In a nutshell:
  • 3 drum set locations
  • Coincident overheads follow the drums
  • 3 stereo room mike locations representative of actual session placement
  • 4 mono room mike locations with small diaphragm omni directional condensers provide a more objective sense of the sound quality along the length of the room
  • 2 variable acoustics scenarios: side wall doors On or Off

Session layout

All the microphones in the room were recorded simultaneously for each drumset position. This provides the ability to A/B different mono room mike locations during an identical performance.

We tried to remove as many variables as possible. By using four identical mikes (DPA 4006, B&K 4006), we removed any impact the microphone would have during an A/B listening.

Of course, with each different drum set location, there is a different performance. To minimize this impact, we had the drummer play to a metronome and we tried to get the same level of intensity for each take.

To futher ensure more consistent performances and make A/B listening comparisons easier, the kit was reduced to kick, snare, and hi hat.

Having the drummer play eight bars of time gives an average performance for which to judge sound quality.

A pairof coincident overheads followed the drum set to each position. This lets the listener hearhow the drums themselves sound at the location.

In addition to the four mono room mikes, three pairs of stereo room mikes were set up. Again, these mikes were placed in practical locations. This gives the listener the ability to pick any location and hear room mikes in addition to the overheads to give a more complete picture.

The side wall doors (3 per side) were recorded in two positions:

  1. Slid into a pocket fully exposing the sound in the recording space to broad band absorption (a cavity several feet deep containing a labyrinth of membrane absorbers, glass fiber, and air cavities).
  2. Pulled across the opening, acoustically decoupling the recording space from the side wall absorption with a massive, solid wood four-inch thick panel.
So for each drum set position, the panels were recorded ON (pulled out and adding reflective surfaces) and then OFF (slid in and exposing the room to deep absorption).


The drums were tracked with API Vision 212L preamplifiers direct into Nuendo through Apogee converters.


(4) 4006 (DPA and B&K) as mono room

(2) Schoeps CMC6 with MK21 sub-cardioid
    capsules as XY overheads.

(2) Neumann TLM103 as spaced pair

(2) Neumann M147 as spaced pair

(2) Neumann U89 as spaced pair

Session Photos

Position 1    Position 2    Position 3

Rear of the Room    Schoeps set up

Session Blueprints

Drum Set Blueprint   Mono Room Mike Blueprint   Spaced Pairs Blueprint

Why these particular microphone locations?

Mono Room Mikes (R1 - R4)
  • R1 - We wanted to capture the sound of the room from underneath the overhang that is in the back of the room.
  • R2 - We wanted to capture the sound radiating from the large diffuser.  The mike is positioned so that on the horizontal plane, it hears nothing but reflections.
  • R3 - R3 is positioned at the center of the room.
  • R4 - This position serves to mike the front of the room.  It is also in a position to get direct energy from the side panels, which are angled towards the front of the room. 
Spaced Pairs
  • U89 - This pair is positioned to capture stereo width of the front of the room.
  • M147 - These mikes are facing the large diffuser.
  • TLM103 - This pair is positioned facing the vertical diffusers in the back of the room.