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Recording Drum Kits With Only Two Mics | Audio Examples

Hear For Yourself! By Neil Rogers
Published February 2021

The MP3 audio examples below accompany my feature on minimal drum miking in SOS February 2021. Hi-res 24-bit WAV files are available in the downloadable ZIP file.

Package icon recordingdrumswithtwomics.zip

In the article, I explain five techniques I tried for capturing a drum kit with just two microphones. For each audio example I've provided a 'raw' version, which is a balance of the two microphones used with panning if appropriate. Additionally, I've included a 'mixed' example for each technique which shows what is possible with a little experimentation at the mixing stage. You could go a lot further than I have of course, depending on what sort of material you're working on, and it's just to give you a quick taste of what is possible.

All the recordings were captured in the same spot in a small — 3m x 5m — room and the microphones varied depending on what I thought worked best from my collection. For all the examples I used the preamps on my Audient ASP2024 console with no additional processing at the recording stage.

Audio Files

01_Glyn Johns_RAW

I demonstrated in the article how to do the well-known Glyn Johns technique and I used a pair of AKG 414ULS large diaphragm capacitor mics. In this example, the mics are panned 45 degrees to the right and 65 to the left.

02_Glyn Johns_Mixed

I used a transient designer plug-in to reduce the ring of the mic pointing across the floor tom along with an EQ cut at around 700Hz. Across both mics, I applied a touch of compression along with an EQ dip at around 350Hz to get rid of some boxy frequencies.

03_Eric Valentine_RAW

I used a Beyerdynamic M160 pointed in front of the kit and a FLEA fet47 microphone positioned across the room to capture some low end. This is the RAW sound of both mics combined.

04_Eric Valentine_Mixed

This is the technique that required the most processing by far to work. The M160 mic is heavily compressed with a sharp EQ boost at 180Hz to bring out the body of the snare. I've also applied a little tape echo to give it a 'vintage' sound. The low-end mic is heavily gated so that it's predominantly the kick drum coming through and then steeply low-pass filtered at 100Hz. This mic is just for adding bottom end. There's also a little more overall compression on both mics.

05_Recorderman_RAW

I used a pair of AKG 414ULS mics for this technique and this is how they sounded in their RAW form. Each mic is panned 45 degrees left and right.

06_Recorderman_Mixed

This technique didn't need much to bring into focus with some gentle EQ cuts around 83 and 750Hz helping to reduce some low and mid build-ups. I also used the Oeksound Soothe plug-in to smooth the cymbal sound out slightly along with a touch of compression across both mics.

07_Rogers_RAW

For this technique I used an Earthworks SR25 as the overhead, with a Sontronics Sigma 2 positioned between the toms. This is how they sounded when balanced together.

08_Rogers_Mixed

For the tom mic, I used a transient designer to reduce the ring from the drum shells along with an EQ cut at 750Hz to bring some focus. The overhead mic had a little boost at 180Hz to add some weight to the snare. Both mics had a touch of compression along with an instance of the Soothe plug-in to remove some cymbal harshness.

09_Daptone_RAW

As I explained in the article, this technique uses two mics close-positioned towards the snare and kick drum. I used a Sontronics Sigma 2 and a Shure SM7 balanced slightly in favour of the Sigma 2.

10_Daptone_Mixed

I played around with cutting some lower mid-range frequencies on the ribbon mic to try and balance the body of the kick against the snare drum. Across both mics, I then used a tape emulation plug-in — driven hard — and some spring reverb to try and give it a certain feel.

Published February 2021