Recording drums???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by odie, Sep 14, 2000.

  1. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    This relates somewhat to my thread on recording equipment digital versus analog. I am planning on getting Cubase or CakeWalk recording software along with a Echo Darla card...
    But I will also need a mixing board. And I was wondering what you people do for recording basic demos when it comes to miking the drums. Budget is limited so the larger boards hurt the pocket book. One mic per drum etc?? Or a few mics spread out?? A board that is a 8 channel with 4 mic inserts cost $199 and 8 will cost $299-$399.

    Give me your advice and past experience.
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    With only four mics, my first recommendation would be this: Kick, snare, and two condensers for overheads. This gives you a good overall sound of the kit, and still keeps the flexability of separate snare/kick micing. I've also had great results with just kick and two overheads.

    the key is to experiment, you can get good, usable results with one or two mics as well

  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This was the one reason in the 80s why I started using drum machines! I found that it was impossible to get a decent sound out of real drums with cheap "home studio" gear.

    Although at the time I didn't like the idea and always preferred a real drummer, the sound from recording drum machines was infinitely better than anything I could get from recording a live drummer.

    There are so many problems and pitfalls - I can remember spending whole days trying to get a decent drum sound and it still sounded like someone hitting cardboard boxes!

    You've also got problems with sound spilling into all the mics so if later you want to turn one sound up or down you can't because it would also have "bled" into the other mics.

    Plus most drummers I worked with would hit things differently every time, so your careful setup would distort wildly once they got going and they were always slightly speeding up and slowing down, which you only noticed when you tried to synchronise other things later. Because of course, devoting so many mics to the drummer meant you couldn't record anything else at the same time.

    My conclusion was that without pro-quality gear and a lot of money, you could forget about a decent "real" drum sound and I think this is one of the main reasons for the proliferation of the drum machine in the 80s to 90s.
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Right my 2p on your question and points raised.

    I hate drum machines BUT if you want a slick drum sound or are making dance music then a drum machine or MC303 or running loops on your PC should be considered. Live drums on a budget wont sound like a pro CD.If you want to use live drums and are prepared to work at it like me then these are the accepted methods.

    AS stated before try 3 or 4 mikes with bass with or without snare and 2 condensor overheads. The 2 mike method is very 'live' or pots and pans like and is 2 dynamics 4ft in front of the kit 4ft high and apart aimed at the kick drum.I have not had much success with the above. After desperation set in I came up with this set up. Dynamics in the kick, under the snare and over the hi hat aimed at the ride. I dont use toms so the main elements are close miked (sort of). I set the trim by trial and error and leave it there. I record flat and dry and it sounds fine TO ME. And thats the point isnt it? I use a unique and possibly loony method to get close to what I wanted for my lo fi one man indie 'style' (hey thats going on the album cover :) )

    So as with everything listen to ALL the advice and make your own mind up. Happy recording.
  5. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I completely agree with Bruce. From my own experience...I know that getting a good drum sound is indeed tricky.
    People might also be surprised, if they knew how many bands record with digital drums. At the high costs of a recording studio...they cannot spend a lot of time "trying" to get the sound right.
  6. Drums are the hardest instrument to record! People spend a lifetime trying to find the elusive holy grail of drum sounds. Try and convince your drummer to buy his own mics. Tell him that "all the other drummers have them." For your budget the method Pacman described would be best. For cymbals condensers sound the best because they have a nice crisp sound. You're definitely gonna need a good mic for the bass drum, though. I use an AKG D112. <p>
    It's really important to mic it in a room without any natural reverb. That'll make the bass and toms all muddy(same for bass guitar) Just have fun, man!