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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 18 of 29

Kick Drum Microphone Choice and Placement Part II

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

18. Kick Drum Microphone Choice and Placement Part II

Lesson Info

Kick Drum Microphone Choice and Placement Part II

So the next mike we're going to use is the sennheiser e six o two and these are all kind of like classic and newer popular inside kick drum mike's there's a ton more mikes in this but these are the ones that I like that our options in my studio sennheiser e six o two this is probably about as a medal as I will get a ce faras like a pre cued um kicked her might goes the only thing that that I would see to be even more acute would be like an onyx d six and I personally don't really like optics t six is on ly because I don't like a pre queued microphone this is like I said, this is about as far as I'll take it the d six is just too over the top for me personally, but I've heard tons of recordings that people used it and it's and it's really great sounding so it's not a knock on the mike is just a knock on my personal preferences and that like I said, all this stuff should be taken you know, knowing that it's, my personal preference and something that's interesting about recording that I t...

hink anyone who's been doing it for a long time and had piers that record is well, professionally will realize that there's so many ways to go about things and get things done and end up with results that your justice happy with but completely different that we'll also not work flip flopped um, I ran a studio for years where there's a studio I had studio and someone else had studio b studio b engineer is an incredible engineer had all kinds of techniques that I would try all the time and they send it awful when I did him and I walk into his room and the drums would just sound nuts and I'd be like, this is awesome and then I go due to my room to be like, this is terrible, like, what am I doing wrong and it's really just how you perceive sounds and how all the little things add up and that's why I'm getting into, like, the really little things because, you know, when he had have a rock and kick drum and I use the same mike and my kick drums sounded terrible, even if we're using the same drum were probably using different heads and a different q and a different, you know, ah, different snare, different tuning on the bass guitar. So it all just all those things really make a big difference, so you know, something's not working think about all the other things involved that make a sound, you know, and and that I'm going to get into that more tomorrow, tio even like um how the drummer alone will completely change the sound that you're going for. So this is the sun heuser g six o two um there's a really cool mike but it's very different what? You hear it in just a second again my tape markings keeping me grounded just need to angle this lightly. All right, do the six o two k j so this is sent e six o two most e cued mike in my mic close it cool and this one is naturally about the same volume as the e k g so again, luckily we haven't had to mess with the mic pre volume and I'll play this back for the six o two and on the opposite end of things the d one twelve so this kind of hits home with what I was talking about this to me is a soft sounding mike and maybe that's just me and how I perceive things, but when I hear when I hear the six o two, which soft isn't always better it's definitely a sound that can be used for a lot of stuff, but what I hear is a lot of bhumi low end and a very cliquey quick top end in the six o two kind of a but a kind of a lack of mid range and that to me makes kind of a soft sound as to where do you want twelve sounds like even though right now it kind of sounds like someone hitting the door with a baseball bat it it's a hard sound it hits me and like I can feel it in the speaker's hitting and to me that's what punches through music and that's why I really like it because I'll show you you got that soft sound if you e q two just get softer it's cool but it's for me there's no punch there's nothing nothing to punch through those guitars that bass guitar and I can e q the deal on twelve to be like the sennheiser unnie queued get a little more top end so this is the d twelve with e q and I have way more aggressive sound than the six o two without a queue that I can't really e q anymore looks like uh the window has little more eight hundred or something. Yeah man yeah it's a well mid frequency and it's also I feel like it's not just a frequency response thing but it's a transient response thinking that microphone actually believe that the capsule is slightly smaller and in a d one twelve which would make it slightly quicker but I could be wrong about that don't quote me on that um because even if I add I can open a peak you here throw some eight hundred hertz on the e six o two still we'll have kind of what I would consider a pillowy sound and I will even scoop that eight hundred out of the d twelve sometimes and it's still so there is that it's a little anemic and then here's the d twelve it almost sounds like the kick is a different pitch still on dh for me that's just the sound I like like I said before, that might not be for everyone and this isn't dow than perfectly but it is kind of what I'm going for and that's why a lot of times I find myself using the d one twelve or I can compare the emmy too by telephone also a punchy sep a kg different but punchy sound he's sick so too you know it's pretty cute, which means it's a one hundred fifty dollars mike and that means probably ten bucks worth of the circuit as opposed to me being able to use unlimited amounts of super nice cq which is going to affect the phasing and and all sorts of things but that's my option in my choice and I'm not stuck with the pre thank you of that was like probably ten books not to knock sennheiser because again I still like that mike it's still really good mike that's just why I choose things like that and I got a couple more examples to show you um the next one is let's go for the m twenty five this is by audio technica this is a great mike it would be in the cute category but it bridges the gap between e queued and um punchy which is why I like it so sennheiser and this is the eighteen twenty five and it's kind of it's small mike for a kick drum like some people would even consider it a four time like and not a kicked her mike but I don't care about those people I like it it's a kick drum like I think it's a very cool kicked from mike and it's also a cool tom like um but it's a little big for me on tom's um I don't really like the way the symbol bleed it comes through on it so I only use it on tom's with certain types of drummers just a little off base here and this is the audio technica eighteen twenty five not to be confused with the atm to fifty or the m twenty five hundred or the twenty, five hundred all very different mike's that share a similar look and a similar um may have owned a mall and this one is the one so all you technica eighty m twenty five well according cool and this was a little hotter but we