Mixing drum mics


Hey guys, I’m doing a mix challenge for a rock track containing stems for the drum mics, of which there are many .... Ambience, OH, Front Center, Front L+R, Rear Wide, Rear High and Wide etc. As someone used to EZ Drummer, this is a little overwhelming to me lol.

How should I approach mixing these together? Should I use a combination of all mics, making one (I.e front Center) more predominant? How should I be using bus compression - should I compress the mics along with the rest of the kit? What about EQ?


Well-known member
Are there any spot mics? (Close mic on an individual drum)
The answer to your question really depends on the genre and Era the song belongs in. Along with exactly what you have to work with.

What I tend to do is mix the kit with the spot mics and overheads, then use the room mics (generally compressed) as reverb.

If you don't have spot mics, front center should focus on getting the kick and snare sounding good and strong. Then a combination of the overheads and front left right gets the rest of the kit.

Don't feel that you have to use all the tracks that you are given. There are plenty of times where drums are recorded with a ton of mics set up and to facilitate multiple songs on an album without having to move room mics around for every song.

In general, faster songs use the closer room mics (shorter reverb) and slower songs use the ones farther away. (Longer reverb).


Yes there are spot mics for all the individual drum elements ... genre is rock. it's a relatively fast track so i guess i'll make more use of the closer room mics, maybe bringing the ambient mics in just for the slightly more laid back section in the middle. I normally compress the kick, snare, hats and toms as one via the drum bus - do you typically include the room mics in that, or are they best treated separately?


Well-known member
I think all those distant mics are just there to give you options. Just use what sounds best to you.

I find myself doing less and less compression on drums these days, but that might just be the drummer I'm working with. If I do compress drums, it's generally just kick and snare individually. On toms, I'm more likely to manually edit the levels to even them out. I don't really use distant mics, but maybe I'll try that sometime.


Well-known member
I tend to compress the individual drums a bit at the track level, then again at the buss. Almost never to even out the dynamics, but to make the drums speak longer.
I tend to keep the overheads out of the drum bus, so the cymbals don't pump, but I will sometimes send the room mics or reverb to the drum bus to make it thicker and bigger.

It depends on the effect I'm looking for.


Active member
These are pre recorded tracks, it's too late if the placement wasn't there.
In that case - Take all the mics and listen to them - see what they provide. Then buss them to a stereo aux - and mix according to what you want prominent.