Recording drums is an important part of any project but the process can often seem quite daunting. Often in studio pictures an abundance of microphones can be seen on and around the kit, suggesting that you might need a lot of equipment to get the job done.
However, one simple method of recording drums that is highly effective is the Glyn Johns method.
It uses only four microphones and is relatively easy to set up.
What you need
- two overhead microphones (preferably condenser mics)
- a snare microphone (dynamic microphone)
- and a kick microphone
First begin by placing one overhead mic about a metre (3 or 4 feet) above the snare. The microphone diaphragm should be pointing down at the kit. Then take your second overhead microphone and place it to the right of the drummer (so the microphone diaphragm is facing the Hi-Hat). Then measure the distance so that it’s the exact same measurement from the first overhead mic (so about a metre). Pan the two mics in the mix and you should get a nice balanced sound.
*The image shows the distance of the microphones but not the correct diaphragm placement
Snare + Kick Drum
The snare and kick drum microphone placements can be played around with until you find a sound you like. Often with kick drum mics you can place the microphone inside the drum or have it set up on the outside.
Overall this is a great and relatively easy way to record drums.
Jen Athan is a composer and producer based in Glasgow. Her work spans many different styles and genres and typically features her love of sampling and experimenting with new sounds. She has written music for theatre shows and short films and enjoys creating music to accompany a narrative.