Drum Recording Day

So on a Saturday morning I headed out to record some drums with my band. Now our drummers drum set was setup at his church since it is the kit that they use every Sunday for services, so rather then hall them away somewhere else to record and then have to bring them back we decided to just record the drums there.

We setup the drums in this room used as a library at the church. The room used to be part of the old sanctuary at the church so it has these really high, angled ceilings with wood paneling and beams. Since the ceilings are high and angled, and there are book shelves around most walls there wasn’t the usual boxy slap echo that you get when you record drums in a room that wasn’t built for it.left right distanceWe set the drums up in this room in this room pretty much dead center. I decided to face it towards this glass wall and door so that we could sit on the other side of it, but more importantly I did it so that the left and right sides of the drums had as similar of surfaces as possible. So the drum set is centered left and right and there is a wall of bookshelves on each side. So with the drums setup there we listened to how they sounded in the room, and we decided they sounded good, no weird boxy sound or slap echo, so then we mic-ed them up.

I didn’t realize until I started editing this video but every mic we used ended up being a Shure. We put a Shure Beta 52a on the kick, and we actually started with it outside the drum but weren’t too happy with how it sounded so I moved it farther inside. Then we mic-ed the snare and toms with sm57’s, and then for overheads we used a pair of sm81’s. Now when I setup mics I usually pretend that the microphone is a flashlight, and whatever you would shine light on then, will be what the microphone hears. So I set one sm81 on the left of the kit pointing at the crash and hi-hats, and then the other mic I setup pointing at the ride and crash cymbals. Then my friend Brian used a mic cable to measure out the distance from the snare to each of the overhead mics. So I don’t know how high up they were or the distance away from the snare they were, but that distance was the same between both microphones.


We ran some tests and liked the way that things were sounding except for the snare, we wanted a little bit more sizzle sound from the snares themselves. We didn’t have anymore 57’s but we had a sm58 that we through on the underside of the snare just to get a little more sound from the actual snares.

At that point we liked the sound that we were getting, and I checked the tracks to see that everything was in phase and then it was time to start tracking. We plugged everything into Behringer ultragain pro-8 digital 8 channel mic pre, and then used ADAT to connect that to my RME UFX interface, and then recorded everything into Cubase. I used the RME’s built in software to make some headphone mixes and we were off and running.

Overall the day went pretty smooth, I like mostly because of the fact that we found a room that sounded good to be begin with and liked the way the drums sounded in person. That way we only had to capture the sound, and not try to finesse it to sound how we wanted.

To hear the drum sound we ended up getting watch the video here:

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