How I record my drums

I’ve had a few emails about this topic and thought I would save myself some repetition and post it.

My drums are in a smallish room which was formerly a partly open verandah or balcony. Then it was enclosed with aluminium windows. I put sheets of thick plasterboard into the window channels, which certainly reduced the spill, but also made the room very hard. I try to eliminate the room sound as much as possible by close miking. I’m very familiar with the setup, so I have learned to work with it. Good drums with decent heads, tuned well and close miking = decent drum sound.

The mics are a very basic collection. AKG C1000 overheads; Audio Technica ‘KitPak’ mics on the toms; Shure SM57 on the snare top head; CAD 95 condenser on the bottom head; Shure SM81 condenser on the hi-hats and a vintage AKG D12 for the kick.

I route the kick and snare drum mics through an ART Tube pre-amp; then into one of two compressors : an HHB Radius 30 or a Presonus Tube; then into Cubase via a Focusrite OctoPre interface. The snare drum bottom mic is routed through my main interface which is a TC electronics Impact Twin.

I use EQ in Cubase – these are settings I’ve had for a while. I also use Waves compressors. The kick and snare are already compressed lightly on the way in. I use gates on the toms, but not for every track. I’d like some better tom microphones but I’ve used the AT’s for so long I know what to expect. That’s it.

AKG C1000
Audio Technica Snare Tom mic
Audio Technica Tom Kick
Shure SM57
CAD 95 Condenser
Shure SM81 Condenser
AKG D12
Trout rack