Recording Fully Miked Drums to 2 Tracks L/R

Discussion in 'Drums' started by digidan00, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. digidan00

    digidan00 Guest

    Has anyone had any experience recording a fully miked drumset (7-Mics or more) to a stereo track? If you have, please share your experience and techniques to get a good sound.
  2. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    Years ago this is what I used to do:

    Gate, parametric eq and compressor over the kick drum channel
    Compressor over the snare drum channel
    Subgroup the toms and put a stereo compressor over that subgroup
    Overheads (2 x AKG 451s in a stereo crossed pair configuration - rolled off at the mic and also at the desk)
    I used to take out some eq at 500 Hz for the Toms (subject to listening to them unaffected first though)

    And that was basically it. Of course you lose lots of control in the mix with just stereo drums, but if you ain't got enough tracks in the first place what else can a poor boy do?
  3. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    Eugene, Oregon

    Been there, done that, feel for ya...

    It's tricky, of course, because you can't really do much after the fact if the kick drum is too quiet, or the cymbals are too loud, or whatever. A little EQ and/or compression after recording can help, but obviously the overall balances can not really be changed.

    Therefore my suggestion is to spend as long as it takes to get the drum sound you want before recording. Have your drummer play and record a little bit (preferrably with other musicians, too, but they may not like all the time this is going to take). Then listen back and hear what adjustments need to be made. Make those, then play and record a little more. Continue like that until you have the balance you want. I have recorded some pretty decent stereo drum tracks this way - when I was the drummer and recording engineer (7 mics). It takes time and patience.

    As far as specifics for micing, compression, etc., you don't state what you have, and there are thousands of ways to approach drum recording anyway. There are a number of great threads on these forums that you can search through for more info.

    Have fun!

  4. digidan00

    digidan00 Guest

    Thanks Kinetic and DrumRob for your great advice. I knew it would be a challenge.

    Something that I didn't think of was that I should do testing with the other musicians, and that's the tough part. They are cool guys but I don't know how they'll handle a few hours of testing.

    Maybe I should invest in the MOTU 896HD FireWire Audio Interface so I can record 8 channels at once, but then it boils down to how many tracks and plugins my computer can handle.

    Doing live stuff is a new territory for me, all of my previous work has been Midi and Samples. So here I go!
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I personally would not compress drums to the recorder. I don't see any reason to do that.

    A good compromise to placing each drum to it's own track is to have the kick and snare on their own tracks and the to get everything else with a good pair of LD condensers overhead... all on four tracks. Been there, done that, many times with good results ... you just have to get the drummer to keep from beating the snot out of the cymbals and to really "dig into" (smack the crap out of) the toms.. A variation on this theme ... one overhead LD condenser ... placed in front of and aimed at the kit, a snare and kick mic ... all to 3 tracks .... yeah sure it's mono but so what ???
  6. digidan00

    digidan00 Guest

    That's a good point. I usually don't add any compression to any of my stuff until I have it in my computer, then I use my plugins, (Yes, I know is not the same as the hardware stuff, but my budget can't buy high-end stuff). And 4 tracks doesn't sound bad, at least you have the kick and the snare by themselves to tweak.

    Thanks Kurt.
  7. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Central Copenhagen
    Large diaphragm vs. small diaphragm on drum kits. In which way do they influence the sound? What do you prefer, and why? I haven't tried miking drum kits yet, but on chamber music ensembles I get the sense that small diaphragm microphones ('pencil' mics) are more vivid and linear. It's very possible that it's mostly related to the microphones themselves rather than the LD/SD issue. (The dull sound of the large diaphragm microphones I'm talking about was also with a pair of Audix CX-101, so that might explain something...)
  8. digidan00

    digidan00 Guest

    I'm using a combination of mics, Large and small, so I'll be doing much experimenting moving the mics around.

    I'm starting out with some suggestions on miking that I've read but the will continue to experiment. For example, I've read that it is best to use small diaphragm mics for overheads and hi-hat and the large diaghragm on the toms and kick. This is where I will start.

    I'm using these mics:
    Cad Equitek E-200 - Rode NT1
    (2) Cad 95 - (2) Rodes NT3 - Samson C01

    Not a great list, but this is what I have to work with.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    LD mics have more mass in the diaphragm so they react to a transient a bit slower than a SD would ...this contributes to a sense that they are "duller" .. and is a chief reason the late Stephen Paul pioneered research and development into the now widley implimented 3 micron diaphragm. Before Stephen Paul's research and development, the diaphragms of LD mics were as thick a 7 microns! It's a crime that he didn't recieve more credit for this work he did before his passing, that so many now are taking advantage of.

    LDs are larger (uh, duh!) so they have a "broader" pick up pattern ... a bit less focused and have a bit more tendency to pick up ambient sound, especially if they are in a cardioid pattern.

    In short it is a broader brush (LD) vs. a smaller brush (SD) .. Choose your tool and create!
  10. digidan00

    digidan00 Guest

    Thanks Kurt,

    I'll keep my ears peeled, and depending on each song, I might have to switch things around.

    I really push myself to get the cleanest and the best sound into the DAW for minimum tweaking once it's recorded.

Share This Page