So, for the most part you want to use a small capsule condenser. This will apply to all the hand-held percussion. Tambourine, claves, shakers, cowbell, finger cymbals etc.
For conga and djembe type drums a condenser will help with the slap.
Dynamics not so much slap. For some non western drums a 2 mic approach works best. ex. The djembe, put a large diaphragm dynamic at the end of the drum about 6 inches will yield a ton of low frequencies. Mix this with a mic on the head side and you will get a great sound. Mallet keyboard instruments like xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, bells etc. work well with a condenser about 2 feet in front of and 2 feet above the playing surface. With these you need to be carful that you don’t get too much mallet noise.
What are YOUR favorite percussion recording techniques?
There are several schools of thought here. 1. The standard stereo overhead using either a stereo mic or a x-y configuration. 2. Two mics in cardioid, over the left and right crash cymbals. 3. One mic per cymbal with a no holds barred use as many mics as you want kinda thing. These mics would be small capsule condensers.
Here are some suggestions – Neumann KM 184, Shure SM 81, KSM 137, KSM 141, KSM 32. A note about the High Hat. Same type of microphone aimed away from the snare drum (if possible) but towards the area between the center and the edge of the cymbal. You may need to play with the orientation depending on cymbals and style of playing.
What are YOUR favorite microphones to use for recording the cymbals?
Micing the tom toms are pretty straight forward provided you have enough room to place them, while keeping out of the drummers way.
I like to use the Sennheiser MD421 mics. They give you a nice warm mellow sound. And if you tweek the EQ around 4 to 6k you can get the attack of the tom to come thru nicely. SM 57’s work fairly well too. The new special tom mics from Sennheiser (e604 & e904) and Shure (Beta 56) do pretty well also. When micing a floor tom or larger drums try using a large diaphragm mic like the Shure Beta 52 or the AKG D112 or the Sennheiser e602 this will help to capture the lower tones of the drum.
What are YOUR favorite methods for recording the toms?