How I record drums at home

I’ve spent a little bit of tonight reading on ways to record drums at home – slightly counter-intuitive, seeing as I have been recording drums in my garage for a few weeks now. But it never hurts to dig in for the little extra bit of information. And just for that very reason I’m going to post what I’ve been doing in case any other reader on the internet happens to want to record in the comfort of their home.

First of all, I’d like to note that this is far from perfect, but for a (relatively) low budget approach this is awesome, at least in my opinion. My set sounds good and its pretty simple to set up.

For Overhead miking I use two large diaphragm  Studio Projects B1 mics. I position them on either end of the drumset, using the “recorderman” drum miking method. Basically, just take your two drumsticks, place them standing up, end to end, in the middle of your snare drum. That is the height of the overheads. Then use one of the sticks to postition the left mic one stick-length away to the left, and repeat for the right.

For Snare Drum I use a classic SM57 (Shure). Really nothing special here, I mic the top of the snare, and I point the mic down at the head about 3/4 of the way in from the center.

For Bass Drum I have two mics I switch off using. I never really invested in a bass-drum-only mic, so I started experimenting with my other large diaphragm mics: Audio Technica AT2020 and an MXL 990. I had the 990 mounted in front of the bass drum when I used it, and I think it was a bit boomy; when I tried it with the AT2020 I put a towel in my drum and put the AT2020 right inside, and I like the results much better, and I’ve been using that more recently.

I have those 4 mics running into my FireStudio, running into my Macbook, which has Logic Studio 8 running on it. If there is one thing I could change about my recording setup now its the room. I’m getting a lot of reverb I don’t want (its a little too much coming through the overheads), but I think I can alleviate that if I change the positions of my drums.

Of course, everything in this post (mics, positioning, recording software) is subject to change with your own setup, but it can’t hurt to put my setup out there, as it’s been working pretty well for me. Good luck.

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