Drumline Plus Crown Boundary Mics


Here’s the sizable drumline from the even more sizable 2013 Murray State University Racer Band. For this production Kent (my student intern) and I considered several microphone strategies. We ended up using our Crown boundary (or pressure zone) microphones. Yes, they’re easy to set up.  But they also tend to sound very clean from further back than stand-mounted condenser mics.  This means one can achieve a sound a little bit more like individual drum miking, but with just one microphone.  A little bit. Because we wanted to get as close to that “outdoor marching” sound as possible (by reducing the indoor ambience) Kent and I opted for the floor mics.

In front of the snares, you’ll see a Crown PCC-160 which is more directional in nature (it listens to what’s in front of it). To the left and right are Crown PZM-30Ds which are more omni-directional.  Not only do the outrigger PZMs make up the left/right stereo image, they also act as section mics for the quints and the basses.  The low profile of the floor mics also made shooting video easier as well. Everything ran through Millennia mic preamps and Apogee converters into Logic Pro for mixing. Kent handled the audio and I slapped the video together in Final Cut Pro X.  Fun stuff!

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Third Sonata – Brian Ciach

This is a rare treat. Brian Ciach, the composer and performer of this work (and sole owner of it’s copyright), has given permission for this to be available on YouTube in it’s entirety. Brian performed his Third Sonata on the brand new Steinway B in Murray State University’s Farrell Recital Hall. It is a beautiful instrument, and Brian’s work tests everything from its delicate graces to its thunderous potential.

The microphone technique was a very traditional X-Y arrangement using two Neumann KM-184 microphones about 8 feet in front of the piano.  There was also a bit of tone tweaking. For example, at the distance of 8 feet the directional Neumanns did not have any proximity effect to help out the bass end of things. So a little EQ from Izotope’s Ozone plugin and and a “tape bounce down” with Tone Booster’s Reel Bus plugin helped round, warm and thump things up a little.

A good rule of thumb for music specific videos on YouTube: switch the resolution to HD for a much improved sonic experience. Enjoy!