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Hi again,

I recently heard about this '3 Mics Technique for Drums' invented by Glynn/Andy John, however, I couldn't find a visual representation of the setup. I was wondering if anyone can give me a clearer explanation of how to achieve this technique?

And if anyone would like to share their own/favorite 3 mic technique, that would be awsome, too!

Thanks, again for all your invaluable suggestions.




JoeH Fri, 02/25/2005 - 20:25

Well, i'm not sure Glyn or Andy actually 'invented' that technique, but who knows? I could be dead wrong about it.

I assume you're talking about the kick, snare & overhead technique a lot of jazz recordings used, as well as many early pop and rock recordings did, long before it became fashionable to mic everything that moved (or didn't) in the studio. There are a few variations on it (esp distance to, or in front of, or somewhere around the bass drum) but the overly simple approach is 1. Bass drum mic, 2. Snare mic, 3. Overhead mic.

1 is panned center, and its placement (and eq) is optimized to favor the kick drum. I've seen the position of it also used to capture some of the low toms, or even put on the rear side, to pick up more of the beater. Depends a lot on the genre of music; you can also pull it farther out in front to get more of the overall kit sound, too.

2 is aimed at the snare in the traditional manner, but also oriented to pick up the Hi-hat as well. (not as tight, coming in from slightly above and to the side.)

3 is the overhead, but often moved a bit more towards the rack and floor toms, and of course high enough to pick up the cymbals without over-emphasizing them. This mic is often panned a bit more to the left.

You can get a very usuable, realistic drum sound with this using good mics; esp if the room sound is good, and if the drums are tuned up properly. It's not always the best way to go if it's a loud band or noisey situation, but it does work, esp if mics and inputs are at a premium.

If that's the technique you're referring to, it's been around a long long time, long before the Mssrs Johns' fine careers took shape in the 60s and 70s.

anonymous Sat, 02/26/2005 - 12:02

The "equipment doesn't matter" thread is alluding to photographers, so I'll quote one of the greats, Greg Heisler: the photographer must choose the appropriate response to the subject.

TRANSLATED: You would not use colored gels and a soft focus filter on a portrait of a CEO for Fortune magazine. Conversely, the musical role of the drumset in Beatles et al is a very different thing than most jazz idioms, and can be miked in an even more minimalist manner, often only a single mic or stereo pair in front of the drums.

As always, however, listen and then decide!