May 20, 2024

Neumann Home Studio Academy Publishes New Series of YouTube Tutorials

Three new video tutorials are being added to the popular Neumann Home Studio Academy. The focus is on various recording techniques for drums. At the same time, the videos authentically document the sound qualities of the Neumann microphones used, as any use of EQ was deliberately avoided. The content is aimed at both recording novices and advanced users. With valuable tips and tricks, the “Recording Drums” episodes complement Neumann tutorials already published on YouTube.


Recording Drums | Part 1: Classic Three-Mic Technique

Is it possible to mic a complete drum kit with only three microphones and achieve excellent sound results despite the minimal setup? The first tutorial video addresses this question using a stereo recording method developed by the legendary producer and engineer Glyn Johns in the 1960s. Just like back then, Neumann U 67 tube microphones are used for this purpose.

Before you start complaining about “unaffordable luxury solutions for professionals”: The video tutorial impressively proves that convincing results can also be achieved using three significantly less expensive Neumann TLM 102 large-diaphragm microphones. The latter can be heard as an alternative to the U 67: The sound character seems more modern in a direct comparison, and the low frequency range is more pronounced, but this is by no means a disadvantage. In short: with the TLM 102, the proverbial Neumann quality is affordable even for budget-conscious home recording studios.

Recording Drums | Part 2: From Mono to Stereo

Is it possible to record a complete drum set with only one microphone? This question is answered in the second video. This is not about the highly polished drum sound of modern pop productions, but about capturing the pure energy of a natural drum kit convincingly and in good quality. The Neumann KU 100 dummy head makes a cameo appearance in this video, providing a three-dimensional impression of the sound on location.

The first step is to find the optimal position for a mono microphone, in this case an attractively priced Neumann TLM 102. If stereo recording is required instead of mono, the same location works as well for pair of microphones. In the video, two Neumann KM 184 small-diaphragm condenser microphones are positioned in an XY arrangement. The XY technique (“intensity stereophony”) works exclusively with level differences and, when used correctly, produces an extremely natural sounding stereo image with excellent localization and full mono-compatibility. As an interesting alternative to setting up the XY arrangement in front of the drum kit, the microphones can be positioned behind the kit to capture the sound from the drummer’s perspective.

Recording Drums | Part 3: Multi-Microphone Setup 

The third tutorial focuses on multi-microphone setups. Two overhead microphones form the basis, which are supplemented step by step with close-up microphones in order to realize a modern, powerful drum sound.

Again, two KM 184 small-diaphragm microphones are used as overheads. The video shows that instead of an XY setup, an AB constellation (time-of-arrival difference instead of level difference) can also be useful here. On the snare, a Neumann KMS 105 is used, which was designed as a high-quality stage vocal microphone, but works very well on the snare drum, too, while suppressing the hi-hat due to its supercardioid pickup pattern.

To pick up the bass drum, it is not uncommon to position a microphone inside. However, this necessitates heavy equalization, which compromises the signal quality and can be avoided by placing a suitable microphone at some distance in front of the kick. Here, a Neumann TLM 102 delivers a natural sound, with a pleasantly pronounced low-end.

If necessary, additional microphones may be added to the setup. On the toms, three Neumann KM 185s are used, which offer good separation due to their hypercardioid pattern. A Neumann KM 184 is positioned near the hi-hat. If the recording venue is attractive in terms of acoustics, it makes sense to set up additional room microphones, for example two Neumann TLM 102.

Neumann Home Studio Academy Takes You Right in the Middle

The new Neumann tutorials of the “Recording Drums” series were produced as one-shot videos, i.e. what you see is a single take without cuts. This special stylistic device does not fail to have an effect and puts the viewer right in the middle of the action. The easy explanations of the sympathetic presenter Geert Verdickt are a pleasure to listen to, and sporadic gags such as a cardboard moderation in the style of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” will make you smile.

The new “Recording Drums” tutorials are now starting on the Neumann YouTube channel. Enjoy Recording! With Neumann.

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