Recording Drums, Part III: Placing Room Mics

Hi, this is Justin with Sonic Scoop. We’re going deep into drum micing fundamentals once again. This time, we’ll be looking at room mics.

We’ll go into a few strategies for placing your room mics, as well as a few ways to process them, so you make sure you’re getting the tone you’re looking for.
We’re here at Strange Weather recording. We’ve got some great mics from our sponsors at Sennheiser, and really great drummer, Parker Kindred behind the kit.

So alright, let’s get started.

Next thing we’re going to look at, room mics. Getting some distance from the kit. Get a new perspective on the drums.

One simple way to go about it, is if you come out far from your kit and do a stereo pair. One on this side of the room, one on the other.

[drums]

You could go lower down to the ground, and if you go lower down to the ground with your room mic, you might get a little bit less of the direct sound of the cymbals and maybe a little bit more of the reflections off the floor, and the sound can end up getting a little darker and smoother.

Maybe that’s what you want, maybe it isn’t.

[drums, mics lower]

But who says you even have to point the mic at the drum kit?

For one of these, we’re going to point the mic right up into the corner. Not catching and of the direct sound of the drum kit at all. Just reflections off of the wall.

We’re going to hear how that sounds.

[drums, mics pointed into corner]

There’s one more way to block out the direct sound of the kit to get even more space to your room mic, and that’s to put gobos between the room mic and the drums.

The gobos around the kit will make the kit sound tighter and more focused, but the fact that we’re blocking off the direct sound from the mic will make this room mic sound a lot bigger, washier, more open.

That way we have two distinctly different sounds to blend between.

[drums, gobos between drums and mics]

Thanks for tuning into this episode on room mics. Check out our earlier episodes on overhead mics and close mics, and stay tuned for future updates in this series. We’ll look at how to compress, EQ and process drums, and go a lot deeper into drum micing techniques.

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