still weren't quite clipping, so we're in the clear I'll play this one back for you with no u q it's a little knocke but it's pretty cool sounding and then compared to the doing twelve hey uh audio technica and has a little more round of a sound but it can be cute very well that was my crazy high and e q seoul intense in the highest it looks like it naturally has more high end than the doing twelve yeah yeah it does but it also has kind of a little more two hundred or something unless about eight hundred do you want twelve audiotape um again still a very cool mike and unique you to be awesome um and now the next mike I show you it's going to be the sure s m seven b which is a very extreme on the side of mid range and for me it's a little too much but I just want to show you because it's kind of a popular kick mike and people talk about it a lot but I think people don't know exactly what it sounds like as a kick mike so I would like to show you it's actually one of the most expensive mike's I brought for kick um I think it's probably about the same price as the double function which is pushing into more of the four hundred dollars range I think three or four as the where most of the other ones or sub two hundred now this one I'm trying to move this stand, but because of the way this mike works, I can't put it in the exact place but the other ones are just to save time a lot I'm gonna have you hold this well he plays uh we're just going to get it as close as we can because of the mount on the shirt it's a little bit harder to get them like where you want so keep that in mind too when you're choosing a microphone sure essam seven b same kick drum same player go for it cool and I'll play that back now this mike I believe, has a bigger diaphragm than any of the others and that's why the attack is a little rolled off on the top the sound is a little more slow which is kind of the natural you could take that off is the natural effect of a larger diaphragm versus a smaller diaphragm which I'll go a new tomorrow with overhead and room mike's because that's where you really get the extremes of a large diaphragm and a small dia frampton by diaphragm I mean the front of the microphone the part that picks up the the audio and transient response realize really heavily on the size of the diaphragm so the general rule is the larger the microphone die friend the slower the sound lower the frequency content and you can still have one that goes twenty to twenty either way but the q will usually shift lower or higher so the smaller the diaphragm, the faster the content and the more focused on the high frequencies. It'll be clearer in the high frequencies because high frequencies air just naturally faster frequencies as opposed to low frequencies trout trouble a slower speed so that's why the larger die for him only picks up slower, slower things you can kind of think about it like a big open net versus a small tight knit, so I've got one more mike I would like to show you and this one is also pretty popular. Mike, you might find in a microphone pack from sure or something and it's a sure beta fifty two kind of on the side, but really a very unique e q and a this mike I've always felt like is this sort of mike that you could pick it out on almost any record for better for worse and you know, when it's the right mike it's it's sort of like the dealing twelve in that sense, but even more so that when it's right it's really right and when it's wrong it's really wrong, which I think is cool there's a lot of microphones that had that way with different sources and I like that because it just tells me what I need to know right away and it tells me that if it's good I'm gonna have an awesome sound um and if it's bad that I don't even want about it with so this is the same place is the d one twelve and all the other mike's except for the sure essam seven b it's very close at least um so let's do this beta fifty two sure they did fifty two you can get these impacts with us some fifty seven's what you're great makes save a little money I think but purchasing the pack go for it cool. That was quite a bit quiet to bring the volume up on that. I'll play that back, friend. Let me compare that to the dew on twelve looks looking a little loud pretty close close enough for now peak that's the d one twelve now I'm gonna look at the peak on the sure bet of fifty it's a little lower sometimes wave forms can be deceiving so always look at your meter boosting his ten d be so it's a lot quieter on mike so you can hear the bait of fifty two has the attack is actually a little bit lower frequency than a lot of the pre cued mikes it's not so much a click it's more of ah you know kind of ah aggressive attack and not so much a mentally cliquey attack and that could be really useful. Um just go the drastic e q so you can you cue this drastically and still get a really cool sound, but again, almost the same position and it's completely different than the d one twelve that also worked with that issue. So, you know, that's kind of up to you and what I would say is right now for this kick drum, the bait of fifty two is working. It sounds cool, has a nice round low and that's really filled out on dh the attack seems like it's in the right spot for the way this kick drums tuned. Um, you know, before we picked that, I'll think about it a little more, but but I think for me, it's between that mike in the d one twelve what I like about the d one twelve is it it's a little less bhumi so that booming this isn't going to get in the way, and it has more of the kind of like, like I've said before, kind of a punch in the chest attack it's an eight hundred hertz, that but it's it's there, but it sounds really nice would cut through base, but that sounds really cool and with no thank you, it has a nice, solid mid range dudas well, then back to the six o two you can kind of hear now how why I consider that kind of a soft pillow ish sound even though it's bright versus something with nice solid hard mids to it so I'm gonna leave the beta fifty two in there for now because its position pretty well I think it sounds pretty cool once I found the inside mike um I usually go just go for a good outside kick mike and um a lot of times for me that's the sub kick by you can get him from yamaha but you can actually get what this is you can build these and I just the hard part is that um if you build one you have to build a stand for and holding what this is is a it's actually just a speaker inside of a frame and it's wired backwards to use a microphone so because it's huge this is the whole diaphragm um and like I said the bigger the diaphragm thea slower the sound in the lower the frequencies it picks up. So if you compared that two can you hand me the audio technica you compare the size of this diaphragm to whatever's inside this that fits inside this case that's a pretty big difference and so you heard the frequency response of this mike and you can you can just imagine the frequency response of this one is just big low end nice and slow won't pick up any symbols won't pick up any extra junk just picks up the low in from the kick and that's a really nice thing to have in a mix. Now, this is one I've purchased