The other drums will inevitably be picked up in the background - this is called bleed or spill. To mix drums, you need to understand miking techniques. Adding this type of placement to your snare configurations and then automating it’s level in post or during the performance can help pick up snare hits that do not get through to the rest of the microphones on the drum set. Close mics and auxiliary will fill in holes in the sound and add impact/punch to specific drum sounds. The most common mic for a snare drum is the trusty Shure SM57. Close miking a snare drum captures ghost notes, blast beats, and other low-volume hits. There are two fundamental types: close and ambient. Close mics are positioned to capture the direct, ‘isolated’ sound from one drum or cymbal in the kit. Close-miking usually means placing a directional mic an inch or so from each drum, pointing at the top head near the rim (see Figure 6). Because the snare drum is located so close to the other drums, especially the hi-hats, a cardioid pattern mic is a must. An advantage of this is to centre your mic on those instruments you want heard more and so the overhead mics on the drum set must be mostly large diaphragmed and engineered to reduce spill-over of sound. Unless you invest in high-end options like Triad-Orbit mic stands , you’ll need to get creative about mic positioning. Most miking techniques focus on centering the snare and kick drum between them. One way to achieve this is by amplifying whatever comes from the drums. A good, punchy snare drum can make a track, whereas a weak, thin one can eliminate the drive that most popular music needs. This depends on very close-miking. Another thing you don’t have to deal with in the studio is the aesthetic side of drum miking. No one wants to see a cage of microphone stands and booms surrounding the drummer. Drum miking 101.


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