How ⁤does the type of⁢ microphone used affect the⁣ sound quality when recording live drums?

When it comes to recording live drums, the right microphone​ positioning can make a world⁤ of⁤ difference. The drums​ are the​ foundation of your music, providing the punch and groove that can make or ⁣break a song. Therefore, understanding how to properly mic⁣ a drum set is ⁢crucial for any audio engineer or musician.

Understanding Drum Microphone Basics

Before we delve into specific miking techniques, let’s discuss the basic components of a drum set and ⁣the types of microphones⁤ typically used to capture each aspect:

    • Kick Drum: Due⁢ to its low frequencies, ⁣the kick drum often requires a microphone ⁢with a large diaphragm, capable of handling high⁤ sound pressure ⁢levels.
    • Snare: Condenser or dynamic ⁤microphones can be used for ‌snare drums. These can capture the ⁢sharp and fast attacks of the snare, while handling the high SPL’s it comes with.
    • Toms: Like the kick drum, toms produce low frequencies, but not quite as extreme. Often dynamic mics are used.
    • Cymbals⁢ and Hi-hat: ⁤ They produce ⁣higher frequencies, so​ small diaphragm condenser ⁣microphones are typically the preferred choice to‍ capture ⁣their detail and​ nuance.

Microphone Placement Techniques

Close Miking

Close miking involves placing the microphones close to ​each drum on your drum ⁣set, ⁤each ​picking up a relatively isolated sound from each drum or ⁤cymbal. This technique allows engineers to ​control every aspect of the drum sound’s balance in the mix.

Ambient Miking

Ambient miking captures the ‘room’ sound of the drums in addition ⁤to ‌the direct ⁣sound of the drum set. It uses one or two mics placed at a distance from the drums. This technique‍ helps capture the live energy and ‍resonance of the​ drums⁣ as they sound in the room.

The Recorderman Technique

In this technique, two microphones carry out dual duties of⁣ providing both an ambient drum sound and a close-miked sound. The “Recorderman” technique typically involves placing one microphone (overhead) directly above the snare and the other microphone at the same distance from the snare, but ⁣positioned in ‍front of the kit, ideally ‍near the drummer’s shoulder.

Getting the Best ⁣Sound Out of Your Drum Kit

Just like any other aspect of recording, there is ⁤no​ one-size-fits-all method‍ when⁢ it comes to‍ miking drums. The best ⁢miking technique will always depend on various factors ‌such as the drum’s quality,‌ the room’s acoustics, and‌ the desired drum sound for the music style.

Experiment with different types⁤ of ⁢microphones and their positions, and ‌let ‍your ears be the final ⁢judge. After all, the goal ​isn’t just to capture the sound of‌ the drums, but the feel and the energy of the performance as‍ well.


Whether you’re recording in a professional studio or a home ⁢setup, understanding and mastering these basic drum miking techniques can greatly improve ⁢the quality of your drum sounds. Continually experiment with different mic models, ‍placements, and even different drum tunings to find what works best for your specific situation.