Recording - August 2016 - 18

I will tailor the drum mic array to the
type of music and the type of feel. I'm
not averse to tightly mixing every drum
and cymbal. I have, at times, gated all
of those microphones at the mixing
stage to achieve a very tight and produced drum sound. This works for a lot
of music types; lots of modern pop and
R&B, at least the parts of those genres
that still use live drums, benefits from this
approach. The sound is very controlled,
very balanced and usually very punchy.
Personally I like a looser, more organic drum sound. For that I usually go with
a pair of well-placed overheads, wellchosen microphones with appropriate
pickup patterns. More often than not, I'll
use large diaphragm microphones, but
I've had good success with small-capsule
microphones like the AKG C451 with a
CK1 capsule.
4

Percussion table with large-capsule
condenser mic set on figure-8 pattern
to take advantage of the reflective
surface above.
18

RECORDING AUGUST 2016

I mic the snare, usually with a dynamic
microphone like a Shure SM57 or Audix
i5, the hi-hat with a small-capsule condenser like the abovementioned AKG
451 or one of the more economical but
still very good RØDE small-capsule units.
The kick gets its own mic. I've used
dozens of different microphones over the
years, including tube and ribbon microphones. Just about every manufacturer
has a dedicated mic designed for kick
drums. They're a good place to start, but
don't be afraid to experiment with something you already have on hand.
In this more minimal miking setup you
need to really work at finding the right
placement for the overheads as they are the
source for the cymbals and the toms. Take
your time if you go with this approach.
Counterintuitively, perhaps, in a room
where separation is difficult, I'd still use
room microphones. Sometimes the best
way to confront what seems like an issue
is to double down on it. Make a virtue of
the "liveliness" of your recording rather
than pulling your hair out trying to eliminate it. (See my comments about Chess
Records above.) You never know what
you'll capture with the room microphones
and, of course, you're under no obligation to include them in the final mix.
Here's a hint. When you get to the
mix stage, try various amounts of compression on the room microphones. You
may find, as I often do, a sweet spot
where adding a bit of room mics that
are fairly heavily compressed does
something magic. A deft touch with the
amount of compressed room sound that
gets added back to the mix is the key.
Locked in or locked out
If the music is very precise and technically difficult, you'll want as much separation as possible. Very likely you'll be
stitching the final product together from
a lot of different takes and overdubs.
Again, assess the venue and determine
how you can achieve as much separation as possible.
If the music doesn't hinge on ensemble
playing, and lots of modern music doesn't, you can piece together complete
performances from overdubs and editing. You will likely be working with a
click track or a looped drum performance, which will give you lots of
options for syncing things together. You
can record individual instrument performances one at a time to create a complete take. That is an easy way to take
care of the separation issue.
If I'm recording a songwriter who has
put together a group of musicians for a
recording, I would get a little more hardcore about the separation. I will anticipate a lot more overdubs in this situation... and overdubs are a lot easier if
you don't have to contend with bleed!

5a

The horizontally placed figure-8 mic
from Figure 4, shown from above (a)
and from below, showing the reflective wood surface on the ceiling (b).
5b

If I'm in a venue that doesn't allow for
a lot of isolation, I might resort to capturing the backing musicians in a piecemeal
fashion, recording the drums with the guitars etc. playing through DIs. I'd then go
back and redo the bass, guitars, and keyboards in overdub sessions, saving the
final vocal for last. I find you get the best
performance from vocalists when they
sing to a pretty much finished band mix.
Alternately, in this situation I would
just isolate the singer, and if I have a lot
of confidence in the assembled band, I'd
let them work together to lay down a
tight ensemble bed track that can be
augmented with solos later. I'd go back
and work closely with the vocalist after
the track or tracks were more or less
done.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
Recording - August 2016 - 35
Recording - August 2016 - 36
Recording - August 2016 - 37
Recording - August 2016 - 38
Recording - August 2016 - 39
Recording - August 2016 - 40
Recording - August 2016 - 41
Recording - August 2016 - 42
Recording - August 2016 - 43
Recording - August 2016 - 44
Recording - August 2016 - 45
Recording - August 2016 - 46
Recording - August 2016 - 47
Recording - August 2016 - 48
Recording - August 2016 - 49
Recording - August 2016 - 50
Recording - August 2016 - 51
Recording - August 2016 - 52
Recording - August 2016 - 53
Recording - August 2016 - 54
Recording - August 2016 - 55
Recording - August 2016 - 56
Recording - August 2016 - 57
Recording - August 2016 - 58
Recording - August 2016 - 59
Recording - August 2016 - 60
Recording - August 2016 - 61
Recording - August 2016 - 62
Recording - August 2016 - 63
Recording - August 2016 - 64
Recording - August 2016 - 65
Recording - August 2016 - 66
Recording - August 2016 - 67
Recording - August 2016 - 68
Recording - August 2016 - 69
Recording - August 2016 - 70
Recording - August 2016 - 71
Recording - August 2016 - 72
Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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