just because it was easy, but you can take the the you can take any speaker really any size you could get really crazy. I have a friend who uses a fifteen inch allen, the co speaker from an old am peg combo, and he built this. He welded this frame and he uses that on the kick, and it sounds nuts. This kick drum sound amazing, but you know you can do whatever you want. I think in the future all probably build a few different versions, but just remember the bigger the speaker of the slower, the sound on dh that kind of goes with the symbol thing of you could get too big if your tracks if your songs too fast, but this is a good in between size and usually fits for most tempos will plug it in, and I'll show you how I blend it to get the sound I want, and I usually put it just about as close as I can get it, and then I'll move it back and forth if I feel like it sounds faizi with the mic inside, but it's hard to eyeball the perfect spot for it because you can't really see the mic inside and judging the distance is a little rough, so I've got a cable here for this and he's gonna plug it writing and again, this is essentially a speaker. I'd like to make sure because this is really heavy that all the hardware is nice and tight, and you should always do that with all stands on the drums and the mikes, because the last thing you want, well, I probably said the last thing you want, like fifty times today, but the other last thing you want is ah, to get the perfect sound, and then your mike just starts like swaying away from whatever you're making because the sound is loud or just natural vibration. So you always want to have stands nice and tight, all the hardware nice and tight, so I'll make a new track for the sub kick, which is going to pick up my low frequencies and act as my outside mike, make a new track, call it kick out and on occasion for more chill music I will sometimes use uh, like a condenser a little bit further back on the outside of the kick or like a ribbon above it to get a cool sound today, I'm trying to gear things kind of towards rock or things that will have a lot of symbol going on so if you have a lot of symbol going on it's hard to get the outside kick sound you want if it has a lot of high frequencies in it because usually the symbols are just as loud if not louder than the outside of the kick drum so because you can't really put it where the kick drums loud which is the port because you're blowing air on it and you'll get weird sounds and if you get off of the port where the kick drums a little bit quieter it really doesn't cut over the symbols and you really I don't have a lot of point but I'm going to show you some stuff tomorrow to kind of overcome that but for the most part if I want outside kick and I want some nice low frequencies all use a great big speaker microphone like that because it cuts out all the symbol stuff and all I'm getting on the outside is low frequencies so my input for that is um five select pro tools now arming both mike because we want to have both and it turned this down because I know that the sub kick is actually a relatively blood sorry it's just double checking something here I know the subjects are relatively well loud microphone so I'm gonna back off the mic agreed to begin with ana let's just test that real quick use this too many times to not just nail it first time so that wasn't clipping which is good this is a sure bet of fifty two plus sub kick you could already see there's more bass yeah, you can see the sustained right on the kind of lack of attack so I'm gonna turn this down because it can get crazy um so play it by itself see, I understand what we're doing with it pretty stupid I mean it's cool but it's like not you know if you're trying to record a rock trump said it's not a useful sound on its own but it's cool how it works and I'm gonna do one other thing here but I'll first blend the fifty two with this and I'm going to start with just the fifty two and slowly boy bring in the sub kick and you might want to turn your volume down at home if you're hooked up to a sub because I'm just working up with these smaller speakers here and I may not hear how crazy the little end is or isn't some of the loop one hit here so you can just feel the same you hear how much like body is adding really adding like a nice cool sound that you can control with the gate control the release if you want so the sound that we thought sounded pretty big before but needed some lower q doesn't need as much like you now, even if you do, we cue it it fills in that space that aa lot of inside mike's a kind of missing so that's that's that's where I go with the outside mike and that's why you such a slow sounding might now want to demonstrate something really quick that's the other reason not just the sound itself, but can you play? Um c can you play an open high? Happy for me? Just so we can show the symbol bleed into that mike cool. Nice solid jam. Now it's all mike's going not necessarily mixed that well, but everything going once. So just the overheads obviously, you know, they're bright mikes and the ah, hi hats are up there. So the hyatt they're very clear. Goto the snare top. You know, there's a lot of snare, not a ton of high, but it's still there. Put him together, take out the stair. But you notice how that when I added the snare back in, I got more high that because obviously there's some high in the snare mike the same thing is going to go for the kick and very drastically the same thing would go for an outside kick mike that picked up high frequencies so every mike you have on the kid is getting the symbols into it so every mikey turn on is turning up more symbols because like I said, the symbols of the one thing that are always constant so that's something to be really wary of and why we have the hat set up right now when you're choosing mike's is I like a lot of compression on my drums, so I really want to make sure that I have as little symbol is possible without compromising the sound of the drum in the non symbol mikes just just so that I can turn up the symbol mikes and not rely on all the symbol coming through the close drum mike because the other problem that happens there when you get a lot of high hats or any other symbols in all your direct mike's because your kick and your snare mike, which you probably have to stare mikes and to kick mikes and you have four mikes that are panda center, that air going tohave symbols. So instead of having like, a cool image of left and right with your stereo overheads and stereo rooms, you're going to get a lot of mono drums by having all that symbol in those mano mike so as I'm going in the back of my head, I'm always saying, is there too much symbol in this mike so with sub kick it was like almost no symbol and at the same there's. Not a ton of symbol, but it's still there, but sub kick doesn't have any symbol it all. And, if anything, it tames the symbols because it's, any low content coming off the symbols is coming up in that so it's. A good way to get more kick drum without adding more symbol. That's, that's. Basically my main thing for using the sub kick and filling in the space. And I believe that concludes my kick. Drum mike tests.

