Drums & Cymbals Specifically for Studio Recording
Pronecobra
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#1
4th April 2009
Old 4th April 2009
  #1
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Pronecobra's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Question Drums & Cymbals Specifically for Studio Recording

I am putting together a project studio and my main focus right now is on drum sound. I am an alright drummer and it is a high priority for me to get good drum sounds. My early 90s Pearl Export kit is OK, but not great. Also, my brass alloy cymbals blow.

I want to know what drums and which cymbals would be the best candidates for the studio?

Obviously there is some subjectivity when it comes to drum & cymbal sounds, but there must be some specific characteristics that make for desirable studio drums & cymbals.

I can say that I like a dry and relatively tight drum sound and dark cymbal tones. I have always liked the Zildjian K series (not the custom, but the plain 'K' cymbals . . not sure if they even make them anymore, I only ever see the Custom K's).

I also recently purchased a Orange County Drums & Percussion Maple Snare drum, a 7" x 13", 7 ply that I like a great deal, although without a bottom mic used it can start to sound like a small tom!

Also, since my drums & cymbals are intended for studio use, I suppose they should have an agreable & versatile sound to please varying tastes (although my taste is the most important).

I am also obsessed with snare sounds; it is so important to a song for me. I have noticed that my heroes usually have at least a few snares on deck. I think I would like to have at least three snares to choose from to meet various needs (mostly in the indy rock vein).

What types (material) and sizes of snare drums should every studio have? I already have a maple 7"x13". I also have the metal snare that came with the Export kit, it looks to be about 14" X 5.5" or 6" . . . I have yet to get a good sound out of this thing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

P. Cobra
Prone
#2
5th April 2009
Old 5th April 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 

lets start with snares:
Ludwig alloy - get at least one, probably more. Start with an Acrolite (easily snagged for under $100 on craigslist/ebay), after that probably a LM402 (6.5x14 supraphonic). New, old.. doesn't really matter much.

Your OCDP one will work nicely, maybe grab another wood of a more standard size (5x14?) maple or birch.

Maybe a brass.. Black Beauty or one of the copies (Black Dawg/Hawg, etc).

For the kit:
What kind of music will you be recording? Do you want a super-modern sound? or an overall great 'classic' drum sound?

For 'classic', go find an old ugly rewrapped Ludwig 3-ply kit with minimal extra holes and good bearing edges. Should be reasonably cheap as a rewrap (no collectible value).

For 'modern' - any of the keller shell kits will do you fine.. just don't spend a ton on one of the boutique 'custom' shops, you'll never get that money back.
#3
5th April 2009
Old 5th April 2009
  #3
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 

+100 to the above. thumbsup

Most top of the range modern kits are great for recording. Don't let anyone persuade you that DW is the only choice, or that Yamaha smokes the competition.
Look around for a good deal.
Also, some of the below top of the range kits are very good too.
Some amazing second hand kits for recording - either vintage (Gretsch and Ludwig as mentioned above), or more recent Pearl, Yamaha 9000 etc.
Yes, Zildjian still make K's. They are my studio cymbal of choice.
I would buy used as you'll get a whole lot more bang for your buck.
Other than K's check out Istanbul Agop and Sabian HHX. Or 60's and 70's A Zildjian, which are pretty cheap on Ebay, but tend to be a little brighter than K's. Old A hi-hats are killer though.
#4
5th April 2009
Old 5th April 2009
  #4
Gear addict
 

The advice given so far is right on. Also, drum heads make a big difference in the recording process. There are many choices.
Next is microphone choice and placement. Pre amps make a big difference too!!!
Sometimes less is more when recording drums. Too many mics can muck up the works. A good room is a plus too. A less than ideal space needs to be controlled with different acoustic treatment. An untreated room that has the dimensions of a big box will make the drums sound like they were recorded in a big box. Check the room treatment and acoustics forum on this site.
Remember, drums sound different in a mix. Without the rest of the instruments they may sound full of overtones and ringy. Add the rest of the instruments and
they may be perfect. Learn how EQ changes the sound.
Try not to choke the snare with the snare wires going to tight with the strainer and work on learning how to tune your drums.
FWIW, I would try the drums you have with your new heads of choice and a good tuning. If you like a dry ,dark sound look into heads that are designed for that sound. There are many different approaches. Google search ....drum tuning methods. Learning to tune drums can and will be frustrating at first but getting a handle on tuning will be very worth while.
Finally, you do not have to spend a $$$$$$$$$ on gear to get good drum tracks.




