Bobby Duthu’s Drum Recording Techniques
This just in from Bobby Duthu, PreSonus enthusiast, recordist, pro drummer, and all around great guy! He had posted some photos to our Facebook album of user studios of his home studio that piqued my interest… so I checked in with him and found him very open to sharing some of the methods to his madness.
Thanks for the kind words and also for the compliment of posting me on your site and blog. My rig is simple really. My interface consists of two FireStudio Projects daisy-chained together, resulting in 16 available mic inputs for ease of drum set miking. For software, I use Studio One Artist on a MacBook Pro.
My drum set recording techniques are also fairly simple, actually. My studio room is 30×20, very live-sounding, and features a 6-piece Sonor Designer Series drum set and Paiste 2002 cymbals.
I start by making a determination of how the drums should sound based on the particular song being tracked. I like to begin this process by attempting to achieve the desired sound acoustically, and slowly add effects if necessary. If effects are needed, I take full advantage of any number of plug-ins and/or sends included in Studio One Artist, like reverb and compression for example, but the emphasis remains on the acoustic sound of the drums.
Tuning and mic placement are of course vitally important to this process, although other factors do contribute. For example, drum head selection and striking technique can greatly affect the sound of a drum as well. Where miking is concerned, I prefer double-headed toms with mics placed a minimum of an inch and a half from the top drum head and at about a 45 degree angle.
For snare drum, I use one mic top and bottom, and for bass drum, mics about 3 inches from each side of the batter head. I also find overheads and room mics in various configurations to be invaluable. To maximize my choice of mic configurations, I use two Presonus FireStudios daisy-chained together allowing a total of 16 available inputs, which comes in very handy for drum set miking.
After that, it’s all about playing technique which can affect the drum set sound as profoundly as effects in some instances. This is yet another area for which Studio One has an answer with it’s extremely flexible metronome settings. I find the swing settings to be very helpful when looking for just the right feel.
Ultimately, in my experience, most producers and engineers prefer as raw of a drum track as possible, with minimal effects and EQ. This allows more flexibility for the engineer to the overall track, which in the end should collectively be our most important consideration.
The simplicity and efficient design of my PreSonus interfaces, along with Studio One, allow me to achieve my goals by helping me to remain less focused on tech support and more focused on performance!
Have a great weekend!
Bobby is a pro session drummer in Nashville. If you need some drums on your next record, or would like to tap into his network of talented studio cats, hit him up