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Recording YAMAHA drums. Head suggestions? mic/pre combinations ?
Old 15th January 2003
Gear Maniac

Recording YAMAHA drums. Head suggestions? mic/pre combinations ?

Hi all,

I close to record my next client which is a band from Texas USA (my studio is located near Paris, France).

We plan to rent a "YAMAHA Recording" drums for this reccord.
I'm in interest to know your suggestions about the head I should use.

So far,

here's the gear we have for this gig :

- 1x Beyer M88
- 5x SM57
- 2x vintage U 87's
- 2x AKG C414 BULS
- 1x BPM CR 73
- 1x Rohdes NTV

Pres :
- Focusrite Red 1 (4ch)
- Avalon 737sp (1ch)
- Amek 9098 EQ (1ch)
- 2 Channels of 1272 clone (just order them, don't know if they'll arrived for the begining of the sessions)
- 2x ART tube pre (the cheap one around 150-200 €/$)

Recording straight to Digital @48Khz
The room is tiny (4*4meters) and dead.
The band use drums, Ac GTR, bass, synth or piano and 5 vocals (gospel)

So, about the heads ? Evans, Remo ??? You suggestions and experiences about mic/pre combinations welcome

Old 15th January 2003
I agree with everything LiquidStrat says.
Just to add a couple of things:
In the UK I always specify a 'recording' rental kit. You don't want something that gets rented out for live gigs 5 days a week. Here if you specify 'recording' it usually turns up with appropriate, new heads and the drum kit quality is usually pretty good as well (no rattles etc).
As said before, drum head choice depends on the drummers style and the style of drumming required for the record. Also the sound you want to achieve in a small room.
The room is going to be crucial.
It's going to be very hard to record 'excited' rock drums in siuch a small space, i.e. with lots of options for ambience.
Old 15th January 2003
Gear Maniac

Dears Friends,

Thanks for your responses.

The band play gospel. (though they are 5 singers only)
The room is small but the acoustic traitments have been carefully done by a german compagny (both passive and active absorbers, diffusers...)

I already have achieve good records in this room.
For the ambiance I often use convolution reverb with altiverb.
It work way greater than my TC 6000 for obtaining natural space.

Drums tuning/head choice are the point where I'm less informed.
I have no expert on this subject over here ( not IN paris) but hopefully there is the GEARSLUTZ FORUM heh
I hope the drummer too know how to make it sound great.

Need your help for chosing heads before the band arrives. I'll try to see with their drummer if he has any preferences but any other opinions is greatly apreciated.

So far :

1. Remo ambassador and good tuning is an option ?

2. ?

3. ?


Old 15th January 2003

Gospel is a genre of music that drier drums can work in (in my limited experience) so your on to a winner there.
I think number one priority is to see what the groups drummer prefers.
I hesitate to offer any further advice because it's all down to personal taste and I've been mauled on audio forums before for expressing my own views.
To generalise, the two big name drumhead lines are Remo and Evans.
Generally speaking there are two main Remo choices:
Ambassador and Pinstripe.
The Evans heads I prefer are G2 on toms and HD on snare. Evans also have some nice sounding bass drum combo's.
These combinations all sound very different. So I'd advise you to poll both the drummer and the hire company. If they both mention a preference for one type of head then that's a good starting point for you.
Old 15th January 2003
Gear Maniac

Thank you chrisso

It's the first time I'm really in interest with what is on the drums.
Until now, I was only aware of the name of the manufacturers, but have no experience with the different references.

The Evans heads I prefer are G2 on toms and HD on snare. Evans also have some nice sounding bass drum combo's.
It's nice too to receive a subjective point of view
I will give a look to the G2 and HD.
What are the reference of this "nice sounding bass drum combo's" ?

Anyone else?

Old 15th January 2003
Gear Maniac
RSMITH123's Avatar

I'm not the drummer in our group but he works for ME. We recently went through some head issues looking for tone on our DW Custom set. What we agreed on was Aquarian Heads on the toms.

Old 15th January 2003
Lives for gear
Steve Smith's Avatar

Did you ask Jon onthe high end forum? perhaps he knows someone in your aera, or recommend a rental house?
Old 16th January 2003
Lives for gear
groundcontrol's Avatar

Also, ask the guys renting you the kit if they have other choices like Ludwig or Gretsch. For recording I usually prefer vintage drumkits from these two brands. Yamaha are ok but a bit on the dry/boring side to me. In the newer brands department, I've had better sucess with DW and Ayotte drums.
Of course, it depends on the drummer so much. Good luck!
Old 16th January 2003
Gear Maniac


Us rental compagny is a small store that we chose because they are just located near us. They only have this kit avalaible.
I think that the Yamie will do the trick for this kind of stuff so, I've not looked for other compagny so far.

I remember some very nice recording I've done with gretch though... and I like pearl master studio too.

