Skip to main content

Recording Heavy Drums Wednesday, Equipment knowledge needed

My post-hardcore/grindcore band is recording this Wednesday (hopefully). We were going to have a friend with a bunch of recording equipment record us but she's too busy so we're trying to rent equipment in addition to the equipment I have right now. Which is...

1 Boom Mic Stand
1 6 foot vertical stand
1 bass drum mic stand
2 20' Microphone cables
1 Shure SM58 Vocal Mic
1 Shure SM57 Instrument Mic
1 Perception 150 Condenser Mic
1 Inspire GT Audio Interface (Connects via Firewire cable)
and a Mac OS X laptop with garage band and not installed cubase

We're going to do track by track recording with the top number of tracks on a song being 6 (2 vocal tracks, 1 guitar, 1 bass, 1 keyboard, drums)

The most difficult thing to record is obviously going to be the drum set. As by necessity the drum set consists of 2 snare drums, a bass drum with double bass, 7 cymbals not including 2 hi-hat stands, and a floor tom.

We're going to be renting equipment from A/V Chicago ( Here's what I was planning on renting (I'm thinking mostly right now about the drums)

6 microphone input mixer - Mackie 1402-VLZ3
2 Shure SM57 Mics
1 Shure Beta 52
1 Shure SM94 Condensor Mic
4 boom stands
(All microphones come with mic cables)

Meaning we would mic all the drums and then just put two condenser mics for the cymbals/hi-hats, run this all through the six channel mixer and put left/right into my audio interface and then onto garage band.

If you guys foresee any problems with my plan, please let me know.


Boswell Tue, 05/15/2007 - 07:37
You'll be up all night trying to mike that lot up! For a first recording, you could start with just the Beta 52 on the kick, the two 57s on the snares and a pair of overheads. The overheads should be matched condensers, panned L and R of centre. You might consider swapping the hired SM94 for a pair of AKG C414s or Rode NT5s. There are many threads on these forums about drum kit miking - use the search feature and see what others have had to recommend. I've used the Beta 52 on kick as a stage mic, but I prefer an Audix or a Beyer M88 in the studio.

The Mackie 1402 should be OK for mixing, but leave lots of headroom on the inputs when laying down the drum track. If you are going straight to 2-track, how are you going to monitor and balance the mix?

Have you got headphones and a headphone amp for the tracking?

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 05/15/2007 - 10:08
Multoc is a guy you'd want to ask. I'd second the 414s for overheads--my suggestion is to try to get a nice stereo image of the whole kit (namely cymbals and toms) with these, but rather use the other mics as triggers of sorts (just picking up transients and dynamics) into a drum-replacement program (i.e. [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.drumagog…"]Drumagog[/]="http://www.drumagog…"]Drumagog[/]) for at least the kick/s and snare.

The benefits: Basically only the overheads to worry about as far as kit sound, and then you can sample your favorite snare ("43% Burnt," perhaps?) and kick and implement them to taste. It also eliminates having to tune the 2 kicks precisely with one another after every 3 takes. Note: the money you'd spend on a program like Drumagog might not be much more than the mics you intend to rent, and it's yours to keep thereafter.

The cons: Drumagog uses lots of resources and is a burden if you're not comfortable with it. It can also sound terrible if you pick a bad sample, or get into trouble if you "lift" something that has a recognizable sonic signature.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 05/15/2007 - 17:01
Well thanks for the replies but not exactly what I was looking for... I might have not phrased as best as possible in my first post.

I don't have access to everything your talking about, hence why I posted this on budget gear.

Yes I'm going with two outputs, to an audio interface that firewires to a computer.

However today the head of the music department at my school told me he can lend me 4 boom stands, 2 sm57's and a Yahama 6 channel mixer. So yeah.

Basically all I want to know is if it's going to be a mistake to use the two different brands of condenser mics for the cymbals. (as I said SM 95 and Perception 150) and if the Beta 52 is going to explode and die (which it doesn't sound as if it will).

As for headphones and headphone amp, no I don't necessarily have that. I have a pair of EXTREMELY nice head phones (Bose On Ear Headphones) but am not sure if they'll work in this situation... I'm imagining I'll just balance it all on the mixer as according to how it sounds on the computer, and record it once I have a decent sound. Reason being I imagine if I plug headphones directly into the mixer, I doubt I would even really be able to hear the mix... with the equipment I have I might be able to get the mixer a room or so over but not much more than that. We're going to literally be recording in my basement, which is well insulated in-between floors but I don't know how well in-between rooms.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 05/24/2007 - 06:29
So how much $

How much money are you going to be shelling out for this project? I've been where you're at and I haven't kept a thing of what I recorded back then. My suggestion is to make sure everyone knows the songs inside and out, scrounge some money together and go to a demo studio or someone else around who has the gear and has put in a lot of hours diving into the learning curve. Atleast there you should have minimal cost, minimal bleed over of other instruments, and it will sound decent.

Drums are the most tricky and frustrating thing to record. You'll spend all day trying to get the right mix with the set up you've described. I've seen frustration in the studio do very bad things to bands.

I hope this doesn't ruin your day.

Davedog Thu, 05/24/2007 - 09:11
Spending your budget money wisely is a very good suggestion. Hopefully you'll listen to it. I'm sure there are more than enough budget studios in the area that will able to record your music for around the same amount as your rental and will do a much better job than you can even imagine doing with the setup you have indicated you'll being using.

Putting something together haphazardly without a LOT of knowledge and expecting any sort of result can be frustrating and lead to some harsh reactions amoungst even the best of friends and bandmates.

Recording isnt all that easy especially a full kit and a bunch of loud guitars in an untreated acoustical environment.

Call around and get some quotes. Go to your local music store and ask them if they know someone with a studio. You'd be surprised whos out there at a very reasonable price with good gear and the knowledge to help you .