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Tech Tip Of The Day: Recording Kick & Snare With One Mic

Can two very different drums be recorded with one microphone?

By PSW Staff June 17, 2010

Provided by Sweetwater.


Q: I’ve been tracking an album lately and have been doing some experimenting with microphone placement.

I’m wondering what your take is on something I’ve been trying.

I know lots of engineers like to record both the top and the bottom heads of a drum kit’s snare drum, and many also like to mic the kick drum beater.

However, how do you feel about using just one mic for multiple sources?

A: Why not capture multiple sources, like the bottom snare head and the kick beater, with one mic?

I’d say just position a microphone — a condenser would work best for this— that’s set for a figure-8 polar pattern so that one side of the mic picks up the snare and the other picks up the beater.

You won’t have individual control over the level of the two drums, but with judicious EQ, this can work great for blending in with the primary kick and snare mics on the kit.

While traditional microphone techniques tell us to generally mic each instrument individually, finding an equation that works best for you is all part of the creative process.
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