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Drums question
Old 19th January 2012
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Drums question

I'd like to buy a drumset for drummers to come by and record with (I'm not a drummer), and I'm completely lost when it comes to drums.

I'd like advice on what I should be looking at for a good set of drums for recording. So, where is the sweet spot in terms of price, are drum sets geared either towards recording OR live use? What should I be looking for?

My focus is reggae, but I'll be recording other types of music as well - just nothing too heavy.

I like nice, tight sounding drums and record fairly dry as I don't have a large room (though it's well treated).

I realize that it's a pretty open ended question, but I'm just seeking some basic advice, such as if a smaller kick drum would be better than large for recording, if birch is better than other woods for recording, how expensive do I need to go to get something half decent that will record well (or does it matter)?

I'm considering a Mapex saturn Manhattan like this:
http://www.long-mcquade.com/products...herryburst.htm

or a Meridian like this:
http://www.long-mcquade.com/products...balt_Burst.htm

Is there really much difference (for recording) drums at these 2 price levels? I realize that skins probably have a lot to do with what I hear. Of course mic placement/etc, but I have that covered.

I can't really try out a bunch of kits, so I'm going to be buying blind. Any help would be appreciated!
Old 19th January 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 

The player has a LOT to do with it, but the drums are a huge part. I would be more worried about the quality of the snare than the quality of the toms.

I have a Tama Starclassic Bubinga kit that I love the sound of. I use a Gretsch Club Snare and Sabian xs20, AA, and AAX Cymbals. You cant go wrong with that and Remo Vintage Weatherking heads.
Old 19th January 2012
  #3
Here for the gear
 

That's tough... drums are so different and unique to their player, but as a drummer and novice engineer, here's my 2 cents...

If I were you, I would get a 5 piece maple kit, like DW or Mapex, and put remo heads on it. Ambassadors top and bottom, maybe coated on tops. Ambassador coated on snare and diplomat bottom. Aquarian superkick on kick drum. go light on cymbals and get Zildjians, maybe some K's and A's. Quick beat HH. Get a nice kick pedal, maybe DW, and a comfortable throne.

I think an average size kick is better for recording. You might want 4 toms to choose from... 10"-16". Maple records better than birch for me. Maple is warm, birch is snappy (more for live).

More expensive drums usually sound better, but a well tuned $500 kit will smoke a poorly tuned $4000 kit. Definitely go used for the price. Really research tuning, and do it well. The room will greatly affect the toms. Heads need to be replaced just like strings on a guitar. I would never record without a new set of heads all around ($150 or so). New sticks, too.

Good luck, have fun!
Old 19th January 2012
  #4
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cheu78's Avatar
I'll go for the Mapex Saturn.. It's a great set that doesn't cost a fortune and the sound is very good.. Mapex has some really great drums IMO.

Another choice is DW.. Probably more expensive.. More "american" sounding.. The Mapex is probably punchier cleaner somehow.. I dunno if this makes sense.. Trying to describe my experiences with those..

There are thousands of skin choices.. I'd go remo weatherking ambassador on snare, powerstroke3 on kick, and emperor on toms.. You could add some moongel on toms if you want some more dampening..

Check out some drums I tracked: ZonaSun Official Web Site
(it was an old DW kit from the 90ies, with a Pearl brass snare)

If you want an old school sound you need to buy an old drumkit, like an old ludwig..

Another GREAT chice for drums is LeSoprano drums, italian made.. They really sound stellar!! Their cheapest series the ProMaple and ProBirch could compare with Mapex Orion series and DW collectors... (their website is ****ty, but the drums are a true gem..too much under the radar).

Just my 0.02$,


Cheu
Old 19th January 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 

The Yamaha stage custom birch kit is amazing for the price. You would need to add a better snare. Just get a 14x5 ludwig brass or steel snare . You can record anything with those and they are on more records than anything else.

Any good maple or birch kit should be fine. The Yamaha tunes easily and sounds a lot like the Birch absolute series. I found the low end Pearl kits to be not be very good and problematic for tuning. The Pacific maple sounds great except the snare and it tunes easily. We put it beside a $3000 DW kit and it was hard to tell the difference in the toms and kick.

You might consider a double ply head on the floor tom to get lower tunings. I like Evans double ply on everything because they are more lively than Remo double ply.

The Evans EC2 heads can make almost any tom sound good. The emad kick batter head gives you a very deep sound and actually cuts some of the low mids acoustically. I like the remo powerstroke on the resonant side and remo ambassador coated on snare.

Peter
Old 19th January 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
the woods make a big difference as do the sizes tuning is very important also cymbals are important to
select the right sizes/types. For example I've been using 'fast' crashes lately and they sound killer they decay
without leaving a metallic overtone and when you compress the OH they seem to have less swoosh than larger /slower crashes. But it depends...... on slower songs they don't work as well so you need a variety. Hihat sizes matter too and thickness. It all depends on the genre and the sound your going for. It is tough to advise buying drum kit.

Personally I like Ludwig ikits but some of them suck too. Don't like DW
Old 19th January 2012
  #7
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cavern's Avatar
 

I've had 2 mapex kits in my last 30 years as a drummer,i've liked both of them.
IMO,its a safe bet and they come with good hardware.

My "studio" drum advice for what its worth:

Get hi-hats that aren't loud,just hit em and buy the quietest set.
Buy smaller thinner crashes 16's medium thin/18 lights.
Don't go bigger than 20" on a ride and buy the one with the best bell sound.If you need something bigger for the odd session,just rent one.
Get a pro to tune them and pay attention.Worth the money.
Keep your eye open for a few more different snares.
Toilet paper and green painter's tape are your friends.Use the right amount of sheets top and bottom(close to the rim) just to get to a point where there is a slight dying ms. overtone but no lingering wavering oscillation.
And get a cowbell,everyone likes those.heh...
Old 19th January 2012
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Waxavub's Avatar
 

I'm loving my Taye studio maple kit
Old 19th January 2012
  #9
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Beat Poet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pw2005 View Post
You might consider a double ply head on the floor tom to get lower tunings. I like Evans double ply on everything because they are more lively than Remo double ply.

The Evans EC2 heads can make almost any tom sound good. The emad kick batter head gives you a very deep sound and actually cuts some of the low mids acoustically.
I heartily agree there. I also recommend the Evans HD Dry for the snare top, it gives a nice, clean, snap and just the right amount of ring to make the snare sound musical. It works best on 5" deep snares and deeper. The Evans 500 reso is also good for the bottom of a deep snare.
Old 19th January 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I have six kits in my studio, a Tama Starclassic Bubinga, Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute, Ludwig Classic Maple, DW Classic, a Gretsch Renown and a vintage 1965 Pearl kit. The most recorded of them all is the Yamaha. For the toms I use Evans G1 coated for batters and G1 clear for the resonant heads on the Yamahas. Cymbals are Sabian Hand Hammered with a double ride.

Dennis
Old 19th January 2012
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I'll go for the Mapex Saturn.. It's a great set that doesn't cost a fortune and the sound is very good.. Mapex has some really great drums IMO.
Thanks. Do you think that the 18" kick will be a problem?
Old 19th January 2012
  #12
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mactac View Post
Thanks. Do you think that the 18" kick will be a problem?
Do you mean 18" diameter? For reggae it might be too small.. You might want a 22" diameter kick.. Or at least a 20".. At least IME.

But it depends what kinds of sounds you're after and what kind of reggae.. If it's a more acoustic stuff it might fit.. Even if I'd try something bigger anyway..

Sabian HH cymbals and a Zildjian hihat..

Of course this means nothing to a certain degree.. If the drummer is a great reggae drummer, will make (almost) every kit sound right.. heh

Just my 0.02$,

Bests,

Cheu
Old 19th January 2012
  #13
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
One of my bestest friends got an endorsement with "Pork Pie Drums" a while ago... best drummer I've ever recorded -- we've been through hell and back a few times... and that Pork Pie kit was the best I've ever heard in front of him. He was with Gretsch for years and had some VERY[!!!] nice kits along the way... but this kit sounds more like a serious "vintage" Gretsch kit than anything Gretsch has made in years.

I would highly suggest you look into one as a "house kit"... there is really nothing it won't do great... from Jazz stuff to Rock and Roll stuff to hard ass kicking Metal stuff... I've really never been as impressed with the sound of kit as I've been with these.

I hope this is of some assistance.

Peace
Old 19th January 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
mhs2xs's Avatar
 

Gretsch Renown Maple or Catalina Birch/Maple

As a drummer for 36 years now, I've been through a few kits. I own these two now (Renown Maple & Catalina Birch) and I can say they are the best sounding kits I've ever owned. Shell pack for a Catalina can be picked up for around $700 I think. Less if you catch a good sale. Used they seem to run around 5.

Otherwise, the PDP Maple kits are great too. I recorded the drums to this with them as they were already rented out to the studio.
Attached Files

EXCUSES-mix 3.mp3 (3.37 MB, 493 views)

Old 19th January 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
jmikeperkins's Avatar
Obviously, this is very subjective and you can get good drum sounds with lots of different kits, both new and vintage. Like you, I am not much of a drummer, but I wanted a kit in place in the studio for others to play. I looked at a lot of different options, but my favorites always seemed to be vintage Ludwig or Rogers kits with 22 or 24 inch bass drums. I ended up buying a vintage Ludwig set from the 60's with one wing tom, sort of Ringo style. If you can, to cover your bases, I would advise you to get 2 snares, one in metal and one in wood. Drummers may still want to use their own snare, but that is easy to change out. Whatever kit you buy, my advice is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. You don't need giant kits with racks of toms and multiple kick drums for your studio set up because you don't need the extra volume and a complicated kit can sometimes cause a drummer to play complicated parts when a simple one would be better for the song. When you start to record drummers in bands you soon learn to appreciate Ringo's approach because it leaves room in the song for other instruments.
Old 19th January 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

shorter shells will tighten up...the release is shorter
clean heads give you more snap than coated ones, maybe this tightens up too
birch is kind of scooped compared to maple, bubinga is got more 200-300Hz
tuning will tighten up (reso up/down compared to beater)
one pad tightens up...2 loose the tone imo
mass inside the BD tightens up

there are many good kits out there
check the rims, if they aren´t ok you can´t tune it

peace
Old 20th January 2012
  #17
Deleted User
Guest
go for a used Yamaha recording custom, standard sizes - so no one can blame you for his poor drumsound. A good drummer can shine on nearly every low quality shell set if its tuned right and has quality skins. Snares and cymbals are much more difficult to choose, but most drummer bring some of their own (at least a snare) instrument.
In a studio it might help to have some standard equipment (you can alway say: ¨a million superhits where recorded with this instrument¨).
besides that: the recording custom is indeed a great drumset and easy to mic up. If you love reggae, get a timbale as well, or a cheap steel snaredrum, remove the underside skin, take a thin skin and tune it up really high.
Old 20th January 2012
  #18
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
One of my bestest friends got an endorsement with "Pork Pie Drums" a while ago... best drummer I've ever recorded -- we've been through hell and back a few times... and that Pork Pie kit was the best I've ever heard in front of him. He was with Gretsch for years and had some VERY[!!!] nice kits along the way... but this kit sounds more like a serious "vintage" Gretsch kit than anything Gretsch has made in years.Peace
+1 Great, great stuff!
Old 20th January 2012
  #19
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Silent Sound's Avatar
I've got an old friend who just picked up a Pork Pie Little Squealer snare on MF for $90. He loves it! I've played with it too, and it's a really nice snare for the money. Actually, it's just a really nice snare. Haven't gotten the chance to record with it yet, but I'm sure it'll sound fine. So I'd definitely recommend checking out Pork Pie.

I personally have a 70's Ludwig chrome-wrapped maple kit, and am totally satisfied with it. Every drummer that's sat down with it has raved about how great it sounds. For recording purposes, it's a pretty easy kit to get to sound good. It's hard to beat the sound and versatility of a maple kit!
Old 24th February 2012
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

HI Everyone, thanks a lot for your advice/ideas.

I ended up buying a mapex meridian maple kit. I ended up buying higher end cymbals, HHX groove hats, AAX fast crash and AAX spalsh.

