The following article, ‘How to record drums with one mic (using a large diaphragm condenser)’ is an excerpt from the free guide: “How to record drums with one mic”. This free 10 page guide gives you step by step instructions to get commercial quality recordings of drums using just one microphone. To download your copy of the guide completely free, click here.
The drums should be recorded with a single large diaphragm condenser using a cardioid pick up pattern.
How to record drums with one mic:
When it comes to recording in the home studio, one great way to record drums is with a single mic. Start by getting the kit sounding really good. Make sure that the kit is tuned and dampened to your liking. When it comes to the performance that the drummer gives, its important that the drummer takes into account the fact that it won’t be possible to turn individual parts of the kit up or down later in the way that it is when multi-tracking. As such, it’s important for the drummer to strike a balance in level between the different parts of the kit. The drummer should still play with dynamics but should not allow any one part of the kit to over power the rest.
Mic placement to record drums with one mic:
There are a number of different spots around the kit that you could place the mic when recording drums. Personally, I have found the very best results when placing the microphone in front of the kit, facing the bass drum.
Start by raising the mic approx. 30 inches / 76 cm from the ground. Place the mic approx. 59 inches / 150 cm away from the kit. Angle the mic downwards towards the centre of the bass drum. This is important because this will ensure that the cymbals are not too overpowering in comparison to the kick, snare and toms.
As a result of using this position, you should capture a balanced blend of each part of the kit. You should also capture a nice direct sound and not too much of the room. If you do find that you’re capturing too much of the room sound, then move the mic closer towards the kit until you achieve your desired sound.
Quick guide to record drums with one mic:
- Place the mic in front of the kit facing towards the resonant bass drum head
- Place the mic approx. 59 inches / 150 cm from the kit
- Place the mic approx. 30 inches / 76 cm from the ground
- Capture a balanced sound, so that each part of the kit can be heard evenly
- Angle the mic downwards towards the centre of the bass drum
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