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Miking the Kick Drum

You can record a kick drum using two mics and have ultimate control of thickness and punch. Here's how:

  • Use a mike that has a high SPL (sound pressure level) to mike the inside of the kick, close to the head. Move the mike around to get the best of the "click" of the beater.
  • Take a large diaphragm condenser or dynamike mike and place it two feet in front of the kick (pointing at the drum). Behind the mic, place a chair or some other sturdy, non-reflective object.

Take a large "sound absorb" blanket and drape it over the drum and the chair to create a "tunnel" (the large mike will be at the end of the tunnel). The blanket steers away the potential mike bleed from the other drum voices, allowing the large mike to pick up the distant, "woof" of the kick.

The smaller mike in the kick will pick up the "click" and the distant mike will provide the "boom." You can sum them to taste to one channel or record both to separate tracks and blend them during the mixing process. You can even "time shift" the "woof" track to "time align" it better with the brighter track. The results can be very satisfactory.


Joey Heier / Dave Giorgio
Crystal Clear Recording Studio
Philadelphia, PA

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