Recording Drums

This past weekend at CreativeBlue, we did a recording session for a full band. The drums were the first instrument to play, laying down a beat to a click track as a foundation for all the other tracks to build on. To get professional results, we selected and positioned microphones and choose respective preamps to get the right sounds from each part of the drum set.

For the bass drum, we used a D12 and D112. We placed the D112 outside the drum, next to the pedal. The D12 was suspended inside the drum. The snare required three microphones. A 201 and SM57 were positioned in close stereo just above the snare. A CR57 was located under that snare. The hat received a single 060 going to the V72 preamp. Each of the three toms got a simple clip-on mic to do the job. To capture the sound of the crashes and rides, we used a stereo setup of two matching Rode mics each into two V376 preamps. They were positioned high above the drum set, and spread apart, each pointing down towards the floor. (A-B configuration) This way optimizes the stereo effect. To further capture the sound of the drum set for the listener, and to access the useful sonic properties of the recording space, we also prepared two microphones in the room, each positioned in places of the room where the sound from the drummer playing the set was particularly good. The mics used for the room set up were a Neumann CMV and UM57. Each mic signal, paired with a tasteful preamp, come together to make a clear and full recording with tone that suits the drummer, drums, and certainly the vision of the session.

A special challenge that we encountered when setting up the microphones for this session was that, with the particular “open style” drum setup this musician used, we were picking up too much of the sound of the hat on our snare mics. To handle this, we taped a piece of cardboard in place as a shield between the snare and hat to block sound, but not interfere with the drummer. Working in a music studio requires creativity!

– Mike Tuttle


Creative Blue House Drums

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