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Best Mics for recording drums with only 1 or 2 mics about 5 feet in front of the kit? Condenser Microphones
Old 29th August 2007
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by jmikeperkins View Post
If you can afford it, I would use a pair of Neumann U87 mics. Buy them used, any version. You may have to add some eq in places, but these mics really shine on drum overheads or as room mics for drums. Nice and punchy, but well balanced and warm sounding, and they have magic mojo when recording cymbals. In my opinion, most people use WAY TOO MANY MICS on drums and in a small room this creates phase issues. You are probably best with 3 mics, 2 over the top of the kit in some way and one in front of the kick drum somewhere. There are no exact rules as to where to place them and you need to experiment until you get the best balance. I would pan the 2 over the kit right and left and put the kick drum mic in the center.

The main thing to remember with a minimumal drum mic set up is to make sure your drums sound WELL BALANCED AS A UNIT. If the kit does not sound right to your ears by itself, a minimal drum mic set up will not work well. If the kit sounds good as a single instrument to your ears, then a minimal mic set up is the BEST way to record it. Also, some drummers are much better than others at getting the correct balance when playing. If possible, I would have a couple of different snares available (wood and metal) as the snare sound is the main variable in getting the correct balance. It may be a bit of work to get this right, but its well worth it in my opinion. With so many drum samples out there, you want yours to sound LIKE REAL DRUMS and the best way to do that is a minimal mic set up so they BLEND together like one instrument. Samples don't do this like the real thing.

J. Mike Perkins
My drummer is an excellent drummer and his drums (Premier birch and Gretsch Renown as well as Zildjian A custom and K cymbals) sound so good that my main goal is to capture the drummer not just drum sounds like how a drum machine/sampler sounds. Ironically the drum machine/sampler sound is the sound I have been going for for years now with close miking everything until a few days ago I started to really admit to myself that my favorite recordings (of the drums as well as the band (this is the band that I play keyboards in which can be heard at Welcome to Mantra Band Site)) are with 1 AKG C3000B room mic. This is true even despite the fact that my newer recordings (with 8 mics on the drums) now are much cleaner and crisper and even tighter musically as everything was done with a click track. I think drum machines/samplers are perfect for dance music, hip hop, etc... But when it comes to "listening music" (which we play) you want to listen to human beings not sounds.
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