Glyn Johns

I always forget about the Glyn Johns (or Recorderman) drum mic technique. I’m making a note of this here so that hopefully, the next time I’m tracking drums, I’ll remember to give this a try.

The whole technique is predicated on using four mics:

  1. A (cardioid) large-diaphragm condenser above the snare.
  2. A (cardioid) large-diaphragm condenser to the right of the floor tom.
  3. Something for the kick (try another LDC if possible).
  4. Something for the snare (probably an SM57).

The starting point is the LDC above the snare. This article at The Recording Revolution explains:

The method starts with taking your first overhead mic and placing it about 3 to 4 feet directly above the snare (or middle of the kit). It should be pointing down at the kit. Record a little bit and listen back to that one mic. You are listening for a complete balance of the kit. You want to hear a nice blend of snare, toms, and cymbals all in one mic. If you have don’t have enough of the hi and mid toms, then angle the overhead a bit towards the toms. If the cymbals are too abrasive, move the mic up a bit more. Rinse and repeat.

Then the second LDC goes to the right of the floor tom:

Take your second overhead mic and place it just to the right of your floor tom, maybe 6 inches above the rim and facing across the the tom towards the snare and hi hat.

This needs to be in phase with the first mic, so in general, you want it to be the same distance from the snare as the first mic is. What will this do to the kick drum phase, though? Something to pay attention to.

The last two mics are close mics, used as is typical. And I suppose you could add in close mics on the toms or anything else you wanted…