recorderman drum mic setup

If you haven’t checked out the “recorderman” drum micing setup yet, you should, for example here. It’s my favourite setup!

Basically, it uses two spaced microphones (cardioid), one directly above the snare (pointing down), the other one above the drummers right shoulder, pointing at the snare head center. Using two drum sticks as a measure tool, the distance to both mics from the center of the snare head should be the same, while at the same time, the distance from the bass-drum beater impact position to the two mics should be equal, too. There’s tons of videos and diagrams showing how to build these triangles. It takes a bit of patience to set up, but being precise is really worth it.

In addition, you can place a mic in front of the kick drum (sub kick mic or regular mic) and bring it up at the center of the mix. A fourth mic could go on the snare, like a traditional SM57, if you need that kind of control. In my case, I was recording without kick drum so I needed neither. However, even without additional mics, if you’re careful with the triangle setup, snare and kick will be in phase and also panned center. That’s the huge advantage of this setup.

One thing I would like to add is that you can shift the shoulder mic a little to the front and right, so it’s closer to the ride, while keeping the distances equal to snare/kick. That will get it a bit out of the way of the drummer’s head and also give a slightly better stereo (left-right) separation. Traditionally, if the mics are in line, both looking at the snare, what appears as left-right is actually front-back. If you try imagining it that way, it will make sense!

Microphones used in this recording were two Oktava MK-012 cardioids.

recorderman 1

Anyway, here’s two pictures of the setup where I was recording just snare clicks and ride at the same time. Note how clear the snare sounds! On the recording there’s a strong hi-pass filter that I needed in that situation, some tube distortion and compression, and I think it gives a good impression!

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