Recording Drums With 8 Mics Max

mattyj

Junior Member
Hi Everyone,

New to this site so bear with me if this is not the right place for this or if it has been talked about extensively before. Basically, I am not a drummer, but I am trying to record one. I am doing a home recording project to get a demo done for our band to compete in a local radio station contest. I am doing all of the recording myself at home using my mac and garageband. Basically my question is how do you recommend micing a drum set if you only have a maximum of 8 simulaneous mic inputs? Garageband only lets you record 8 tracks at a time so this is limiting me to 8 separate mics. Right now this is my set up.

Hi Hats - 1 Mic
Snare - 1 Mic
Bass Drum - 2 Mics
Toms - 3 Mics 1 for each tom.
Overhead - 1 Mic.

Is this alright or should I be utilizing my 8 inputs with a different set-up?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Matt
 

swiNg

Senior Member
i dont think you need a dedicated mice for the hihat, just go for two overheads and it will work just fine. good luck!
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
Hi Everyone,

New to this site so bear with me if this is not the right place for this or if it has been talked about extensively before. Basically, I am not a drummer, but I am trying to record one. I am doing a home recording project to get a demo done for our band to compete in a local radio station contest. I am doing all of the recording myself at home using my mac and garageband. Basically my question is how do you recommend micing a drum set if you only have a maximum of 8 simulaneous mic inputs? Garageband only lets you record 8 tracks at a time so this is limiting me to 8 separate mics. Right now this is my set up.

Hi Hats - 1 Mic
Snare - 1 Mic
Bass Drum - 2 Mics
Toms - 3 Mics 1 for each tom.
Overhead - 1 Mic.

Is this alright or should I be utilizing my 8 inputs with a different set-up?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Matt
8? I rarely use more than 4. Kic/Snare and a well placed pair of overheads.
 

WayneWickman

Senior Member
Consider yourself lucky to have all those channels for the drums. I think you need 2 overheads more than 2 bass mics. With a decent bass mic one is enough, people sometimes mic with 2; one for attack and one for low end..but with dedicated bass mics these days you can get both. Don't forget about panning it's more important than people think. Keep bass,snare,hats on center...pan overheads and toms. If you "have" to put two mics on the bass use the hat channel. When I mic kits I get good hat sound from a good placed overhead.
 

Attachments

Eggman

Member
What kind of mics do you have at your disposal?
What style of band is this? What kind of drum sound are you going for?

Just because you have a bunch of mics doesn't mean you need to use all of them. You're better off using a few good mics rather than a bunch of cheap ones. If you want a more organic drum sound (for, say, blues or jazz), you can do amazing things with the setup AudioWonderland suggested. If you want a more modern sound (like for metal), then miking everything might make more sense (although expect to spend some time mixing it all).

Regardless, I think you'd be better served by 2 overheads, and only mic on the 1 bass drum.
 

mattyj

Junior Member
Hey Guys,

Thanks for all of the suggestions and the quick replies. As for the types of mics, my brother bought a pro drum mic package which came with mics for toms, bass drum, snare and hi hats. I also have an SM57 and right now all I have is one AKG condenser mic for the overhead. Any tips on which mics to use for overheads (that aren't terribly expensive)? And we are basically a rock/blues/pop band.

Thanks for the help,

Matt
 

Eggman

Member
Condenser mics are the name of the game for overheads. Although for a demo I wouldn't be so quick to rush out and buy more stuff -- you can probably work with what you've got. The mic that came in the package for the hi-hat might do well enough as an overhead, depending on what it is.

Ultimately, the mic models are only one piece of the puzzle. The drum sound, room acoustics, and mic placement are all going to affect the end result just as much. We can really only give you advice on what has worked for us here. The best thing for you to do is simply experiment: try more or less mics, move the mics around, tune the drums differently, try recording in different rooms. Whatever sounds good to you is good!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Another vote for no more than 4 mics. 2 OH's, a kick and (optional) snare mic and you're covered. The more mics you have the greater chance of phase cancellation. Many a great album were recorded with a 3 mic setup.
If you could get your overheads in an "X" configuration, meaning very close together, as if they are the bottom legs of an "X", this is one proven method of placing OH's, but not the only one.

Don't think you need a mic on every tom. Sound travels at 1100 ft/sec and the OH's hear it all. The kick is the one piece that the OH's don't do justice to.

If the drummer you're recording maintains proper volume relations between the seperate drums...you can make fine recordings with 3 or 4 mics.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I have some CAD 5000 something small condensor mics that are cheap and fairly nicely balanced in terms of picking up toms and cymbals. A large diaphram condensor is going to have a narrower focus and would need to be further back or doubled up.

The only reason I can think of for micing everything tightly is if you want to apply processing to it. I don't know much about garage band but I don't think you can put individiual gates, eqs, comps and reverbs on multiple channels like you can in ProTools.

For blues/rock, a stereo drum kit with touch ups on the kick and snare is fine. If you have something that is falling out, you can put a touch up mic on that as well.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
One more vote for 2 overheads and only 1 bass drum mic...7 microphones all together.

How experienced are you with recording? Since you said you're using Garageband, I'll assume not very experienced. One of the biggest learning curves about recording drums is capturing the overheads and the bass drum correctly, AND getting enough sound from the bass drum to seat it in the mix. If you want to use all 8 channels, I'd use 2 mics on the bass drum, one how you would normally mic it, and one on the batter head, near the beater...
 
A

audiotech

Guest
You can actually get very good sound from a drum kit with using only one microphone, if it's positioned exactly right. That being said, I do tightly mic my drum kits for live and studio work because I have more control over levels and acoustics when everything goes to it's own pot. It's very difficult to decrease the level on the 12" tom without affecting the other levels when basically everything is being picked up on two overheads. The same thing goes for the density of the cymbals. I always have at least one kit miked and a lot of the time two are miked in my personal studio to save some set up time. I usually use my Yamaha seven piece kit when doing studio feeds. This incorporates a total of between 11 and 13 microphones which are sent back to a Ramsa 16 channel board. I usually go with 2 overheads, two snare mics, one for each tom, the hi hats, bass drum front head mic, sometimes a bass batter head mic and a room microphone. When working in a commercial studio environment this same basic array still applies.

If you don't have two good condenser microphones for overhead use, there is nothing wrong with using a couple of dynamic cardioid mics for the overheads such as Shure SM57s or some Audix i5s. No matter how you mic a kit, microphone placement is always key.

Dennis
 
Top