It is still an enigma for majority of sound engineers / musicians around the world on how to capture quality drum-recordings.
Getting that perfect output is a time consuming task, as the drum’s sound is being influenced by the room in which it is being played when compared to other instruments.
Understanding the importance of drum miking in the career of a sound engineer, academy has included the same in the curriculum of its diploma course and conducts in campus experts sessions based on the topic.
Drum miking is vast topic and various methods are being practiced by musicians and sound engineers to get quality drum output. The choice off mics, their placement and its frequency is pivotal in creating that much needed impact in the recorded sound.
With regard to kick drum in the drum set, it’s sound has to cut through the mix, rather than blend itself with everything else.
When it comes to choosing a microphone for kick drum, different models of large-diaphragm dynamic mics are being suggested by the musicians / sound engineers as the kick drum takes up a lot of space in the frequency spectrum.
Widely recommended microphone is AKG’s D12 large-diaphragm dynamic mic and its more recent D112 successor. Considering the low-frequency roll-off and hefty 5-8kHz sensitivity peak, Sennheiser’s MD421 is also used along with bassier mics like D12/D112. Another recommended mic by musicians is Shure’s ubiquitous SM57, specifically created for kick-drum recording.
Mic Position Inside / Outside
There is difference of opinions among the musicians on whether to place the mic inside or outside the kick drum.
Even though there is obvious sonic distinction in the output, a factor that needs extra thought with the kick drum is what to do about the resonant head: leave it on, take it off, or use one with a mic-access hole in it.
If you are looking for the best resonant sound use an unperformed resonant head when placing the microphone outside the kick drum. Keep the mic in a position wherein it can see the pedal get real beater definition otherwise the mic will pick up quite a bit of spill from the rest of the kit.
While the resonance can be reduced if required, by virtue of extra damping inside or outside the drum, it can be simply dealt with by miking from a greater distance, about three feet away.
Frequency Response of Mics
Although there are a number of popular brand preferences by musicians around the world, with regard to frequency, it has been recommended to use microphones with frequency response of 80hz – 150hz for quality output helping to keep the kick sound clear and focused.