Drum skins is a big topic and you are just about to find out everything about them.
Let's start with saying that back in the days, but i mean really far back the drum skins were actually build from animal skins instead today we actually...
HOW TO MIC UP A DRUM KIT
If you play drums, i am sure that at one point you'll want to record your drum set, and is not quite a simple task. With the right advice you'll be able to get the best result for your recording, trust me, put your 100% into this, otherwise if you don't know what to do, your drum set will sound like a flat box . There are a few microphones types you'll need, each one is preferable for certain instrument. Many drummer ask them self why their drum set doesn't sound so good, it all comes to the microphones set up.
Mic up a drum kit can be quite boring and confusing for somebody, i am going to keep it as simple as possible. You'll find picture related for every part of the drum kit so that you can other then read also see how to Mic up a Drum Kit. Every part of the drum set will need a certain microphone in a certain exact spot to get the best recording.
SOUNDPROOF MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE, BUT EVEN WITHOUT IT, YOU CAN !!!!
The top quality recording for a Drum kit depends not only from the microphones, also from the room! If you already have a soundproof room stay calm because you are on the right path, if you don't have one, don't worry there are tricks on how to change small things in your "HOUSE" room, so that you can simulate a soundproof room. With little cost, trust me, you'll get TOP results.
The first option you have, in my opinion the best one, is to use pre-made soundproof panels for studio recording . This is the quickest option you have to get TOP quality results. Obviously is not for free but is not even that expensive. Soundproof panels comes in different sizes and prices, the more you pay the better the quality of the panel will be! The beautiful thing about these soundproof panels is that you won't even need to drill the wall, there is a special Foam Spray Adhesive glue that sticks permanently the panel onto the wall. Not only! It also gives more soundproofing quality when used, really a great product!!! You don't necessarily need to cover the all room with panels, even covering only the door or the windows is a very good idea.
I found for you some panels and that glue that i just talked about.I think, these two products are the best option you have to get the TOP quality results with the a little money investment. At the end of the day, these are things that you buy once and forever, and guess what? If you change house, you can bring those with you and set them up again!!!
FoamEngineering Acoustic Panels Studio Soundproofing Foam Wedge Tiles, 12 X 12-Inches, 48 Pack
(Click HERE to see more info about the product)
Acoustic Foam Spray Adhesive Glue
(Click HERE to see more info about the product)
This suggestion is much more complicated and much much more expensive, but it's still an option you have. I advice to do it only if you own the house where you live, because in case of house moving, you won't be able to bring the all soundproof room with you.
Step by step i get you trough it.
So the idea is to build a wooden frame all around the walls of the room you are going to record in. Unfortunately i can't work out sizes etc. because every room is different. Let somebody help you and just so you know, you are going to need a lot of tools to cut timber etc.
Once the frame is up, the next step is to fill the frame with soundproofing materials. There are many soundproofing materials out there, so i am not gonna list them, with a quick research on google you can find thousands of them or just simply go to an hardware store!
Once the frame is up and the foam is in, you'll need plywood sheets. The thicker they are, the better it is. Proceed to install each panel until the all frame is closed up. And there you go, SOUNDPROOFING done!!!
HOW TO MIC UP THE KICK DRUM
Let's get into it now. After we went trough the room topic it's time to set up. When recording the Kick Drum the best type of microphone you can use is a Dynamic one. Engineering created certain dynamic microphones that are specifically for Kick Drums. There are a few ways you can set up the MIC for the Kick, each one will have great results.
"If your kick drum sounds very loud and too punchy, a good trick to make it more soft and low is by placing bed sheets or pillow between the two skins. This will help reducing the high frequency, giving more body to the sound"
SET UP #1
Some drum kit have a pre cut out hole on the front head of the Kick. The hole is been cut out for microphones purpose, in fact, if your drum has got one, the best option for you is to use this set up.
Place the Dynamic microphone about a couple of inches away from the front head (where the hole is) and as well a couple of inches away from the middle of the head towards the hole. This is pretty much the standard way on how to mic up the kick, it is very used in many recording. This set up gives to the beater a really quick and sharp attack every time the head gets beaten.
SET UP #2
If your Kick hasn't got a hole, you can simply place the microphone at about 5 cm from the front head. When using this technique, if you are looking for a "boomy" sound, place the MIC right in the centre. Otherwise, for softer kick just place it off centre, about one third away from it.
SET UP #3
Some kicks front head for recording purposes are actually not there. When the front head is not present is actually possible to place the microphone right in the drum. The microphone in this technique, has to be place at about half way into the drum and right in the middle, where the beater is. With this set up you'll notice that, the attack will decrease and the full body of the drum will be more present in the recording.
Compression set up.
After we looked at the practical set up on how to mic up a Drum Kick , we can move onto the virtual set up. Only the recording by it self is not enough to obtain the best results. Using some plug-ins and EQ's is only gonna benefit us. In the Kick drum's recording channel is always better of to insert a virtual compressor. It will help to give more body to the Kick and also reduce the unwanted high pitch.
