How To Record Drums With the R44

Audio Samples and Techniques Using the AEA R44

The R44’s deep low-end and unique tonality make it a widely popular choice for drum recording. Whether perched over a kit, in front of it, or capturing from afar, the versatile R44 yields a massive, balanced drum sound that blends the direct sound of drums with expansive, dimensional room sound.

Ribbon Mics

 

Overheads

Spaced Overheads

When recording drums overhead, try positioning an R44 roughly 4 to 6 feet from the ground, above the kit. This placement delivers a balanced blend of direct sound and room ambiance with high-frequency roll-off to smooth potentially harsh cymbals. For more bass, keep the mics closer to the kit. For a more balanced sound and more natural room ambience, position the mics higher.

Mono Overhead

A single ribbon mic above a drum set is the classic way to record a natural and focused sound of your instrument. The R44 is well known for its ability to capture the detail and full low end of a drum kit while imparting its signature color and smooth top end. A single R44 above a drummer is often all that is needed to reproduce a full yet stylized recording.

Blending a mono R44 overhead with a kick mic and a room mic can add more depth and clarity, especially when tracking in a room with a nice and natural reverb.

Ribbon Mics

 

Listen to the R44 as a mono overhead

Front of Kit

Mono

For different results position your R44 around 2 to 8 feet in front of the kit, roughly at the drummer’s eye level. This signal can be blended with drum overheads or can serve as a single, mono mic signal. When blended with overheads this front signal fills the center of the stereo spread, adding depth and detail to a mix.

An R44 begins to get proximity effect at six feet (two meters) away from the sound source. At every interval, the R44 can have a drastically different sound due to its bass response and the amount of indirect sound being captured by the mic. Experiment with its placement for different results. For even more bass, angle the mic down towards the kick drum.

Ribbon Mics

 

Listen to the R44 front of kit 4 feet away

Listen to the R44 front of kit 8 feet away

Stereo

Two R44s can also be setup in Blumlein configuration in the same position as a mono R44 in front of a drum kit. This setup will act as another stereo perspective to the overheads and will provide added depth and dimension to your drum tracks. In many instances, this pair of R44s is all you will need to capture the sound and image of your drums. We recommend using a Latch Lake stand with their X-Boom attachment to position two R44s in Blumlein.

Ribbon Mics

 

Listen to the R44 in Blumlein configuration front of kit 4 feet away

Room Miking

Stereo

The figure-of-8 polar pattern and deep lows inherent in the R44 make it an outstanding tool for capturing the comprehensive sound of a room without much direct sound lending to a realistic and natural reverb. Its far-field design lends well to recording sources from as far as 20 feet away while still retaining low-end response. Effectively positioning the R44 in a room simply requires exploring the space and actively listening for the most balanced sound.

Positioning two R44s in Blumlein at a distance from the drums will capture a true stereo image of the honest reverb in your space with some added character. This configuration is a secret weapon of many professional engineers that has been used for years to add depth and detail to recordings. This configuration can be difficult to setup properly because of the large magnets in the R44. We recommend using a Latch Lake stand with their X-Boom attachment to position two R44s in Blumlein.

Ribbon Mics

 

Listen to the R44 in Blumlein configuration front of kit 20 feet away

Kick Drum

On kick drum, the R44’s huge proximity effect will make your kick sound larger than you could have ever imagined. On its own, the R44s low end may sound overwhelming, but in the context of a mix, its pillowy character is perfect for songs where the kick drum needs to breath. Using ribbons on kick drum is a classic technique that has been used on countless records.

How-To
How To Record Your Room With the R44
How-To
How To Record Your Full Band With a Single R44
Tricks of the Trade
Blumlein vs Spaced Pairs on Drum Overheads: How to Choose?