recording drums?

only two channels on soundcard

I use an Audology 2 soundcard so I only have two channels for recording (L and R). When reading about recording drums, they often recommend adjusting the kick, snare, and other stuff separately.

I have recorded with three mics. One on the kick and one above the left and right sides of the kit, but I don’t see how I can adjust all parts of the kit with this setup.

Any ideas or just go with the best mix I can and setup for the three mics?



Hey Sax
Are you going into a mixing board of some kind? If so, you will need to pre mix the drums into your L&R of the soundcard. If you have 4 channels try to mic the kick,snare,left over & right over. I will sometimes pan my snare to 10 o’clock, kick center and L&R panned hard. You can always tweak your drums a little with EQ depending on the sound of the kit. Maybe record a little somthing of the drums only and put it up so we can hear and we can probably give a few more suggestions. If you only have a 3 mic setup try bringing the overheads a tad closer to the snare. If you are using condenser mics, they usually have a bit more sizzle on the high end, so they will pick up the cymbals fine. Just make sure the snare cuts through really good. If possible wear headphones and keep moving the mics around to find the sweet spots. Good Luck

you can also just use one channel for kick (and snare? opinoins on this?) and the other for overhead(s). That would allow you some control. But your overheads would be mono.


I run through a stereo soundcard, myself. If you run through a mixer, panning is only part of the problem. You might want to run some DSP box through the aux send to give you individual reverb to each channel on the mixer. Spending a lot of time positioning your mics is critical. I ended up investing some bucks in a matched pair of condenser mics for the overheads and place those first to catch as much of the cymbals & toms as I can. Once the sound is reasonably set, I kill the overheads on the mixer. I bought a cheap 4 pc drum mic set. I set my kick mic and then a snare and toms if needed. Once they sound good individually, I work on levels & panning. Even with all that, I end up doctoring the recorded file with a wave editor to further tweak the sound. I know you don’t have the same mic setup but maybe you could adapt some of it to your techniques.

I usally put the kick mic and 2 tom mics panned hard left, the snare in the center, and the over heads hard right. Recorded with the option of going to 2 mono tracks. So then you have 2 tracks. I duplicate both and then combine the 2 original into one stereo track. I use that one to eq and try and bring out the snare as much as possible. then take the tom and kick track and eq to enhance and isolate the kick and toms as much as possible. Then take the overhead track and eq to enhance and isolate the cymbals as much as possible.So then you have 3 tracks, the kick and toms, the snare, and the overheads. Duplicate the kick and tom track.Use a compressor(I use the waves c1) and Compress that track to make it pump like crazy, over do it even. Mix that with the other kick tom track. Then take the snare track and add a nice reverb. Mix down all the tracks to one and then you have your drum track. What do you guys think of this method? Any suggestions?? Am I doing this completely wrong??

Sounds like a good enough method to me smitty.

I only have two mic, (descent ones anyway) so, I’ve been dealing with the most simple approach as well.~ with varied levels of success. But then again I’m only writing simple 3peice numbers and the lo-fi quality actually works for this genre, so it’s not a crushal to get a polished drum sound.

For someone struggling with writing more progressive jazzy or complicated numbers, where the drums are more essential, working under the same limitations would be labor intensive at best.
you almost have to break up the parts and get a full stereo track of each for any comperable sound.
In that case I would would put two mics on the kick the first run through, panning them respectfully. One condenser 3 feet away front and center of kick.
And one on the side of the kick about 90* from the snap to get puch. You could use a small diamater compression mic for the snap as well, but any dynamic will do.
Then you just make a second pass, using your two or three mics again for high end overheads and snare.
That way would take plaing it twce but you’d have a stereo “like” sound.

BTW smitty, I don’t know about adding too much Verb to the snare track. (Epecially not the built in Verb from Ntrack.

I have a free program called leafFX effects,
It’s got distortion, and different echos, flangers ect. Which can be used to help give the track a little more punch, and give the snare the echoe snap most of us are looking for, without dulling the overall sound.
Yeah and I wouldn’t mix down all the tracks to one until the final mix. Just keep each track in a file as the other parts are being compiled.
That way, you can edit and equalize the kick, and high end in the final mix.
Once the vocals, and guitar parts are add, each intrument had its own little niches on the EQ. And you’ll probably need to do some fine tunning on the percussion tracks before the final mastering and compression is done.
I will genereally finish all the other tracks for the song, and then mix each of the other intrument to they’re own tracks, leaving two submixed tracks for vocals. Then bring all the final intrument tracks back into the original drum file. And do a final mix from there, putting the final compression on the whole mix but making shure to leave headroom, for the mastering eng, to do his thang.-about -4.db

Happy trackin,
and keep shinin’