I was helping out a friend in his studio the other day, comparing different drum recording techniques.
He was focusing on different overhead techniques.
It was actually pretty interesting because we ended up with testing every overhead technique at the same time, which resulted in a lot of mics around the drum-kit.
It wasn’t a perfect A/B test because we didn’t have the same microphones across every technique, but being able to quickly flick through the various overhead technique was very eye-opening.
As I sat there listening, I thought, all of these techniques sound great.
Any of them were usable in a session, and none of them had any serious drawbacks to how they sounded.
Different Drum Recording Techniques
Here’s some of the techniques we tried:
- A/B – The typical stereo overhead technique, one mic on each side of the drum-kit.
- X/Y – The perfect drum overhead technique for the phase-phobic.
- Recorderman – One of my favorites because it works well in bad sounding rooms.
- Glyn Johns – A staple Led Zeppeling drum overhead technique.
Those techniques are very different from one another, and that’s not even counting how they would sound with different microphones!
When you’re recording drums – or anything else for that matter – it all just comes down to taste.
Drum sounds are varied and diverse, and they should bet. If you heard the same drum sound on every record, I bet you’d quickly get tired of it.
The overhead technique gives the drum-kit its overall sound. Whether you’re using a simple Recorderman setup because your room sounds bad(trust me, it’s the best drum recording technique for home studios) or the X/Y pair because you’re terrified of phase, it all comes down to what you’re comfortable with.
Use What You Like
No one technique is better than the other.
They’re all great, otherwise they wouldn’t be used time and again.
I spend a great deal of time talking about the pros and cons of overhead recording techniques in Recording Strategies. The reason the Recorderman works wonders in bad rooms, the perfect way to set up the A/B technique or the simple trick behind a phase-perfect drum recording.
If you’d like to know the ins and outs of recording drums, from the kick drum to the room mic, check out the link below: