Kick Drum. Kick drums come in lots of sizes, from big, wide Bonham-style 14″ x 26″ bass drums to much smaller kick drums. This will result in an overly roomy sound. Remember, these are just guidelines, always defer to the judgment of your ears. The closer the mics are to the kit, the less room sound you’ll hear (and the less preamp gain you’ll need). If you opt for such simplicity, make sure your overhead mic placement gives you an accurate and balanced representation of the kit. Mic placement is one of the biggest factors of good live sound — follow our guidelines and save a lot of time sorting it out on your own! Overhead microphone height is an important consideration in this and every technique. The most common practice for setting up drum overheads is to approach the kit from the sides and aim a split pair of large-diaphragm condensers down. Wide overheads also feel very forward, which can be great, but sometimes we want the drums (cymbals in particular) to sit a hair back in the front-to-back imaging. If the mics are very high, the capsules will point straight over the sides of the of the kit, essentially putting the entire instrument off-axis. As he demonstrates how to mic up a drum kit, Jae takes some time to explain his microphone selection and placement, and why he’s making those choices. He offers up overhead miking tips, how to reduce bleed of the ever-present hi hat, why he uses multiple microphones on the kick drum, and more. This article breaks down mic placement to the individual drum pieces. It’s a little counterintuitive but sometimes getting the widest sounding mix actually means pulling the drum overheads into the center a bit. If it doesn’t sound good from the get go, it’s not going to sound good at the end. Get new heads and pay attention to the tuning. A kit recorded with only a few mics sounds sort of “old school,” by its nature, particularly in comparison to modern recordings where the drums have 7, 8, 9 or more mics on them. When recording drums, try to get your hands on the best sounding kit you can for your style of music. For me, this creates a sense of depth and an overall bigger mix. Use these templates as a foundation and get creative! Let’s walk through how to mic a drum kit, all the way from kick and snare to toms, overheads and rooms, including mic recommendations and placement. Audio-Technica has 3 basic techniques for setting up your overhead mics for recording drums. Avoid phase issues by keeping the snare and kick centered between the mics. If the mic placement puts the whole drum kit off-axis, the OH sound will be primarily the sound of the room.

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