Recording drums is one of the most confusing and complicated facets of making music. There are so many microphones to consider, so many options on where to place them, so many different pieces of gear – such as mic pre’s, EQs, and compressors – to process the signal with.
Further, if the drums aren’t tuned properly, no miking technique or piece of gear is going to keep them from sounding like trash.
Add the fact that what really makes up a good drum sound, like most things in recording music, is often highly subjective and depends on the context of the style.
Where do you start, and how do you know when you have achieved something that’s good?
The secret is to simplify
My mantra in life, and especially in making music, is simple always wins. And there’s always a way to make things more simple.
When recording your music, you want to dig into the creative process as quickly as possible. Not get bogged down with technical minutiae that distracts you, frustrates you, and ultimately keeps you from making music.
Think about the albums you love to listen to, and the classic, timeless albums everyone is always referring to when creating music. Most of the well known record producers behind these albums use a simple approach to recording drums.
The musicians are able to get into a creative flow, and keep their imagination focused on playing and creating music.
I’m going to show you how to record drums like a hit record producer
Below, I have linked to my best blog posts that point out what things you need to be focused on, and in what order, to ensure that you are able to quickly set up to record drums that sound awesome.
You will always be in the creative zone because the technical details will disappear.
These are some simple techniques that well known producers such as Glynn Johns and Brendan O’Brien have used to record some of the biggest hit albums.
But just before we get to the actual articles, I want to make sure you have a chance to jump on my email list. If you find this content valuable, it’s worth it to subscribe, as I regularly share tips that show you how to record in a simple, inexpensive, and creative way, so that you can find your creative flow and make great music.
Getting Started: How To Record Great Sounding Drums Simple And Easy
You can spend all the money in the world on the best microphones and gear, but if your drums don’t sound good before any of this, then no piece of gear will fix your problem. What will fix your problem? The secret art of properly tuned drums.
As I mentioned before, the most well known record producers figured out that a simple approach to recording drums gets the best results. Brendan O’Brien, the producer behind albums by bands such as Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Perl Jam, has pretty much nailed this with a great sounding two-mic drum setup.
Another producer who contributed to arguably the most famous drum sound ever, is Glynn Johns. Glynn Johns brilliantly recorded Led Zepplin drummer, John Bonham’s, powerful sound in a very simple and accurate way, using only three mics.
Another really easy and great sounding mic technique that has become popular in recent years is the Recorder Man mic setup. This setup uses only two mics, is very phase accurate and sounds great.
Finally, here are a couple drum recording techniques that simplify the process as much as possible. The first of these only uses a single mic. Can’t get any more simple than that!
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If you like these super simple tips on recording drums, make sure you sign up to my email list. I share more easy drum miking techniques, as well as tons of other simple recording techniques that will help you make great sounding music. All while maximizing your creative flow.