AKG Sounds from the Studio: Glyn Johns drum mic technique explained

As part of AKG’s Sounds from the Studio, audio engineer Oliver Roman illustrates how to mic a drum kit using the classic Glyn Johns technique.

As a producer and sound engineer, Johns has worked on classic albums for such stars as the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Eagles, the Who, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Kinks, Bob Dylan, the Band, the Clash, the Steve Miller Band, Small Faces, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Joan Armatrading.

He was involved in making some of the most influential albums of the rock era such as Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones, Who's Next by the Who, and Led Zeppelin's debut album.

Johns was the chief engineer during the Beatles' Get Back sessions for what became the Let It Be album, as documented in the films Let It Be (1970) and The Beatles: Get Back (2021). 

Since 1984 Johns has continued to be active in the industry, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, receiving the Award for Musical Excellence.

Throughout his career, he has generally preferred a live, natural approach to recording in the studio, and developed a method of recording drums in stereo – which is often referred to as the ‘Glyn Johns method’.

His method aims to achieve a natural perspective of the whole kit, rarely employing more than three or four microphones. The method, outlined in the video above, consists of using two overhead microphones, with one placed over the snare drum and the other slightly over and to the right of the floor tom (both pointed towards and equidistant from the snare drum), as well as a third microphone set in front of the bass drum and an additional close mic for the snare drum.

This video highlights how to apply an AKG C414 XLII reference multipattern condenser microphone, AKG C414 XLS reference multipattern condenser microphone, AKG C451B reference small-diaphragm condenser microphone and an AKG D112 MKII professional dynamic bass drum microphone to the famous Glyn Johns miking technique method.