Class Description

Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record, because in reality, a drum kit can be upwards of 20 or 30 instruments being played by a performer at one consistent time. Each drum head plays a huge role in determining the overall tone. The range of frequencies is broader than any other recorded instrument, with sub-kicks extending down below 60 Hz and hihats and cymbals with presence and ring above 16kHz. The dynamic range can include subtle ghost hits and flutters to pounding snares that fill a room, and yet somehow all of this is supposed to fit inside a mix without getting lost in a sea of guitars.

Kris Crummett has over a decade and a half of experience recording bands like Sleeping with Sirens, Issues, Alesana, Further Seems Forever and Emarosa. Kris will walk you through every step of the process to capturing killer drum sounds.

Which Drums to Use?

  • The size and type of the kick drum is a good place to start, and will largely dictate what kind of tone you end up with when you get the final mix. Do you want a modern sounding kit with a big low end and a bright punch or a more vintage tone with a rounder, softer low end punch?
  • Snare sounds can often define the tone of an entire record with a range of sizes, head choices and tuning options. How much ring is left in the resonant head can be deceiving when listening to an drum kit on its own, but can often be lost when blended in with the rest of the band. From maple and birch full bodied and nuanced tones to aluminum or even brass bodies, the snare drum can have one of the biggest impacts on your final track.
  • Drum heads can also have a huge impact on the transients that you capture when recording. Coated heads can offer a punchier, thicker sound while clear heads are a bit brighter. Tuning the top head and the bottom head to resonant together is an essential art that takes practice and expertise.

Which mics to Use?

  • There’s no right or wrong way to mic a drum kit, from the famous ‘When the Levee Breaks” 2 microphone room tone to modern metal drum production with 30+ mics in place.
  • Deciding when to use a condenser and when to use a dynamic mic is dependent upon the style, the drummer’s playing style and even the room in which you’re tracking. What sort of room mic techniques can give you that big open kit sound? What about a tight, small room trap kit sound?
  • Kris is prepared to walk you through all of these choices, with examples from his storied career and tips and tricks that only years in the studio can earn you. With legendary guest drummer KJ Sawka, you’ll have an experienced team to guide you through how to overcome the biggest challenge for a home studio engineer, the drum kit.


Kevin Howard

Kris is methodical and goes over everything related to drum recording in great detail. He covers heads and even how much moon gel he uses for damping the heads, Mic placement, shell choice( size, wood etc ). Listen to Dance Gavin Dance to hear some of his work. I found this class to be super informative and very practical in it's approach. Thank you Kris !


this is a great class! i play drums personally, and i love percussion! he also teaches well


This is an amazing class! Kris is a very scientific instructor. This really opened my eyes to the drum recording process. Take Notes!!!! There are about a thousand unique facts and techniques that you should know. This will help you to record drums correctly at the source so that you can minimize the amount of digital destruction you will do later and thus get a "Professional" sound.