A Secret Recipe for Recording Drums – Part 6
by on November 28, 2019 in Tutorials

Ideally at this point have a nicely balanced representation of our drum sound with our drum overheads and we can now use spot mics to enhance this. You might think that the ideal situation would be to have spot mics on everything and I can understand why you might say that from a mix scenario. But again, that’s loosing perspective of the original target we spoke about earlier, in that by introducing more microphones we’re going to be introducing more phase which will inherently take away from other parts of the drum kit. It’s seemingly impossible to have a completely spot mic’d drum kit with no phase problems due to the number of microphones within close proximity of each other. Some configurations try to target this, such as the Glynn Jons and the Recorderman technique but you can only get so far due to the logistics of how the instrument is laid out. So it becomes more of a situation of necessity. If we have a solid overhead sound, we should only need to pick out the ‘core’ parts of the kit to be spot mic’d. We can somewhat rectify this by inverting the phase of the spot mics to see which polarity gives the best result in relation to the overheads, however you could argue we’re only making a bad situation better.

Obviously there are situations that can dictate having more spot mics, but you will however have to target the phase problems either by selecting highly directional mics to try and reduce spill, gating the sound so that the spill is removed or in some situations simply removing the low end might be sufficient in the case of hi-hat microphones. But in a nutshell, the more work you put into the source and overheads, the less you’ll rely on spot mics and therefore you’ll have a stronger, accurate and more phase coherent sound that honestly represents the sound you’ve been tasked with capturing. Use your ears, think things through and enjoy the results!

This concludes our series on how to get professional sounding drum recordings! Make sure to follow us for more tutorial series and if you missed it part 4 of this series can be found here!

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