Recording drums is not an exact science because no two sessions are the same. Drums, studio rooms, and microphones vary so much that there’s no single right answer.
Today, we’ll look at three simple techniques that can be applied to most setups, regardless of style.
The foundation of a strong drum sound lies in the kick drum. And since drums are the backbone of your instrumentation, the first step to creating a great song is setting up your kick drum microphones properly.
We have a few tips to get you started on the right foot…
This is the sixth installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today he focuses on toms. If you missed his latest post on miking snare drums, you can read it here.
As for my mic choice on the toms, I use condenser mics. For rack toms I love the ATM350’s. They are simple and easy to clip right on and can be placed exactly where you want them. Plus, with many drummers having the toms in close proximity to the overheads, it’s great to be able to get a nice low profile mic in place. For the floor toms I also use condenser mics, the AE3000’s. These mics have a bigger element in the mic and can really get a nice large sound from the drums while capturing the nice detail of the stick attack.
For placement, I get them super close to the skins. This helps get a cleaner signal being so close, but most of all, proximity effect applies here and adds more low end.
This is the fifth installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today, Part 2 of a two-part post about snares. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.
Steve Lagudi filming at A-T’s NAMM Booth.
This is the fourth installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today, Part 1 of a two-part post about snares. If you missed his latest post on miking kick drums, you can read it here.
Typically, people do a top and bottom mic. This is fine, but I do two top mics and a bottom. Why? Generally most engineers like to double mic a lot of important instruments, like kicks (other than myself), guitars and bass (di & mic) so they can blend different types of mics such as dynamics and condensers to achieve different tones. The other reason, which not a lot of folks realize, is that this helps bring out the snare further in the mix. A snare drum, I think, is pretty important to any mix and style of music. So having the additional mics makes it easier to get the snare to sit more up front in the mix without having to gain it way up or add in compression and crank up the make-up gain. This is the fourth installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today, Part 1 of a two-part post about snares. If you missed his latest post on miking kick drums, you can read it here.
Setting up drum microphones can be the most involved step in your recording process, but it doesn’t need to be the most expensive.
Here’s the best way to begin without breaking the bank.
1. Kick Drum Mics
Start with a PRO 25ax dynamic instrument mic placed just outside the hole on the kick drum. Since you’ll be using a single microphone on the kick drum, position the mic to pick up the attack from the batterhead through the hole while picking up the low-end from the front head at the same time.
This is the third installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today, Part 2 of a two-part post about kick drums. If you missed Part 1, read it here.
I almost never use a “sub” kick mic, however, when I do, it serves more as a back-up in case the main one goes down and I have yet to encounter that in my career. Plus, when you have the sub mic going, it’s a pain to get the phase right. Flipping it 180 degrees might improve it, but it never gets it right. However, dealing with digital consoles with channel delay is a whole other topic for discussion that I will go into at a later point. Another tid bit: high pass filters. I will use them if I can select the frequency and will sometimes roll off to 45-50Hz. Personally, I don’t think anyone needs anything down that low. I know speaker design is greatly improving, boasting how great they are at reproducing everything down that low and that’s great, but that does nothing for me with this style of music other than add mud to the mix.
This is the second installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today, Part 1 of a two-part post about kick drums. If you missed his first post on miking live drums, you can read it here.
Kick drums in metal are known for their “clicky” sound. Most of the time when you see a band live, or even on record, the kick drums are triggered…usually sounding like a typewriter. Personally, I can’t stand it! I am a fan of drums sounding natural. Many of the drummers that I work with who use triggers, I don’t end up using them out front. For monitor purposes, I think they are great, they cut right through and everyone can hear it, but for me, I don’t need triggers. I can get that clicky sound and much more just by using the right mic, placement and proper EQ.
This is the first installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on miking drums – today, he’ll begin discussing the art of miking live kits.
Metal and hard-rock is notorious for having huge drum sounds (as well as everything else). It is very common for most drummers to have pretty large drum kits that will require a lot of mics to capture their full sound. Obviously you will have to deal with a lot of bleed from all those mics, bashing drummers, screaming loud monitors and amps on stage – making it a joy to mic it all up. Now everyone thinks I am outta my mind when they see my input list. Every drum having its own mic, often times several mics. Then comes show time and they are floored at how I am able to take all that and get a huge, in your face, deep, clear drum sound. I get asked the same question each and every time: “How do you do it?”
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.