Getting the big drum sound out of a small drum kit

Sunday rains cancelled soccer for the day, leaving me time to record drum tracks for two new songs, currently titled “Guido’s Dead” and “Runnaways.”

I’ll put some mixes up soon. In the meantime, here are a couple of pics of the drum kit I’m recording in my 2nd bedroom:

For the toms, small diaphragm dynamics. That’s an Oktava MC012 in cardioid (with -10db pad) on the snare. An AT4033 is in front of the kit, acting as an overhead mic. Another pic after the jump:

That’s an EV RE-20 on the kick drum. The original kit is a kid’s drum kit purchased on the cheap. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts. I’ve told friends the story of buying the original kit and lying to the teenage sales clerk that it was a gift for my nephew. I don’t have a nephew.

An Oktava ribbon mic looks above the kick and is out of frame here. This is a picture of it.

The last two mics are Oktava MC012’s on the floor in omni forming a triangle with the kit.

I’ve leaned how to get “big” sounds out of small kits, firstly out of necessity, but now I prefer to work with smaller pieces. It’s similar to recording guitars. Many big guitar sounds on classic records came from taking very small amplifiers and turning them all the way up.

For comparison, or contrast, here’s a pick of a mic’d kit from Life of Pi‘s drum tracking sessions for Genuine Fake –same placement mostly, but a bigger room.

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Stephen Hammill

A digital communications specialist with several years experience in media, SEO, digital marketing and public relations, I’ve worked to create content utilizing new media while training others to do the same. Find me on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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