To continue our series on drum mics and recording drums, we’ll tackle setting up mics for the room. These are the mics that add depth and ambience to the overall sound of the drum kit. The added space these microphones provide can really bring the drums to life in the mix.
The Room Mics
1. Use a pair of AT4050 multi-pattern condenser microphones in an X-Y configuration, positioned eight feet in front of the kit. “X-Y” means the microphones are as close together as possible and 90 degrees off axis from each other. This configuration gives a focused, phase-coherent stereo picture of the kit in the room. The further the mics are from the kit, the more ambient the sound. You should experiment to find the sweet spot in your room.
2. Use the same condenser microphones in the same spot in a mid/side configuration. In mid/side, one mic is set to cardioid and pointed directly at the kit. The other element is oriented perpendicular to the mid element and set to figure 8. This is the side channel. In the control room, the side channel is split into two channels and the right side is flipped out of phase. These are panned hard left and right and combined with the mid signal panned dead center, balancing the stereo image.
3. Use an all-in-one recording solution with Audio-Technica’s AT4050ST stereo condenser. The mic contains one cardioid and one figure 8 element in a mid/side arrangement in one housing for maximum flexibility and easy setup. The AT4050ST features a 10dB pad, 80Hz roll-off, and 3 output modes.
4. Use a single mono room mic. The AT4060 tube mic can capture a warm, high-detail, full-range picture of the kit in the room.
We hope, as always, that you’ve learned something useful in our crash course on miking the room when you record your drums. The sweet spot will vary, so play around with how far you position your room mics until you get the sound you’re looking for.
Check out the full video below: