I love the James Taylor track from "Hourglass" and I have been collecting some information regarding it over the years. The drums are basically what I always want in a drum sound. The hi-hat sound is simply the standard by which I compare all others.
Please correct the following information:
Drums were recorded using the mic pres from the Yamaha 02R.
Paiste claimed to supply the late great Carlos Vega with his Hihats, which were Paiste Signature Heavy Hi-Hat 13". The signature mellow line crashes and traditional ride were used with Yamaha drums. I have no idea what snare, other than the "kit" snare he might have used.
I have recorded the same crashes, and they are terrific. I could not get the hihat in your ballpark.
Let me know if you did indeed use the pre's from that board. What were the mics used, especially the Hihat and overheads. What was the "on location" room like? How much work went into the mix at perfecting the drum sound. Out board EQ's or did you use the "in the box" stuff (Neve digital, right?).
If you indeed used the 02R pres, then what they say...it's not the gear, it's the ears...is indeed true. I guess that's blasphemy here in gearslutz.
I'll end this by mentioning the fantastic the groove provided by Carlos. How unfortunate for us all there will be no others. I imagine this and even handed technique made your job easier. I have listened to this track hundreds of times, and look forward to hundreds more, a fabulous outing for a producer and engineer...
Thanks for your kind words. Yes, all the tracks were recorded on an O2R with O2R pre's. I didn't bring any additional gear other than some mics and 3 DA88's. Everything was recorded at 44.1k, 16bit. We rented a cottage on Martha's Vineyard and set the band up so they could all see each other. Carlos was in the living room which opened up to a foyer where I set up the console. Jimmy Johnson and Cliff Carter were in the foyer as well. To make the drums manageable we walled off the living room with 1/4" plexiglass in front of the kit, and Sonex foam on the right side wall.
I used 2 schoeps CMC5 mics with the omni/cardioid capsules and 10db pads for the overheads. The high hat was a KM84, again with a 10db pad.
Other than a touch of eq there was no other processing on the drums in the mix that I can remember. I just remember we were all surprised by how good it sounded and just counted our blessings. You can't overestimate how important the drummer is to sound of the drums.
Carlos was not only a true master of his instrument, but one of the greatest human beings you could ever meet. Working with him was a true joy, and my memories of those days are priceless. He is greatly missed.
I've been using 'Line 'Em Up' as a critical listening standard for the courses I teach for several years, in fact, it's now the first track they hear each semester. (Grammy winning, I might add). I listen to it often before mixing in the studio as well.
I've always wondered what vocal mic was used on that track. Snare mic would be interesting too. I, unlike "tuchel", know nothing about the actual recording of it.
The fact that it was recorded entirely on the 02R makes it especially amazing. Though I saw reference to that on the CD, I always assumed there was a few hundred thousand dollars of analog gear hooked up to it...
That track, and in particular that hi-hat part, is a prime example of Carlos' genius. Part of what draws your attention to the hat is the clave pattern he has hidden in it. An extremely subtle thing you don't hear unless you're listening for it, but the effect is huge.
I think a Neumann U67 or M269 has been the mic of choice for James for most of his latest records. It would be interesting if it was different on this recording.
Must be using the 02R pre as well, wow...