Following up, a general compression set up that works well for kick drums:
Threshold: -6 db
Ratio: Between 3:1 and 6:1
Release: Between 150ms and 300ms
Attack: Between 50ms and 60ms
`Gain: The gain needs small adjustment, it's up to you working out the set up, it's easy, if it sounds good, it's good!.
HOW TO MIC UP THE HI HAT
Hi Hat is one of the most important part of the drum kit, and is very recommended to spend extra time during the microphone set up. Hi Hats keeps the groove going and it is very important to get a good sound from it. Also for the Hi Hat is preferable to use a dynamic microphone.
Place the microphone roughly 3 o 4 inches above the Hi Hat , the microphone has to point down on it. Make sure the microphone is not that close, otherwise there is a good chance you are going to hit it when playing it, during the open hi hat movement.
"Snare Drums and Hi Hats are very close. Most likely snare drums microphones will pick up the hi hats sounds, so make sure the snare drum microphone has a good set up and will pick up as little hi hats sounds as possible"
Regarding the virtual part, you don't necessarily need a compressor. A parametric EQ will do the job, just play around with the high frequency and reduce them if you need to, the Hi Hat has always that sharp sound and can interfere with the other instruments.
HOW TO MIC UP THE SNARE DRUM
Snare drums are very particular, they need a lot of attention. They are probably the beating heart of a drum kit. A good set up will give that extra good touch for a much much better outcome towards the final recording.
The Snare Drum is very close to the other drums , especially to the Hi Hat. For this reason a dynamic microphone won't work. The right microphone for Snare Drums is one with a Cardioid Polar Pattern .
Place the microphone roughly at about few inches from the snare drum and point it directly onto it. Normally the microphone gets placed between the hi hat and the High Tom. Small adjustment are probably needed because every snare drum can change quite a bit. This position will make your snare sound pretty punchy!
Also the Snare Drum recording channel will need some compression. A general and common set up is the following;
Compression set up
Threshold: -3 db
Ratio: Between 3:1 and 6:1
Release: Between 100ms and 175ms
Attack: Between 5ms and 20ms
`Gain: The gain needs small adjustment, it's up to you working out the set up.
HOW TO MIC UP TOMS
Toms are pretty straight forward. The right microphone to use is a dynamic one. You have two option, MIC up the High and Mid Tom together or MIC them up individually. The Floor or Low Tom , has always a individual microphone.
If setting up each Tom individually, just place the microphone at a few inches above the drum head. Different story is if you want to MIC up the High and Mid Tom together, place the microphone at about 3 inches from the drum heads right in the middle of the two Toms.
For Toms, compression can be needed and there is not a general set up, so it's completely up to you and it all depends from the sound of your Toms. My advice is inserting a Parametric EQ in the channel, in this way you can boost or cut certain frequencies to obtain the TOP sound.
HOW TO MIC UP CYMBALS
Cymbals are quite complicated, because when they get played, in most of cases, they overtake the Drum Kit sound. If you are wanting to record your drum kit, a good advice is to play your symbols very softly, so that they won't cover the Drum Kit sound. Small Diaphragm Condenser microphone are the right choice for Cymbals, but you don't necessarily need to record each Cymbal individually. You can also pick up the cymbal sounds from the Microphone that you will place for the whole Drum Kit (following up).
Just in case you decide to record each Cymbal individually, proceed and place the microphones on top of each Cymbal, at about 7 inches from them. A Parametric EQ is highly recommended, Cymbals sounds are mostly formed by High Frequencies, using an EQ can help a lot with the sounds out come.
"If recording Cymbals, a softer hit is the best option you have to reduce their high sound. Is also a good idea to replace your cymbals with some smaller one. They often have good characteristics like, a quick attack and a short release so that your drum kit sound won't be hidden in the crowd when hitting the Cymbals "
HOW TO MIC UP THE WHOLE DRUMS
When recording a Drum Kit, other then recording each instrument present in the whole Drum Kit individually, we also need to set up two or one microphones for a general Drum Kit recording. They will record each instrument all at once. For this type of recording, you can use a pair of Ribbon Microphones . They will pick up a softer and sweet sound, perfect for using this recording to give more body to your full Drum Kit Sounds
There are two set up you can do for this type of recording. You can either place one microphones up onto a single stand placed right in the middle of your Drum Kit at a few feet from the Cymbals. The other way is to place each microphone, onto a single stand and place each stand to the left and to the right of the Drum Kit. Place them at about 2 feet above the Cymbals, point the microphones down towards the Drum Kit and finally, start recording.
"Effect like Reverb or EQ and Compression are very important for this type of recording because you can manipulate the full body of the Drum Kit and make it sound however you want. Just try different settings and plug ins, you'll see what a difference."