How do you record BIG drum sounds in a small space?
Here''s our favorite reader response. Phillip Jackson wins a Glyph GT 050Q drive. Thanks, Phillip!
I have a tiny studio, as you can see here. To get the biggest drum sound, I do a three-fold recording approach:
- Tune them low, low, low. Low-tuned toms have lots of attack and have booming body. Low-tuned snares and loose snare wire give the drum lots of low-frequency information; this adds to the illusion of bigger space because sonically the snare occupies more room in the mix.
- Put those overhead mics up high, and WIDE. I get a bigger sound when my overhead condensers pick up more of the overall drum kit sound. Moving them back away from the cymbals, balance height with space to get a good overall picture of the kit. You''ll eventually compress these to get some pumping and make that kick and those toms sound HUGE. Consider using a large-diaphragm condenser mic over a small-diaphragm condenser. The larger capsule doesn''t respond to transients as quickly, taming crashing cymbals and giving your mid frequencies more dominance in the mix.
- Use a room mic, in the hallway of another room. This is more for effect—I put a large-diaphragm condenser in the other room or down the hallway to get the room sound of big drums. This sound of distance mixed with the close mics gives the illusion of a big space. I compress this channel—sometimes 8:1, or even 20:1—and slam it so that it''s really pumping. You won''t get the sound of the cymbals pumping with the kick, but you''ll hear the room reacting.Three steps, one huge drum kit.