Getting Better At Mixing & Engineering (Part 1)
To get better at mixing and engineering I decided to work with a band out of my comfort zone. The band I ended up working with was a lecturer’s band this band has 5 members but the band like to overdub extra instruments on to the songs. So because of this the mixes became very dense and proved difficult to mix. The first thing that was recorded where the drums bass and keyboards as a live take. The bass and keyboards were both recorded directly. The drums were recorded using only 2 mics I did this because I wanted to try producing a record with minimal mics and minimal tracks.
Mono or Stereo Drum Sound
While doing research into recording drums with minimal microphones I found an article by Nick D’Virgilio on sweetwater.com. In this article, Nick D’Virgilio suggested that when recording drums with just two microphones you should go for mono over stereo. One mic above the drummer and one mic in front of the drum kit. The article went on to say that If you were to use two mics as an overhead stereo pair there will be some sacrifice in the low end. You will not get enough kick drum in the mix. So with all this in mind, I decided to go for a full-range mono sound with the drums.
Nick D’Virgilio suggested that the overhead microphone could be placed over the drummer’s head but have it at an angle so it picks up a bit of the room in front of the kit as well. He then went on to suggest that the second microphone should be placed about four feet in front of the kit and have it as high up as the bottom of the rack toms. This front mic, when mixed together with the overhead mic, should get you a nice round sound with plenty of kick drum.
I decided to use a single 414 over the top of the drum kit and a single ribbon mic just in front of the kick drum. The 414 was used to capture the cymbals as well as the kick and snare attack. The ribbon was used to capture the body of the snare and low-end punch from the kick drum. This technique was suggested by Charlie Waymire in his Recording Drums: Building A Drum Sound video on YouTube.