Here.................. DrumForum.org • Index page
#5
5th April 2009
Old 5th April 2009
  #5
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pronecobra View Post
I am putting together a project studio and my main focus right now is on drum sound. I am an alright drummer and it is a high priority for me to get good drum sounds. My early 90s Pearl Export kit is OK, but not great. Also, my brass alloy cymbals blow.
Quote:
I want to know what drums and which cymbals would be the best candidates for the studio?
The ones that sound good when you hit them, choose them by ear, not by brand exclusively. Brand doesn't mean crap if you can't tune drums with 100% confidence.
Quote:

Obviously there is some subjectivity when it comes to drum & cymbal sounds, but there must be some specific characteristics that make for desirable studio drums & cymbals.
In tune. In context.
Quote:

I can say that I like a dry and relatively tight drum sound and dark cymbal tones. I have always liked the Zildjian K series (not the custom, but the plain 'K' cymbals . . not sure if they even make them anymore, I only ever see the Custom K's).
That won't work for everything.
Quote:

I also recently purchased a Orange County Drums & Percussion Maple Snare drum, a 7" x 13", 7 ply that I like a great deal, although without a bottom mic used it can start to sound like a small tom!

Also, since my drums & cymbals are intended for studio use, I suppose they should have an agreable & versatile sound to please varying tastes (although my taste is the most important).
VERY SMART! You need cymbals of quality construction, they need to have at least three voices that work well, if you aren't an EQ expert or prefer no EQ, get cymbals that already sound like what you would EQ them to.
Quote:

I am also obsessed with snare sounds; it is so important to a song for me. I have noticed that my heroes usually have at least a few snares on deck. I think I would like to have at least three snares to choose from to meet various needs (mostly in the indy rock vein).
That is fairly universal, but, not necessary, it's a luxury only.
Quote:

What types (material) and sizes of snare drums should every studio have? I already have a maple 7"x13". I also have the metal snare that came with the Export kit, it looks to be about 14" X 5.5" or 6" . . . I have yet to get a good sound out of this thing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
maybe a piccolo, bell brass, you already have a maple, maybe a noble cooley, a brady, hope you have a LOT of money, or the drummers could bring THEIR favorites (recommended).
Quote:
P. Cobra
Prone
Quote:
Originally Posted by rico52 View Post
The advice given so far is right on. Also, drum heads make a big difference in the recording process. There are many choices.
Next is microphone choice and placement. Pre amps make a big difference too!!!

Try not to choke the snare with the snare wires going to tight with the strainer and work on learning how to tune your drums.
FWIW, I would try the drums you have with your new heads of choice and a good tuning. If you like a dry ,dark sound look into heads that are designed for that sound. There are many different approaches. Google search ....drum tuning methods. Learning to tune drums can and will be frustrating at first but getting a handle on tuning will be very worth while.
Finally, you do not have to spend a $$$$$$$$$ on gear to get good drum tracks.
Here.................. DrumForum.org • Index page
Great advice Rico.
Too many players don't know how to tune their drums. Look for a Bobby Rock tuning lesson or a Neil Peart tuning lesson and then you'll have a pretty firm grasp of the principles involved and be able to make cool choices with confidence. I got lucky to have them teach me personally. You WON"T need a new set of drums, you may regrind the bearing edges of your shells. Heads make a HUGE difference.
I prefer aquarian heads and I hit the drums with authority (though I have none) but I use heavy sticks too. AAX hats need no EQ, AAX rides are good usually, and signature series have many voices for a crash.
Get a hold of Sandy Gennarro and ask him his ethos on recording drums, he has a unique and very workable set of ideas.
#6
5th April 2009
Old 5th April 2009
  #6
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chrisso's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Cannon View Post
I dont think there is any studio cymbals
I would just say I think quieter cymbals are great because one of the big problems drummers have is balancing loud, bright cymbals with the most important part of the drum track.... the drums.
Loud cymbals are much less desirable in recording.
With todays micing techniques, loud rock cymbals, or projection crashes etc are a waste of time.
Rock style cymbals are great if you are looking for that tone (rather than volume), but I've played the softer, jazzier cymbals on many rock/pop sessions.
Pronecobra
Thread Starter
#7
6th April 2009
Old 6th April 2009
  #7
Gear nut
 
Pronecobra's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thumbs up Great Advice

Wow, great advice guys. I love Gearslutz, always a bunch of helpful people around!

