the interior designer has gone crazy with mirrors, wood, stone, metal etc ). My hybrid of Vdrums and real cymbals in these sort of venues can no longer rely on the band vocal mikes picking up enough of the hihat and cymbals.

    I've long used my own PA to get 'my sound' and been lazy about miking the cymbals. Sound engineers I (rarely) come across always expect drummers to smash cymbals it seems to me and aren't keen on miking cymbals particularly. Even nice samples or the supplied Vdrum TD-50 cymbal sounds don't do it for me live so it's down to doing my own miking.

    I would be interested in hearing about experiences of anyone else who has got involved in mixing and matching cymbals with Vdrums in small venues without the benefit of a FOH or sound man or a 'proper' band PA (is it just a UK thing that many small venue bands think they can get away with a PA designed for vocals - but they will stick the guitars in it as well? )

    I've spent many hours moving my 2 Lewitt LCT 140 condenser mikes round and round (and under and over) the kit listening for tone and balance. Quite educational really There are PAD and roll-off options on these mics - I've used the full -20dB and -300Hz available. This is partly to protect the mics and remove some of the 'gong' sound of cymbals but hopefully also to limit spillage from guitar and keyboard amps (this type of mike is quite directional fortunately). 2 mics might not be enough but the stands are a major pain and trip hazard (I've tried K&M mic brackets on the cymbal stands but they transmit some noise).

    All thoughts and any experiences welcome, thanks.



    TD-50 module, Jobeky Prestige Custom shells, SPD-SX, Paiste Signature cymbals, DW 6000+9000 hardware, Lewitt LCT 140 cymbal mics, Allen & Heath ZED10 mixer, Fohhn Xperience III PA, Fohhn XT-33 active speaker drum monitor

  • #2
    Been doing acoustic cymbals and edrums for years. In the UK and elsewhere in many venues. No problems anywhere. Have never used "my own" PA, though - never needed to - always use house PA.

    Here's an old example: (Yamaha/UP/Pintech/Paiste)

    kit.jpg
    *** Never buy a module without MIDI IN ***
    Yamaha & Roland modules. DTX,TM-2, EC-10m, SP-404. Multi12. TrapKat. ControlPads. Octapad, SamplePad, Wavedrum. Handsonic. Dynacord RhythmStick. MPC. Paiste 2002/Signatures. Cajons. Djembes. Darbuka. Windsynth. MIDI Bass. Tenori-on. Zoom ARQ. Synths. Ukes.

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    • #3
      Great picture (and very interesting seeing the mic placement too).

      Thanks, well, that's what I always say when questioned about this type of setup - the pros all do it - in fact Roland seem keen on hybrid drumming these days.

      I rarely get to play venues with sound systems and sound guys but there is one I do 4 times a year and the sound man lives in the area - I must give him a call. (In fact the owner of Adlib Audio the big event sound/light firm has a holiday house about 200 yards from me - we've had interesting chats about live sound but not seen him for months).
      TD-50 module, Jobeky Prestige Custom shells, SPD-SX, Paiste Signature cymbals, DW 6000+9000 hardware, Lewitt LCT 140 cymbal mics, Allen & Heath ZED10 mixer, Fohhn Xperience III PA, Fohhn XT-33 active speaker drum monitor

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      • #4
        Using condenser (cardioid/hypercardioid) mics on smaller and louder stages can be a pain. I just treat them as a part of an acoustic kit if I'm playing hybrid, usually placing one mic above main crash but towards the HH and the other above the ride pointing towards other cymbals but mainly close to the cymbals to avoid other noise getting too much inside. Try turning the back of the mics towards the loudest unwanted noise source to make use of the polar pattern. Sometimes I even got good results using full range dynamic mics since they're less sensitive.

        Utilizing the built in pad/low cut is smart to further reject unwanted sounds but it's essential to properly adjust the gain on the board which should have some fairly good preamps. Cheap consoles struggle in these situations.

        All that being said, I was never too happy with the overall sound using only acoustic cymbals with everything else electronic. Even with good in-ear it sounded out of place, and the band was getting weird psycho-acoustic effects from hearing the drums only from speakers and cymbals moslty from the stage. Eventually, I either triggered a normal acoustic kit or used a full eKit. For me, the TD50 has great cymbal sounds (albeit not many to choose from for HH and ride), so I'd just go full e. Bigger stages are easier to have hybrid setups at, but I guess there you'd most likely have a proper PA/monitors and a soundman.
        •A kits: Mapex Saturn ltd. Mapex Meridian, Ludwig and Pearl snares, Paiste, Anatolian, DW5002TW•
        •SPD-SX, Roland RT triggers•
        •Ship kits: TD-12KV, TD-30K, TD-50K•

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        • #5
          Many thanks for the very thoughtful comments and tips.

