Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Building Your Mic Locker Room Mics Reply To: Room Mics

Matthew Mcglynn

    I think all the same questions that apply to vocal mics also apply to room mics. I know some people treat room mics as an afterthought, e.g. "just put up whatever mics are left over because maybe we won't use them at all." I think that attitude misses an important opportunity. If the instrument sounds good in the room, you should try to capture that. You might or might not use it in the mix, but it's different and often more interesting than a digital reverb effect.

    For drum room, I'd be wary of mics with an exaggerated high frequency response. The older NT1A and original NT1 fall into this category. The black NT1 from 2013 has a more balanced sound, and is not as bright. The reason I recommend darker mics for drum room is that these tracks are often compressed in order to add body, tone, and excitement to the drum tracks. But if the room mics are saturated with cymbal wash (due to the mics' high frequency response), then your ability to compress the tracks without unwanted artifacts will be limited. Maybe you can low-pass the tracks first... or you can choose mics (and placement) to reduce the cymbal sound in the room mics.

    High frequency sounds tend to be more directional, so one trick is to point the room mics away from the cymbals. Putting up some acoustic treatment around the drum kit will help reduce cymbal wash too. Using darker mics as room mics will help too.

    Regarding matched pairs, I think it makes good sense for overheads, because if the mics are actually matched then they'll give you a better sense of space, without pulling to one side or the other. But be cautious of the manufacturer's matching spec. I remember one $2900 pair of mics that were only matched from 300Hz to 8kHz. What about the other 4 audible octaves? Also be aware that good matching requires matching both for sensitivity (usually measured at 1kHz) _and_ frequency response (over some range, ideally at least 100Hz to 12kHz).

    I'm less convinced of the need to use matched mics for room, but I'd encourage you to try it both ways.