"Unconventional" Miking techniques

Hey everyone, I was curious if anyone has really experimented with miking that’s off the beaten path, so to speak? I have an example that I tracked using Glyn Johns’ drum miking technique if you would care to listen.

My overall impression of the technique was that is was certainly unique and provided an interesting approach, but I lacked the control that I would normally have with a nominal setup. The only thing I added to the setup was a mic on the kick (D112). We used a measuring tape to ensure that the two overhead mics (Coles) were equ-distant from the snare.

The links are to two songs performed by the same artists, Maybe April, a trio out of Nashville. You can probably hear the drums better on “Miss Your Kiss” better than “Come Back Down” though. Lemme hear your experiences!
“Come Back Down”

“Miss Your Kiss”


Wow… I really like “Miss Your Kiss” Great tune and production. The drums seem to work fine.
I’ve always liked organic drum sounds with minimal mics. It always reminds me of when I started and only had one mic and then, 2, then 4 and so on. But I still remember that I got some of the “best” sounds with 2 mics. Either Kick and mono OH or 2 mics 6" off the ground, 5-6 feet in front of the kit It’s a shame because I know that I couldn’t get away with it just tracking drums on someone else’s stuff.
I would have to be producing or at least have a very open minded artist… :slight_smile:

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I believe that the only way I was able to experiment with mic tech is because this was tracked when I was in school at Middle Tennessee State University. I was in the producer’s chair and had an exchange program student from Norway performing all the engineering. We were both willing to try something new and ended up going with the drums this way because it sounded pretty good in the monitors.

Doubt I would ever have that kind of wiggle room in a commercial setting.

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One thing that I have noticed is that using minimal drum mic setup GJ or otherwise, DOES stand up “commercially” with LOUD drum tracks and stays out of the way with really busy drum parts (fusion/fusak).

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Thanks @holster for the formatting help

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Cool tunes and mixes Chase! Great to have you here!

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These types of minimal set ups to me are genre specific, or at least translate better with some types of music. Jazz and folk come to mind. Another factor is the room of course. Without a good room, you are fighting acoustic bounce which could add as much to the overall sound as the original mics. I have used the GJ technique in a really dry room (my studio) with mixed success. I like it better with a light hitter than a heavy hitter.

Here’s a couple of ideas for drums to go along with minimal other mics…


I’ve tried al these bar the ‘kit pig’ (?!) Gonna have to give it a go on the next tracking session. The Wurst can be great for certain songs, I usually use a 57 or M64 through an old Shure Level-Loc if I’ve got a Wurst mic set up.

I always use my own version of GJ on full band live recordings (mostly everything I do) now.

For me, just getting the kick and snare centrally is key in BOTH overhead AND room mics.

I do find my own ‘balance point’ is slightly biased to the floor tom or bass side, so exact measuring isnt necessary, plus the gain setting is also an ‘ear thing’.

Room mics are also pretty close. kind of a 3:1 rule with the overheads. And if the gig is truly a gig, i put them wide as outriggers over the guitar stacks.

Once you have this 4 mic setup sounding balanced, the other stuff is pretty standard. Even without ever hearing any of the mic placements until mixdown.