Tuning is so important and I learned it the hard way. I have never been good at tuning drums, it is like a day long event for me. I have read everything I could find on drum tuning. I finally purchased a Drum Dial, which measures timpanic pressure. It wasn't the magic bullet I had hoped for. Does anyone have either advice or an opinion to share regarding drum dials? Even after reading so many instructions on drum tuning, it seems that experience is the only way to learn.

I was wondering what you guys think about tube preamps versus solid state preamps for drums? Also, what you guys think about using transformer based preamps with drums?

I have low-end tube pres that I use on everything but snare.

I have two ART Pro Channels, each used for kick drum mics (one mic inside, one mic outside); I have an ART 2 chnl Gold MPA preamp coupled with the ART VLA compressor which I use for overheads. I use an Sm Pro Audio TB202 2 chnl tube pre for toms.

On bottom snare I use a Joe Meek Q6 (a newer unit) with a healthy amount of very colorful compression; on top snare I use a PreSonus Eureka. I use light compression on everything (maybe 3db of compression at no more than 5:1 ratio), save for the bottom snare mic.

Both the Eureka and Joe Meek are transformer coupled, although on the Joe Meek the transformer can be disengaged via the "iron" button. I do like what the transformer does for signals. Generally, I don't EQ while tracking, save for hi-pass filters.

I have had some bad experiences with heavy, projection cymbals. So many kids these days want to sound huge, but as someone else noted, those loud cymbals are less than ideal in the studio. Because they are so loud, the drummers using them lose all sense of dynamics and so the song suffers. Dynamics is the drummers greatest tool and in a way he conducts the band, dictating tempo and dynamics.

I look forward to any advice! And thanks again everyone.
#8
6th April 2009
Old 6th April 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 

I like pearl masters maple drums. They are as good as any other top of the line stuff but a little bit less expensive than the most. I like them very much. My clients are happy too.
#9
6th April 2009
Old 6th April 2009
  #9
Gear addict
 

K's are great, if you like those you may also like Bosphorus cymbals, which are a darker, more complex cymbal.
#10
6th April 2009
Old 6th April 2009
  #10
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pronecobra View Post
Wow, great advice guys. I love Gearslutz, always a bunch of helpful people around!

Tuning is so important and I learned it the hard way. I have never been good at tuning drums, it is like a day long event for me. I have read everything I could find on drum tuning. I finally purchased a Drum Dial, which measures timpanic pressure. It wasn't the magic bullet I had hoped for. Does anyone have either advice or an opinion to share regarding drum dials? Even after reading so many instructions on drum tuning, it seems that experience is the only way to learn.

I was wondering what you guys think about tube preamps versus solid state preamps for drums? Also, what you guys think about using transformer based preamps with drums?

I have low-end tube pres that I use on everything but snare.

I have two ART Pro Channels, each used for kick drum mics (one mic inside, one mic outside); I have an ART 2 chnl Gold MPA preamp coupled with the ART VLA compressor which I use for overheads. I use an Sm Pro Audio TB202 2 chnl tube pre for toms.

On bottom snare I use a Joe Meek Q6 (a newer unit) with a healthy amount of very colorful compression; on top snare I use a PreSonus Eureka. I use light compression on everything (maybe 3db of compression at no more than 5:1 ratio), save for the bottom snare mic.

Both the Eureka and Joe Meek are transformer coupled, although on the Joe Meek the transformer can be disengaged via the "iron" button. I do like what the transformer does for signals. Generally, I don't EQ while tracking, save for hi-pass filters.

I have had some bad experiences with heavy, projection cymbals. So many kids these days want to sound huge, but as someone else noted, those loud cymbals are less than ideal in the studio. Because they are so loud, the drummers using them lose all sense of dynamics and so the song suffers. Dynamics is the drummers greatest tool and in a way he conducts the band, dictating tempo and dynamics.

