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Anyone who has ever tried to record drums in a studio knows that it can be a tricky process. With these tips for recording drums we can help.
There are many different ways to go about it, and some tips stand out more than others. If you’re like me, then you know how hard it is to get a good drum sound. You might have even given up trying to record drums at home and resorted to hiring someone else to do the job for you. That’s because there are so many things that can go wrong when recording drums in your own studio.
With some patience and these tips, you’ll be able to get great sounding drum tracks in no time.
What Is Drum Tracking?
Drum tracking is the process of recording drums in a studio so that they can be used in a song. This can be done with just one microphone or with multiple microphones, depending on the sound you are trying to achieve. It is basically, another way of saying that you are recording a drum set.
Tips for Creating Great Drum Recordings
Ideally, we all wish we had a great engineer to work with and could just walk in and play. This is sometimes not the case so it is a good idea to learn some things about the process so that you can at least have an idea of what is happening in the studio. These tips are especially helpful if you are working on setting up your own home studio to track your drums.
Use the right microphones
There are many different types of microphones out there, and each one will produce a different sound. For instance, dynamic microphones are often used for snare drums because they can handle high volume levels without distorting the sound. If you are looking for a warmer sound, you might want to try using a condenser microphone.
Position the microphones correctly
It is important to position the microphones correctly so that you get the best sound possible. This will vary depending on the type of microphones that you are using and the sound that you are going for. In general, you want to place the microphones as close to the drums as possible without them getting in the way of the drummer.
While a wide variety of microphones can produce decent recordings, the key to capturing a great sounding kit is careful, intelligent mike setup. The most difficult part of miking drums is dealing with phasing while using many microphones. At the very least, keep the overheads at least the same distance apart from the snare drum.
Using fewer microphones can result in less stress and a better overall sound, which is a win-win situation. A small number of microphones is sufficient in many instances. To me, having fewer microphones and a more spacious soundstage is almost preferable for what I do. Overheads or room mikes can help you discover what you’re missing. If you need extra kick, you can use a kick drum mic.
Use a good quality drum kit
It might be tempting to try and save money by buying a cheap drum kit, but this is not always a wise decision. A good quality drum kit will sound better in the studio and will be easier to record.
Tune the drums
This might seem like an obvious one, but it is important to make sure that the drums are tuned correctly before you start tracking. Drums that are not in tune will not sound good on the recording.
In addition to tuning, make sure to isolate and remove any squeaky drums or hardware. This will make a big difference in the quality of your recordings.
In regards to cymbals, try to use ones with a naturally darker, warmer sound. These will sound better on the recording than brighter cymbals. In addition, warmer cymbals tend to have less resonant reverberation, and extremely loud cymbals can have a significant impact on recordings recorded with overheads.
Choose the right room
The room that you record in can have a big impact on the sound of the drums. A smaller room will usually produce a drier sound, while a larger room will have more of a “live” sound. I prefer a bad-sounding live room to a great-sounding dead room in my experience with tracking drums. Experiment with different rooms to see what works best for you.
Standing waves can be an issue in square rooms, which is why it is best to avoid them if possible. A blanket on a wall or some plywood in strange angles might help break up the monotony of a room. It’s only a matter of playing around with the reflecting surfaces.
Use baffles and blankets
If you are recording in a live room, you might want to use baffles and blankets to help control the sound. Baffles are usually placed between the drums and the wall to absorb some of the sound. Blankets can be placed over the drums to dead
Get a good drum sound on your monitors
One of the most important things to do when tracking drums is to make sure that the drum sound is good on your monitors. This will help you to get a better idea of how the drums are sounding and will allow you to make adjustments if necessary.
Compression is often used when tracking drums to even out the sound and to reduce the dynamic range. This can be especially helpful if you are using a single microphone to track the drums.
Adding a little bit of reverb can help to give the drums a more natural sound. This is especially helpful if you are not able to record in a studio with a live room.
Reverb can be added in the mix or during the tracking process.
Get the EQ Right
EQ is another important factor to consider when tracking drums. You will want to use EQ in your mix to help shape the sound of the drums and to make sure that they fit well with the rest of the instruments in the song.
Final Thoughts on Tips for Recording Drums
These are just some of the things that you need to consider when tracking drums in the studio. With a little bit of patience and practice, you will be able to get great sounding drum tracks.