If you want to learn how to mic a drum kit for recording, you will need several mics and a good room to collect the best sounds from your drum set. These instructions can be used for both live sound or recording, although you may need to make some adjustments depending on what you are setting up the microphones the drums for. With some practice and faith in your own ear, you can make a great drum sound.
To mic a drum kit, you will need:
- Kick microphone, usually a larger mic
- Snare Mic
- Tom mics, depending on how many toms you have
- Overhead mics for cymbals
- Stands for all the microphones
- Set up the drum set the way the drummer likes the kit to be set up.
- Using a special microphone stand, usually a small stand with a thick, round base, attach the kick mic to the stand. For a clicking-sounding kick, put the kick mic as close to the drum head as possible. If the kick drum has a hole, put the mic in the hole to capture the clicking effect. For a booming kick sound, move the mic a little further back from the kick drum head.
- Use a slender mic for the snare drum. You want to position the snare mic next to the rim of the snare horizontally so that it picks up the snap of the stick hitting the snare and also the ring of the drum. Do not point the mic down toward the snare. This will overpower the snare and make it sound bad, as well as get in the way of the drummer.
- Tom mic stands can be of two varieties. You can use mic stands that stand from the ground, or you can use the kind that attach to the rim of the tom. Direct the mic straight down over the tom. This will capture the natural ring and pitch of the tom.
- Overhead mics for the cymbals should be placed on mic stands a few feet above the cymbals and drum kit. Some people like to mic the hi-hat, but the overhead mics should do the trick just fine. It really depends on if you want to have the hi-hat high in the final mix. For live mixes, the overheads are more for capturing the whole kit and making it blend into the music of the band. For recording, the overhead mics will give you the ability to blend the cymbals into the recorded music.