We haven’t talked about drum recording in a while.
But I know for a fact that it can be one of the more frustrating aspects of recording a band.
Let’s look at some simple ways you can not only make your drums sound better, but you’ll also make the experience more fun. Recording drums can be stressful when you’re setting up and boring when you’re doing take after take. Instead, follow some of these tips and make it effortless and easy.
1. Find a Bigger Space
Recording drums in a small space will usually give you a small and boxy sound. There’s really no way of getting around it. Using close-miking techniques and the Recorderman overhead method might work in a pinch, but if you can move the drums into a larger room your sound will reward you for it.
2. Be Comfortable
Stick with what you’re comfortable with. There are a lot of different mics out there you can use on drums. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the options but sticking to your trusty microphones is a better way to get a more consistently good sound.
Don’t go it alone. Ask the drummer for his opinion and preference over his sound. Ask him if he wants his drums to sound a certain way and then try to recreate that sound.
Being an engineer is all about converting the band’s words and ideas into awesome sounds.
4. Avoid EQ
The drums must sound good in the room. Then they must sound good through the microphones without any EQ. If you want to tweak the EQ immediately after tracking, maybe you should spend more time on mic placement. Get it right at the source, as the gospel says.
5. Track for Tightness
There’s a reason buddy cop movies are so successful. Nobody wants to be the grumpy hero that goes it alone. Except Clint Eastwood I guess. The same goes for your drummer. Have more than him play at the same time. Tracking bass together with the drums can result in an extremely tight foundation for all your overdubbing dreams.
Making the session comfortable and encouraging communication between yourself and the band is key to a good performance. Recording drums is no exception. Once you’re comfortable and enjoying yourself, you’ll spread the mood to everyone else.
Now that you have some good strategies for recording drums, you might need some help getting a killer drum mix. That’s where my Drum Mix Toolkit comes in. Check it out here.
Image by: matley0