Sometimes you just need to get a tune down on a multitrack, and you’ve got limited resources to do it. If you find yourself in a situation where you are severaly constrained with your gear, I’ve got a guide here for you on how to record drums with one mic.
You will need to set up your drums in the same space to be able to capture the sound coming from them entirely. This shouldn’t really be a problem because you likely have an entire set at your disposal. It is best if you don’t set them up in the middle of a room, since the sound could bounce off of the walls. Instead, try to place them close to just one wall, or in a corner.
Next, you’ll need to set up your microphone. Doing this is a little bit trickier than figuring out where to place your drum kit. You’ll need to do some quick test recordings to see if your placement is having the desired effect. Here are the top things you’ll need to keep in mind.
- Is it recording all the drums? You need to be sure that you are hearing all the different drums being played by the musician. If not, you may have to do some adjusting to see if the mic should be moved closer, farther, or at an angle.
- Does it have a good sound? Also be certain that you are getting the sound you want. If there is something wrong with the acoustics or microphone, you’ll need to address that first before you do your main recording. In other words, if the sound isn’t coming through clearly, you will need to investigate all the different parts, to see what is going wrong.
- Is this the audio I’m looking for? This is just as important as the other factors. If you aren’t getting the sound you want, you may need to place your drums somewhere else or use a different microphone. The recording should come in sounding sharp and identifiable, so if it’s not, you’ll most likely need to readjust and try again.
Even though it sounds complicated, setting up the mic isn’t that hard, especially if you have recorded music with microphones before. All you really have to do is make sure all your equipment is working properly and that everything is placed where it will work the best. It’s simply a matter of trial and error, but it will also let you know exactly how to set everything up next time you want to record. This makes it definitely worth the trouble and time it takes.
Another thing to be aware of is that a mono microphone can work just fine for these purposes. You don’t have to have an expensive mic or a stereo model for it to record the drums, so it’s okay if you don’t have a lot of fancy equipment. The whole process should be simple and easy when it’s done properly.
The recording aspect is straightforward, considering you are only recording the audio from one mic. You won’t have to spend your time listing to a bunch of different files to see how to edit them and make them sound better. You’ll only have to consider the one recording you made, which also makes editing that much easier.
Many people feel that recording with one microphone is beneficial because of the clear sound and that fact that it will come across with great power. With more mics, the sound may not pop the way you want it to.
Other Things to Consider
When you setup the area where you want to record your music, you’ll need to be sure that it’s somewhere that can capture the best sound. For example, you can’t have the music bouncing off of different areas. If you’re unable to put your drum set off to the side, you may want to soundproof a section of the room to help. Remember that even a little bit of soundproofing can go a long way.
As far as the room or space you have goes, you don’t have to have a large spot. A small room is just right for recording, since there isn’t a lot of extra space for the music to echo off of, so don’t worry if the room you’re recording in is on the small side. Many studios have very small recording booths too, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
You should also know ahead of time what song or track you’re going to play. You want to know the composition by heart, so you don’t mess up. It wouldn’t be fun to have to edit out your mistakes after you’ve completed the recording.
Finally, you should remember to have a little fun with it. After all, the first time you record this way, you may not be able to get it perfect. At the same time, as you keep recording in this manner, you should be able to adapt your techniques, so everything will be that much better every subsequent time.
If you want to record the drums, it’s not hard to get started and do a great job. You won’t need a lot of space or equipment, and you can do it effectively with just one microphone. It should still sound great, and it will be easier to edit if you need to, since there won’t be a bunch of audio files to go through. Besides that, it can be fun to learn how to record this way, so you’ll know the tricks when you are able to afford more complicated equipment for your recording space.