Drums at Mission Studios, Warrington - Part 3

Welcome to the final part in the 3 part series in recording drums at Mission, and the results I can get for your recording.

In this part we're going to look at gear and a few techniques I employ. First of all, check out this short video of Dafydd laying the tracks down at Mission - you can see here the size of the room and where he's orientated.

Dafydd has set up in the corner of the dampened area of the studio, facing into the livelier part of the room. I set up panels behind him as there was no treatment in that corner of the room, helping to avoid unwanted reflections.

As you can see in the above image, there is a plethora of mics on the kit. Given the situation I wanted to record as much as possible in case any of the files were needed in the final album cut. However, I only used the following mics in my mix:

  • Kick In - AKG D202
  • Kick Out - Subkick (homemade)
  • Snare Top - Audio Technica ATM63
  • Snare Bottom - Sennheiser E606
  • Rack Tom - Audio Technica ATM63
  • Floor Tom - AKG D112
  • Overheads - AKG C451
  • Room Mics - Rode NT1

You can also see spot mics on the ride (AKG C414) and hi hats (Neumann TLM103) here, as well as a 'Junk' mic (Sennheiser e902), placed above the kick drum facing the side of the snare. Whilst I would use the junk mic in a mix, I rarely use spot mics on the ride and hi hats. A Sony ECM 979 mid/side mic was placed a good 8ft above the kick just to see how it sounded - but it was far too harsh to use.

For all you drummers out there - Daf is playing a Sonor S Classix kit in Birch, a Ddrum 14x7 snare, Sabian hi hats, Paiste Signature and Meinl Byzance Crashes, and a Meinl Byzance Ride.

The following image details placement:

Spot mics were placed to maximise tone and attack whilst also minimising overspill; snare mics were placed 2" away from the rim, pointing into the middle of the drum, and phase checked.

I employ a number of overhead recording techniques during my sessions, but this particular session called for spaced pair. I like to imagine a dividing line that cuts through the kick drum and snare, and place the overheads either side of this line - as illustrated above. This gives the most pleasing stereo image to my ears, and also helps with placing the tom mics in a realistic position in the stereo field, whilst maintaining phase coherence throughout.

I was particularly pleased with the room sound on this recording. It was achieved by placing two Rode NT1 about 6ft away from the kit, and about 6ft away from each other. These mics were facing the floor to pick up reflections in the room; and when mixed with the kit really add a nice body and reverb.

That concludes the posts on recording drum kit with me at Mission Studios. Here's a playlist of the examples again to jog your memory:

If you'd like to get in touch with me to book a session, just email me at chris@chriswmusic.com. Thanks!