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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 24 of 29

Room Effect Microphone Choice and Placement

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

24. Room Effect Microphone Choice and Placement

Lesson Info

Room Effect Microphone Choice and Placement

So now we're going to talk about finalizing the drum sounds now we have overheads all the close mikes and the room's air figured out but there's a couple things left that really aren't covered and that's going to be the high hats and the ride and the splash is something that we don't have the set up today to mike by itself so we would want to assess whether it's allowed enough in the overhead they're not and if it's not something that you can do if you're in a situation situation like we are where you really want a clear splash sound or china or anything else you have though I wouldn't recommend with china because you'd be writing he'd be riding on that symbol a lot most likely that any accent symbols attn this point before you've run out of mike's miking up the high hat and ride just throw one of those mikes on the splash get three or four samples of it any other accents symbols get some samples of them because when you're in the mix and kj sitting behind me he's like I love everythin...

g but my splashes to quiet every time I hit it and I'm like well we didn't have the mikes dude and we'll just go in we'll find all those hits and we'll throw a sample of it over the real one not necessarily replacing it but just to back it up and give it a close sound so that's, not something I'm gonna demonstrate because it kind of speaks for itself, but don't let things like that get away and, you know, you might think you have a cool splash, symbol sample or something, but for me, I like to use what the drummers actually using that way, it sounds exactly like his sound after that really important things, because they're being played a lot more, and they would be almost impossible to put in with samples would be the high hats and the right, and I have a k g four fifty one's on both of those you could really use all different types of mike's for high hat and ride. Um, something that I I find myself doing a lot is using a dynamic mike on the hats because I like kind of a chunky sound, but today we're going to go for something clean because I know kj plays faster stuff sometimes, and I want to make sure all the details there in the hats and ride, so I'm going to record this right now, we're going to hear the hats and ride, and then we're going to hear the last mike that I talked about before, which is the side snare mike and the side stare, mike really just opens up the image of the snare and, um makes it sound a little more three d and realistic, but first I want to hear these symbols and then we can talk about making the snare sound a little more three d we'll record it all at once killer, so we'll listen to that back, huh? Yeah, got it all in their back and forth. Um, I'm going to meet this side snare for now because that's not really my focus and just to make it really clear, I'm gonna pan the high hats all the way left and all the way, right? Because right now we're doing drummers perspective, which I prefer to do all the time because I am a drummer and I really don't like listening to records and hearing the high hat on the right side it's just a really strange thing unless I'm watching a music video, but every drummer out there knows what I'm talking about, like one of my favorite records ever, the high hat is on the right side, and that takes it down from, like, number one toe like number three and that's the only thing about the whole friggin record that I've loved for, like twenty years that I can't handle so non drummer engineers out there let it be known uh, listening back, I'm just going to play what we had originally, which is the overheads rooms and all the close mikes and I'm gonna have all the new additions muted and then I'm going to a mute the hats and on meet the ride you can hear how big of a difference it's going to make don't play it one more time. I just wanted you to hear that or to remember that he was playing the hats and the ride the whole time. But as I was commuting and un meeting the hat's, it almost sounded like he stopped playing the high hats for a minute. So here's without again, we saw what he did, so we kind of know. But if I was just listening to that, I really wouldn't have a clear idea of the beat that he was playing. But then what thes mike's in here? There's really? No question that he's going back and forth on the high hat and ride in a ce faras high hatton ride placement goes for the ride. I really like to aim it pretty close to where he's going to be pinging because that's really what I want to get out of the ride, you can already hear the washington's in the overhead this mike is just to mix in to make sure the ride sounds close, you're not getting all of your ride volley. You just from the ride, mike so I want the ping that's the most important thing I want to mix in tow what I already have fur hats have a tendency to put the mike on the other side of the hats, and the reason for that is that as I've said before this mike is gonna pick up everything in this range so he's playing right here and it's going to pick up this then it's going to pick up this, but because the house is so close to the snare, I really don't want a ton of snaring the hat, so if I have the mike over here, I've been picking up all this so I'd be getting snare and tom and all that stuff in and that's not really what I want because again, I'm just mixing in this mike to help out the overheads to make the high hats really clear so the less other stuff I haven't at the better so you can put a mike over here even though it looks odd but it's still picking up the direct hits on and the high hats themselves without picking up other stuff so less but not least when it comes to the drum mike set up is the snare side like and as you can see, the sony c forty eight is now pointed right at the bottom rim of the snare and it's about a foot back you ever take? And this is something that you have to shuffle around for every session. There's no real perfect distance, but you just want something tio that's in phase with the rest of the mikes, but helps the senate snare sound more three d for me, aiming it at the bottom rim is the perfect spot because I get a little bit of that snaring nous without the direct crackle that you get from the bottom like, and it gets a lot of the shell, which is something that is it. I mean, when you're listening to a snare, you're not your head's not over it like this unless you're the drummer, but what anyone else listening your head's? Not over, you're not hearing the top you're not laying under the snare hearing the bottom you're hearing the show so it's nice to get some of that shell sound in there and make the drum sound more real. So I'm going to show you what this might sound like by itself it's a little odd, not very cool on its own, but when I bring turn on both snare mikes, they're a little boxy on their own and slowly blend in the side mike on like a little loop here, so it's just sneer for a minute. And really opens up the snare so you get a little more of that natural open air snare sound and you can bring that up and bring it down when he's playing the whole kit obviously you're going tohave symbols and all kinds of stuff in there, but you can get it at a distance where the snare is the loudest thing and you can hear in this example that the snare is a lot of things you can hear you're getting kick drum and not like to see you really need to be careful that the kick drums and face and right now what I'm hearing is that it's actually helping the kick drum just adding a little bit of body to it but mostly it's helping the snare and that's just something I really like to have in there because it can make a big improvement and again, like when you're doing ghost notes and stuff that's a cool mike that you can automate up to get a more natural sound instead of just turning turning up some weird little silly sound or some kind of dead uh clunky sound from the top snapping hit really light so that basically concludes my king, the drum set and everything I would do to get the drum sounds that I want from the drums themselves and from the microphones and symbols um and that will bring us into the player and the room and all the other little factors that go into making the drum sound awesome.