I look forward to any advice! And thanks again everyone.
You did not mention which mics you are using.
Use the pre's that you have. Check out the "recorderman" or Glyn John's method as a place to start for drum recording. I have always had great results with less than more mics but again there are many approaches. FWIW, I use Rode large condenser tube mics {NTV's} for overheads. One in the front .....the other behind my right shoulder... both about 2 drum stick lengths away from the snare. I used to use shure SM 81's for the longest time. At this time I Prefer the Rodes's. I use solid state pre's but used tube pre's similar to yours with the Shure's. I use a VLA on the OH's too. Sometimes it is not even compressing ...I just run through it.
As far as EQ............once you know what you want you may EQ going in. Be careful not to add too much high end!!!!! Over all I usually subtract certain frequencies rather than boost them. Especially the ones that make the toms sound boxy.
I probably should note that I prefer a nice natural , open sound on the drums.
I also use an A Custom Projection ride with great results. I play it rather than bash it. I use the thinnest sticks I can find.
I also have a K Custom Special Dry Ride........the complete other end of the cymbal spectrum.

Dynamics are the the drummers greatest tool>>>>>>>>>>>>
#11
7th April 2009
Old 7th April 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 

I use Sabian HH crashes, 70's Zildjian new-beats for hats, and a Zildjian Sweet Ride.. the HH crashes are PERFECT recording cymbals (like K's.. since they ARE K's). They open up easily and get out of the way - never overpowering, and I can smack them pretty hard.. they still never sound 'loud'.
#12
7th April 2009
Old 7th April 2009
  #12
Gear nut
 
VigilantSound's Avatar
 

For crash cymbals I really like the bright sound of A-Customs, Although I don't always use them and have not lately they are my favorite. I will be using them on my own bands recording

Also "Stagg" splash and bell cymbals sound great and they are supper cheap compared to other brands that don't sound anywhere near as good.

Last edited by VigilantSound; 7th April 2009 at 07:42 AM.. Reason: Added the stagg rant
#13
9th April 2009
Old 9th April 2009
  #13
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alba359's Avatar
 

You may want to check out Dream cymbals. Made from B20 and B23 alloys. Made in China a bit less expensive than name brands. You can check sound files of the actual cymbals on Ebay. I recently purchased a 17" crash that sounds great.
#14
10th April 2009
Old 10th April 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alba359 View Post
You may want to check out Dream cymbals. Made from B20 and B23 alloys. Made in China a bit less expensive than name brands. You can check sound files of the actual cymbals on Ebay. I recently purchased a 17" crash that sounds great.
I've heard great reviews on Dream over at drumforum.. though they report that they tend to be geared more toward jazzier tones (whatever that means).
#15
10th April 2009
Old 10th April 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pronecobra View Post
Wow, great advice guys. I love Gearslutz, always a bunch of helpful people around!

Tuning is so important and I learned it the hard way. I have never been good at tuning drums, it is like a day long event for me. I have read everything I could find on drum tuning. I finally purchased a Drum Dial, which measures timpanic pressure. It wasn't the magic bullet I had hoped for. Does anyone have either advice or an opinion to share regarding drum dials? Even after reading so many instructions on drum tuning, it seems that experience is the only way to learn.
The Drum Dial can't tell you how to tune the drum but it can most definitely help you reproduce a tuning once you have it dialed in. A few notes:

1) A reading of say "75" will not be the same pitch on every head. 2 ply heads for example will be a different pitch at that reading than a single ply. A coated head will be a slightly different pitch than a clear of the same make/model.

2) The exact same tuning won't necessarily work on another kit. Ambassadors tuned to a 75 on my M Birch kit will sing for days while the same setup on my PDP is choked and too high in pitch for those shells to sing.
#16
10th April 2009
Old 10th April 2009
  #16
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chrisso's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggator6 View Post
they tend to be geared more toward jazzier tones (whatever that means).
Code for dark and trashy.
I like 'jazzy' cymbals for recording rock personally, but if there is too much trash it can start to get in the way of the music IMO (not in jazz of course).
I've trawled through quite a few Agop jazz cymbals for rock/pop.
They can work very well, but sometimes the trash is too big a component in the sound.
It says 'hey listen to me', which can be great in jazz, but not good on a pop song.
I'm not sold on the Dream cymbals myself, but for very reasonably priced cymbals they do sound very good, definitely professional.
#17
11th April 2009
Old 11th April 2009
  #17
Gear nut
 
Matchless1069's Avatar
 

As far as cymbals go I prefer using smaller crashes to record (15", 16", 17") than playing live (16",18",20"). The smaller sizes are more manageable for recording as far as decay. I prefer Paiste cymbals (mostly signatures) because they have that pre eq'd sound to me.

