Tag Archives: Drum Recording

Drum Recording Techniques

Let’s face it – Many budding recordists are intimidated by the prospect of recording drums. There are so many questions and variables. Does my room sound good? Will I have phase issues? Do I have the right microphones? There are a lot of opinions on this topic and here on this blog, we’ve talked about it before.

Here is an excellent article by recording engineer Barry Rudolph from Pro Sound Web. Don’t be intimidated by the specific microphone recommendations. Not everyone (including yours truly) has access to such great microphones. However, many of us do have acceptable microphones with similar polar patterns. Here is a taste of what Mr. Rudolph has to say:

I find that recording drums has very much to do with your monitor mixing as well as the actual sound you are getting on both the individual drums and the total drum kit.

Sure, if I place the drum mix well above the rest of the backing tracks, I can hype the listener into thinking the drum sound is big and muscular. Tilted monitor mixes can make you think you have a great kick drum sound merely because it is very loud.

Pulling the drum mix back into a more realistic mix perspective reveals the true size of the drum recording as it blends with the rest of the instruments and vocals.

When placed in mix perspective, I can assess the relative tonality and balance of the individual drums and judge the overall kit-ambience quality. Low and high frequencies as well as dynamic range are also better judged at this level.

Click here to read the entire article with excellent information: Pro Sound Web The Wonderful World of Microphone Techniques for Drums

Hat tip to the twitter feed of Women’s Audio Mission. An excellent source of information for people interested in recording.

Simple Drum Recording Techniques

Drum recording can be complex. There are many different philosophies about recording a drum kit. I am a believer of the “simplicity is best” school of thought. After all, most of my all-time favorite recordings were done with very minimalistic drum mic set ups. When I record drums at Tangled Wire Studio, I end up using anywhere from one to three microphones, with a room mic added for an extra sparkle. Because my room is small and the style of music I record is suited for a minimalist setup, I am content.

One of the most famous drum mic techniques is the Glyn Johns, 3 mic technique. Here’s a video with the man himself explaining how it works:

Here’s another interesting video with legendary recordist Bob Clearmountain using a 4 microphone technique. (The Glyn Johns method, plus an extra mic for the snare.

How to record drums with four microphones from Apogee Electronics on Vimeo.

Hat tip to the always excellent Bobby Owswinski blog. If you’re not reading it, your missing out on a lot of great information.