This article is an excerpt from the April 2015 issue, which can be purchased at here.
Drum Miking 101
Part 3: Three-Mic Setups
by John Emrich
So far in this series we’ve looked at mixing a drumset with one and two microphones. Now we’ll add a third. Three microphones are ideal for most drumset work. Even when I’m employing multiple mics, I find myself getting most of the sound from just three, usually a stereo pair over the drums and a single one on the bass drum. The reason is simple enough: The stereo overheads are the closest thing to the drummer’s ears in terms of capturing the natural balance of the kit. If something sounds too loud in the overheads, you may want to look at the instruments you’ve chosen and, more important, your playing itself. The bass drum mic just helps fill out the low frequencies.
As you experiment with and listen back to the sounds captured from the examples discussed here, key in on the stereo field (the spread from left to right) and the detail of the drums and cymbals. Ask yourself a few questions: Do I get a clear representation of the set and a good overall tone? Do I hear the attack of each instrument, and is the sound clearly defined? Are all of the drums and cymbals balanced?
Position 1: Stereo Overheads and a Bass Drum Mic
Position 2: Glyn Johns Technique
Position 3: All-Mono Configuration
For more insight into the miking techniques demonstrated in this video, check out the complete article in the April 2015 issue of Modern Drummer, available at here.