Here are some suggestions to prevent hi-hat leakage into the snare mic: mike the snare closely; bring the snare-mic boom in under the hi-hat and aim the snare mic away; use a piece of foam or pillow to block sound from the hi-hat; and consider using a de-esser on the snare.
For toms, a good choice is a cardioid dynamic mic with a presence peak and a deep low end such as the Sennheiser MD 421.
Place the mic about 2 inches over the rim and 1 inch inward, angled down to aim at the center of the head.
The usual EQ is a cut around 400 Hz to 600 Hz to remove the unwanted artifacts, as well as a boost around 5 kHz for attack. Another boost around 80 Hz to 100 Hz adds fullness.
It’s common to gate the toms to reduce the low rumble of vibrating heads and to prevent leakage, resulting in a tighter sound.
To do this, solo a tom track, insert a gate in the track, and then while the tom is playing, gradually turn up the gate’s threshold until the gate cuts off the sound between tom hits but does not cut off the hits themselves.
Finally, set the gate’s hold time to 0 to 100 milliseconds, whatever sounds good.
Highs & Lows
Place overhead mics about 2 feet over the cymbals, and if possible, use condenser or ribbon types with a frequency response that is flat to 15 kHz or even 20 kHz. This characteristic captures the delicate, beautiful “ping” of the cymbal hits, while a peak in the highs tends to sound harsh.
Usually the snare mic, overheads, or room mic pick up enough hi-hat. But if you want to mike it separately, aim a condenser mic down about 8 inches over the edge farthest from the drummer. Apply a high-pass filter at 500 Hz or higher to reduce snare leakage and to remove the low “gong” sound that close miking would otherwise pick up.
You might apply a high-pass (low-cut) filter to the overhead mics that capture the cymbals to remove frequencies below 500 Hz to 1 kHz. This will reduce drum leakage and room reverb in the cymbal mics, which is especially helpful if the room acoustics are poor.
Kick drum is largely a matter of experimentation. Some place a blanket or folded towel inside the drum, pressing against the beater head to dampen the vibration and tighten the beat. The blanket shortens the decay portion of the kick-drum envelope. To emphasize the attack, use a wood or plastic beater – not felt – and tune the drum low.
Figure 4: Positioning the kick mic. (click to enlarge)
For starters, place the kick mic inside on a boom, a few inches from where the beater hits (Figure 4), if the front head has been removed. Mic placement close to the beater picks up a hard beater sound; off-center placement picks up more skin tone, and farther away picks up a boomier shell sound.
Current practice among many drummers is to use a front head with a small open sound hole, in which case the mic should be placed directly in front of the opening. Kick drums are usually tuned quite low for a sharp attack sound used in pop or rock, and much higher for traditional jazz.
To create a “tight” rock-type kick sound – almost like a dribbling basketball – cut several dB around 400 Hz and boost around 2 kHz to 4 kHz.