How to record drums at home

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 | by

  1. Pick a room you can take over for a couple days. Or better yet, weeks.
  2. Small rooms tend not to sound great, so you’ll probably be better off stuffing something absorbent in the corners. Acoustic foam, even the cheap stuff, seems to work well.
  3. Put mics all over the place — as many as you have, or as in my case, until you run out of preamps.
  4. Record a sample, listen, adjust mic positions. Repeat.
  5. Tune the kit. Change heads. (Preferably not in that order.)
  6. Double-check your gain levels while you’re actually performing the song. Turn down all the pre’s that clipped.
  7. Bargain with spouse to take child out of the house for a few hours. Or, really, the entire day/weekend.
  8. Turn off the ringers on all the telephones. Unplug the crappy answering machine that makes all kinds of beeping noises even when the speaker volume is zeroed.
  9. Turn off the heat/air conditioner
  10. If you have nearby neighbors, close the windows.
  11. Advanced Audio CM-87Throw the circuit breaker for the refrigerator so you don’t hear it in your room mics during the second chorus. (Pictured is one of my room mics, a U87 clone, tucked in the corner of the living room, behind the wood stove, with tile walls on two sides. The drum kit is next door.)
  12. Take the battery out of the kitchen clock.
  13. Retune the kit.
  14. Now, record quickly! Before the UPS guy comes, the family returns, the kit detunes, the food spoils, the construction guys building a house next door come back from lunch, or you asphyxiate from lack of air circulation.

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