Tips on recording a kick drum
There are a lot of important things to keep in mind when youâ€™re recording a kick drum.Â Â It seems like itâ€™d be as simple as putting a mic in front of the drum, but there is so much more!Â Â Here are some quick tips on recording and mixing a good kick drum.
- 1.Â Â Â Â Â Â MicrophoneÂ â€“ a good mic will make a difference in the recording no matter what.Â Â I personally like the BLUE â€œkick ballâ€, a ball-style mic with a great dynamic range tuned nicely for Kick drums.Â Theyâ€™re fairly inexpensive, and great for tossing into or around a kick drum.
That said, Iâ€™ve recorded kick drums with any range of Mics.Â Â As always, the Shure SM58 is a great mic for just about anything!
You can make any mic work, as long as you place it well.Â Â Place the mic inside the kick drum, but a little bit outside of the mic hole,Â Â and point the mic a bit off center from the kick drum beater.Â Â This will keep you from recording too much of the click of the beater.Â Â Experiment with moving the mic around and listening to the mix.Â Â If there isnâ€™t a mic port on the kick drumâ€™s front skin, place the mic around 2-4 inches away from the kick drum, near the center of the skin.Â Â Experiment with distance to get a sound thatâ€™s powerful, but defined.Â Â You could even try a couple different mics at once on the drum, whether there is a kick port or not.
- 2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â MixÂ â€“ When recording the mic, donâ€™t add too many effects to the channel.Â Â Keep it simple for recording, as you donâ€™t want to record an overly processed sound.Â Â Â The drier, the better, to start off with. Roll off a little low end if you have to, and bring the mid up a little for definition.Â Â Too much bass wonâ€™t mix well; too much mid will sound too â€œclickyâ€.Â Â Experiment! Then, record away! Tell your drummer to take his/her time, and relax.
- 3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Post-recordingÂ â€“ add a little gate, compression, and EQ to the mix.Â Â Try a gate setting on your gate plugin of around -15dB and a release of around 70 â€“ most gate plugins have these simple settings.Â This will create a dry sound, and also cut out some of the surrounding noise from the other drums.Â Â On compression, try a setting of around 3:1 on the ratio, with a very fast attack and release.Â Â For EQ, there are three major points for a kick drum:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 40-80Hz â€“ this is the most bass-heavy part of the kick drum.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 350-500Hz â€“ This is the body of the kick drum, the overall space inside of it.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2-5KHz â€“ the highest frequencies, where youâ€™ll hear the beater clicking, and the reaction of the drum skin.
EQ-ing these frequencies can tune the drum to sound more how you want to hear it.Â Â Spend some time experimenting, especially with EQing.
These are just some simple tips on recording a Kick drum.Â Â Remember, take your time, relax, and have fun!Â Â Youâ€™ll find the sound you want with some time.