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Recording small drum kits Reverb & Delay Plugins
Old 6th August 2014
  #1
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macle's Avatar
 

Recording small drum kits

Hi,

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts or experience with recording or playing those smaller drum kits like the Ludwig Club Date kits, or Gretsch, or any of the other brands.

I'm leaning toward the Ludwig Cavern Club 3 piece shell pack just because I'm Beatle fan , but if another kit is better and even cheaper, I suppose that would make more sense.

The bass drums are usually a bit smaller (the Cavern is 20 x 14), although I think one of the Ludwigs has a 22". I've also read the the element SE kits are good, and those are a little cheaper.

I like the drum sounds of the 70s and 60s.

Thanks for any help!
Old 6th August 2014
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macle View Post
Hi,

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts or experience with recording or playing those smaller drum kits like the Ludwig Club Date kits, or Gretsch, or any of the other brands.

I'm leaning toward the Ludwig Cavern Club 3 piece shell pack just because I'm Beatle fan , but if another kit is better and even cheaper, I suppose that would make more sense.

The bass drums are usually a bit smaller (the Cavern is 20 x 14), although I think one of the Ludwigs has a 22". I've also read the the element SE kits are good, and those are a little cheaper.

I like the drum sounds of the 70s and 60s.

Thanks for any help!
20-22 are fine, so much more depends on the on the room and the player and how you mic it up.
Old 6th August 2014
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
20-22 are fine, so much more depends on the on the room and the player and how you mic it up.
Well the player is crap (me), and the room is tiny and dead, and the mics aren't great, and the engineer stinks (me again).

But I still feel with all that, that the kit might make a difference! There must be some difference in sound between a big kit that's thousands and a tiny kit that's hundreds, regardless of those other factors.

A smaller kit would give me more room. What about the even smaller kicks, 18" or less. Still the same?

Do you or anyone know of any recordings done on small kits that I could listen to?
Old 6th August 2014
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macle View Post
Well the player is crap (me), and the room is tiny and dead, and the mics aren't great, and the engineer stinks (me again).

But I still feel with all that, that the kit might make a difference! There must be some difference in sound between a big kit that's thousands and a tiny kit that's hundreds, regardless of those other factors.

A smaller kit would give me more room. What about the even smaller kicks, 18" or less. Still the same?

Do you or anyone have know of any recordings done on small kits that I could listen to?
tiny and dead room is not a bad thing necessarily, you can always add reverb later

here is a recording I did in a completely dead room and added impulse responses later to make it sound bigger and more open, this is more an 80s drum sound but it doesn't sound bad considering the room was a square room in a basement. It was a jazz kit too. 20in kick I believe. The drummer was really good but I still had to quantize a few parts and we overdubbed a ride cymbal.... so even if you are not a great drummer, with editing you can really do a lot of fixing. I wouldn't worry about it.

I gated all the drums and then added a separate room reverb to each track, then I added a larger room setting on the buss to have everything blend in better. I also ran it though a limiter to smash it a little bit.
Attached Files

smallkit.mp3 (2.40 MB, 1072 views)

Old 7th August 2014
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule View Post
tiny and dead room is not a bad thing necessarily, you can always add reverb later

here is a recording I did in a completely dead room and added impulse responses later to make it sound bigger and more open, this is more an 80s drum sound but it doesn't sound bad considering the room was a square room in a basement. It was a jazz kit too. 20in kick I believe. The drummer was really good but I still had to quantize a few parts and we overdubbed a ride cymbal.... so even if you are not a great drummer, with editing you can really do a lot of fixing. I wouldn't worry about it.

I gated all the drums and then added a separate room reverb to each track, then I added a larger room setting on the buss to have everything blend in better. I also ran it though a limiter to smash it a little bit.
Thanks for posting that. Sounds good!
Old 8th August 2014
  #6
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Yes, sounds pretty good, reminds me of my neighbor's kit ($100.00 3 piece catalog special) in his parents' basement. We had extra snare because the sound would rattle all the cans of parts on the shelves. I remember reading about a jazz drummer who had a special small kit made that would fit in his MG.
Old 8th August 2014
  #7
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Smaller doesn't necessarily translate to cheaper. Cheaper translates to cheaper. Some of the new entry level kits can still be pretty good though. Also look for a used kit from the 60's or 70's. The nice ones might be pricey, but you can find some that are fully functional that might have cosmetic issues or unoriginal parts that should bring the price way down. The newer kits are not constructed the same as the old kits and that's part of the sound (although the drummer is the biggest part.)

As for the size of the kick, 20 is big enough. I'd avoid an 18 if you want to get a bunch of low end without leaving wrinkles in the head. I've got kicks in all sizes from 18 to 28. Lately, I've done a bunch of recording with a 20 Rogers Holiday (60's) that I got cheap off craiglist. It's missing the outer hoop and has a Powerstroke on the batter, which I usually hate, especially for playing live. But I love recording with this drum (for some stuff... a lot of stuff, but not everything.) I also put a packing blanket in it. Thump. It's no jazz drum and it's no John Bonham drum.

My room is big enough (25x40ish) with a low-ish nine foot ceiling, but it sounds like ass. To compensate, I gobo everything off and have everything dead. Not having a room sound is better than having a bad room sound. My drum area is barely bigger than the kit. You can hear the drum here: https://soundcloud.com/brother-co/th.../sacred-object
Old 8th August 2014
  #8
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I have a Manu Katche Jr. Kit (16", 10" 14" w/ 12" snare) that I record with sometimes. Most of the time I use a Glyn Johns setup. 10' ceiling live room.

Find you need to use heads with a little mass to them to get the thump while still keeping some tension. Evans EC2s seem to work.
Old 8th August 2014
  #9
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Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 

The drummer, the micing, and the tuning are far more important than other aspects.

20"-24" are classic bass drum sizes, you can't go wrong with them.

Smaller bass drums can still sound good but don't sound as natural to my ears because you have to tune them very loose to get in the same freq range as a 22".

One thing I will add is "60s-70s drum sounds" is pretty vague, as there were many different drum sounds over that 20 year period. That said, drums were typically about the same sizes - 20-24" kick, 12"-13" rack tom, 16" floor tom. There certainly were many exceptions, but if you are looking for a inexpensive drum kit with sizes that are representative of vintage kits, look for sizes in that range. If you buy a kit with an 18" kick, it's just not the same thing if you want that vintage sound.

After you get a kit with the right sizes, then you use head choice and tuning to find the "60s-70s drum sound" that you want.
Old 8th August 2014
  #10
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jwh1192's Avatar
a hodge lodge kit … 22" kick, 12" snare, 12" tom, 16" floor tom … one 14" crash cymbal … i am a ****ty drummer too … D112 in the kick, Beta 57 snare, Coles 4038 overhead … small little kits are cool IMHO ..
Attached Files

Horoscope2014_drumsonly.mp3 (985.6 KB, 896 views)

Old 8th August 2014
  #11
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spambot_2's Avatar
I concur, small kits are cool indeed.

I've played on different small kits now that I think of it.
A yamaha gigmaker is the first that comes to my mind and my biggest concern was that the (18") bass drum wasn't able to get me that boomy low end I like.
If you don't care much for that, you'll have no problem I'd say.

Then I played on a small tama, I think the sizes were the same as the gigmaker, and again the bass drum was my main concern - the gigmaker had a clear beater head while the tama had a coated one, and while that got me a lower fundamental, it was pretty muffled.

Than I played on a custom made, fairly expensive small drum set, and with a 16" bass drum it sounded veeery good.
It sounded "big".

The other pieces of the kit on the other hand were just fine to me in every small kit, so, I'd say to stay away from the small bass drums if you don't like small sounding bass drums and you don't have a lot of money.
Old 9th August 2014
  #12
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I'm terrible at drums etc too BUT I know what I like, and to me the biggest differences in sound are between manufacturers, rather than between cheap/expensive or even to some extent between small kick/big kick. Although it's hardly a good critical listening device, YouTube is a pretty darned good starting point for discovering the different "sounds" of drum manufacturers.

For kicks I would much rather have a cheap 20" Sonor than an expensive Ludwig of any size. It's all subjective of course, but Sonors sound tight to me, whereas I have yet to hear a Ludwig kick that didn't sound (to me) flabby and cardboard-y.

