Lo-fi drum recording - mics, recording and mixing

voodoochili12

Member
Messages
683
Hi all, let me know your thoughts on the following:

Problem:
I have some ideas for tunes that would benefit from drums. I have enough experience recording vocals, guitars, and keys to get by, but zero experience recording drums.

Background:
Some great recordings have been made with one or two mics on a drum set: Race for the Prize by the Flaming Lips, Mo-Town, Louis Cole (look him up on YouTube), etc. I don't mind a lo-fi aesthetic at all!

Solution (?):

What are the
a.) mics,
b.) recording techniques,
and
c.) mixing techniques
used to get a full drum kit sound?

Let me know what you think, thanks
 

oldhousescott

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,830
How big is the room you'll be recording the drums in? If it's a typical bedroom/bonus room, the results are likely to be less than stellar. Have you considered using a drum plugin like Slate or Superior? Just a thought.

If you're intent on recording live drums, the Glyn Johns or Recorderman methods will yield the most from the least.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
Glyn Johns or Recorderman, w/spot mics on kick and snare.

I'd also take tom mics while you're in there.
 

tenchijin2

Member
Messages
3,031
I would suggest a 4 mic set up. 2 condensers as some kind of "overhead" setup, a simple dynamic (like an SM57 or i5) on snare, and a large diaphragm dynamic on (or in) the kick. Youtube has a plenty of tutorials on these things, and I will just say that mic choice is not nearly as important as mic PLACEMENT in your first efforts. A 1/2" difference with the kick or snare mic is HUGE, as is the angle. Overheads can capture the toms beautifully if you know how to place them (hint: I recommend keeping them the same distance from the snare, because most of your snare sound comes from the overheads, not the snare mic).

Experiment and have fun! There is no substitute for experience.
 

78deluxe

Member
Messages
5,355
You only need two mics. One large Diaphram condenser and A dynamic to pick up the kick.

I describe the general process here: Start at 1:50


And you can see/hear the finished product all recorded live here, and this was done with basically zero setup time or adjustments, I have many recordings where I've done a better job.



Use a stereo widener plugin on the single overhead mic, if you want to a broaden the stereo image. There isn't really that much need to use two overheads, the one mic really does pick up everything other than the kick.
 

voodoochili12

Member
Messages
683
Awesome, thanks for the feedback everyone. Sounds like there are several flavors of simple set ups. I'll do some research and touch base.
 

mjt335

Member
Messages
658
Gabriel Roth gets some amazing drum sounds with one mic...

Here
is the full article with some insight in to how they work at Daptone.


 
Messages
2,564
In addition to the great minimalistic mic advice given here, I'll add that drums actually can sound fantastic in mono. Don't worry about trying to get a good stereo image from a minimalistic setup, just worry about capturing the natural tone and clarity of the kit and let the guitar tracks work the stereo spread.

Or, go really old-school and do the whole thing in mono!
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,343
In addition to the great minimalistic mic advice given here, I'll add that drums actually can sound fantastic in mono. Don't worry about trying to get a good stereo image from a minimalistic setup, just worry about capturing the natural tone and clarity of the kit and let the guitar tracks work the stereo spread.

Or, go really old-school and do the whole thing in mono!
Agreed! Plus, keeping the drums mono gives you more room for other things to happen in stereo. You can get some great drum sounds with just 3 mics (one overhead, one kick, and one snare). Placement, as always, is key.

As for "Race for the Prize", I believe that lo-fi sound was achieved more from compression than just a cheap or simple mic setup. I don't remember for sure, but I seem to recall hearing that David Fridmann used an ART VLA2 to compressed the hell out of those drums. Probably in parallel. It also sounds as though it's a mono overhead that's pretty high above the kit (or far away from it anyway) and in a big room. Usually if you want size (huge drum sound) you have to pull the mics pretty far off the source. If you want control and intimacy, then you have to move the mics in closer.

I know there's some details about how they recorded the drums out there somewhere on the internet, because I've read them before. Google search around and you should be able to find something.
 




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