Recording Drums - Vintage sound


Interesting. Nice ol' drumkit and a nice sound. Plus it's a subject that I'm pondering for an upcoming recording session where I'll want to play the guitar live with a drummer in the same room. Plus we're awkward because we're a little 'loud' and don't like headphones much...we want to play like we rehearse and record that way. We want bleed. I've recorded this year in the same studio with phones and amp in a separate room...and with the live setup with drums and amps in the same room. The engineer hated it but I preferred the sound and vibe...my opinion was that it was his problem. Any advice appreciated (apart from turn down or put the amp in the next room...great way to wazz on the chips IMHO) For reference recordings...think The Sonics.


That's a nice take on miking drums----simplicity! The only thing that I'd do differently is use two overhead mikes if recording in stereo. The complexity of the drum kit could make a difference as well. Engineers would prefer isolating each instrument as it makes their lives so much easier. Miking for recording is far different than miking for a live situation. The "bleed" is part of the reason the "wall of sound" worked so well for Spector. For a little more control, you could use a drum shield, and damping panels where needed. My personal pet peeve is the way most sound guys mike Leslies with one mike jammed into the HF rotor.


The whole mix sounds great. You captured the vibe.


Very nice. Thanks for sharing, Nick. Funny about the snare mic signal not being used in the mix. When I record drums my main mics are also the overheads. I just add some bass drum for bottom end and just a little bit of snare for punch in pop/rock music.

I'm quite a recording beginner and I like simplicity. I wish I had the coin for nice vintage mics but the stuff I have works well. Mic placement is the key for me. I use the Glyn Johns method with the added snare mic in a dry room (unfortunately) and I like the sound so far. Every recording becomes better than the one I did before. That's quite satisfying. ;)


Great post, Nick! I just realized I drive right past your door nearly every weekday. I think I'm going to stop and take a look inside soon.


Sounds great. I really like the way the ride cymbal sounds.


Hey everyone,

Thanks for checking out the article and for your kind comments! :)

Yes, I think I would go for stereo overheads in future - just for a little more 3D realism. I did a session the other day with a pair of Coles 4038's as overheads. Wow. I'll never use anything else again!

Hey audept - drop me a line sometime.... number / email on my site :)


One Flight Up | Sydney Recording Studios


4038s seem to have that effect on people one flight.

Last drum recording I did was a Glyn Johns arrangement with a valve Neumann U47 as a shoulder mic and a U67 above the snare. Also had an AKG D12 inside the kick and an RCA 77 outside.

Lovely old Rogers kit and I close mic'd everything after I had set up my Glyn Johns pair with the kick mics. Come mix time I mostly ended up running just those 3 or 4 mics through the stereo buss.

Nice to have the close mics though, even if you just gate them t use as reverb sends.

Will try the wurst mic next time I'm in the studio.


For his Raymond Scott Project, Stu Brown recorded his group with a single stereo ribbon mic in the middle of the room with only minimal close micing on the horns, piano and bass. There were no close mics on the drums and no EQ or added reverb. You can hear the result on his website Link. Click on the tracks at the side.

By the way, Stu is a drummer.


I tend to like overheads for drums as well. A couple of large-diaphragm condensers two and a half drumstick-lengths or so from the snare (they have to be equidistant or the snare may have phasing issues), a separate mike on the snare itself, and a separate mike on the kick. Sometimes adding a mike under the snare is a good idea too. Throw a little slapback and reverb on the snare, perhaps a bit of compression and EQ on the kick, and you're done.

To me, the snare sound is the crux of any recording that features the whole kit. The drums may not be the loudest or most important part of a recording, but they influence how everything else sounds.


Weird drum fact, at least in my experience: turning up the snare can make the vocals seem louder.


Mic sneaked in between the snare drum and bass drum works well, unless the drummer is monkeying around on the hi hat. Hi hats are dumb, never like 'em anyway. Good distance from other cymbals too. Sonics anybody? Favourite drum sound ever


Mic sneaked in between the snare drum and bass drum works well...

That's basically the 'Wurst' mic.

I hear people using it in combination with a fully mic'd set. Heavy compression on the 'wurst' is meant to give punch to rock drums. I couldn't get any results I like for my band. We're probably not 'rock' enough.Might work for other stuff.


Yep, but on the other side, away from the ride cymbal . Next to where the hi hat would have been if I hadn't thrown it over the garden wall


Hey Nick, I'm back from Rajasthan on Jan 4th. I'll be in touch!


At our session at Sun Studio, they gave the kick drum it's own mic, two ribbon mics over head, then a bit of echo in the mix and got a really great drum sound, I think.

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