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Thread: Recording Drum Kit with One mic

  1. #1
    Junior Member lpsp2's Avatar
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    Recording Drum Kit with One mic

    Hi,

    I just wanted to know the best position to record a drum kit with only one microphone. I've heard and tried the one where you put the microphone right under the crash pointing to the snare and I've also tried the one where the mic stands right above the drummer's right arm.
    Note: My band and I are just recording a little demo to show to some contractors, we don't intend to have a studio-quality sound but it would be awesome if we could get the best out of one microphone.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    With one mic, I'd put it in front of the kit, maybe two or three feet back and just above the top edge of the kick drum. Depending on what kind of mic it is, that will get a decent amount of kick and still pick up the snare hits, but cymbals might be a little loud. Over the drummer's shoulder is not bad either, that picks up what the drummer is hearing... Alternatively, if you can use two mics, one in front of the kick drum and one on the snare or centered overhead, you can get a better blend that way. The best way to get a good drum sound without miking the whole kit would be with 4 mics... close mic the kick and snare, and use a pair of pencil type condenser mics as overheads. That will get you pretty good results, only lacking in tom definition.

    Another good option, if you are multitracking, and aren't worried about separation and/or the drummer can play without anyone else live in the room (maybe a guitar in headphones for reference) is to use a vocal style condenser mic, maybe 6 or 8 feet in front of the kit. That will give you a very natural, roomy sound on the kit, but it should be pretty well balanced as you would hear it standing in the room.

    What mics and recording gear are you using? That info will help determine the best use of what you have at your disposal...

  3. #3
    Junior Member lpsp2's Avatar
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    First of all thank you for so much information!
    Second, the only mic my band has is a Behringer Ultravoice XM8500. It has recorded vocals and an accoustic guitar before. So, what do you say?

    Oh, and I am recording the microphone directly plugged to the laptop (the mini-jack microphone port) and to the Sonar LE audio software.
    Last edited by lpsp2; 01-13-2014 at 03:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Anyway you can bump it to 2 microphones for the drums? I would go kick drum and an overhead. This particular video comes to mind. Obviously it sounds amazing becuase its a great player using a great kid in a great room so on and so forth, but I agree with their placement of mics in the drum section.

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  5. #5
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I would do the one mic out in front of the kit rather than over the drummer's shoulder. The most important things to hear are the kick and snare.

    You're probably doing the best you can with what you have, but you aren't going to get much with a $25 mic and a laptop preamp.
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  6. #6
    Junior Member lpsp2's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the answers! So, should I put the microphone in front of the drum kit or above the drummer's shoulder?

  7. #7
    Of those two options, definitely out front. Keep backing it up until the track sounds similar to what you hear in the room, but not so far that you get more "room sound" (echo/reverb) than actual drum sound. 3 or 4 feet out should do it. Best of luck... I'd strongly suggest investing in a couple inexpensive mics and a small (4 channel at least) mixer... Or you can get a very adequate interface for a few hundred bucks. If your band gigs, save the money from a few shows and invest it into some basic recording gear... if you record and sell your own demo with it, you can make the money back in no time, with a decent profit.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by generation zero View Post
    Of those two options, definitely out front. Keep backing it up until the track sounds similar to what you hear in the room, but not so far that you get more "room sound" (echo/reverb) than actual drum sound. 3 or 4 feet out should do it. Best of luck... I'd strongly suggest investing in a couple inexpensive mics and a small (4 channel at least) mixer... Or you can get a very adequate interface for a few hundred bucks. If your band gigs, save the money from a few shows and invest it into some basic recording gear... if you record and sell your own demo with it, you can make the money back in no time, with a decent profit.
    This is great advise. Also you could look for students at a recording facility who need bands to record. I don't know where you're based but in England there are all sorts of institutions with students looking to record bands for free and you'll end up with a professional standard demo as many of these places have set ups as good as private running recording studios. Here's a good article that will give you ideas on the kinds of things you should have a think about pre and post recording!

  9. #9
    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    I have a couple of akg perception 220 mics. They can be had for 75.00 each off of eBay all day long. They do a decent job for what they are. I have used them overhead on drum kit. The high freq can get a little harsh butplay with placement and EQ and you could be happy.

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