7 Basic Tips for Drum Mic Setup & Recording

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 12.48.51 PMSetting up microphones for your drums is a crucial process.  After all, the drums are the backbone of the song.

We breakdown the mics we recommend for different parts of the kit piece by piece and also provide some basic drum mic recording tips.


bass1. Bass Drum Mics 

We recommend you position a cardioid dynamic microphone, like the ATM250, inside the bass drum to capture the attack and punch of your bass drum. You should balance it with a cardioid condenser mic on the outside, like the AT4047/SV, to strengthen the low end.



drum mics2. Hi-hat Mic

On the hi-hat, we like a cardioid condenser, in this case the ATM450 with the pad on and the 80Hz roll-off engaged to mitigate the bass drum leak.


3. Snare Drum Mics

microphonesOn the top, we have an ATM650 hypercardioiod dynamic positioned just outside the rim. Underneath, we have another ATM450 cardioid condenser with the 10dB pad on to pick up the snare. The bottom snare should always be flipped out of phase and the 80Hz roll-off should be engaged to reduce bleed from the kick and the toms.


drum mics4. Toms

On both toms, we like other cardioid condenser mics, the AE3000s, with the 10dB pads on. Place them about 3 inches above the drum – facing straight down.




microphones5. Ride Cymbal

On the ride, we have an AT4041 small condenser with the 80Hz roll-off engaged. Position it above the ride and never allow the side of the cymbal to touch the mic element or you’ll have some terrible sounds on your recording.



microphones6. Overhead Mics

For the overheads, we like to have two AT4050 condensers in a spaced cardioid arrangement with no pad and no roll-off.



rom7. The Room

For miking the room, we have a pair of AT4080 ribbon mics in a Blumlein configuration about ten feet in front of the kit and about four feet off the ground.


Check out our full video here:

What does your full drum kit mic setup look like? Tell us about the techniques you use in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter. Keep checking the blog for more microphone tips!



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