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How to Record Drums with Only One Microphone

Dealing with limitations can often be pretty fun.

For instance, recording drums with only one microphone poses some interesting challenges.

If you’ve ever found yourself holding a single microphone with only one channel left on your interface to record drums, then you need to approach the process completely differently.

It makes you approach the drums much differently than if you had all the tracks and microphones in the world.

The Room

Placing the drum-kit is pretty important if you’re going to use a single microphone. The drum-kit will sound different depending on its placement in the room. Getting the absolute best sound from the room is pretty important so taking the time to move the drums around will give you different sounds to choose from.

The Drums

Tune the drums. A tight sounding, well-tuned heads placed well in a good sounding room will go a long way towards a great recording.

The Mic Placement

Mic placement with only one microphone is obviously crucial. You want to pick up the whole drum-kit somewhat evenly. If you place the mic too high or point it towards the cymbals they will overpower your sound. Place it too low and you’ll get too much power from the kick drum that creates a boomy sound that’s too kick-drum focused.

A happy medium is somewhere in the middle, picking up everything evenly.

The Polar Pattern

Use a cardioid pattern if you don’t want extra room sound. You’ll inevitably get some, but with a directional pattern the mic will focus more on the drums than the room. If you have a great sounding then an omni pattern works well.

Record Drums Like the Best of them

Every recording situation is different and calls for different approaches. I wrote my best recording and mixing tips inside the Strategies Bundle. It’s filled with practical and easy to use tips for all your recording and mixing sessions. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to recording drums in Recording Strategies and over 35 tips on mixing drums in Mixing Strategies.

You can grab your copy real quick right here:

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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