Recording Drums? How many mics do you use?

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January 2017

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Welcome to 2017! RECORDING kicks off the new year with an issue about a subject central to music production: drum and percussion tracks! This month, we bring you reviews of the latest drum recording tech, great articles, and lots more... all with an eye toward helping you create drum parts that wow your listeners.

There are lots of ways to mic a drum kit, but we’re always on the lookout for new and great innovations that you can use. We bring you a review of the fantastic Lewitt LCT 640 TS mic, which actually lets you adjust your polar pattern in the mix, and great new drum mounting options for the workhorse Audio-Technica ATM350a instrument mic.

Also in this issue: reviews of processors by SPL, Sonic Farm, and UBK; great drum software and soundware from Toontrack, Sonoma Wire Works, and HandHeldSound; a look at the newest cool features on Novation’s Circuit rhythm workstation; and a survey of cool controllers for your studio, from the Nektar Panorama to a variety of great Bluetooth gear.

This issue features an interview with recording engineer Sylvia Massy, whose latest book Recording Unhinged is a mad tea party of off-the-wall recording techniques that actually work. She discusses her favorite drum mics and miking setups, new projects in the works, her book’s secrets... and even gives us a peek at new craziness planned for Volume Two!

Drums are only one sound source that can be adversely affected by phase problems when tracking, but they’re often the most problematic with so many mics in place. Eric Ferguson continues his primer on phase with a look and specific problems and solutions.

And what if you can’t mic up a drum kit? There are many wonderful solutions out there for the drummerless studio, and Darwin Grosse walks us through a survey of some of the very best, from dedicated hardware to DAW-based loops and sample libraries.

This issue also features Readers’ Tracks by Marty Peters, our usual monthly features, and more. If you’re into great drum sounds, whether played or programmed, you can’t afford to miss the January RECORDING!

Pick it up now on the newsstand... and so you get your next issue early (and save on cost), why not hit the big red SUBSCRIBE NOW button on this page and have RECORDING delivered to your door each month?


Lewitt LCT 640 TS Variable-Pattern Condenser Mic   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Change your mic’s polar pattern in the mix? Record Mid/Side with only one mic? Yes you can, and sound great doing it.

SPL Transient Designer TDx   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

For nearly 20 years, the Transient Designer has helped engineers add punch and clarity to drums, bass, guitars, and more. Now there’s a 500 Series module version with upgraded sound and features.

Reviewed & Revisited: Novation Circuit 1.4   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

New firmware, new features, a new patch editor, and a cloud-based data organizer take this groove composition box to the next level.

Audio-Technica ATM350a Microphone Systems   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

The venerable ATM350 is updated with better specs and more versatile instrument miking options.

Sonic Farm Beamer   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Can’t choose between the old-school Berliner and dual-topology Creamer preamps? Now you can have one of each!

Bluetooth In The Studio   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay with Mark Mosher, Joe Wall, and Robert Dorschel

This protocol has come a long way from phone headsets and wireless mice. Check out studio control products from CME, Quicco Sound, Yamaha, and Livid Instruments.

Sonoma Wire Works DrumCore 4   |   Reviewed by Gary Eskow

Combine audio loops played by famed drummers with user-programmable MIDI grooves to tailor incredible drum tracks for every need.

Soundware Showcase: HandHeldSound Scoring Mallets   |   Reviewed by Jon Hillman

A truly cinematic approach to mallet instruments that's both playable and inspiring.

Soundware Showcase: Toontrack Big Rock Drums and Dream Pop   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

These two EZX Expansions for EZdrummer 2 couldn’t be more different, but they both sound amazing.

Kush Audio Tweaker   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This compressor does things few other dynamics processors can—it’s a tool for serious, well, you know.

Nektar Technology Panorama P6   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

This USB keyboard control surface is a top contender in nearly every application, but when paired with certain DAWs, it becomes unbeatable.


Sylvia Massy: Recording Unhinged.   |   Interviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This engineer/producer’s credits range from Johnny Cash and Prince to Tool, System of a Down, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and her magically bonkers ideas for new studio sounds have been collected into a new book that’s both inspiring and hilari......Expand


How We Drum (The 2017 Edition)   |   Written by Darwin Grosse

Working with a live drummer in a room is almost always preferable, but it’s not always practical. Here’s a survey of hardware and software methods for getting great rhythm tracks when there’s no drummer in the picture.

Specs: Removing The Mystery. Part 6: Filters And Equalizers—Watching Your Slopes And Qs   |   Written by Mike Rivers

There isn’t as much marketing hype surrounding EQ as some other devices out there, but a clear understanding of what their specs mean will make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Phase: A Primer. Part 2: Comb Filtering And Polarity   |   Written by Eric Ferguson

What’s the difference between polarity and phase, and how does a polarity switch on a preamp help you if it actually isn’t shifting the phase around? Learn the answers here.

2016 Annual Index   |   Written by Mike Metlay

And all the articles, reviews, and interviews for an entire year were collected into one place... and there was much rejoicing.

Fade Out   |   Written by Bruce Kaphan

What Are The Emulations Emulating?

Kef America LS50 Wireless

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