Class Description

Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record, because in reality, a drum kit can be upwards of 20 or 30 instruments being played by a performer at one consistent time. Each drum head plays a huge role in determining the overall tone. The range of frequencies is broader than any other recorded instrument, with sub-kicks extending down below 60 Hz and hihats and cymbals with presence and ring above 16kHz. The dynamic range can include subtle ghost hits and flutters to pounding snares that fill a room, and yet somehow all of this is supposed to fit inside a mix without getting lost in a sea of guitars.

Kris Crummett has over a decade and a half of experience recording bands like Sleeping with Sirens, Issues, Alesana, Further Seems Forever and Emarosa. Kris will walk you through every step of the process to capturing killer drum sounds.

Which Drums to Use?

  • The size and type of the kick drum is a good place to start, and will largely dictate what kind of tone you end up with when you get the final mix. Do you want a modern sounding kit with a big low end and a bright punch or a more vintage tone with a rounder, softer low end punch?
  • Snare sounds can often define the tone of an entire record with a range of sizes, head choices and tuning options. How much ring is left in the resonant head can be deceiving when listening to an drum kit on its own, but can often be lost when blended in with the rest of the band. From maple and birch full bodied and nuanced tones to aluminum or even brass bodies, the snare drum can have one of the biggest impacts on your final track.
  • Drum heads can also have a huge impact on the transients that you capture when recording. Coated heads can offer a punchier, thicker sound while clear heads are a bit brighter. Tuning the top head and the bottom head to resonant together is an essential art that takes practice and expertise.

Which mics to Use?

  • There’s no right or wrong way to mic a drum kit, from the famous ‘When the Levee Breaks” 2 microphone room tone to modern metal drum production with 30+ mics in place.
  • Deciding when to use a condenser and when to use a dynamic mic is dependent upon the style, the drummer’s playing style and even the room in which you’re tracking. What sort of room mic techniques can give you that big open kit sound? What about a tight, small room trap kit sound?
  • Kris is prepared to walk you through all of these choices, with examples from his storied career and tips and tricks that only years in the studio can earn you. With legendary guest drummer KJ Sawka, you’ll have an experienced team to guide you through how to overcome the biggest challenge for a home studio engineer, the drum kit.


Kevin Howard

Kris is methodical and goes over everything related to drum recording in great detail. He covers heads and even how much moon gel he uses for damping the heads, Mic placement, shell choice( size, wood etc ). Listen to Dance Gavin Dance to hear some of his work. I found this class to be super informative and very practical in it's approach. Thank you Kris !


this is a great class! i play drums personally, and i love percussion! he also teaches well


This is an amazing class! Kris is a very scientific instructor. This really opened my eyes to the drum recording process. Take Notes!!!! There are about a thousand unique facts and techniques that you should know. This will help you to record drums correctly at the source so that you can minimize the amount of digital destruction you will do later and thus get a "Professional" sound.