As far as drums brass badge DW drums are the modern sound. The brass badges are from the earlier days when they had less distributors and more quality control. Gretsch stop sign badge drums are great for that 70's classic drum sound. Check out Brady for snare drums, expensive but they sound great.

One other thing, if you have a drummer that has technique and dynamics try using different sticks / tips. A round tip stick vs an oval tip stick will make a ride cymbal sound different. If the drummers a basher it won't matter (and make sure to get a deposit for cracked cymbals )
#18
12th April 2009
Old 12th April 2009
  #18
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Quote:
The brass badges are from the earlier days when they had less distributors and more quality control.
I'm not up on my DW timelines - is that also when they were using Keller shells?
#19
24th April 2009
Old 24th April 2009
  #19
Gear maniac
 

Sabian HHX cymbals are some of the (if not THE) best cymbals for recording, especially when you need very versatile cymbals. I've used mine for jazz and heavy metal. Same cymbals! The HHX's blend into music really well, without disappearing. Other cymbals tend to stick out too much in the mix.
I would suggest HHX Studio Crashes (17", 18") and HHX Groove Hats (13" for a tight defined sound, 14" for a bigger rock sound). The HHX Groove Ride is great for pop and acoustic stuff. The HHX Stage Ride is a great alround ride. I personally love my 21" HHX Dry Ride. It workes for everything I do.

As for drums... A basic maple Pacific or DDRUM kit will do the trick nicely. These are 100% maple shells with good bearing edges, but reasonably priced. The bigger brands are more expensive because of their name and because of extremely heavy road-worthy hardware, which you absolutely don't need in the studio. You can score a 5-piece Pacific or DDRUM kit for under $1000.
As for sizes, I like smaller sizes in the studio, as opposed to live. Smaller drums have a more defined tone and are easier to separate in the mix. A 10-12-14 (maybe an additional 16" floor tom) tom configuration is a pretty standard studio setup. A 22" kick is standard, but a 20" works very well and is more controllable in the studio. It's also small enough to be used for jazz (just put coated single ply heads on it without anything inside the drum, for a nice boomy jazz tone).

For snares, I suggest 3 different ones that can give you different flavors.
You already have a maple 13"x7", which is perfect. That's my main snare as well.
Additionally, look for a 14"x6" brass snare. A Ludwig Black Beauty copy, if you will. Ludwig sells simple brass snares for under $300, I think.
My workhorse is the Ahead 14"x6" black nickel over brass. It 's awesome. sounds huge when tuned low, and funky when tuned high.
A third snare could be a 14"x5" wooden snare. I would suggest a birch snare, since birch is affordable, and will offer a nice difference from your maple snare. I have a Tama Starclassic Performer snare, which sounds beautiful.

Also, don't underestimate the essence of drum heads. I've tried them all, and found that Remo heads really do give the best balance of attack, tone and warmth. Other brands tend to sound too "plasticky". For recording a maple kit, the coated ambassadors work really well. Fat tom sounds with good tone but without too much ring.
The Evans EMAD is the best recording kick drum head out there. The Remo Powersonic is supposed to be similar, but I haven't tried that one yet.
For snare, I love the Remo Coated CS Reversed Black Dot, or a simple Coated Ambassador.

Hope that helps

d.
#20
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
  #20
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Rumble View Post
The Evans EMAD is the best recording kick drum head out there.
You really should start saying personal favourite instead of best, especially when recommending stuff to other people.
There are no best cymbals or best heads. There are lots of choices and everyone's tastes are different.
I personally agree with some of your choices, but when you said the Emad was the best recording head I had to click the reply button.
#21
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Rumble View Post
Sabian HHX cymbals are some of the (if not THE) best cymbals for recording, especially when you need very versatile cymbals. I've used mine for jazz and heavy metal. Same cymbals! The HHX's blend into music really well, without disappearing. Other cymbals tend to stick out too much in the mix.
I would suggest HHX Studio Crashes (17", 18") and HHX Groove Hats (13" for a tight defined sound, 14" for a bigger rock sound). The HHX Groove Ride is great for pop and acoustic stuff. The HHX Stage Ride is a great alround ride. I personally love my 21" HHX Dry Ride. It workes for everything I do.

