Drums might be one of the most complex instruments to record, with modern studios using up to 12 or more microphones to capture the entire drum kit perfectly.
But does it need to be so complicated? There might be something to be said for simplicity in recording.
Legendary producer and engineer Bob Clearmountain (The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen) has such a simple method for recording drums it will probably blow your mind: use 2 microphones to record drums.
The team at Apogee (maker of items like Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface) put together this interesting video with Clearmountain discussing his drum recording method. Along with talented drummer Matt Chamberlain (solo artist, session musician, David Bowie, Tori Amos, Soundgarden), they demonstrate this classic two channel recording method for drums using the Apogee Duet.
If you’re working from a home studio this might be the perfect drum recording method for you to use what you already have available. You might also learn a few more interesting ideas you can implement while watching this video.
Keep your mix in mind.
Clearmountain shares several interesting techniques in the video which can help you create better drum recordings. One technique is keeping your mix in mind by placing the microphones to prevent the need to filter things out later. He changes the placement of the mic to capture a truer sound and remove the fake extra bottom the drum creates. Doing so eliminates the need to later filter out that unwanted sound picked up due to microphone placement.
Having your final mix in mind before you start recording will allow you to set up in a way that saves you time and effort later. Brilliant.
Experiment like crazy.
Another great tidbit Clearmountain shares is how he experimented like crazy to learn how to produce the best sound. He would come in at night when everyone was gone so he could tun the drums for hours while trying different things just to see how they sounded. He wasn’t a drummer but would experiment with the drums until he got the sound he wanted.
You don’t just magically end up as a legend in your field. You work and experiment and find the best way to do things until you become the expert in time. Clearmountain’s work shows us all that putting in those hours experimenting will help you learn and improve your art.
Go set up a 2 mic recording for drums and experiment! Play around with the gear you already have available to you. Record something and see how it sounds. Try recording it again slightly different. Try something new and upload it to Musistic!
If you haven’t tried the 2 microphone method of drum recording, get in and start now. Let’s make some awesome!