You’ve spent a ton of time and money selecting the perfect cymbals for your setup; and now you need to make sure they’re being heard in the very best way possible! Here's 20 tips for miking your cymbals for live playing, from our worldwide team of Zildjian Artists.
1. Roberto Gualdi – Italy
Don't place cymbals too close to toms or snare or you'll have Crash sound in every mic.
2. Lucas van Merwijk – Germany, Independent
For jazzy open sound I like to place them a bit higher, almost from where my own ears are. If the whole kit is close miked I put the OH closer to the cymbals. Placing the OH's under the cymbals (Under Heads) can give great results too.
3. Ian Matthews – UK, Kasabian
I let the engineers do it. But I like underneath because it keeps the mic's out of the way. And a cymbal is, after all shaped like a speaker cone.
4. Steve White – UK, Independent /Trio Valore
For me it’s not trying to be too clever, two or more good over heads and a direct mike on the Ride and HiHat, a lot of that kind of stuff is about having a good relationship with the person doing the sound.
5. Gino Banks, India, Independent
Not too close. Get a balance left and right sound from your overheads.
6. Vasily Rudenko – Russia, Elvira T
Don't put microphones in the center of the cymbal. Use the good overhead mics and set them on the one level over the ground, also in the same distance from the center of the snare drum.
7. Stephen Perkins – USA, Jane's Addiction
Sit down with the engineer...talk to and explain your tone - what you want to hear from your engineer...trust your engineer.
8. Simon Scheibel – Germany, Lake Cisco
It depends on what kind of style you play live. Sometimes it´s cool with just two Overheads in a XY Position or the "normal" position, like one on the left and one on the right, and sometimes I like to mic each cymbal from the bottom!
9. Jason Bittner – USA, Shadows Fall
Don’t mike them UNLESS they need it, nothing worse than a mix of all cymbals. Cymabls are loud to begin with.
10. Daniel Platzman – USA, Imagine Dragons
You'll have to ask Scott Eisenburg, our front of house engineer. His mix sounds great!
11. Antonio Sanchez – USA, Pat Metheny
A good and balanced distance of the mics from the Rides and Crashes so that you don't get too much of one and not enough of the others.
12. Matt Greiner – USA, August Burns Red
We use two over head mics and a HiHat mic and the importance is actually in how the cymbals are hit and how tight the tension is. It comes down to personal preference but I prefer medium tension on cymbals.
13. Toni Mateos - Spain, Independent
There are many ways to place the microphones in a "live" context, depending on the style of music you are playing. For "Jazz situations" I like the mics taking the whole sound of the drum kit (cymbals and drums), placing them as high as I can. For "Rock situations", I like the mics a little closer to the cymbals, to avoid taking "noise" or "undesired frequencies".
14. Jacopo Volpe – Italy, Vanilla Sky
I prefer to use a single mic for every cymbal! I think it's the best solution
15. Darshan Doshi - India
Use two condenser mics. Also, it will be great if you can mike the Ride cymbal separately.
16. Mike Gaspar – Portugal, Moonspell
Well, our techs like to angle the microphones from the bottom of my HiHats. I have two overhead mic's R and L coming from the top of the kit for Crashes and Chinas. My Splashes have one mic direction in front for the definition, if not they get lost in the overhead mix's. The Crashes and Chinas just take too much space. My Ride depends on if we are at a festival outdoors or a club; it could be mixed from the bottom or top, or even not at all. It’s pretty loud!!!!
17. Marito Marques – Portugal, Independent
I like having the overheads close to the cymbals. I keep them both 43 inches away from the snare, this way I can have them close enough to the cymbals, while still letting the sound breathe.
18. Gavin Harrison – UK, Porcupine Tree/ King Crimson
Whatever the sound engineer suggests, but don't have them too close to any cymbal in particular.
19. Ash Soan - UK, Recording Artist
414's I guess.
20. Ben Gordon – Australia, Parkway Drive
Get a good engineer!
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