Drum Kit Miking – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Live Sound Engineering Glossary

What is Drum Kit Miking?

Drum kit miking refers to the process of using microphones to capture the sound of a drum kit during a live performance or recording session. By strategically placing microphones around the drum kit, sound engineers can capture each individual drum and cymbal, allowing for a more balanced and dynamic sound. Proper drum kit miking is essential for achieving a professional sound quality in any musical production.

How to Choose the Right Microphones for Drum Kit Miking?

When selecting microphones for drum kit miking, it is important to consider the specific characteristics of each microphone type. Dynamic microphones are commonly used for miking drums due to their durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels. Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are more sensitive and provide a more detailed sound, making them ideal for capturing the nuances of cymbals and overhead miking.

It is also important to choose microphones with a cardioid or hypercardioid polar pattern to minimize bleed from other instruments and achieve a more focused sound. Additionally, selecting microphones with a high SPL handling capability is crucial for capturing the loud transients of drums without distortion.

Where to Place Microphones for Drum Kit Miking?

Proper microphone placement is key to achieving a balanced and natural sound when miking a drum kit. Here are some common microphone placements for different parts of the drum kit:

– Kick Drum: Place a dynamic microphone inside the kick drum, near the beater, to capture the low-end punch and attack of the kick drum.
– Snare Drum: Position a dynamic microphone above the snare drum, angled towards the center of the drumhead, to capture the crisp and snappy sound of the snare.
– Tom Toms: Use dynamic microphones on each tom tom, positioned above each drumhead, to capture the full range of frequencies produced by the toms.
– Overheads: Place condenser microphones above the drum kit, angled towards the cymbals and drums, to capture the overall sound of the kit and provide a sense of space and depth.

What are Common Techniques for Drum Kit Miking?

There are several common techniques for miking a drum kit, each with its own advantages and challenges. Some popular techniques include:

– Glyn Johns Technique: This technique involves using two overhead microphones and one microphone on the kick drum to capture the entire drum kit in a natural and balanced way.
– X/Y Technique: In this technique, two overhead microphones are placed close together at a 90-degree angle to each other, providing a stereo image of the drum kit with a narrow stereo field.
– Close Miking: Close miking involves placing microphones close to each drum and cymbal to capture a more detailed and isolated sound, ideal for mixing individual drum tracks in post-production.

How to Mix Drum Kit Mics in a Live Sound Setting?

Mixing drum kit mics in a live sound setting requires careful attention to balance and clarity. Here are some tips for achieving a well-balanced drum mix:

– Start by setting the levels of each microphone to achieve a balanced sound, with the kick drum and snare drum at the forefront of the mix.
– Use panning to create a sense of space and separation between the different drums and cymbals.
– Apply EQ to each microphone to enhance the natural characteristics of each drum and cymbal, while cutting out any unwanted frequencies.
– Use compression to control the dynamics of the drum kit and ensure a consistent sound throughout the performance.

What are Some Tips for Drum Kit Miking in a Live Setting?

Miking a drum kit in a live setting presents its own set of challenges, including stage noise and limited space. Here are some tips for achieving a successful drum kit miking setup in a live setting:

– Use drum shields or baffles to reduce stage noise and bleed from other instruments, allowing for a cleaner drum sound.
– Position microphones close to the drums and cymbals to minimize feedback and capture a more direct sound.
– Use high-quality microphone cables and stands to ensure a reliable and secure connection between the microphones and the sound system.
– Work closely with the drummer to ensure that the drum kit is set up in a way that allows for optimal microphone placement and sound capture.