Will post some MP3 once the record will be done.

Old 16th January 2003
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
I normally hate Evans heads with a blind passion... but for certain kinds off music they can be appropriate. Needless to say, I have less than zero idea what you're going for in a drum sound... but when you mention 5 singers doing a 'gospel' kind of thing, I'm thinking a "softer" kind of drum sound.

For a softer kind of sound, some of the Evans heads might be appropriate as they're a very soft, in my experience, very "non-aggressive" sounding product [which is why I generally hate them]... but who knows, they could be right for this project [or they could suck]

Best of luck.
Old 17th January 2003
Lives for gear

Originally posted by groundcontrol
Yamaha are ok but a bit on the dry/boring side to me.
I agree about the Yamaha Recording Custom kits (old staple studio drumkit sound) being too dry and generic (meaning - sounds very familiar, decent, but uninteresting). IMO the newer models of Yamaha kits are quite different beasts, however. The Maple Custom and Maple Custom Absolute are in the upper eschelons of great sounding (and pricey) drumkits, and they're far from boring. Not to mention they can be ordered or built to taste.

Felt I had to step in to defend my Yammies. I love 'em but I'm not crazy about the Recording Custom either.
Old 17th January 2003
Here for the gear
Nutmeg's Avatar

I think the set is ok, I have more problems with your room size because they can stop drums (especially toms) from breathing.
I would like clear, single ply heads for the great attack and tone, but you need to be good to handle the tuning.
I would not go with oil heads like Remo Pinstripe or Evans Hydraulic Blue, because they sound too dead with that set and room!
Clear, double ply heads would be my choise because they have a great attack and a controled tone but they still got some life in there!
Remo Powerstrokes (heavy single ply with muffling ring) are like singl ply heads but with more deffinition on the stick sound and slightly more controlled tone.
The Remo Powerstroke4 are similar to the regular Powerstrokes but they are double ply heads and for that more controlled versions of the Emporer heads.
Clear heads usually have more overtones and a stick sound like "Pep".
Coated heads have slightly less overtones and a stick sound like "Bab".

BTW if you are good at tuning you could make a Emporer head sound like nearly any of the heads I mentioned.
Old 17th January 2003
Lives for gear
studjo's Avatar
Hey who doesn't like my Yamaha Recording Custom?tut tut tut

I have to say that I love it for a recording set. Every bad drummer sounds better with it and the good ones have their own high end kit. It's easy to tune and quite versatile. It's true it sounds very familiar but it's one of the most recorded drum sets (I think).
For me it works like a charm.

Sorry, but I had to say itheh
Old 17th January 2003
Here for the gear
Nutmeg's Avatar


-knead the edge of a new head for two turns (until the glue dosn't krackle any more)

-only do half/quarter turns one a lug then tighten the oposit lug. Always tune crosswise.

-use a paper stripe to measure the distance from hoop to lug and make it equal on all lugs of one head. That is usualy a good starting point.

-if you need to tune the pitch down make a half turn down and than a quarter turn up, push your hand into the middle of the head three times and go one! (like on a guitar/bass only tune up to a pitch).

-put the drum on the ground for tuning.

-start with the resonant heads (the tighter they are the shorter the sustain).

-batter heads should be in tune with the resonant heads or lower.


One of the best infos you can get, The Drum Tunning Bible!
Old 17th January 2003
Gear Maniac

THANKS TO ALL for sharing your knowledge !

THANKS TO ALL for sharing your knowledge !

This forum is GREAT and you guys rocks !heh

your advices are clear, detailled and particulary appreciated.

Old 17th January 2003
I agree with your second post 100%. I totally disagree with your first post. I find double ply heads to be very hard to use and often quite lifeless sounding. In addition, the Pinstripe in a small room combination is an industry standard. It may be old fashioned, it's not even a sound that I personally like, but I wouldn't say it was bad.
I've used combinations of remos and evans for years and no one has ever made any complaints.
For the type of advice that Salvator needs I think you need to put personal taste to one side.
Somebody suggested Aquarian's. IMO it's fine to make counter recommendations. I think it can only cause problems for Salvator if people are saying something 'wont work'. Likewise Yamaha Recording kits. In reality they are FINE. You might think they are boring, DW might be a better choice, but you can't say you wont be able to make a nice sounding record with Yamaha Recording drums.
Old 17th January 2003
Here for the gear
Nutmeg's Avatar

I never would say that the recording custom is a bad set tut , it only sounds dry, the opposite of lifely. And in combination with a small, somewhat dry room it could (mayby not) sound so dry that you might get asthma.

In case of the heads, I have no problem with double ply heads. They are close to single ply head (which I like too) with less overtones and a little shorter sustain.
I play Tama Starclassic and Sonor Designer and in both cases they sound gread and some times I have to wait for my toms to dry for abaut 6 seconds! So no problem with single ply heads for me her.
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