Singing lead vocals while drumming is not straightforward, but I’ve done it. Here is a picture of me singing and drumming in a recreational band I was in years ago. I was taking drum lessons for some time and also began taking voice lessons. After learning to sing just a few of the band’s songs, I became the lead singer! They were all great musicians, but no one else wanted to sing.
We took this photo during one of our typical weekend practice sessions in 2001 at a local rehearsal studio. The rehearsals typically took about three or four hours on most Saturdays. We did that for approximately two years.
Setup for Singing While Drumming
When setting up a vocal microphone on your drumset, several essential factors must be considered to ensure that the microphone captures the vocals clearly without picking up too much sound from the drums.
The first step is to choose the right microphone for the job. A dynamic microphone with a unidirectional (cardioid) pickup pattern is often the best choice for this situation, as they are designed to handle high sound pressure levels and are less likely to pick up background noise. Once you have the right microphone, you must find the optimal position. The microphone should be placed close to the mouth of the vocalist, ideally at a distance of about one to two inches. This will help capture the nuances of the vocals while minimizing the amount of drum sound picked up. It’s also important to angle the microphone away from the to reduce further the amount of drum sound captured. Pop filters are essential, although many dynamic cardioid microphones have this built-in to some degree. These can help to reduce “plosives” and sibilance, which can be particularly problematic when recording vocals in a drum-heavy environment.
Additionally, you may want to use a microphone stand with a boom arm to give you more flexibility in positioning the microphone. This can be especially useful if you need to move the microphone out of the way when you’re not singing or if you want to adjust the microphone’s position during a performance.
Finally, you must do a sound check before you start playing to ensure that the microphone captures the vocals clearly and that there is no feedback or other issues. You may need to adjust the microphone’s position or settings on your mixer or audio interface to get the best possible sound.
In summary, setting up a vocal microphone on your drumset requires careful consideration of the type of microphone, its position, and the use of additional accessories like pop filters. With the proper setup, you can capture clear and powerful vocals that stand out against the backdrop of your drumming.
Drumset Vocal Microphone Choices
Choice 1: Headset Microphone
I don’t like this. In theory, this is the perfect solution. But, you lose the ability to move to create dynamics. It can get misaligned on your head. The worst part is you are “always on”. I never liked it.
Choice 2: Microphone on a Straight Stand on the Side
Not for me. It is easy to set up, then turn and sing. Turning your head is unnatural.
Choice 3: Microphone on a Boom Stand from the Side or Rear
I like this. I used this myself. It’s most common as I’ve seen it. You have much more control, and you are not “trapped”. You can also move the microphone away when you’re not singing. The Shure SM58 dynamic vocal microphone is a great choice.