When miking a drum kit, there are a few things to consider. How many mics do you want to use? How many mics do you have? What is the sound that you are aiming for? Ultimately, the decision is up to you but we are here to present you with a couple of options that may help you along in your recording process.
The most basic approach would be to only use one microphone on the drum kit. As we are limited to one mic, we will be using a condenser microphone set on various polar patterns. Look at your drum kit and visualize an equilateral triangle, the base being the width of your kit. Now we want to position our mic, preferably cardioid, above the snare, but at the same height as the top of the triangle. This is one simple and quick way to mic a drum kit using just one microphone. Other options are:
- Point your condenser microphone on a cardioid or an omnidirectional pickup pattern and position it 8 feet away from the kit but point at the drums.
- Position your condenser microphone, set to cardioid, directly behind the drummer. Raise it so that it sits about 6 feet above the floor.
Remember, these techniques are not set in stone. If you want more bass drum, lower your mic stand or if you want less, make the stand higher. Point the mic away from the snare if it’s drowning out the other drums. Play with it to get the sound you want and trust your ears.