But Ludwig snares... Bring 'em on!

Good luck with your drums,

Johann
Old 9th August 2014
  #13
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Gebo's Avatar
 

My drum kit is a 20/12/16 Sonor from the late 60's. It records great, never had any issues with the kick. I record a lot of fast music , I'd rather record a 20" kick than a 24".
Old 9th August 2014
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Mordo View Post

One thing I will add is "60s-70s drum sounds" is pretty vague, as there were many different drum sounds over that 20 year period.
Good point!

For the 60s, I mainly like The Beatles. The last sound I was trying to get was the Revolver Taxman type sound. Also The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be albums.

So I suppose I should just get a Ludwig Classic maple kit or the Hollywood kit and be done with it. Than if I can't get sounds I like, it's clearly my fault, or my room, or my mics, or me again.

For the 70s, I like McCartney Band On The Run, and Lennon's albums, and so on. All generally similar. Also Elton John's 70s albums. And I've been kind of fascinated by Steve Miller's 70s stuff lately. Such a simple pleasing sound.

I'm not really an Eagles fan, but I was listening to the isolated drum track of Hotel California, and thought it was a pretty great 70s sound. From pictures I found, looks like Don Henley played a Ludwig kit with the resonant heads off. I found an article about the recording which said they used an AKG D88 on the kick, and looking that mic up, looks like a cheap vocal mic, unless the one in the 70s was different.

I also even like that sort of Philadelphia sound, or disco even. The kick in the 70s seemed very much a thud, but a round almost soft one. Not a clicky sound, not hard.





Old 9th August 2014
  #15
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When I started playing in '65 or so, the "standard" kit was 14x20 bass, 8x12 and/or 9x13 rack tom(s), 16x16 floor tom, 5x14 snare. Remo "Coated Ambassador" on both batter and resonator. That was what I played, except I only had the 8x12 rack tom.

By around '71 or so, the "standard" kit was 16x22 bass, 8x12 and 9x13 rack toms, 16x16 floor tom, 6-1/2x14 snare. Remo "Coated Ambassador" on both batter and resonator. I was still playing my '65 kit with 14x20 bass, 8x12 rack tom, 16x16 floor tom, 5x14 snare. Remo "Coated Ambassador", only on batter, I took my resonators off 'cause they were a pain in the butt to tune.

In '72 I sold all my gear...I'd sit in with somebody every once in a while, but basically I didn't play again until 1987, and didn't really keep up with what was happening...
Old 9th August 2014
  #16
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macle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtienhaara View Post

For kicks I would much rather have a cheap 20" Sonor than an expensive Ludwig of any size. It's all subjective of course, but Sonors sound tight to me, whereas I have yet to hear a Ludwig kick that didn't sound (to me) flabby and cardboard-y.
That's funny, I've been listening to all kinds of clips, and had sort of decided to save my pennies for a regular Ludwig maple kit. Of course, the recording on the clips can make a huge difference. I actually already have the Ringo legacy 3 ply maple snare, which is pretty cool.

But I haven't listened to any Sonor, I will have to check those out to see the difference.
Old 9th August 2014
  #17
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Old drum kits had thin shallow shells.
So a bass drum would be
22x14, rather than 22x18, or even the 22x22 rock cannons that you see today.
The thinness of the shells gives more resonance, so when they are damped, they sound warmer than thick shells.
Old 9th August 2014
  #18
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Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 

Sonor makes great drums, but I'm a big Ludwig fan. I currently have Sonor, Ludwig, Gretsch, and Slingerland kits, so I'm not brand loyal.

Buy the kit that inspires you to play it.

That's the only thing that matters; everything else can be fixed with heads, tuning, muffling, micing etc.

The sounds you like are generally very controlled and/or muffled, which is actually a good thing because a $5000 kit that muffled sounds very much like a $500 kit that's muffled.

Come to think of it, I decided today I'm selling my Slingerlands. They're vintage (mid-60s) and 13/16/20 sizes. I'm pretty sure they will be in your price range. PM me if you're interested and I'll send you some pictures.
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