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How to record drums

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Filipus, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013
    Well, the only recording equipment that i have is a IO|2 express, so... 2 inputs.

    I wanted to know the best way possible to record the drums, where should i put the microphones, should i even use microphones?!?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. If you only have 2 inputs than you can use a stereo micing technique. Like a XY at about 2 meters in front of the drums.
  3. Or one for the kick and a overhead.
  4. "Best" depends on what the recordings are meant to do. For that matter, so does "best compromise." Unless you're going for a version of unprocessed natural kit, "best possible" two-mic technique might be thinking inside the wrong box. OTOH, even if you're looking for a super-processed throwback RAWK sound, two-mics will do if all you want the tracks for is an arrangement demo.
  5. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    i use a big røde condenser just to the right and above my head. and a shure b52 in the bass. i have some small condensers for closemiking toms if i want..shure beta 98..
    a little submixer? depends on the room /what you want. but ive gotten amazing results with just the two. drums itself has to sound good of course..
  6. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    1 on the kick
    1 over head
  7. This.
  8. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013
    Hm... I'll try the kick/overhead thing.
    I was for recording a demo or simply drum ideas, nothing big.
    Recording the kick, where should i place the mic? Or its better that i test it myself?
  9. Kick + overhead can give good results w/ little phase interference and the ability to pan the kick a few degrees opposite the bass guitar. OTOH, a coincident stereo pair will give you excellent phase coherence and the ability to adjust the stereo spread of the kit. Which works better for a track depends on your mic locker and whether the song's arrangement and mix will leave more room in the center of the mix or at the wings.

    Since you generally want to avoid radical eq surgery w/ two-mic drum tracks, I'd suggest a co-incident pair if you want to be able to leave some room in the center of the track for the vocals to breath. Of course, if you instead record kick + OH, you could always pan the OH track slightly to get the snare out of the way of the vox. Whether that works for you will be a matter of taste.
  10. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    If you can, borrow a small 4 channel mixer and a couple more mics, and look up the Glynn Johns drum micing technique. Submix that to stereo outs from the board into your 2 ins.

    2 mics crossed in a stereo config as described earlier will get the job done, but you won't get any real impact or imaging out of it that you can tweak...you won't be able to boost or mix the kick or snare...

  11. ^ Right, which is why if this were to be for public release, I'd have suggested tracking drums in a facility with a good sounding drum room and a decent mic locker. (In fact, in that case, I'd probably have recommended tracking everything in a better equipped room, depending on instrumentation etc.)

    But for a personal-reference recording, a co-incident stereo pair can suffice. You won't be able to boost the kick, for example; but if needed you will be able to add some parametric boost b/w 60-80 Hz, and a hi-pass below that to essentially beef up the kick.
  12. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    I hear ya, I was in no way discounting your post, I was merely suggesting if he had access or the means to go that one little bit farther....who knows how good it would sound for him beyond the two mic, and maybe be the muse to take the music that little step further...

    Good luck with whichever method you use.
  13. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    If I were in your situation, I would either get a small mixer with enough channels to handle a sufficient level of mic'ing to accomplish your goal for the project. From there, get your mics together and create submixes. You'll be stuck with the submix, so take some time and get it right.

    If that's not an option, I would get triggers, or an electronic kit and send MIDI out to Superior Drummer 2.0, or other programs like that.
  14. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Did you entirely miss my post three above yours? ;) I mean, it's a less than one page thread.
  15. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    Most of the suggestions here would be what I would do, one on the kick one on the overhead. Recording drums is 80% drums, 10% mics and 10% preamps as far as gear goes. Obviously skill plays the biggest part. A bad drum set will sound bad no matter what your recording gear is. New heads and tune the kit well. I once recorded a terrible drum set in one of the nicest studios in the us, then spent months trying to make the kit sound good. That kit haunted my dreams.
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Agree with previous suggestions. That's how I have done it.

    That said, I detest recording drums. They NEVER sound right to my ear. I try to get them to the point where they don't bug me. And it is a big problem because the snare has to be right out front in the mix to get everything lined up. GL
  17. Just try it out and experiment.

    1- stereo X-Y in front of the kit.
    2- stereo X-Y over the drummer's head (getting sort of the balance that he is hearing and creating)
    3- kick and overhead

    Try them out and hear for your self what the results sound like. It is not like the digital recording is costing you more money per take. The time you take to experiment and listen back to recordings is your education.

    Don't discount the X-Y technique. A good drum kit, with an excellent drummer will sound great without any "recording engineer interference". It is style dependant too. Ie. for a jazz kit, jazz drummer, jazz song and only 2 mics, the "1 mic on bass drum + 1 overhead" approach seems to be a waste of a mic on the bass drum. But for another style of music, where the bass drum is used more, it will work better.

    Just do it. Make a list of options and then do each one, listening for the preferred sound for your project. Then go with that.
  18. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Wow, you're super helpful. Reiterating a point when someone is asking for help has never happened in the history of online forums. I'm so foolish... I'll call my mother and let her know what a failure I've become.
  19. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013
    Thanks guys, i'll try it. If it works well i'll post it here :)