Recording Drums? How many mics do you use?

Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
Greg Sarge / The Signs
Date Posted:
June 2011
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

MusicXPC computer with Digi 002 running Pro Tools 8 LE with Digidesign and AIR plug-ins; Alesis monitors, Sennheiser headphones, Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM57 mics, Rickenbacker 4002 bass, Gibson Les Paul guitar, "and other assorted items."

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Misunderstanding" is a male vocal rock song. Greg did it all himself in his home studio, with the exception of the drums which were played by Phil Robertson.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 2
Recording: Greg has delivered quite an ambitious piece here. "Misunderstanding" comes across as a end-period-Beatles-meets-Neil-Young work, and certainly shares characteristics with both of these musical titans. So was Greg's effort a success from a recording point of view? Let's take a look.

The track begins with a loooooong keyboard pad -- hey, didn't we put a cease and desist order on those several issues back?! -- followed by the introduction of two 12-string guitars that were unfortunately quite thin-sounding through our monitors. As the other instruments entered, our focus shifted to the drums, which were very well played and recorded (love the toms!) with the exception of the snare, which was sadly overcompressed, resulting in a squashed sound.

The remainder of the track was a bit hit-and-miss, although we must say that the processing on the vocals became tiring after a while, and the bass guitar actually seemed to drift (auto pan?) during sections. We also felt that the volume of the organ near the end of the song overpowered the drums.

Suggestions: As we stated earlier, this is a fairly involved track, and one that also owes to some pretty identifiable sources. As for suggestions, acoustic 12-strings can be tricky instruments to record, that said, Greg's Neumann TLM 103 is a damn fine microphone and most certainly up to the task. We would encourage some active experimentation with positioning of said mic in the future. A few inches here or there can make a huge difference in tone.

Regarding the snare drum, parallel or multiple compression would be a better route as far as taming things a bit. Check out any of the fine articles on compression that have been featured in Recording for guidance here. As for the other issues, a slower delay on the vocals would help to make them less jittery, and while Greg is at it, turning down the organ would actually help the track feel more integrated.

Summary: Lots to do here, but fortunately, lots of good material to work with.

Contact: Greg Sarge,
About: Marty Peters

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