Today, I asked one of my lecturers, Glenn, to show me how he records drum kits and he kindly spent his day doing just that. He first stressed the importance of getting the sound you want at source, rather than trying to fix all your problems in post. I was suprised to hear that he rarely ever uses an EQ when mixing, and instead repositions his microphones to get the sound he wants. He said he doesn't press record until what he hears in the studio is how he wants it to sound as the final recording.
I had a meeting with my Unit E group:
Yesterday, Glenn taught me how to tune a snare drum. The first thing we did today was tune the kick. We rested each face of the drum on the ground and used a drum stick to hit around the edge of the skins listening to whether one side was higher/lower in pitch than the other or not. We noticed that the batter head was not even, so we used a drum key to stretch the lower pitched side.
We taped a 2p coin onto the batter head to increase the attack (now there's no need to boost the highs in post). We also rotated the beater by 180° so that the hard side was hitting the 2p. We then experimented with resting the blanket inside the kick drum on different sides to manipulate the ADSR.
- With the blanket resting on the batter head, the low frequency decay is longer. This would be good when the kick is being played less frequently.
- With the blanket resting on the resonant head, the low frequency decay is shorter. This would be good when the kick is being played more frequently.
- With the blanket resting on both heads, the overall sound is dead.
With the drum kit set up, we began setting up the microphones. Below is the input list:
We used two microphones on the kick drum; a dynamic Audix D6 pointing towards the 2p on the inside, and a large-diaphragm condenser RØDE NT2-A set to carioid on the resonant head:
We used four microphones on the snare drum; a condenser AKG C451B alongside a dynamic Shure SM57 on top, and condenser RØDE NT2-A set to figure of eight on the rim, and a ribbon Sontronics Sigma off to the side.
We used two condenser SE 4400 set to figure of eight using the Blumlein stereo method positioned just behind the drummer's head:
We used two dynamic Audio Technica Pro 25 on the toms:
We used two cardioid condenser Audio Technica AT4033a as stereo room microphones:
Lastly, we used a condenser Neumann U87 set to cardioid positioned low to the ground pointing towards the centre of the front of the kit: