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Thinking outside the box, biggest most bad-ass drum sound. Condenser Microphones
Old 30th August 2008
Gear Maniac

Thinking outside the box, biggest most bad-ass drum sound.

Inspired by many Aerosmith records, specifically 'Get A Grip', I got a job to produce a record for a Toronto band that had alot of old school influence from GnR and Aerosmith and Def Leppard, so I wanted to try and capture as close to that as I could. My concept was to rent out a bizarre room that was massive, similar to the idea of
a factory that Aerosmith used, or Metallica on the Black Album, and turn it into a on location studio.

I wanted to think really outside the box on this one and I found the perfect place, literally a 30 second drive from my studio is a large building and inside is a MASSIVE skateboard park, filled with wooden ramps that (with enough guys) are move-able. The room measures 16000 square feet, with ceilings at 35 feet. It is all concrete and is a perfect rectangle. We started by moving all the ramps off to the sides of the park and positioning one very large 'table top' ramp that was about 4 1/2 feet high made out of wood, a very solid and dense construction centered in the room width-wise, but closer to the back length-wise, facing the kick drum down the length of the room. The riser added a massive amount of bottom end to the kick drum that sounded incredible. First hitting the snare and kick drum made my mouth water. Every hit was like a shotgun blast and the tail of the reverb was so smooth and long and perfect. Not a single diffraction or bad reflection. I really feel all the wooden ramps in the room acting as diffusers made a huge difference to how the room sounded.

We miced up the kit close, then added a set of room mics about 20 feet back and another 40 feet back, allowing my to control the length of the reverb decay in the room by adjusting the room mics to taste. When just the direct mics and overheads are soloed, you attain a very controlled and very tasteful tight sounding kit, with just enough reflection to glue the overheads together with the kit. But when you bring up the room mics, wow. Imagine Aerosmith 'Get a Grip' drums times 10. HUGE.

I found that because of the size of the room, there was barely any phasing issues to correct, when you hit a drum it went for days and never really reflected back into the microphones, so to mic the kit was actually quite simple. Some of the gear was rented and delivered on location, and all in all to get a great drum sound we maybe spent 1000 bucks of the budget. And that makes EVERYONE happy.

The room had a few other perks. Being that it sounded sooooo good to play drums in the room, the drummer was always ecstatic to go in and do some more takes, and the energy level on the takes was very consistent. I talked with him about it and he said that if it wasnt for the energy and inspiration that the sound of the room gave, that it wouldnt be near the same. Second, being its a skateboard park, we all decided to get our hands on some boards and learn to skate again! Crusing around the park and having it all to ourselves for a few days was a great way to kill time and relax inbetween songs. The park had a seperate room to create a control room, we used the womens bathroom to mic up the bass stacks and have him accompany the drummer, and we had a full kitchen and office.

Being as we are still tracking vocals, I still need to mix this record. Once its done ill be sure to upload some samples. In the mean time here are some pics.

I hope this is inspiring for some people to get out of their apartment studios for recording drums and find a better place! All in all the best part was the fact that it was a change from the normal. Being in a totally different place with a cool vibe really kept spirits high during tracking and was all in all alot of fun. PLus being its my home town, inviting a few girls by to get the guys excited is a great way to get a good performance out of them! haha

(I'm in the middle)

Here are some samples of the drums. Things to note, these are unmixed, faders up, minus a noise gate on kick and snare drum to tighten them up. These drums are edited, but no samples were used. There was small amounts of compression added to the kick drum and snare on the way in. Minimal eq added on the way in, mostly some pre-fader 75hz high pass filters used on some of the mics on the way in. I cant wait to mix these, but I think these samples will give you an idea of what potential they have. In the mix they sound big, controlled, wide, snappy, and full of attitude.

Budget and equipment was limited for this project, we basically worked with what we had and what was transportable.

Kick - AKG D112
Snare Top - SM57
Snare Bottom - SM57
Hi Hat - Avlex CI33
Roto Toms - Shure PG56 x3
Rack Tom 1 - SM57
Rack Tom 2 - MD409
Floor Tom - Shure PG52
Overheads - Peluso CEMC-6 x2
Room mics - MXL V6 x2

Drum kit is a early-mid 80's Rogers kit with a Chad Smith signature pearl snare.

All channels went to a mackie ONYX1640, to Nuendo 3 at 24 bit, 44.1k


Last edited by adoucette; 2nd September 2008 at 02:21 AM.. Reason: samples added
Old 30th August 2008
Gear Nut


Post some sounds man!!!! I'm very interested in hearing this.

Old 30th August 2008
Gear Maniac
Kore's Avatar


Fantastic, cant wait to hear this. Any details on mics / Pres etc.
Old 30th August 2008
Lives for gear

Very cool! Yes, definitely get the guys to let you post some clips, I'm sure there's plenty of people who'd like to hear them - myself included.
Old 30th August 2008
Lives for gear
BLueROom's Avatar

great idea, man!

Post them sounds!thumbsup
Old 30th August 2008
Lives for gear
Robert Randolph's Avatar

More like 'Thinking inside a different box'.

fun stuff!
Old 30th August 2008
Gear Addict
AndyZippy's Avatar

I've been wanting to try something like this for ages, and have a project coming up in december that i could get away with doing it on.. Please please give us soem info on mics, pre's and post some audio!!
Old 31st August 2008
Lives for gear
allencollins's Avatar

Isn't 'get a grip' all samples?
Old 31st August 2008
Gear Nut
8tracks's Avatar

OMG I have to hear this
Old 31st August 2008
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
Isn't 'get a grip' all samples?
EHH?? I dont think so..... and I dont think Joey Kramer would have anything to do with samples..

Did they even sample in that time?

Ill see what I can do about posting some audio samples, of course they would just be the recorded board mixes, no eqing or compression, but thats probably better anyways

Please be patient, couple days ill try to get some samples up so you can get the idea, but because the album isnt released I can only do a little! haha.. you'll have to be patient for the finished product.

I can also provide a mic/pre listing when I upload.
Old 31st August 2008
Lives for gear

It's nothing to do with Joey Kramer but he cant be too against the concept anyway since he did his own commercial sample set.

Old 1st September 2008
Lives for gear
rockstar_josh's Avatar

Nice idea... monster drum risers and great skate park vibe all in one.
Old 1st September 2008
Lives for gear
Vum's Avatar

do they have a myspace page?
Old 1st September 2008
Lives for gear
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Sounds like fun!!

I played a solo guitar gig on top of a skate ramp in North Italy a couple years ago.
Old 1st September 2008
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by Vum View Post
do they have a myspace page?
none of the tracks are posted yet because I havent mixed yet. Ill provide all the myspace and and info when the mixes are out
Old 2nd September 2008
Gear Maniac

uploaded some pics, mics, pres, samples, etc
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