As for drums... A basic maple Pacific or DDRUM kit will do the trick nicely. These are 100% maple shells with good bearing edges, but reasonably priced. The bigger brands are more expensive because of their name and because of extremely heavy road-worthy hardware, which you absolutely don't need in the studio. You can score a 5-piece Pacific or DDRUM kit for under $1000.
As for sizes, I like smaller sizes in the studio, as opposed to live. Smaller drums have a more defined tone and are easier to separate in the mix. A 10-12-14 (maybe an additional 16" floor tom) tom configuration is a pretty standard studio setup. A 22" kick is standard, but a 20" works very well and is more controllable in the studio. It's also small enough to be used for jazz (just put coated single ply heads on it without anything inside the drum, for a nice boomy jazz tone).

For snares, I suggest 3 different ones that can give you different flavors.
You already have a maple 13"x7", which is perfect. That's my main snare as well.
Additionally, look for a 14"x6" brass snare. A Ludwig Black Beauty copy, if you will. Ludwig sells simple brass snares for under $300, I think.
My workhorse is the Ahead 14"x6" black nickel over brass. It 's awesome. sounds huge when tuned low, and funky when tuned high.
A third snare could be a 14"x5" wooden snare. I would suggest a birch snare, since birch is affordable, and will offer a nice difference from your maple snare. I have a Tama Starclassic Performer snare, which sounds beautiful.

Also, don't underestimate the essence of drum heads. I've tried them all, and found that Remo heads really do give the best balance of attack, tone and warmth. Other brands tend to sound too "plasticky". For recording a maple kit, the coated ambassadors work really well. Fat tom sounds with good tone but without too much ring.
The Evans EMAD is the best recording kick drum head out there. The Remo Powersonic is supposed to be similar, but I haven't tried that one yet.
For snare, I love the Remo Coated CS Reversed Black Dot, or a simple Coated Ambassador.

Hope that helps

d.
I don't completely disagree with your suggestions but drums in particular are a pretty open area with a lot of things that work. For example, the HHX line doesn't get me what I need but my K's and Armands do. I prefer clear heads to coated specifically because they sustain for example. Neither is wrong but both work. I also like 24" kicks and Birch shells. They get different sounds but both are viable

Just my 2 cents
#22
25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You really should start saying personal favourite instead of best, especially when recommending stuff to other people.
There are no best cymbals or best heads. There are lots of choices and everyone's tastes are different.
I personally agree with some of your choices, but when you said the Emad was the best recording head I had to click the reply button.
oops, I see Chris beat me to it
#23
26th April 2009
Old 26th April 2009
  #23
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 

No matter. thumbsup
#24
26th April 2009
Old 26th April 2009
  #24
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deve View Post
I like pearl masters maple drums. They are as good as any other top of the line stuff but a little bit less expensive than the most. I like them very much. My clients are happy too.

I am also playing pearl maple masters, the old ones (wood gets better with age.

If you want punch, I would consider acryl. when it comes to cymbals I like paiste sig./dark energy, really good in the studio.
#25
5th May 2009
Old 5th May 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pronecobra View Post
Wow, great advice guys. I love Gearslutz, always a bunch of helpful people around!

Tuning is so important and I learned it the hard way. I have never been good at tuning drums, it is like a day long event for me. I have read everything I could find on drum tuning. I finally purchased a Drum Dial, which measures timpanic pressure. It wasn't the magic bullet I had hoped for. Does anyone have either advice or an opinion to share regarding drum dials? Even after reading so many instructions on drum tuning, it seems that experience is the only way to learn.

I have had some bad experiences with heavy, projection cymbals. So many kids these days want to sound huge, but as someone else noted, those loud cymbals are less than ideal in the studio. Because they are so loud, the drummers using them lose all sense of dynamics and so the song suffers. Dynamics is the drummers greatest tool and in a way he conducts the band, dictating tempo and dynamics.

I look forward to any advice! And thanks again everyone.
If you are patient with yourself you can learn to tune drums. One thing that will make it easier for you is if you practice with toms using the same drumhead model for batter and resonant sides. Just practice tuning themso that they sound even and are the same pitch. From that point you will be able to choose alternative drum tuning schemes.

I've got the drum dial and the Evans torque drum key.

