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Old 08-19-2013, 06:59 PM
southpaw219 southpaw219 is offline
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Default Recording with four microphones

Hi, guys. As the subject says, I've got four microphones. Three of them are these: http://www.amazon.com/Cascade-Microp.../dp/B0047DWTPU and the fourth is an SM57.

I plan on using the M39s as overhead mics, one on either side of the kit, above my crashes (I've got a pretty traditional one up, two down set-up with a crash for each hand and the ride in the space between the rack tom and the first floor tom).

I was thinking, then, of using the SM57 on the snare, and the V57 for the kick. The kick, though, is not ported.

I don't have the money to splurge on anything more than what I've got, so my question is: can I make a reasonably decent recording with this equipment?

My band is trying to record a promo video and we want to track all the instrument parts without having to pony up for a studio recording.

The room in which my drums reside is about 12 x 20. I can clear it of most everything except some shelves and my upright piano. I figure art on the walls would probably have some acoustic effect as well.

Thanks for any and all suggestions.
Gretsch, Sabian AAX & AA, Gibraltar, dw, Remo
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:27 PM
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Ian Ballard Ian Ballard is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

You most certainly CAN get an AWESOME drum sound with that setup, but placement is key. I wouldn't place the pencils right above your crashes; that will just give you a great crash sound but will kill your tom sound. You might consider experimenting with JUST the overheads for a while till you get a fairly balanced top sound (toms, snare cymbals). Obviously your bass drum won't be a factor with overheads. You could try using the pencils like the Glyn Johns method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fyy55ALu18Y

That man recorded MANY records including the first Zeppelin record with just a few mics and his method is legendary for DIYers who have limited channels and mics to use. Basically you have one overhead looking down at the overall kit, NOT directly over the cymbals but more above you. Then you have the other mic "looking" over the floor tom towards the snare, so you get toms and snare pretty evenly. This method might work better with a large-diaphragm condenser but the key is that mics have to be EQUIDISTANT from the snare drum, in other words, the exact same distance to avoid phase issues and an even sound.

Obviously the bass drum/snare drum thing will be fairly easy to tackle but I'd focus on getting a good overhead sound first, THEN place your kick/snare. Obviously you and your kit are the key to a good drum sound. Good playing and good tuning/shells will make the recording work. Good luck!
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:06 PM
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TColumbia37 TColumbia37 is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

As was stated, placement is definitely the most important factor, but you should be able to capture some good sounds.

I've heard of people recording two different takes to track drums. First take being the drums themselves, with no cymbals, and second take being just the cymbals. It's said to work great for separation and bleed-through. I believe Bad Religion's last couple of albums were recorded this way.

I plan on trying that method out soon to see how it works for me.
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:58 PM
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lsits lsits is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

I've made a couple of youtube videos using a modified Glyn Johns technique. I have an old-style Carvin D44 mic for the kick and two Carvin CM90E pencil condenser mics for the overhead and near the floor tom. First I tried using just the three mics and while the kick, snare and cymbals came out fine the rack toms were a little lacking. I ended up placing a Shure SM57 in between the two rack toms. I recorded into an AKAI four-channel audio interface using Reaper. I panned the condensers hard left and right for a stereo image. The D44 was panned dead center. the tom mic was panned about 2/3 to the left. My bass drum head in the video is ported but I didn't stick the mic in the hole. I put it five or six inches in front of the reso head. If I spread my fingers as wide as they can go, I use the distance from the tip of my thumb to the tip of my pinkie. This should work on an unported reso head.

I'm pretty happy with the results. These are definitely not studio-grade mics (except for maybe the SM57). For what I need them for they work fine. I think that I read somewhere the the D44 is made by Nady. If I was planning on doing a professional recording I'd probably go with what the studio had to offer and what the engineer recommend. I've used the D44 and one overhead condenser set-up in live situations with good results.


I think that the trick to using a minimal micing technique is that you have to start with a well-tuned kit. You don't have the luxury of " fixing it in the mix" as much as if you mic all the different drums.
I started with nothing and still have most of it left.

Last edited by lsits; 08-19-2013 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:07 PM
This message has been deleted by lsits. Reason: double post
Old 08-19-2013, 10:58 PM
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FoolInTheRain FoolInTheRain is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

I've heard great recordings with even less than what you're using. So, yeah, you can totally do it. As others have said, proper placement and a good room will make all the difference.
"Use only that which works, and take it from wherever you can find it." -Bruce Lee
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:02 PM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

I've done recordings with three before (mono overhead) and provided that you have a decent room and some knowledge, it's quite trivial to get a good drum sound. The difficulty lies in the placement and in balancing your own playing. With fewer microphones, you have fewer opportunities to manipulate the sounds in editing so you have to be very conscious of your own dynamics and how you're playing each individual kit component. Cymbals are especially difficult to get right because you can't individually EQ them with only overheads.

Most of the kit sound in a four-mic setup really should be coming from the overheads. Get those right and you're well on your way. Look into the different micing techniques. Off the top of my head there are A-B (Spaced) X-Y, Blumlein, M/S, ORTF and John Glyns. There are plenty of others but those are the most commonly used. Learn how to do those correctly and you'll be well on your way.

For co-incident micing (e.g. X-Y, Blumlein) there's a really great visualisation tool here:

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Old 08-20-2013, 07:32 AM
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Aeolian Aeolian is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

With less mics, the room becomes more important. If you're just recording a drum track and nothing else, experiment a bit with placing the kit in the room. Then experiment with the best place for the mics to capture that sound. It may be a Glyn Johns thing, maybe with the overhead behind your shoulder the way Steve Jordan does it, or maybe out in front a bit like the old Motown recordings.

What you don't need are two matched condensers spaced overhead. As said, that primarily picks up cymbals. And unless you are able to play them really lightly compared to the rest of the kit, especially crashes, it's not going to sound like what you expect on recordings.

There's a technique of putting a figure 8 mic over the kick right in between the shell tom and ride cymbal. Counter-intuitive but it fills in a sound that sounds like drums to most folks. I've done recordings with a single 57 over the snare that balance out like old '60s records.

There are no rules. The art of recording is to get into that little hole in space that the microphone represents, something that sounds like a drumset to you when you hear the playback.
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:47 PM
southpaw219 southpaw219 is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

Thanks, guys. I appreciate all of these replies; great information.

I'm going to give it a shot.

If I come up with anything worth sharing, I will. :)
Gretsch, Sabian AAX & AA, Gibraltar, dw, Remo
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:30 AM
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mmulcahy1 mmulcahy1 is offline
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Default Re: Recording with four microphones

Originally Posted by Ian Ballard View Post
You could try using the pencils like the Glyn Johns method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fyy55ALu18Y
Too bad the audio on the video sucked! You can't hear a word Johns is saying!
Gretsch Catalina Maple Drums / Ludwig Supraphonic Snare Drum / Paiste Giant Beat & 2oo2 Cymbals
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