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Do you have any 4-mic Drum recipes?

Asked 1970 day 4 h | Viewed 5546 times | Updated 1969 day 7 h |

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Gravatar photo Ape Trax

 I was messing with the Glyn Johns mic setup earlier,  and was wondering if anyone else had any other drum mic recipes that involved 4 or fewer mics.

  • Interesting, I'm wondering what kind of results you got

    Justin Vencel | Sep 09 at 07:09

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6 Answers

  1. Answered: 1970 day 1 h (2) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoKerazy Steve

    Well, they certainly aren't 'recipes'... more like pleasant culinary/musical accidents. My own limited experience recording drumsets with only a handful of mics has generated some pretty diverse results. (most not that good).  The kit and the room have ended up making -all- the difference in the cases that it worked out for me (and more mics hasn't helped me much either).  Two i can think of off the top of my head:

    In a very 'live' sounding recording room we used nothing but 2 large diaphragm condenser mics as overheads (we'd forgotten the kick and snare mics at home, doh!), suspended a few feet above the kit on either side of the drummer's head.  Both set to omni even.  LOTS of room tone, but it was surprising full, balanced and bright sounding.

    The other instance was years ago when i had a really cheap old drum set placed inside a big unfinished wood barrel style hot tub. yep. Then i stuck one cheap old garage sale special Sure dynamic mic on a stand and pointed it roughly down from above (centered) and went nuts. Sounded loose and loud, but great for certain applications. I still use the recordings from that day as loops sometimes when doing bigbeat/hiphop/whatever and need a grainy-oldschool-funkonvinyl-saturated tone and don't want a wide stereo field.

    Sorry if my stories don't help you much  ;-)  but in the end, context and application have determined what has worked for me more than anything else.


    • I'm diggin' that bathtub technique. Back to the extreme basics, and only use the environment to affect the sound.

      Justin Vencel | Sep 09 at 07:09

    • haha! nice. The days of 'let's stick the only mic we have into something weird and see what happens' were some of my favorites. my list includes: -a hole in the wooden siding of the basement -an old beat up cookie tin -a stabbed hole in the drop ceili

      Ape Trax | Sep 10 at 10:09

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  2. Answered: 1969 day 13 h (2) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoKen

    I've been experimenting with different 3 or 4 mic set ups for a while now. I've realized a lot depends on who's playing the kit and where (room acoustics). That said, one set up I really like is to use a pair of pencil mics (cardioid) with the NOS stereo technique - above the drummers head facing down diagonally toward the toms. Then a mic in the bass drum and be sure to check for phase issues. To really fill things out, place a large diaphragm condenser mic in front of the kit. Experiment with placement. I've found a good spot about 7 feet high about five feet in front of the kit, basically aligned with the floor tom but angled down and back toward the snare. Not sure if we can post links here, but I uploaded examples of 3 mic set ups on on Youtube last year. I've got more demos on the way.

    • would love to see the setups. what should I search on YouTube?

      Ape Trax | Sep 10 at 10:09

    • You can add links as soon as you have 15 points (2 upvotes). Its just a barrier again spam bots that come along.

      Recording Questions | Sep 10 at 10:09

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  3. Answered: 1969 day 20 h (1) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoJustin Vencel

    I always liked throwing a mid-side pair about 6 feet in front of the kit at about 4 feet off the ground.

    I add the usual snare and kick mics so I can control the most important parts throughout mixing.

    I like to switch up the snare mic from time-to-time by aiming the mic directly at the shell.  I set it horizontal to the floor aimed directly at the side of the snare halfway between the top and bottom.  It does a nice job of picking up the snap of the skin and the snares.  It's a great alternative to to usual over / under combination -- plus not messing with phase issues.

    • I haven't tried this, but I've heard all SM 58 4 mic setup in 2D, all parallel, in front of the kit, at variable distance from the kit depending on how much room you want.

      Daniel Kushner | Sep 14 at 01:09

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  4. Answered: 1964 day 6 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoDanny Gallagher

    a good one is a slightly modified recorder man technique.

    set up the recorder man overhead technique-

    then stick a mic on the snare and bass.


    this technique has never failed me.

  5. Answered: 1955 day 8 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoBrian Zieske

    I tracked drums the other day with a stereo pair of Royer R122s in Blumlein configuration. I put them about 1 foot above the kick drum and about 1 foot in front point towards the center of the kick top of the shell. Accurate stereo image of the toms and cymbals and a phase perfect kick punch at 30-60hz. The great thing about Blumlein is the perfect mono compatibility and stereo room image coming from the rear lobes. HUGE tone. You do however need a good drummer and quality kit in a cool sounding room.

  6. Answered: 1932 day 13 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoMix Master

    For any song other than a ballad I feel that the drum kit is the "motor" of the song.  This being the case, I feel you need as much control over the kit as possible to ensure that the drums cut through and drive the song. To do this with 4 mics I always go with a mic (421) inside the kik, a 57 on the snare and a pair of overheads, placed pretty close above the kit.  You can always "carve" out the toms when there is a fill from the overheads and there will be pleny of h.hat from overs and snare mic.  For a ballad/4 mic combo I'll go with a kik mic (inside), stereo overheads and a mono room mic (which can be faked into a stereo tarck).

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