#1
Can it be done? I just have a small, four piece jazz kit that I need to do some tracking with, but I currently only have an SM57. I understand that if I want actual, studio quality, I'll need to mic everything. But I'm not exactly looking for studio quality, just listenable quality. Would I damage the microphone at all?
#2
No, it won't damage it. Micing a guitar cab in the most conventional way possible is more likely to damage the SM57 than this is. And yes, it can be done, even if it won't sound very good. A large-diaphragm condenser would do it better, but the SM57 will work. I've miced a kit with a single Behringer SM58 copy before. Compared to that, the Shure will sound beautiful.

Also, FWIW, I personally think you can get a much better drum sound from one or two (ideally four) mics than from the mic-every-sound-producing-surface technique.
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#3
Thank you! I'm aware that a large diaphragm condenser is more suited for this kind of thing, but I'm barely 17 and resources are sparse

Do you have any suggestions for as to how I should position the microphone? I'm assuming something like above the bass and facing the snare?
#4
^ Yeah I would suggest that. Definitely do some testing but make sure you can hear the snare and kick. Maybe even back it up and aim in between the snare and kick. The cymbals are going to come in the loudest so don't even aim it at them.

ps it will sound so bad but I'm sure you know that.

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#5
Quote by jthm_guitarist
^ Yeah I would suggest that. Definitely do some testing but make sure you can hear the snare and kick. Maybe even back it up and aim in between the snare and kick. The cymbals are going to come in the loudest so don't even aim it at them.

ps it will sound so bad but I'm sure you know that.


Anything will sound better than the USB mic I had before, or the built in mic on my four track that I'm using
#6
Do you have a DAW software, like Logic or Cubase, Cakewalk etc. etc.?

I'm sure you must've considered this already but, the built-in drums in those would surely be better than a kit mic'd with just one dynamic microphone
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#7
Isn't it possible to record parts of the kit by moving the mic and playing the same part a couple of times?
#8
Sure, but it'll sound like ass. Drums won't sound good in mono, atleast get two mics, preferably condensers. Just save yourself the trouble and use some drum software instead.
Last edited by Pingis_Or_Death at Feb 4, 2012,
#9
You said you have a jazz kit, are you actually recording jazz? Because if so, a lot of classic jazz records were made with the cymbals tracked separately to the rest of the kit, so that there was more clarity & isolation, as the cymbals are arguably the most important part of a jazz drum track. You'd get much better results from using a single 57 if you are tracking jazz and can do this.
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#10
Absolutely no possible way in hell, not in a million years.

Beg, borrow or steal a pair of condensers and you might just manage it, provided the kit is tuned really nicely and the room doesn't sound like acoustic ass.


Honestly, I reckon the best way to record drums at home on the cheap is to buy a ton of piezo transducers (they're about £1 for a big bag of 10) and a cheap MIDI interface/drum brain like the Alesis TriggerIO, then use the real kit to trigger Addictive Drums (or the drum software of sir's choice). Tight, studio sound with tons of flexibility for a not very much dosh. You'll need a good technical/nerdy brain to get it all going though.
#11
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Isn't it possible to record parts of the kit by moving the mic and playing the same part a couple of times?


This is what I would do if I absolutely had to. It's awkward, and may not work depending on the drummer, but it's worth a try. Record the snare, kick and cymbals separately and try to mix that. You have to rely on reverb to make it sound like you have a room mic though. You still lose the ability to pan the cymbals though, all you gain is clarity of the snare and kick and possibly panning in the toms.

Edit: Is this just for a demo/to get the idea down? Because I wouldn't go through the trouble of following through with my post if it was. And if you're doing this for something to be released, then you need to find a better way, because one mic won't cut it if you're looking for listenable quality, not by today's standards.
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#12
If anyone's curious as to see how this came out, here:

http://soundcloud.com/thedeathofalaskayoung/johnny-sold-me-god-in-a-boat-1

Drums come in at about 2:25. The only thing that sounds really terrible is the ride and crash, but I could probably do some better mic placement. I'm still learning about tuning drums and all of that as well, so the kit probably doesn't sound as good as it can.
#13
Dude I like it.

When you play a good song, it doesn't matter how many microphones you're using or how well your kit is tuned. I think it's at a good level of fidelity for the song.

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#15
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If anyone's curious as to see how this came out, here:

http://soundcloud.com/thedeathofalaskayoung/johnny-sold-me-god-in-a-boat-1

Drums come in at about 2:25. The only thing that sounds really terrible is the ride and crash, but I could probably do some better mic placement. I'm still learning about tuning drums and all of that as well, so the kit probably doesn't sound as good as it can.

Sounds like utter junk. No big surprise.

Be assured I'm talking strictly about the recording quality, not the song itself. It's not even a cool lo-fi sound, it's just cheap, tinny and rubbish. Nonexistent bass drum, harsh cymbals...not good. The missing kick drum is the real problem, to be honest.


If you've got a nicely tuned kit with quality cymbals in a nice room, you can get a pretty cool lo-fi/raw sound with an sm57, but a condenser, ribbon or bullet mic would still sound better.


Here's an example of lo-fi/vintage/raw sounding drums done well in a modern context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1_FJhLVPgc
#16
Least I'd go with to get anything useable would be a bass drum mic and an overhead or two, an SM57 for the snare would be a nice bonus as well.
Failing that it will sound like crap most probably.