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Spaced Pair is Not The Only Option!

November 11, 2011

Over these past couple of days, I’ve been recording drums for two bands. The first was a Funk band, and the second was a Punk Rock band. Two completely different styles of music. I decided for the Funk band to use an XY pattern for the overheads and place them fairly high to let the sound develop a little bit and to get a slight ambience into the mics. Also, Funk doesn’t really demand a super-wide stereo spread anyway.

With the Punk Rock band, I decided to experiment with the recorderman method. This technique provides a tighter and more focused overhead sound but also gives more stereo spread than XY. If you’re unfamiliar with the recorderman method, watch this video. I did this as Punk Rock music generally has a dry drum sound and is quite focused.

I think engineers typically fall into a trap of just sticking to one overhead placement, but there’s a lot more out there to experiment with other than just a spaced pair configuration which sound great! Try out other techniques such as XY and recorderman, you might be put off by not having a larger-than-life stereo spread, but these techniques enforce phase coherency between the two mics. If you want more stereo width, try out the mid/side technique where you can actually adjust “how stereo” you want your overheads to be. What I’m trying to say is, don’t just whack up two overhead mics and accept its sound, experiment with different placement and find out what sounds best for the band.

Listen to the unmixed sound examples below of these two mic placements and hear the sonic differences between them. Listening back, I probably could’ve positioned the over-the-shoulder mic on the recorderman method so it was facing the kick drum more, but hey!

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