Important Tips for Recording Drums
A few recording tips from experienced heads
- First, compressors and limiters, like gates, should
usually be left until mixing. Yeah, famous engineers may do it, and you've
read about it in a magazine, but remember they've been doing this for years.
You've never heard their mistakes, just their hits. When starting out, go easy
on this stuff. It's really easy to screw things up.
- Second, many
times the bass drum sounds better in the mix if you reverse its polarity.
This is easy to do in computers and on higher end boards, but if you don't have
one, you can make or buy an adapter cable that goes between the bass drum mic
cable and your board. This only works for balanced XLR cables, though. To make
one yourself, get a soldering iron (read and follow all the safety guidelines
that come with the soldering iron) and reverse pins 2 and 3 on one end of a
short XLR cable.
- Third, if you're using digital recorders (ADATs,
computers, etc), drums have a lot of transients. It's real easy to hit a digital
over, which sounds like crap. Try setting drum levels so that the peaks hit
-6 dB on your meters. This will sound fine, and gives you headroom to play
with in the mix.