Having the right Drum Mic set up is personal but key to the overall drum sound which is the backbone of the music.
Every engineer has their own approach, but this is the drum mic set up that works for me and that my musicians dig. First, I always start with a great sounding well tuned kit. I also like new (or almost new) heads on the snare and toms. The Remo Emperor coated heads sound and record great, that’s what we always used on the house Ludwig kit at Coyote Studios.
On the kick drum I use AKG d12e, it has a nice low end. I like placing it inside the drum. Depending on the sound we are going for, I move it either closer to or further back from the head, or just right in the hole on the front head.
On the snare the only thing I ever use is Shure 57 (one that has never been sung into) as you can see in the picture I have what I call a hi hat eliminator—something I made myself. I wrap it around the 57, this helps to eliminate some of the hi hat bleed. There’s no real scientific proof that it actually works but you can definitely hear the difference.
On the rack and floor toms I like using Electrovoice N/D408 (supercardioid) with its shock mounted frame. It has a nice low end, a flat mid range, and a nice high end. The thing I like most about these mics besides the great sound you get from the toms, is the compact size and pivoting mount. You can position them anywhere between the cymbals and toms.
On the hi hat I use a Beyer m422. If available, I also like using 13 inch hi hats instead of 14 inch. It gives you a more controlled splash and sound.
On the overheads I use AKG c460b. I don’t really do a stereo setup, I point the mics toward the center of the crash and the ride cymbals. The distance or height depends on the sound of the cymbals and the way the drummer plays.
And last but not least, the room mics. Find the overall sweet spot of the room. I like a MS stereo pattern so I use Microtech gefell UM70 in a figure 8 pattern and Um 71 which would be the cardioid pattern.
And if you happen to be doing two track recording, here’s my two track live setup. Everything is the same except that I use no overheads and no tom mics, instead I place an AKG 414 in a figure 8 pattern between the toms and the cymbals and play with the distance to get the right mixt of toms and cymbals.
So that’s the microphone set-up I like to use, plain and simple.
If you have any questions send me an e-mail, I’d love to hear from you.