I use the drum dial to maintain even tension in the head but because you have to first seat the drumhead propperly and the fact that it sounds better when you finesse and finalise the tuning by ear then its just good to take notes on the readings from the thing once the tuning is in a sweet spot.

Like I said seating the head is the key to good tuning so this is where the torque key comes in for me... if I am taking the tuning up to find a sound that I like and I am searching around different pitches then I use the torque key to get me back to zero when I'm not enjoying a tuning. So the torque key lets me move the tuning back down into something neutral and build up the tuning again.

store.daddario.com/category/144816/Torque_Drum_Key (there are some drum tuning lessons listed there also).

No matter what I have to finesse the tuning by ear but these tools let me try things and make changes quickly and then recreate a tuning that works.

Cymbals:

meinlcymbals.com/videos/video/VIDEO/byzance_dark_series_557.html?cHash=89b0529c8e

often times 13 inch hats might be a good option for the player who hits with the authoritar. I've played some nice Paiste 13 inch hats and Also loved Sabian 13 and 14 inch Groove hats.

meinlcymbals.com/videos/video/VIDEO/byzance_brilliant_series_555.html?cHash=8c6edf3dc6

Love the crashes, china, splash and can take or leave these hats and ride. I'd basically replace the ride and hats with the ones from the previous vid and also have a dark crash option from the previous vid as well. Love the ability to differentiate crashes one from another! Usually reflective or brighter crashes are easier to hear the different pitches.

I also like the Sabian Paragon range and Paiste cymbals are excellent too.

Just remember that even though some manufacturers are quite consistent with their cymbals there are always duds out there so audition each one and listen for any weird resonances or dodgey decays and audition the cymbals against your aother cymbals to see where they fit in the scheme of things.

Peace,
cortisol
#26
6th May 2009
Old 6th May 2009
  #26
Gear maniac
 
The Chemist's Avatar
 

+1 to whoever said brand means crap if you can't tune.

I had a band about 6 months ago bring thier own set in (I have Yamaha Recording Customs, the Primer Grey ones) and I looked at it... Westbury... THE HELL? They were 299 dollar drums.

But, the sound was incredible. The guy tuning them (the guitarist... figure THAT out) had an ear for tuning drums.
#27
17th May 2009
Old 17th May 2009
  #27
Lives for gear
 
midnightsun's Avatar
 

Interesting
#28
17th May 2009
Old 17th May 2009
  #28
Lives for gear
 
memphisindie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
+1 to whoever said brand means crap if you can't tune.

I had a band about 6 months ago bring thier own set in (I have Yamaha Recording Customs, the Primer Grey ones) and I looked at it... Westbury... THE HELL? They were 299 dollar drums.

But, the sound was incredible. The guy tuning them (the guitarist... figure THAT out) had an ear for tuning drums.
Aye, the secret weapon, the ability to tune drums well. That really is the ticket over everything else, but, there is also the ability to hit them correctly so you don't hit too light or blow out the tuning by hitting too hard. I've seen both of those things too.
There is a balance and it starts with good tuning.
#29
19th May 2009
Old 19th May 2009
  #29
Gear Head
 
Jschulze's Avatar
 

I'm also a guitarist who learned to tune drums...even got a job as a drum tech for a few years. I can barely play the things, but I can get them sounding pretty nice.

Anyway, I was at the Chicago Drum Show this weekend and heard the single ply Joyful Noise kit and it was outstanding. Don't know the cost or availability (I'm assuming it's quite expensive), but it was amazing sounding. It was a rather large kit...14x26, 16x18, 16x16, 10x14 if I recall correctly. Also, everything that Unix Drums had was also quite stunning.

I also heard some 13" UFIP hi hats that I kinda fell in love with. They were very crisp, but still really smooth sounding.

While I agree that quality drums are pointless if you can't tune and that cheaper kits can sound nice when tuned properly, there's really no comparison to a high quality kit tuned well. It's the same argument that goes on every day on this board, sure Bob Clearmountain could make a good sounding record with only an Mbox and a 57 and I could make a lousy record at Blackbird, but if you stuck Bob Clearmountain at Blackbird, then something special happens.
#30
19th May 2009
Old 19th May 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Don't know the cost or availability (I'm assuming it's quite expensive), but it was amazing sounding.
Well, their snares start at around $1k.. so I'm guessing you're right. Nice drums, though.
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