Originally Posted by ruanddu
Thanks for the great info. I have a few brief questions, if you have the time.
How did you achieve such a fat snare sound 3eb's self titled album? Primarily on the songs Michael Urbano recorded. Which mics, tuning, snare heads, muffling, etc were used?
Lastly, how did you get the toms off of the QOTSA album to sound so dry and punchy? Was it the overheads you were talking about primarily? Or, more the close up mics? Do you know what type of heads, tuning, muffling Dave used to get his drum sound on that album. Sounded fantastic.
Michael Urbano played on 4 songs on the record:
Losing A Whole Year
Motorcycle Drive By
How's It Gonna Be
All 4 of these songs had somewhat peculiar circumstances around them. The only thing consistent thing about them is that Michael played on all of them and that is probably most of what you are hearing. Michael plays a unique style: (Left hand on hat right hand on snare). It makes a lot of sense, the 2 hands aren't getting in the way of each other and it makes it a lot easier to have the hits be very consistent.
Losing A Whole Year we ended up using the demo version of the song. There was an "album" version of the song recorded at Skywalker Ranch that didn't end up having the same urgency and excitement as the demo version. The demo recordings were done very quickly at my studio (HOS), 4 songs in a weekend kind of thing. Micing was very simple, most likely 421 on kick, 57 on snr, 421's on toms and C12A's on OH. I remember there were no room mics recorded on that stuff. Tom Lord Algae mixed Losing A Whole year and did a pretty good job of manufacturing a room sound on the drums.
Narcolepsy originally was played by Brad and Stephan. Brad played the intro part and Stephan played rest of the song. Ultimately we decided that stephan's drum track wasn't working. We had Michael come to replay everything but the intro. That was also recorded at HOS but with a more complete mic'ing setup. The album tracking was typically a 47fet blended with either a 421 or an ATM25 for kick, a 57 for snr top and a U64 for the bottom snr. A rented pair of C12s for over heads. C12As for toms. a coles 4038 about 3 feet in front of the kit for a mono overall drum kit sound. a pair of U87s for room mics. The drum kit was my Sonor kit.
Motorcycle Drive By was done at HOS with a similar setup. In this case Michael came in to play the song and did an initial pass so I could see how the setup was sounding with michael playing. All the levels were definitely too hot but Michael's first time playing the song was exciting sounding that we decided to keep it. Just to be sure this fact doesn't slip by. The drum track on Motorcycle Drive By was recorded in one take 1st try, no punching or editing. Urbano (or Urbonham as I like to call him) is the real F'n deal.
How's It Gonna Be was also a demo version of the song that I didn't record the basics of. I only recorded bass, guitar, percussion and autoharp overdubs on it. I don't know what was used on that. I did use a kick sample on that tune to get it to sound a bit more like the rest of the record.
As far as heads, tuning, damping etc. I like to use coated heads. top head will be either coated ambassador, coated emperor, or ocassionally a coated power stroke 3 ( I am currently really enjoying the Emperor X heads). The tuning is dependent on a lot of things. I always try to tune the drums to the key of the song. I will use the snare that seems to be "speaking" the best when tuned to a complimentary note to the key of the song. There is one trick I like to use for muffling on a snare drum. I tape a small piece of leather to the rim of the drum. When the drum is hit it will bounce up and let the drum sound completely open for a brief moment and then dampen the sustained ring when it falls back down and rests on the head. It gives a slight gated effect that can be cool and I like the fact that it doesn't kill the sound of the drum when its hit, just shortens excessive ringing.
The Tom sound on QOTSA Songs For The Deaf record is unique because there are no actual close mics on them. That mic'ing setup was an LCR over head setup described earlier in this thread and I think is probably responsible for the quality your hearing. I definitely prefer the sound of drums when they are mic'd further away. on the AAR song Gives You Hell there is a big tom fill that brings in the chorus and I specifically had the drummer not play that part with the main drum pass so we could overdub those toms and mic them from more of a distance. the airspace seems to make the low end more explosive and punchier.