Recording the drums with two mics


Recording drums with two mics are not as far-fetched as it may seem.  But most audio interface you buy on the market only have two channel inputs, which limit’s so much you can do.

Now, keep in mind the Beatles only had 4-tracks to record everything!  But how did they do that?  Well, with a lot of mixing boards and performing over and over until it sounded perfect.
Recording drums with two mics

For us, we can do better than that and get a better sound.  We are going to be recording drums using only two microphones.

Now if you are going to be doing a session with a drummer they are likely to will why bother.  Yes, I get it, but you can’t mic everything.

This technique will work great, but it also depends on what kind of style of music you’re recording.

I would say, for the most part, all styles will work, but you may need to position the microphone in different spots until you find the best fit.

Recording drums with two mics, which one?

For me, I have a rule of thumb here.  You need one good low-end microphone for the kick drum, and you could try whatever microphone for the top of the kit.  But what I like to use for the kick drum is my favorite microphone the AKG D112, and for the top of the kit, I go to my other favorite, SHURE SM57.

Now, like I said you could try any mike, but for the best kick drum sound make sure it is at least an excellent low-end Tom or Kick drum.

Here are a few options that would work great for recording drums with two mics!

  1. Sennheiser e602
  2. Shure SM57
  3. Shure KSM313
  4. Earthworks SR-77 (SR-30)
  5. AKG C414 B
  6. AKG D112

How to set up drum mics

When it comes to the set-up, one will be for the kick drum and the other for the top of the kit.  This works well because, as long as the top is pointing at the snare, you will pick up the hi-hats as well.

You will also be in the middle of the kit and pick up the toms reasonably easily.  The cymbals won’t be a problem since they are so loud anyway.

This is super easy and just takes a few practice runs.  So for the kick drum, that is pretty easy.  You just place the mic about half-way in the drum and center with the beater.

This is also one you could probably play around with the positions to get the best sound.

For the rest of the drums using the other one, you will be in the middle of the kit.

Make sure it won’t get hit when the drummer is playing.  But also make sure you can aim it at the snare and be able to pick up the toms.

This could get tricky if the drummer’s drum kit is more that five-piece.  But, it takes practice, and you may have to adjust some drums to get it in there.  If that doesn’t work, try aiming the mic from the top of the kit.

Here is a great video with some nice recording drums with two mics tips.

We’ve experimented with plenty of microphones, but the best has to be the D112 and the SM57.  We tried just using two-overhead drum mics, and that does work, but it just doesn’t get the kick drum thump I like.

I do like that stereo overhead sound, and I use that for all my recording sessions with drums.  But I wouldn’t recommend that unless you have a lite drum needed for the song, like jazz or folk.


Keep in mind that you’re using one microphone, so adding reverb to the snare will add it for everything else.  Sometimes that sounds good, but hi-hats with too much reverb or compression might sound pretty weird.

What I would do is make about four copies of the track and experiment with the eq’s and effects.  If you get technical you could take one of those tracks and make it just for hi-hats, toms, snare.

So with that in mind, if you only do a drum fill four times in a song, you could delete the audio until the fill comes up, eq and effect it and turn it up and so on.  That could be a cool way to get a more rounded sound.

That is the best way for to record your drums using two microphones.  Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve used, leave a comment or contact us, we’d love to hear about it.

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