Recording drums is tricky.
You’re just throwing a bunch of mics together, all aimed at separate drums that are somehow supposed to record a punchy and tight drum sound.
Terrifying isn’t it?
All those microphones phasing each other out and making your snare drum thin, your cymbals wishy-washy and your toms boomy.
What’s an engineer gotta do to make those drums sound good?
First Phase First
The #1 thing you should worry about when recording drums is phase. With all those microphones together you’re inevitable looking at some phase issues and cancellation.
The biggest victim in this whole phase debacle is the snare drum
- Using two snare drum mics? Phase problems.
- Misalign the overheads? Phase problems.
So before you even start recording you gotta make goddamn sure you don’t have any phase issues.
Funk Glyn Johns
If you’re being adventurous you might want to start experimenting with some funky techniques to get a cool drum sound.
Find the simplest drum technique in the book and get really good at making those drums sound awesome.
Chances are you’re only average at getting drum sounds with the simplest techniques but for some reason you still want to graduate to something more advanced.
I hate to tell you but you don’t go to University before you go to Kindergarten.
So take that X/Y technique and make those drums sound killer before you think about something advanced.
Let’s take the Glyn Johns technique as an example.
Sure, it looks simple but let me ask you a series of questions:
“Are you Glyn Johns?”
“Have you reincarnated John Bonham to play on your song?”
“Do you have a killer live room with super-sounding acoustics to capture that massive sound Glyn Johns was so famous for?”
Oh, no? Not that either?
Well how about we stick to something a bit simpler then?
The Recorderman is an easy alternative for subpar-sounding rooms and the X/Y technique is a great overhead technique for those that want to avoid phase problems altogether.
I teach both of those techniques as a part of the Recording & Mixing Strategies Bundle. In fact, I don’t even bother teaching the Glyn Johns method because there are simply better techniques out there.
Especially for people recording at home or in cramped rehearsal studios.
Check it out here:
Image by: kamalaboulhosn