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Recording And Amplifying Drums
This category relates to techniques and equipment used in the recording or amplification processes

Recording Percussion

This can be a very specialist area, however Lyle Caldwell suggests a few general ideas 

Percussion - if it's included in a kit, treat it as a drum as above, matching frequency and volume for miking suggestions. If it's an overdub or separate percussion performance, you can often just use one small diaphragm condenser about 3' above the instrument, or better yet, use a stereo miking technique.

General rule of thumb, treat tambourines and bells as cymbals, and mic them a bit distantly. Tablas, congas, etc, treat as a drum as above. Experiment!

 
Recording Hats and Rides

By Lyle Caldwell 

Hi-hats and rides - while you normally get plenty of both in your overheads, for some styles you may want to have more control on their level in the mix. Cymbals usually sound much better if you use condenser mics, though dynamics can work. On hi- hats, try using a small diaphragm condenser mic about 2-4" above the halfway point between the center of the hats and the edge, starting perpendicular to the hats. You'll want to try different angles and different parts of the hats to mic, depending on the hats and what character to you want to emphasize.

With hats mics, you're going to get a lot of snare bleed. It's a rule. Just make sure it's in phase, and when it comes time to mix, try rolling off all the frequencies below 800Hz so you get more hat and less snare. Again, save this for mixdown. For rides, the same rules apply, but you'll want to keep the mic farther away from the ride cymbal. Rides create weird washes of sound up close, so keeping the mic 6" or greater away from the ride gives you a more natural sound.

Common mics for this include the Shure SM81, the Neumann KM184, and the Audio Technica 4051 (all small diaphragm condensers with cardioid patterns).

 
Recording Tom Toms

Toms - not too different from snares in miking technique, but you often want to choose a mic with more low-end response, depending on tom size and tuning. As an example, an 8" tom may sound great with an SM57, but a 16" tom may sound better with an MD421.

You can change the angle and distance of the mic and really change the "EQ" of a tom (this is true for any drum, but it's really apparent on toms). Be sure to experiment with mic placement!

Common mics for toms include: Shure SM57, Sennheiser MD421, Audix D2, Audio Technica ATM25, and EV 604.

 
Recording a Snare Drum

By Lyle Caldwell 

Snare - What you usually want is a microphone that will handle the volume level and emphasize the attack of the snare while minimizing the bleed from other drums, especially the high hats. A cardioid dynamic is usually the ticket. Try placing the mic about 1-2" above the snare top head, and about 1-2" in from the rim, at an angle. You want to position it so it's out of the player's way, and so that the bleed from other drums is lessened. This can be tricky. Assuming a right-handed drummer, try about 10 o'clock.

Good choices for snare include: SM57, Audix D1, Beyer M201, Sennheiser MD421, and the Earthworks SR71.

You can also try adding a second mic beneath the snare, to pick up the sound of the snares themselves. This is a matter of taste, but try a mic that has a nice high end reproduction. AKG 414s and AKG 451s are common choices. Try reversing the polarity of this mic in the mix.

Note- many people try to get everything out of one snare mic, but a lot of the crack and air in a snare come from the overheads, so if you think the snare channel isn't bright enough, make sure you listen to it in conjunction with the overheads!

 
Recording the Kick Drum

By Lyle Caldwell

 

Bass drum - do you want more click? More boom? Or natural?
To emphasize the attack, you may want to place the mic inside the drum, about 3-4" away from the spot where the beater meets the batter head. Try angling the mic slightly, which allows you to control how much high end is present.

To emphasize the boom, try...

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