thread: Drum talk...
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Old 22nd March 2007
Drum talk...


since everyone's been asking me about how i record drums, i decided it would be best to start a thread on it. some of this might look familiar to some of the gearslutz regulars. some of this is compiled from my previous posts and i've just expanded on it.

for bass drums i like using a fet47 with either an re20, d12, u87 or 421. and normally both mics are outside the shell.
for snares I usually go for an SM57 and an AKG 451. I would alternate them from top to bottom depending on the snare. sometimes i'll choose a km86 to replace the 451. check your phase!
421's are still my favorite mics for toms, but i have used km84's and u87's which have good results.
hi hat's i go for a km84, km54, or mv692.

You should always check your phase when using multiple mics on an instrument and 60% to 75% of the time they will be out of phase from each other. It's good practice to check phase between different combinations of mics. eg: overheads with the kick or room with the overheads etc.
Sometimes it will already sound full and you flip the phase on something and suddenly it's even better.

a large part of the overall sound comes from the overhead and other mics that i put around the kit that captures the sound as a whole. So i would maybe put an old ribbon in front, a U47 overhead and maybe another ribbon or condesor behind the kit. And all this i'll combine together (in the mix) with some nice compression to create the overall sound. Ribbons i like are the rca 44bx, 77dx, stc 4033, coles 4038.

i do like the minimal approach as well. so sometimes what you hear in the final mix might be 3 maybe even just 2 mics blended with compression and eq. EXPERIMENT

i tracked 90% of the drums (as well as the rest of the band) on a Focusrite console which was custom built for Electric Lady Studios. And i also had some Neve 1081's i ran through as well. There were only 3 or 4 of those consoles ever built. It had amazing sounding EQ's and pre's (slightly more open than the rack mount isa110'a and 115's).
I didn't EQ anything to tape, just mic placement and the pre's which is my normal practice. It's worth the investment to buy some high quality pre's.
And of course, all of it was tracked and mixed off of 2" analog tape using Studer A800's running 30 ips.

Then there's the tuning. we had around 5 to 7 snares we would select from during the recordings. But ?uestlove would tighten up those snare pretty high and we'd just keep tweaking until we had what we wanted. and that snare sound is pretty original to ?uestlove because i've never heard that sound from anyone else before.
we had a huge DW 26", ludwig 28" and a yamaha 24". again we'd just tweak until we had what we wanted. varying how much padding on the outside, skin or no skin, etc. ahmir's foot is very dynamic and lots of control which adds to his sound. (lighter hits will deepen the sound)

-use your ears, literally. you should listen closely to your sound source. if you're in doubt, put your ear close to the sound source and move around the area until you hear the "sweet" spot. (obviously, BE CAREFUL)
-for close micing drums, alot of the sound is coming just off the edge of the rim.
more on voodoo in my next thread...

all the best

Last edited by Russell Elevado; 25th March 2007 at 01:42 PM.. Reason: model # error