It seems that every time I set up in a studio to record with my band the process is the same — put a bunch of mics all over the drums and all around the room to capture a big sound. This is all well and good, but when we get into mixing a track I find that I just love the sound of the room mics or the overheads on their own without most of the close mics. That’s how drum sets sound to me. Maybe I’m a little old school, but I love roomy drums.
When we demo new tunes in our rehearsal studio the recording usually falls on my plate. We don’t own a lot of mics and there’s usually no need to go overboard on the recordings. It’s that old keep-it-simple adage that comes back to me, and I’m all for it. When I finally got a K-Mix of my own I found my workflow to be so much simpler and less cumbersome. Just having K-Mix on the small stand next to my computer and within arm’s reach has sped up my workflow tremendously and recording the full band is simple as can be.
Yea, yea, I know there are only two XLR inputs, but that doesn’t mean I can only record two tracks! Most of the mics we have are SM57s, the legendary dynamic mics that can be used on everything. Dynamic mics, as you probably already know, don’t need phantom power to work, just some gain to get the signal where you want it.
Why make a big deal about that here? Simple. The 6 Line inputs on every K-Mix have an additional 40dB of gain. They’re balanced inputs. I have XLR to TRS adapters. Why not plug my dynamic mics into those line-ins? Well, buster, that’s exactly what I do, and you can too!
For this video we wanted to show you all this little K-Mix ‘Easter egg’ by miking up my drumkit. Keeping it simple, I put a Beta52 on my kick drum and a SM57 on my snare. Both of these are dynamic mics so I plugged them into the first two Line Inputs on K-Mix (inputs 3 & 4), leaving my mic inputs with phantom power available for my overheads.
For the overheads I used a pair of Earthworks QT-50s, plugged them into the Mic inputs (1 & 2), gave them +48v and I was ready to record! (Had I been recording the whole band, I’d still have room on K-Mix for two guitars, bass, and lead vocals with those line inputs!)
The Earthworks QT-50s have an extended high frequency range which is flat up to 40kHz and K-Mix also has flat frequency response up to 40kHz. In LogicX, I set my session to 24-bit / 96kHz and brought up my four tracks for drums and hit record. Easy peasy.
I do approach miking a drumset as miking a single instrument, not a collection of individual instruments (toms, snare, kick, cymbals, etc), which is why I like this simple four-mic set up. I’m capturing the sound of the complete drumset. The snare mic was only brought up enough to enhance the natural ring it has, nothing more. I like the sound of the full kit and that’s how I like to capture it.
I won’t pretend to be the best recording engineer, I’m a novice at best, but I’m quite pleased with how these drum tones came together. What you hear in the video is a simple Faders & Panning only mix that came straight through K-Mix into Logic and then out, all done in a small rehearsal studio crammed full of gear.
Grab your K-Mix and try out those line inputs with your favorite dynamic mic. You’ll be impressed, too!
Listen to the uncompressed .wav file of the recording here: