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Common Sense: Achieving Great Drums On Record

Common Sense: Achieving Great Drums On Record

Here we are, spilling all sorts of trade secrets in the name of TONE. 

Without further ado, the 411 to capturing impeccable drums for your records.

We are the skins
Before anything else, it is imperative that you make sure the skins you have on your kit aren’t excessively battered or even worse, dead. It's much easier to get volume, clarity and brightness from a new set of drum skins. If possible, get them on, tuned and 'played in' a day or two before the session. Make sure the sound source is sorted before you even think about microphones. No amount of post-production is going to help you if your sound source is all messed up from the start.

Stay tuned!
Get the drummer to tune everything beforehand. Always make tension adjustments in opposite pairs to avoid forcing the head off-centre. Seat the head by applying gentle pressure with your palm to the centre, then tune out any new wrinkles that appear.

Kick the bucket
Create a little kick drum chamber using blankets, duvets or even a heavy coat. These are draped over the kick drum, and any microphones are placed in and in front of it. This chamber prevents spill from the cymbals and snare getting into the kick drum mics, making it easier to boost the high frequencies during mixing and thus enhancing the 'clickiness' without adding harshness from the cymbals.

So, do we click or not?
Recording to a click makes it much easier to edit between drum takes at a later stage. If the whole band is tracking together, it's best if only the drummer gets the click. Using a little beatbox or percussion groove usually makes a better 'click' than an actual click, and will also spill over into the microphones less.

Capturing the moment
Make sure you have the right mics for the job. An AKG D112 works like a charm for kick drums, and a pair of AKG C414s brings the overheads right on home. For everything else there’s a Shure SM57 just waiting to be abused. Or just drop by and see us at Music Bliss to get great deals on mics, skins, hardware or even moon gel!

Ready to get a drum set? Click here to get it now at Music Bliss -

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