Do you change your dynamics or intensity when playing mic'd vs. unmic'd?

KEEF

Senior Member
I have to consciously NOT play louder at bigger gigs - play the same, let the mics do the work. I find myself making mistakes through trying to hit harder.
And also the stage volume then becomes an issue. It's a fight with the plank wankers - big gig - crank the back lines up....NO!!
Leave the backlines alone - push it through the pa, because my ears are staring to bleed!!!🥴
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Mic's vs Un-mic'd? No. The room - the music - the balance of what I'm hearing - constantly effects it. But mic'd or not doesn't really play into it.
I agree with room, music, balance, etc 100%, but disagree on reinforced or not being of no / little consideration. Some kit elements translate well unmic’d, but some do not, especially the bass drum in lower dynamic sections. For example, if I’m feathering or in a section using grace notes on the bass drum, my approach varies considerably between mic’s & no mic's. Still very much influenced by the more important factors you mention, but mic context really factors in, especially relating to the low end delivery experienced by the audience.

I get in a perfect world all systems & engineers would strive for realistic representation of the stage sound, but, at least in my world, that’s rarely the case, leaving me to adjust around them. Judging my internal dynamics is so much easier un-mic'd for sure, but regrettably, outside of a rehearsal setting, that’s a maybe once or twice a year experience these days.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I agree with room, music, balance, etc 100%, but disagree on reinforced or not being of no / little consideration. Some kit elements translate well unmic’d, but some do not, especially the bass drum in lower dynamic sections.
I play the same ratio, depending on the needs of the music.
Bass drum I always play 90% strength, able to go 100% at climaxes, important moments. Snare is at 75%, toms about the same. Hi-hats and cymbals 50 to 60% volume.
This is mic'ed or unmic'ed.
For the music I play, bass drum and snare are the foundation, hi-hat and cymbals are the embellishments. In a no mic situation the band wants to hear the downbeat (kick) and the back beat (snare). In a mic'ed situation (live or studio) the engineer wants to hear the low, duller kit pieces played strongly while the hard, brighter kit pieces played less hard.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I think I do to a degree based on how big the room is, how many people, what kind of music I'm playing etc.
I'll go heavier on the sticks if I need more volume, but I don't really hit any harder.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Dynamics? - Yes...slightly more narrow in total velocity range for a mic'ed set.
Intensity? - No.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I honestly bring the same drum set into any room, and then also adjust accordingly using my ears and hands. .I don't have "big room" gear; "small room" gear;; "cement room" gear etc.

I do have a rock set and a jazz set, and don't mix those up
 

treygray

New Member
Good afternoon!

For me only on a session. I noticed a while ago that I was kinda "self-compressing" my sound when playing at concert volume.

Live and on sessions I don't put drums in my ear mix at all. No butt thumper either. I do put bass and all the electric guitars in a small wedge live.

cheers and blessings, Trey
 

moxman

Silver Member
I go by getting a good monitor mix for the whole band first.. so it sounds like a comfortable volume.. like in your practice space.. then the sound eng can crank up the FOH speakers to whatever level he needs. BUt without a good stage mix all bets are off.
I tend to hit the same level in most situations unless it's a small venue where no mics are required.. and it's a judgement call - playing for the room. I don't want to kill people's ears or be 'that annoying drummer'.. it has to gel with the band sound.

BUt I hear ya.. it's a good point. I find you generally have to hit the drums hard enough to keep that snap in your groove.. too light and it almost becomes lazy or unconvincing - you need to have presence and drive the band.. and the groove is generally tighter when you play with authority.
 

caddywumpus

Archnemesis of Larryace
I play no different, and I adjust to the volume around me. Peace and goodwill.
This.

I try to balance with whatever situation I’m in. I balance my playing with the musicians and the room, so that I’m neither underpowered nor overpowered. One of the best compliments I’ve gotten from a fellow drummer was that they noticed I played differently in different venues, and that it was totally appropriate.
 

1 hit wonder

Well-known Member
Being less experienced with fully mic'ed situations, I did ask for all the kick to be taken out of my monitor on the occasions that we've played with drums mic'ed. It was amping up my play and tempo.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Being less experienced with fully mic'ed situations, I did ask for all the kick to be taken out of my monitor on the occasions that we've played with drums mic'ed. It was amping up my play and tempo.
I only like having my voice in my monitor so I get that entirely. Why make yourself go deaf with drums in the monitor unless you play with a screaming loud stadium act?
 
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