Two common strategies to record drums use differing kinds of drum mikes. The most effective way to record a drum kit is by using 2 overhead drum mics with individual mikes on the snare and base drums only. A second set-up, the preferred choice for recording latest music, uses another, or spot, mic on every part of the drum kit. Whether drum microphones will be employed in a live performance or in a recording session, a mixture of dynamic and capacitor mics is sometimes used. Note that capacitor mics are more frail and pricey than dynamic mics.
Since drum mikes aren’t picked up and handled in a performance, some capacitor mikes may be employed on a drum kit in a live show. Dynamic mics are far more rough and cheaper to replace if damaged. Capacitor mics also know as condenser mics, use an electric charge to modify sound waves to electric energy. These mics need a special power supply to operate. This power can come from a battery, a power pack that plugs into the wall, or ghost power, which is power supplied through a sound recording mixer. Capacitor mikes are well suited to pick up top of the range frequencies. Overhead mics and spot mics for cymbals are typically capacitor mikes. Outgoings are customarily positioned on boom stands a couple of feet above the drum kit. Cymbal spot mics are placed facedown one or two inches above the cymbal. Crash and ride cymbal sounds are often picked up by the outgoings, and usually do not need spot microphones. Dynamic mikes utilize a magnetic field to convert sound to electric energy.
They don’t need a special power supply like capacitor mics. There are 2 main kinds of dynamic mics: ribbon and moving coil. Ribbon mikes are too frail to use on drums. Since moving coil mikes can pick up an assortment of frequencies, they seem to be a common choice to use as drum mikes.
Bass drums, or kick drums, nearly always need dynamic mikes. Bass drums need an industrial quality mike that will pick up loud, low frequencies and take a lot of abuse.
The bass drum mic is mostly placed within the bass drum or a centimetre or 2 from the back of the drum. It isn’t unusual practice to moisten a bass drum by placing a towel or blanket within the drum. Dampening can aid in getting better sound quality from the mic. Both snare drums and tom-toms can use either capacitor or dynamic spot mikes. The choice is dependent upon the recording engineer’s preference and the budget. Often, snare and tom-tom mikes are placed facedown 1 or 2 inches from the apex of the drum. Dampening may also be used on these drums to improve the microphone’s performance. Using different sorts of drum mics and correct placement can guarantee quality sound pick up from all parts of the drum kit.