Contrary to popular belief, drum recording with 2 mics isn’t a new concept. You probably didn’t know that most drum recordings in the music hits of the the1950s and 1960s were recorded with 2 or 4 mic systems.
Even today, any decent drummer should be able to manage recording drums with 2 mic. Minimalism goes a long way. Especially in this day and age where the microphone itself has come so far, there’s no excuse. So if you’ve got only two microphones in your recording studio, if you use them right, you can make magic happen. In this review, we’ll go over all the basics of drum miking.
Here’s the ultimate guide to recording drums with 2 mic.
All You Need to Record With Only Two Microphones
The critical components of any drum recording session are the drummer and the drum kit. Once you’ve got these two, there’s not much need for other complicated equipment.
Right here, we’ve come up with a list of a few must-haves for your digital recording sessions.
The 6 Essential Things to Record Drums
- 2 mics (one condenser mic)
- Audio interface with two inputs
- recording software/digital audio workstation
- Cymbals and drums
- Studio space
Once you’ve made sure you’ve got all the things you’ll need, we can start recording.
What Is A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)?
DAW is the primary software musicians use for recording music. In addition, most modern instruments are run through this software, from an acoustic guitar to drums.
But that’s not all this software does. Music is mixed, and post-production editing is also done using DAW. So all you need is a laptop or a computer with DAW and your initial tracks, and you’re good to go.
The Basic Setup with a Drum Set and Just Two Mics
While working with a 2 mic setup, you’ll need 2 mics. One will be the overhead mic and another kick drum mic. Ideally, you should have condenser mics as well as a dynamic microphone. You could even use combinations of two cardioid mics. Throw in a ribbon mic if you like. But there’s no hard and fast rule regarding a stereo mic for a great sound.
You could still capture great drum sound by using the same type of microphones.
Why Combine Condenser Mics and A Dynamic Microphone?
The unique sound quality you get with two different mics is unachievable with a single type of microphone. However, what matters most is the microphone placement. Trust us when we tell you this is a game-changer.
If you position your mic in the wrong place, you could end up wrecking the whole audio. Even if you’re able to salvage something, you’re looking at a whole lot of editing. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you avoid this.
When you pick an overhead microphone, a condenser microphone will go a long way. The Blue Spark condenser microphone is a great choice you can purchase over Amazon.
The Kickdrums are rather loud. Therefore, we advise you to use a durable microphone and can handle sound at such high frequencies. The Shure BETA 52A Supercardioid Mic will give you the best combination of durability and excellent output.
Audio Interface (Two-Channel Interface)
In this kind of setup, you’ll need something to convert the audio signals to digital signals. The audio interface will do the job for you.
All you need to do next is start refining your work on your DAW software.
If you’re a drummer, we recommend you get yourself a high-end pair of headphones. They’re an essential part of your gear being a drummer. You want to hear yourself playing loud and clear over the noise.
We recommend you get a pair with a closed back. Our favorite one is Sennheiser sealed headphones.
Cymbals and Drums for Your Drum Kit
No home studio is complete without a great drum kit. However, if you can’t afford a top-notch drum kit, the good news is that you can still manage with a basic kit.
However, cymbals can change the entire sound of your track. Their tone and their pitch can make all the difference. This is why you need a good balance to ensure they don’t dominate the sound your mono overhead microphone catches.
The Right Mic Placement and Performance
We’ve already discussed which type of mic needs to go where. But what’s even more important is making sure they’re in the correct position.
Kick Drum Mic
The kick drums push a lot of air into your microphone. The best approach is to place this microphone right in front of the drum kit. If your bass drum has a hole in it, the bass drum mic could even fit inside. We do recommend you experiment with your options.
Single Overhead Microphone
Overheads will record the snare drum. The norm is to use a large-diaphragm condenser as your overhead. Your music will sound great, and you’ll get great results if you make sure your instrument and microphone are placed correctly.
How Does This Affect Drum Recordings?
Overall, using a 2 mic setup requires that the drummer plays great drum sounds. Since you’re making sure you’re not slacking, you’ll get great stuff.
Recording with only two mics is a true drum recording revolution. All you need is just two microphones in the correct position, and it will sound amazing.
The important thing sound engineers pay attention to while stereo miking is the position of microphones—the sound a mic produces in the same room and the same distance changes with each particular drum. The full drum kit is incomplete without a microphone.
Follow along with these great tips, and you’ll have yourself a Billboard-worthy song.