Hello everybody! Once we have set up properly the microphones for Kick and Snare drum, it's time to microphone the Toms.
As you can see on pic. 1, I have drawn a red circle on the "blind spot" of the microphone to explain their positioning: since those are all dynamic, directional cardioid microphones, they take only the sound coming from a certain direction, as explained on pic 2:
"Cardioid" means "heart-shaped", because this kind of microphone takes only the sound source that stands in front of them, and their sensitivity is depicted with a shape similar to a heart.
This is to let the microphone to have purposely a "blind spot" behind them, so that the sound source placed right at the opposite side of the capsule is almost completely ignored.
We need to use this property with strategy when miking drums, since the sound sources are many and located everywhere on the set.
The mic positioning on pic. 1 shows that I have chosen the closest and noisiest Cymbal, and placed the tom microphone with its "blind spot" (or we could call it more appropriately "deaf spot"), shown with the red circle, pointing to the closest Crash Cymbal, which is the thing that it's most likely to bleed into it.
As for the Snare top, the right positioning of all tom microphones it's the one with less bleed, as close as possible to the skin, pointing exactly where the stick will hit.
Moving to the last essential (in my opinion) microphone of our drumset (except for the Cymbal microphones, that we have already explained HERE), we need to talk about the Room Microphone.
The Room microphone, shown at the centre of Pic. 2 and alone on Pic. 3 it's a Condenser mic of the kind used also for Vocals, which should give us a sound as "global" as possible: we need to find a placement that if we listen to its track alone will give us a complete, balanced reproduction of the whole drumset, so if for example the cymbals are covering everything on this track, we should lower it, but if we're hearing only the kick, maybe it's too low :)
We should just move the microphone and hear what it's capturing, until we're hearing everything decently.
We will use this microphone to add realism, fatness and natural reverb to the drum track, since we have close-miked every single part, and the final sound may result a bit dry and sterile.
Once we have all drums, room and cymbal microphones set up properly and we like the result (rememeber, the original sound is 60% of the work, we can make it better in the mix, but if the original sound doesn't sound right, neither the final mix will), it's time to take a single, clean hit of every drum part: first off hit the snare, then when the tail is completely over, hit the kick, and so on, so that we have a single hit ready, because in the Editing Phase it can be useful to have a clean sound available to replace some drummer error, as a weak hit.
Then, once everything is recorded properly we can move into the Editing Phase, if needed, and then we're ready to mix!
Summing it up, the list for a good drum microphoning is:
1 dynamic mic for each tom (so usually 3, the ideal would be a Sennheiser Md421)
2 Condenser mics for the overhead
1 Condenser mic for the room
1 Dynamic or Micro Condenser mic for the Hi Hat
1 Dynamic mic for the Ride Cymbal (if used often, otherwise this mic is unnecessary, the overheads are enough to catch it).
We also need an Audio Interface with at least 10 Mic Preamplifiers. Often the Usb audio interfaces offer 8 mic preamps and other unbalanced inputs, so we must take another "2 channel mic preamp" and send it to 2 of the unbalacend ins of the Interface in order to have a total of 10 mic pres, or we can use a mixer such the Alesis Multimix usb 2.0 or the Phonic Helix, that sends all the separate tracks to the DAW.
Hope this was helpful!