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The Glynn Johns drum micing method: good sounding room/drums/drummer and it works

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
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7,144
Who else has enjoyed this minimalist approach over the years?
 

straticus

Member
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3,101
I tried it a few years ago on a demo I was recording and really liked the results. Loved the overall sound. Got a great kick drum sound but the high hat was very up front, which I wasn't expecting.

It didn't change the way I record drums but it was fun to try.
 

Monotremata

Member
Messages
1,338
ME! The less mics I have to deal with when mixing a real drum kit the BETTER!!

Drums are just like anything else.. Mic placement mic placement and mic placement!!
 

NotWesYet

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5,303
I haven't yet, but plan to do so!

Here's a great article on a simple, but brilliant recording session and the techniques they used.

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/..._the_dave_brubeck_quartet_art_pepper_and_son/

From the article....

The old stuff sounds better than what we’re doing now. We’ve been going in the wrong direction sound-wise for many years. The layout of the stereo stage was more realistic then, too. Drums were on the left, piano on the right, sax and bass in the middle.

It’s easy to hear what each musician was playing because they were separated spatially. These days, you hear each instrument in stereo, on top of each other. The drums spread all the way between the speakers, and so does the piano.
 

Ransome

Member
Messages
532
We just tracked our demo live in one room using this technique on the drums. Unfortunately our drummer has a 26" Ludwig kick and the mic had to be placed so far in front that we lost the click from the beater. I had to resort to putting a 57 on the batter head. Still love the lofi sound we got, though.

Brilliant Machine
 
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6,318
I don’t do much recording, but I often use the Glynn Johns + a snare mic for live gigs. And with a really great drummer, it’s awesome.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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39,243
anyone care to define what we're talking about for the non-recording engineers among us?
 

Jet Age Eric

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7,675
I used it in a weird way on my last record: Just to add some air/glue to the kit. I set up using the GJ way but close mic'ed everything, too, just inc. I wound up using more of the close mics than I usually do (I usually start with a pair of spaced omnis and then bring up faders on the close mics--this was kind of the reversse), but the OHs REALLY blended well. Sadly, recordings won't be up for three more weeks so don't go to link in my sig to hear. -E
 

Uncle Pat

Member
Messages
638
I used this method for live sound for years out of necessity. A few mics were all I had!
Glad to know it's been cool all along. :rimshot
 

Simto

Member
Messages
4,582
Cool, i didn't know about this technique, i have to try it out!

I've been using four mics. One on the snare, one on the kick and two "overheads" close to my ears, sounds ok, but this sounds like it could work better.
 

RocksOff

Member
Messages
7,456
I use it frequently, but also do some spot micing depending on what the drums will be doing throughout the song. I always spot the kick drum with inside/outside as well.
I like to have two sounds available for mixing: a close in drum sound and a room sound. Then I decide which works better for the tune and use the other as reinforcement or effect.
The Johns placement will often win out in a more sparsely arranged tune, simply because it sounds so real.
 

RocksOff

Member
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7,456
Not necessarily. I prefer it that way, though. LDCs. Same make and model (whatever that might be). It seems to keep the stereo image from skewing or from sounding too bright, dark, airy, etc on one side of the kit.
If you aren't going to use identical LDCs, I think using the darker, or more congested sounding mic on the tom side works better than the other way around.
 

Dubious

Member
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2,186
massive fan of the glyn johns approach.. but be a bit careful what you read. .the http://therecordingrevolution.com is not exactly correct there are a couple things that most people MISS

the 2 mics do not need to be the same - and sometimes its preferable that they aren't.

The first mic goes over the CENTER of the snare - height is irrelevant - somewhere over the drummers head.

Measure this distance

On the low tom side you put the second mic again pointed at the center of the snare at the SAME distance as the first mic

here's the bit that the article missed and most people do

the mic over the snare is not aimed at the center of the snare - aim the capsule at the spot the beater hits on the kick (this fixes the issues with too much HH or too much SN / TOMs)

the second mic isn't just over at the left it needs to be set at the same height as the RIM of the low tom - so the capsule is basically sitting at the height of the tom rim LOOKING accross at the center of the snare

the pic on http://therecordingrevolution.com has the low tom mic in a spot that will get WAY more ride than needed for example.

these two mics then get HARD PANNED left and right

you reinforce with close mics or a third mic out in front of the kick.

if you use close mics you can go FURTHER away with the 2 overheads.. if you are going for 2 or only 3 mics you should bring em in closer

and they should be LDCS or ribbons for best results.
 

electricity17

Member
Messages
861
This mic setup works very well when you have a good drummer. You have to have somebody who knows how to balance their playing across the whole drum kit, probably pull back on how hard they hit cymbals, and tuning is important. My band's drummer is very good and has a great ear for tuning drums, but I've seen him set up and tune a good kit, then hand the sticks over to another drummer (we were helping a friend's band record) and the sounds got instantly worse because the other drummer wasn't as good. The tone changed because the guy didn't have his ear tuned to where to hit the drums, he'd miss the sweet spot half the time... it opened my eyes to how much of the sound of the drums comes from the player.
 






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