          It has been interesting rotating the mics and seeing the impact direction makes on pickup - I have tried positioning mics under the cymbals and it isn't bad but you don't get the coverage you seem to have when placed above.

          I wondered about the gain for the mics on my small mixer (an A&H Zed10) with the pad/low cut on the mics - the gain seems to have to be high on the channel inputs - but I need to get out in a real setting to try this out.

          The digital ride that came with the TD-50 upgrade kit is very nice - I don't suppose Roland will ever make a digital hi-hat unfortunately.



          TD-50 module, Jobeky Prestige Custom shells, SPD-SX, Paiste Signature cymbals, DW 6000+9000 hardware, Lewitt LCT 140 cymbal mics, Allen & Heath ZED10 mixer, Fohhn Xperience III PA, Fohhn XT-33 active speaker drum monitor

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          • #6
            I got distracted by your beautiful cymbal setup and wondering what felts those are but maybe I can at least help you flesh out an idea. I haven't hit the stage with a e-drums yet but I'm pretty good with a mic and PA, and have some of the same crashes (there is none other, signature and frankenstein sound formulas are the pinnacle imo).

            If you just need to reproduce your sound, what about one of the small line arrays with a built in sub? Bose L1 Compact or any of the hundred variations. Put it anywhere on stage really, they spread wide. They cover really well, almost annoyingly well. Line arrays push sound further than regular boxes. Less pain up front, more music in the back. They also resist feedback somewhat. I have only used the L1 compact (work for a Bose dealer), I think it needs a little EQ to shine. It's usually too scoopy and bassy (and scoopy and bassy is my jam). It's super easy to transport. If you don't mind more weight, get a bigger line array and sub. They'll get you up into pretty loud levels. I really haven't tried to max out a bigger line array like the L1 Model 1S and wouldn't do it inside. No need.

            ETA - If it were me I'd put the cymbals and drums into the "drum PA" so the band has good stage volume and won't be relying on your sound from the mains as it comes back to them from the room.

            Again, may have totally missed the question. Did I mention that I love your cymbals? And also what are those felts?

            I've never thought about mic'ing cymbals from below but that makes sense, if the sound is coming off the surface, it would be focused underneath and dispersed above (somewhat, maybe).
            Last edited by KeyserSoze; 01-06-20, 11:25 PM.

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            • #7
              Many thanks for the helpful tips and comments.

              The cymbal felts are CymPads - https://www.cympad.com/modules//inde...location_id=68 I just like the colours to be honest but they do seem to let a cymbal ring slightly more than traditional felts do.

              I saw a Drumeo video on YouTube about placing mikes under cymbals to keep a cleaner look to a kit but after some testing I prefer the sound from miking above (live of course I doubt many people would notice out front).

              I looked at the Bose systems years ago and keep an eye on what other people are using live but they seem to lack bass to my ears. My Fohhn XS-30 active sub with 2 x XT-22 passive tops and an XT-33 active top as a drum monitor are fine for smaller places - I'd prefer XT-33 passive tops as well, instead of the XT-22s, but they are really heavy, although I do have gas-lift speaker stands (great fun as long as you are careful - I can imagine 'launching' a speaker off the top of them if left to shoot up unbraked )


              PS - I agree about Paiste Signature cymbals by the way - there is a sound quality in them I don't hear in other makes, but each to their own
              Last edited by willsud; 01-07-20, 04:55 AM.
              TD-50 module, Jobeky Prestige Custom shells, SPD-SX, Paiste Signature cymbals, DW 6000+9000 hardware, Lewitt LCT 140 cymbal mics, Allen & Heath ZED10 mixer, Fohhn Xperience III PA, Fohhn XT-33 active speaker drum monitor

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              • #8
                I've been thinking of using such a hybrid setup for practice if I ever get a space without noise restrictions. I was wondering however how much I would have to spend on extra equiment (mics, mixer, software). Will I have to splurge on microphones or are there highly diminishing returns on mics that cost more than $200? I'm used to Superior Drummer sounds so I might be slightly spoiled at this point.

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