Tips for micing up a drum kit

There are loads and loads of things to remember when setting up mics on a drum-kit, here are some tips for micing up a drum kit

watch out for the phase difference on your overheads. if you hear a swooshing noise when you solo the OH mics, then its phasing, also you’ll notice if it goes quiet when you add the left to the right, then its out of phase, reverse the phase on one of the mics, and it’ll spring to life.
adding an out of phase bottom mic to a snare often has magical properties. try it.
room mics can be good, and they can be bad. if the room mics sound bad, put an HPF on them at 3k and compress them, that way its only the high end in the signal, itll not sound like room mics any more, but it will add depth and sparkle to the cymbols.
Kick mic – an SM57 facing the spot where the beater hits the skin is quite good, if the beater is plastic then it gives a nice click.
Also putting a condensor (like an akg c414 or something) about 1 wavelength away from the kick drum will give you fantastic sub pickup – it upto you to decide the frequency you want as your lowest note – make sure its in the right key for the chorus (or make sure that its a note thats in all the keys if you can)

NEVER put REVERB on anything less than 200Hz – (things with a frequency less than 150Hz dont reverb naturally.)

Remember the 3 to 1 rule when putting two sources onto the same channel – Separate the mics by at least 3 times the mic-to-source distance. This creates a level difference of at least 9 dB between microphones, which reduces comb-filter dips to an inaudible 1 dB or less.

throw the 3 to 1 rule away when you are doing overheads.

when mixing your recorded mics remember to pan everything – there are two ways to do this – you can imagine yourself sitting in front of the band – as an audience member and pan everything relative to that. it creates the nice effect that the band is playing for you.

or… you can pan everything as if you are the drummer.

or.. you can be like the beatles, and have the drums panned to the left ear, and everything else panned randomly.

experimentation is the key.

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