The drums are heartbeat of any song, literally, and you’re going to want the best possible drum sound for your upcoming tracks. But there are a couple of obstacles in the way to achieving this.
Not only is recording drums challenging, it can also be very expensive with the equipment and recording space, the price adds up!
However, there are cheaper ways to record your drums and still get successful results at the end of it, simply use one microphone.
Recording with one microphone can be very beneficial as it increases your chance of your recording sounding better!
Look at the reasons why using one microphone is a good, and less expensive, below:
(1) Find a balance – Using more than one microphone when recording drums can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to find the right balance you’re looking for. However, this issue is a breeze when you’re recording with only one microphone.
You simply need to position the mic where you want it, record, then listen back to what you’ve got. If you’re bass drum is too overpowering move the mic further away and closer to your other drums and cymbals.
Adjust the mic if you’re not satisfied by the sounds on your recording. Every time you listen back to your recording you’ll get a sense of what is missing and only have one mic to move to find the balance you want.
There is a slight downside in that you cannot have a mic above your cymbals and near your bass drum which can have an impact on your balance, however you are able to create a great sound in a smaller about of time if you compromise.
(2) No Phase Issues – When recording with various microphones to record a specific sound, it can lead to creating phase issues. Now that doesn’t mean it is impossible to record drums with multiple mics, with the correct positioning and other factors it can be done. However, using one mic is not only easier but it will not have any phase issues at all.
So not only does your result leave you with no phase issues wherever the mic is placed, it also saves time and struggles.
(3) Achieving a punchy sound – Drums are the beat and rhythm to any song, so it’s important that they are sharp and punchy. However, recording drums with multiple mics can mask how punchy your drum sound is.
Why? Phase cancellation plays a big part in this problem, with things that sound good within the room being drowned out with loads of microphones. Another reason is that people over think the placement of their microphones when setting up, they have an idea of sound in their head and try to mimic it with too much preparation.
Whatever you hear, the microphone hears too! Using one microphone will give you a great sound no matter where it is placed near the kit, because the drums are a punchy and powerful instrument.
(4) Easily mixable – One of the best reasons for using one mic, especially in this technological time, is that it is crazily easy to mix your music! You can take that drum track you recently recorded and get mixing, with no individual drum mics to organise or any phase issues to deal with which saves you a load of time.
So, we’ve banged on (yes pun intended) about why you should use one mic to record with, but what sort of mic should you be using?
The good news just keeps on coming as you can pretty much use any microphone you have lying around!
There is no need to rush out and buy a swanky new mic just to record your drum piece if you have a perfectly reasonable one sitting at home. If you’re a vocalist, use the microphone you sing with, it will do the job just fine.
However, if you really want to get the best recording you possibly can, a condenser microphone can be beneficial with it being sensitive to the sounds it picks up. Meaning you’ll get a good sound from your cymbals as well as having your toms, kick drum and snare drum picked up too.
But just remember, it is not about the microphone you choose to use, it is about the position in which you place it.
Don’t knock it until you try it!
Using one microphone is cost effective for any musicians that are on a tight budget or just starting out. You won’t break the bank forking money out for a mic that you’ve most likely already got.
Also, using one mic is stress free and simple to do when recording your perfect drum piece. If you’re a starting out musician or want to experiment with your recording technique, try one mic recordings and see how you get on!