With less than 2 weeks away from the Modern Drummer Festival in New Jersey, I thought it would be great to open up a discussion on the various techniques people use to capture their drum sounds using Shure mics. I think this will also help to educate some people as to what choices are available (i.e. mics, drums, drum heads, etc) and what sounds they will get in making those choices. So here we go:
I play drums and my drum kit of choice is Pearl. I have a Reference series kit with a 22 inch kick drum and 4 toms – 10, 12, 14, 16 inches. I switch between an all brass reference series snare and the Steve Ferrone signature snare. For my mics selection, I would put both the Beta 52A and the Beta 91A in my kick drum. This is a standard technique used both live and in the studio to capture the low end and the attack of a kick drum and to blend between the two sounds as appropriate. For toms, I would use the new Beta 98AMP on my 10 and 12 toms because I like the clarity of tone they provide. The Beta 27 on the floor toms provides a nice, full low end and the super cardioid pattern give them great separation. The SM57 on the snare is a must as it always naturally reproduces the acoustic sound of the snare drum. I use Remo drum heads – Clear Emperors on the top and Clear Ambassadors on the bottom. The Reference snare has a coated Ambassador head on top. I like to tune the toms so there is no tonal drop-off and the pitch is nice and long, not muted. No gates please!
For cymbals, I choose Zildjian. I would use a KSM137 on the Hi-hat as it is not to bright in the high end. On Overheads, I would use the Beta 181/C. My first experience with these was last Fall 2010 at the Percussive Artist Society International Convention in Indianapolis. I was very pleased with the clarity and the tonality that came through these mics. I heard various tones from the cymbals that I was only used to hearing when I listened to cymbals up close acoustically. Like the SM57 on the snare, these seemed to truly represent what was in front of me.
I am very comfortable with this set-up both live and in the studio. Many drummers have used both similar and different set-up to track their drums. You can find a some examples from the Pro’s in our Microphone Techniques for Drums publication.
So there you have it!
Now it’s YOUR turn. Please comment and tell everyone about your kit and what Shure mics help you achieve YOUR sound.