Schools Training

Recording Drum Sets

21 JAN 2014
Career Path : Audio Engineering

Get an idea of the recording process and how to best capture the sounds of a drum set. Be prepared for a step by step process toward tonal integrity.

A recording session requires an interest in the audible results desired and how any sound can be manipulated. The foundation of all recording inevitably becomes the room where the audio frequencies of instruments will play and be captured.

The Space Used

Sound panels in a recording studio attempts to control the behavior of sound. It shortens how long instruments resonate. The larger the room, the more sustain a sound will have. In summation, the variants of size and materials in a room will be the sonic platform for all recording sessions. As practice, be sure to examine the spaces used at the Trebas Institute. The structure of any room is the key to how drum sounds will behave.

The Basic Sound

When the root sound is mentioned here, it denotes the actual instrument with no effects. The two factors to the root sound of the drums deals with the quality of the set and the skills of the player. Tone can be manipulated through tremendous variants and is all based on how a drummer hits a particular drumhead.

Take the snare drum for example. A hit in the middle resonates longer than that towards the rim. On the other hand, a rim shot sounds different all together. Depending on the experience, the drum set itself will have an overall characteristic that is unique when compared to another set.

When these two factors are taken into consideration, the quality of the root sound gives any recording a foundation to work with. It will also be the attempt at capturing the purest sound for a engineer to mix. Audio engineering courses are great for understanding how to achieve the best foundation of sound to mix.

Microphones and Placement

Once a drummer is satisfied with his drum set’s layout and the over pressure he will apply for specific tone, the process continues. That next step would be mic placement. There are three popular mic types commonly used in music and music recording. They are: ribbons, condensers and dynamic microphones. Ribbons are in the higher range of cost and provide a very smooth sound. Dynamics are heavy duty mics that can take loud noise and severe physical punishment. The most widely used is the condenser mic. This mic is very good at detailed accuracy as well as dynamic range.

At the very heart of it, the placement of microphones is a creative decision. Still, there are two basic approaches. One is to get an overall sound by using the microphones from far away to get the sound of the whole kit, while the other is specific by placing a microphone to each drum. Like the tonal range of a good drum set and a skilled player’s intention, mic placement and numbers will alter tone. This is an experimental process related to the room, microphone(s) used and where it is placed.


Once a sequence is captured using these steps, other qualities like EQ and reverb are added for desired effects. As long as the prior steps are taken to provide the best basic foundation for the drum sound, there are no limits to how that sound can then be altered.

Visit Trebas Institute for more information about audio engineering courses.