Discuss gear and techniques for recording and stage performance
By OldManSlerm
Hello and warm wishes.

I will be playing the part of the New Guy today, and I have prepared a veritable bombardment of New Guy questions. Lets get started! :)

I have a long history with rudimentary percussion. Nothing to fancy or noteworthy, but always able to keep a good beat for my guitar playing cohorts. Lately I have had more time to begin evolving it from an enjoyable activity to more of a mainline hobby of sorts.

Which brings me to the guitar playing cohorts and their well established, local and easily accessible, always entertaining and musically magical 'open mic nights'. I love joining them to add some rhythm, and lay down a beat, but generally I feel that the only person who can actually hear me is the guy (or gal) standing beside me playing and singing. I am always being asked why I play so quiet, or why I am not pounding louder. As a percussionist, I have always weighed control over volume. And as a guy dusting off his djembe or congas once in a great while, not professionally, I just do not feel comfortable "pounding the sh-- out of it", (as I am often advised by the strings) and maintaining any quality of control.

I also have no background or know how, where... engineering? is it called? is involved. I know the difference between an amp, a cable, and a board. Anything beyond that is confusion and headache for someone else. The likes of which I am blessed to know plenty of. Unfortunately, I am a lone beater of drum in an ocean of pickers of string. When I ask the 'engineers?' what kind of mics I should look at or get for my drums, so I can play for the audience and not the other players, I get only blank stares and added confusion in the form of questions about engineering that I have know idea how to interpret, let alone answer.

So here I am. I have looked around, read, snooped a bit, and this seems to be the best place to ask my questions. I am only in it for the music. Life is rhythm. Rhythm is life. Namaste.

But those engineers. They need me to walk in with plugs. So here I am. I have read where some certain mics are far more recommended for certain settings (live/recording/etc). What would the consensus recommendation be for a two mic setup? One for the head, and one around the hole for the lower end. Inexpensive (not 'cheap'), durable, and preferably something that can stay mounted in place, but be small enough to be out of the way in a fully acoustic setting. I do not know if it is even an issue, but I want the cable/wire to be removable from the base of the mic for those acoustic settings, as well.

Some more specifics that could effect your recommendations:

-Actual plugged in, powered on, usage (for the mics, not the drums) is at this time around twice a month, and all drums are otherwise kept indoors in a rec('reation', not 'ording') room/music room, where they may or may not be used acoustically at any given time.

-This is a Djembe forum, and I am primarily interested in mic'ing the Djembe. I mention the congas because if it works out for the Djembe, I may duplicate this project for them.

-I do travel with the Djembe, and join in with other acoustic drum players whenever I can, so being rugged enough to handle the outdoors (the mic setup), even if not being powered/used, is important to me.

-The only time I would be plugged in is in a seated, still position. I have heard of small, personal, control boxes that a good engineer can work his or her 'dark magic' on once and plugged in with the same 'dark engineering magic' any time after. I would not say I prefer this, but it does have a certain appeal to a guy like me. I have engineer-types available to help me with the fine tuning.

I think that covers it. :)

Thank you in advance.
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By Rhythm House Drums
Welcome to the forum!

I've heard that complaint a lot, "drum harder man!!" Lots of sound techs dont think alt. percussion like djembe and conga need to be miked up, cause it's usually softer accent in an acoustic performance.

A mic that is going to do you well for live performance is a sure SM57 or SM58 which is a little warmer and probably better for conga. These are dynamic mics so they do not need "power". They both can be miked close to the drum and are directional, meaning they will only pick up sound from where they are pointed. The SM57 is more directional, where the SM58 has a broader profile, which aids to the warmth of the sound. They're pretty cheap, can usually be found used for 75 bucks, run about 100 new. They are known for being very rugged. There are lots of fakes on ebay and craigslist so be sure to get from a trusted source.
Here is a little article I did on recording using different mics.
http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com/blog/20 ... embe-drum/

If you want the bottom end to be more pronounced with the djembe, you can add a second mic at the sound hole. The bottom end usually isn't too important in an acoustic mix, and you will pick up some with the SM57/58 miked up top.

Hope this helps!