[sg_popup id=”2″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]Recording drums are probably one of the more complicated instruments in the recordings studio, let alone in your home studio. In the traditional setup, eight microphones have been the minimum standard expanding to as many as you can think of. Most home studios don’t even have that many microphones or inputs. So I want to share with you how to record drums with two microphones.

Can it be done?

But surely you cannot record great sounding drums with just two microphones? I mean two microphones? That just simply cannot result in a professional drum sound. Well, don’t take my word for it. Led Zeppelin recorded When the Levee Breaks with just two overheads.

What do you need?

In the ideal situation, you would use a kick drum mic like the AKG D112 and a condenser overhead like AKC C1000, or even a large diaphragm microphone like Rode NT1 and two microphone stands. This setup with a little bit of experimenting will give you some great results. But to be honest, if you are stuck, two dynamic microphones like the trusty old Shure SM58 Will do the job just fine. And if you are stuck for stands, place a pillow inside the bass drum and position the SM58 on it. Hang the other from a lampshade, or something. The lack or limitations of gear should never stop you from recording, experimenting and learning. If you have any two microphones, you will be able to record a drumkit.


For the kick drum microphone, place it inside the kick drum. If you want more of an attack sound in your kick, place it closer to the beater skin. And if you want rounder sound, position it closer to the front skin.

For the overhead, experiment. Position the microphone above the drum kit, where the distance from all of the drums is about the same. This is a good starting point. If the room where you record the drums is boxy and horrible sounding, try to bring the microphone closer to the drums. In a nice sounding room, try raising the microphone higher, the sky is the limit. If one particular drum dominates from the others, try to move a small bit away from that particular drum.


All of the advice I offer you here is just a guideline to get you started experimenting. Every drum kit sounds different; every room sounds different. You can position the bass drum mic even outside the drum, whatever sounds good. Once we did a recording session, where the best overhead sound was from a condenser microphone above a wardrobe across the room from the drum kit. The fun part of the recording is finding that quirky new sound through experimenting.

No excuses

Just remember this, if you have any basic recording equipment, you can make something interesting. I have seen some fantastic results done with just iPhone and the headphone microphone that comes with it. There are no excuses! Get recording today.

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