Drum Overhead Microphone Comparison

Roswell Pro Audio makes several different studio condenser microphones. Unlike some companies that make a bunch of similarly-voiced microphones that differ primarily in cost or paint, Roswell mics differ in sound. They each have a unique sonic color and character.

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The Mini K47 features a mid-forward sound with a neutral top end. The cymbals are nicely integrated into the mix, not harsh or overbearing. The mic's ~4kHz presence bump pushes the snare and toms forward in the mix.

Hear the Mini K47 matched pair on drum OH here:

Or click here to learn more about the Mini K47 Stereo Matched Pair.

The Delphos II features a very neutral and uncolored sound. Its circuit was designed for high-resolution, very accurate transient response. On drums, the Delphos II sounds clean and controlled. Cymbals are slightly muted (which for many drummers is a useful trick).

Hear the Delphos II on drum overheads here:

Or click here to learn more about the Delphos II.

The Colares is our biggest and boldest sounding microphone.

Because this microphone was designed primarily to create character for vocal recordings, it saturates at moderate SPL. You will hear the mic pushed into distortion on one of the snare hits in the middle of the clip, and on the high tom at the end of the clip. If your Colares distorts during a drum overhead session, there are two easy ways to remedy it: (1) engage the mic's pad (which was switched off for this session) or (2) move the mics farther from the source. For higher mic placements and/or quieter players, the Colares can be used with pad disabled for a thicker sound. For louder drummers and/or lower mic placements, engage the pad to reduce harmonic coloration and increase headroom.

The Colares is, predictably, the biggest-sounding mic here, with bright cymbals and a more ambient, roomier sound overall.

Hear the Colares on overheads here:

Or click here to learn more about the Colares.

You might also be interested in this earlier comparison of the Mini K47 to the original Delphos. The original Delphos is no longer made; the new Delphos II includes numerous upgrades as well as a 3-way pattern switch. But the two Delphos mics sound the same in Cardioid mode, making this earlier video still relevant.

Signal Path

All microphones were plugged into a Trident console, with no EQ, no compression, and no effects. Each channel was recorded into Logic (DAW), again with no EQ, compression, or effects.


Mic Position

The overhead mics were positioned in an AB (spaced pair) configuration, with one mic roughly above the rack tom and the other roughly above the floor tom.

This technique is based on recommendations by George Massenburg. The idea is to keep both microphones equidistant from both kick and snare. To achieve this, consider a line connecting the center of the kick to the center of the snare; put one mic some distance to the left of that line (that is: roughly above the first rack tom) and the second an equal distance to the right of that line (roughly above the floor tom).

The more distance between the mics, the wider the stereo field would be.

The higher the mics stand above the floor, the more room sound the mics will record.



The first clip showcases the Mini K47s.

Download the WAV audio here.



The second clip showcases the Delphos, which were mounted in the same position as the Mini K47s.

You will immediately hear the neutral, almost U67-ish top end of the Delphos, as well as the very full lows. There is no kick mic in this clip; you're hearing the bass drum through the overhead mics (!).

Download the WAV audio here.



The third clip alternates between segments of the Mini K47 and Delphos. Note that the two microphone models were not recorded simultaneously, so you will hear subtle performance differences between the Mini K47 and Delphos tracks. Still, you will get a clear idea of the differences in tonality of the two models.

There is no WAV audio of this, but you can make your own A/B comparison using the individual WAV files linked above.



The final clip is a 4-mic set-up using two Mini K47s as OH, one Delphos (with pad engaged) in front of the kick, and a second Delphos (in Omni mode) as a mono room mic.

Download the WAV audio here. (We don't have the four mono tracks, but only this stereo mix... which includes the room mic and the kick mic solo'd briefly, as is shown in the video.)


What next?

If you enjoyed this video, you'll probably really like our Mini K47 demo video too.