Now, two weeks later we’re resuming our regularly scheduled recording session. I wanted to let you in on a few ways to make the most of recording drums in a living room or a rehearsal space.
First, make sure your drums sound good. Well tuned drums are easier to record since they sound awesome to begin with.
Studio rooms usually sound better but there’s no reason your living room couldn’t work for you.
The “Correct” Microphone Technique
I’ll only be working with 5 inputs, so I can only mike the set with 5 microphones. For the type of music I’m doing(folk rock) this is more than enough. However, I want to make the most of it.
I’m going to use the “Recorderman” technique with the overheads. I’ve never tried this before so it’ll be interesting to hear how it turns out. I want to maximize the usefulness of each microphone and minimize the room sound for the overheads. Therefore, I think the recorderman will come in handy.
Maximizing Your Equipment
I’ll be using budget equipment for all of this. Contrary to what you might believe I don’t have a lot of mics and gear to throw around.
I try to maximize the usefulness of whatever I’ve got to work with. I’ll be using two AT2020 microphones for the Recorderman technique, large diaphragm condensers for a (hopefully) bigger sound.
I’ll also be spot miking the kick and snare with an Audix i5 on the snare and Audix D6 on the kick. Both are exceptional dynamic mics that will suit my purposes nicely.
The drum kit is in the corner of the room on top of a big rug. Since this might give me a dull kick drum sound I’ll be moving the drum-kit towards the edge of the rug so that the tiles on the floor will magnify the sound of the kick drum.
One Good Room Microphone
Now, I’ve used up four of my five microphone inputs available so what should I do for the fifth one? Even though I said I wanted to minimize the room sound for the overheads I still want to find a great spot in the room to pick up an overall room sound.
I’ll be placing this microphone at a little over waist level. Basically in line with the top of the kick drum or in line with the toms. I want it picking up the whole drum equally, not just cymbals splashing around.
I’m recording drums in a living room that fortunately has fairly high ceilings. This is optimal since it allows the sound to move more freely without bouncing off the walls.
Higher ceilings and a bigger room will give you a bigger sound so the combination of closer overheads and a room microphone might give me the exact combination of “live” and “tight” that I need.
So this is basically what I’ll be doing. In theory I think these methods will work for my needs, but the drum recording session tomorrow will definitely tell me if I’m wrong or not.
Stay posted for future posts about the results. I’ll try to be thorough in my documentation so that you can use my advice and learn from my mistakes the next time you are recording drums.
For practical and easy-to-use recording tips for any instrument, http://rnrorganisation.co.uk/resources/annual-report-and-accounts-2014-2015/ check out Recording Strategies.
Image by: Mxi