One Mic Drum Recording – 3 Techniques For A Simple, Solid Drum Sound

One Mic Drum Recording

In the world of music recording, having access to a full studio setup with multiple microphones is a luxury not everyone enjoys. Whether you’re a musician on a budget, a home studio enthusiast, or simply looking for a quick drum recording solution, the concept of “one mic drum recording” can be a game-changer. In this article, we’ll explore a couple of techniques that will help you achieve impressive drum recordings with just a single microphone.

Why Record Drums With Only One Mic?

Recording drums with only one microphone may not seem ideal, but there are situations where it makes perfect sense. Perhaps you need to send a quick demo to your bandmates, your audio interface only has two inputs, or you happen to have just one microphone on hand. Fear not, because with the right techniques, you can still capture a great drum sound.

One Mic Drum Recording Technique #1: Front of the Kit

The first technique involves placing the microphone right in front of the drum kit. Position it so that it points downwards towards the kick drum. This setup ensures a prominent kick drum sound, making it an excellent choice for 1 mic drum recording. Additionally, you’re not too far from the toms, allowing them to translate effectively. By positioning the mic halfway between the snare top and snare bottom, you’ll capture the snare’s attack without overwhelming snare wires. The cymbals, known for their presence, will also be well-represented. This technique offers a close and detailed drum sound, perfect for single mic drum recording.

One Mic Drum Recording Technique #2: Over the Shoulder

The “over the shoulder” technique requires placing the microphone about 1.2 meters above the snare and pointing it downward. This setup is especially useful in small venues or situations where you have limited channels available, making it one of the best single mic techniques for miking drums. Despite not being directly in front of the kick drum, it still captures its power effectively. This technique delivers a balanced and overall drum sound, making it an excellent choice for one mic drum recording.


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One Mic Drum Recording Technique #3: Behind the Drums

For the “behind the drums” technique, position the microphone approximately 60 cm from the floor tom, aiming it towards the snare. This setup ensures you capture enough snare sound, as well as the kick drum’s impact from the beater. The distance from the cymbals prevents them from overpowering the mix. While the floor tom might be slightly dominant, this technique produces a resonant and well-rounded sound. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the renowned “Glyn Johns” technique.

Try A One Mic Setup Yourself

Now that you’ve learned these three single mic drum recording techniques, it’s time to put them into practice. Experiment with each method and find the one that works best for your specific situation and musical preferences. Remember, the key to success lies in careful microphone placement and a good ear for balance.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, recording drums with just one microphone is not only possible but can yield surprisingly excellent results. Whether you choose the close-up approach, the over-the-shoulder method, or the behind-the-drums technique, each one mic drum recording method has its unique advantages. Let us know in the comments which method works best for you and share your experiences with one mic drum recording. We’re excited to hear how you achieve stellar drum recordings with minimal gear.

Happy recording!

About The Author

Nick Braren is an audio engineer and musician with over 15 years experience in the studio, on stage, back stage and front of house. He is the owner and operator of Upaya Sound, guitarist and vocalist of Vandemonian, father of 2 and husband of 1. When he’s not in the studio or in the band room he’s either travelling in his van or at the beach – or both.

Mixing Engineer




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