This kit sounds great, and I've gotten a pretty wide variety of tones from the drums with tuning/mic techniques.

One of the problems that I'm having is that the hats have a high pitched ringing overtone to them. If I hold my hand on the bell, it goes away. I've heard other hats do this, but to my ears it's an unpleasant sound.

Any ideas on this & how to get rid of it? I'll probably start a different thread, but thought I'd ask here too.

thanks!
Old 24th February 2012
  #21
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kasmira's Avatar
 

Just a quick tip, sometimes tightening the top hat clamp thing too much can make the cymbal resonate when its struck. I doubt this is your problem, but loosening it up a bit might help. I used to have REALLY cheap hihats when I was like 14, and that was the only way I could bear to listen to them.

Shame that the AAX have a tone that doesn't sound pleasing to you..you could always return em and grab something else. You could also try a variety of dampening techniques but personally I would rather not record dampened cymbals.

Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Gearslutz App
Old 24th February 2012
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kasmira View Post
Just a quick tip, sometimes tightening the top hat clamp thing too much can make the cymbal resonate when its struck. I doubt this is your problem, but loosening it up a bit might help. I used to have REALLY cheap hihats when I was like 14, and that was the only way I could bear to listen to them.
Thanks for this. The funny thing is, the more I tighten the clamp, the less it rings, so I'm seeing the opposite effect. I'll try loosening it right off to see if that helps.

Quote:
Shame that the AAX have a tone that doesn't sound pleasing to you..you could always return em and grab something else. You could also try a variety of dampening techniques but personally I would rather not record dampened cymbals.
So, I absolutely LOVE the sound of these hihats. They are actually nice & quiet (which I like for recording), and are the exact sound that I've been going for.... it's just that one little ring that's driving me crazy.

So, I ended up starting another thread, so to avoid duplication, here it is:
ringing overtone on hihats

thanks!
Old 24th February 2012
  #23
Gear Head
 
Psythe's Avatar
 

Drummer for 15 years here, I use DW Drums but any of the kits suggested here should do for a standard rock drummer. If you're doing jazz or something less bombastic then its a completely different set up.

I agree with the people that say go used, it's really much more cost effective, especially for a studio where you don't need special custom sizes or anything.

Good selection of depths of snare is key, deeper snare for classic rock, shallow for lighter stuff like funk. Diameter of the drum will affect your sound too, I have a Dunnett Titanium 13x6.5 which has a great 'pop' for recording. But as others say, if they are a serious drummer they will bring their own snare for the job.

Cymbals make a big difference to the perceived quality of a drum recording, particularly in the sound of the OH mics, if you have some cheap cymbals they can give a harsh, gongy sound to the overall kit image which can clash with the freq range of the snare (EQ needed, loss of impact overall). Get some thin cymbals for more shimmer.

A good kit should sound great in the room and OH mics, much better than basing the recording off close mics so when tuning, listen to the room sound as a priority. Plus a bit of ring in a snare is a good thing in moderation, don't smother it with tape (unless its really awful sounding!)
Old 24th February 2012
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
One of my bestest friends got an endorsement with "Pork Pie Drums" a while ago... best drummer I've ever recorded -- we've been through hell and back a few times... and that Pork Pie kit was the best I've ever heard in front of him. He was with Gretsch for years and had some VERY[!!!] nice kits along the way... but this kit sounds more like a serious "vintage" Gretsch kit than anything Gretsch has made in years.

I would highly suggest you look into one as a "house kit"... there is really nothing it won't do great... from Jazz stuff to Rock and Roll stuff to hard ass kicking Metal stuff... I've really never been as impressed with the sound of kit as I've been with these.

I hope this is of some assistance.

Peace
Love my Pork Pie little squealer. Had a client bring a Big Bob snare from them (they're cheaper Black Beauty imitation) and it too was a great sound.

I love my Ayottes. Company went out last year which is a shame but they're excellent sounding kits. All these are good bets though, what you need a lot of are snares or if you're obsessive like I am ride cymbals. Each drummer has their own idea of what the ride does. Some stick, crash, or use the bell exclusively so I have seven different ones.
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