Whether you record drums or only mix ’em, here’s something to chew on.

What if you couldn’t use a kick mic? What if you couldn’t use a snare mic? What if you ONLY had a pair of overheads? Could you get a good drum sound?

Answer: YES.

On the songs I’ve been mixing lately, I’ve started muting everything but the overhead mics (and the room mic if there is one). Then I start EQ-ing and compressing JUST those mics until I get a killer drum sound.

At that point, the kick and snare mics are just “nice-to-have’s”. They can add some extra weight and presence to the drum sound, but they become MUCH less crucial when you mix ’em this way.

Now this all falls apart if the overhead sound is crappy, especially if the cymbals are too loud.

So when you’re recording drums, make sure you spend PLENTY of time getting a great overhead sound. That way you’re not nearly as pressured to get killer kick and snare sounds.

Stop thinking of the overheads as “cymbal mics.” They’re there to capture the whole kit.

Overheads = must-haves

Spot mics = nice-to-haves

Got it?

Now, to try your hand at mixing drums this way, I recommend skee-daddling over to www.DuelingMixes.com, signing up, and downloading this month’s song. There are some great drum sounds in there.

Happy mixing!

Joe Gilder
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