Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Another drum session to sink my teeth into....
This session was definitely a great one for quantity of microphones which the drummer Jerry enjoyed very much around his lovely kit setup! The band was Huddersfield's Rock Paper Sister (links left at the bottom of this blog!)
The session did come with a few challenges like with any drum recording since each drummer's setup is different. I work alongside them to be sure they are comfortable with the recording environment, as well as making sure I am going to capture a great sound.
1 - Kick (Audix D6)
2 - Snare Top (SM57 Beta)
3 - Snare Bottom (SM57)
4 - High Tom (SM57)
5 - Mid Tom (SM57)
6 - Low Tom 1 (SM57)
7 - Low Tom 2 (AKG D112)
8 - Over Head L (AKG C414)
9 - Over Head R (AKG C414)
10 - Room 1 (SE Electronics Gemini)
11 - Room 2 (Neumann TLM 103)
12 - HiHats (Rode NT5)
13 - Ride (Rode NT5)
14 - Talkback (SM58)
Jerry's setup as you can see involves a wide variety of cymbals. Capturing all the elements, I used a Rode angled slightly on the rides to capture a washy and warmer sound due to the off-axis angle. His setup included a ride cymbal that has holes bored into it. This creates a type of half ride half china washy sound to them, as well as having a quicker decay than your typical cymbals.
His cymbal choices were 21" Zildjian rides (including 1 with the bored holes) and Sabian crashes and Hi hat.
|| Micing up with so many cymbals...
I will have previously mentioned the importance getting good separation between different parts of the kit. Taking advantage of the 'null' point of a microphone will solve this problem which spots those pesky cymbals getting in the way of your nice sounding microphones around the kit!
With Jerry's kit using a lot of cymbals, it was a simple case of raising them all slightly higher to get microphones underneath and facing away from the cymbals. Sometimes it does take a bit of trial and error as you still want the drummer to be comfortable without changing his setup too much.
It is a case of working together and seeing what works best for both.
|| Room mics... adding a touch of excitement
Example of room mics recordings (See pictures above to see placements of microphones)
- In front of the kick low down and moved about a meter away
- Baffled and facing the wall to get more mid range ambiance of the overall kit in the room
Both room microphones add more depth compared to the close mic'ed elements which are more direct sounding. It creates space for the drums and can make them sound bigger. I combined both and found a good balance that gave the kick more 'boominess' as well as adding some excitement to the kit overall!
|| The recording session itself...
In between I had time to go through the tracks with Jerry, making sure the tone and performances were spot on! We found occasional minimal nudging of tom fills were required to get a tighter performance. But this is talking in terms of m/s and it did make the difference when the fill landed spot on into the new section.
We mainly focused on full performances all the way through in the most part as Jerry is a very professional drummer and put everything into the performances so stopping and starting would have killed the flow. We did have to drop into sections occasionally but only when we felt the previous one was so spot on we had to keep it in and made 'the' take.
Overall the sound we achieved has given us a great starting point to build on this big sounding drum kit...
...now time to add some nice slap bass to these tracks in the next session!
Have a click on their social media page for info about the band and any upcoming shows!
Till next time,
Dan AKA Morgs.
Check out my personal Instagram page for general studio day to day life and below average photography of studio gear - @dandrinksribena