Recording Drums? How many mics do you use?

Current Tape Reviews

Special Place
Artist Name:
Mike Livingston
Special Place
Date Posted:
June 2016
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Gateway desktop PC with PreSonus Firestudio Project interface running Cakewalk SONAR X1 and Waves plug-ins. Event 20/20bas active monitors. RØDE NT-2 mic, ART TubePAC channel strip. Ovation Custom Legend acoustic guitar, Steinberger 5-string bass, Roland V-Drums controlling Ocean Way Drums software; Korg Triton keyboard controlling virtual instruments: audiobro LA Scoring Strings, Garritan JAAB, "and a few other little tricks."

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Special Place" is a male vocal rock ballad. Mike did it all with the exception of the drums, which were played by David Freund.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Mike has submitted a slow building track that improves as it progresses in our opinion. The song intros with minimal fanfare, a slightly muted sounding strummed acoustic guitar and faux string pad accompanying Mike's plaintive lead vocal. At this point we were somewhat troubled by the overall balance of the mix, finding the vocal to be too far out front through our monitors. We also noticed some not so subtle signs of compression mismanagement on the vocal as well, in the form of smear on the F's and S's.

Fortunately, Mike's track got a huge boost when David's drums entered the picture. Expertly played, the Roland V Drum/Oceanway software drum combo is a winner here, with a great choice of tones for the genre. The addition of the rhythm section does a great deal to even out the "voice forward" nature of the overall mix, allowing a strong platform for the additional sound sources. From there the track takes on a Jimmy Webb late-'60s style vibe, with the keyboard generated string/horn pads assuming a dual "lead" solo voice. Pretty cool, Mike!

Suggestions: Integrating individual sound sources into a mix is an art form unto itself. We would encourage Mike to consider some "in the box" automation for the first part of his mix. Leaving the vocal so out front for that period of time seems unnecessary given the ease that is afforded by digital automation these days. As for the other issues, we would love to hear some sparkle on the acoustic guitar, at present it has a blanketed sound that a small high frequency bump should cure.

Lastly, audible smear of any sort on the vocals in a mix is a dead give away that over compression/limiting has occurred. Mike's controlled vocal delivery shows no signs of needing to be tamed to such a degree. Learning to identify the classic artifacts associated with this problem is crucial to good recording in our opinion. Slow and steady with those compressors, friends, sloooow and steaaady!

Summary: Almost there!

Contact: Mike Livingston,,
About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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