Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Everything you've ever heard is a lie

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  1. Drums are by far the most altered sound you hear on a recording. And it's not always for the best. I would add one thing that goes beyond the tuning of the drums to alter our way we hear the drums acoustically vs a recording. That is the drummer playing a proper balance to match what they want on a record. A common example is most drummers over play the high hat compared to the volume of the snare. That translates to my ears as drive with no groove. And it creates a number of sonic issues when it comes to getting a snare to pop on a record. We as engineers have to so much sonic damage to the tone of the drum that sample replacement becomes the better option. And that really sucks the soul right out of me every time I have to do it. Don't get me wrong, I know as in engineer it is my job to make you sound your best. But I know when certain drummers show up in the studio my day is going to be a lot easier because they bring a good sounding drum that they are going to play correctly. It's a total package to get a great sounding product.

  2. When I was a young, new drummer, I always struggled with the sound of my drums and wondered why they didn't sound like they do on the radio. It wasn't until I started recording myself with a Tascam 4 track that I soon learned the deep, dark secrets of the recording studio. This link, not only contains some great info and awesome drumming, but also allows you to hear the difference of processed drums and the natural sounding drums as the sound shifts between the lavaliere mic (unprocessed for drums) to the processed drum mics: (there is a lot of talking up front. You may need to fast forward to around 18:30 to hear the change in mics clearly.) Chances are your drums don't sound crappy, they just aren't being enhanced like they are in the studio.

  3. The bass player in the band I play in keeps telling me I need a pillow in my bass drum. I tell him I'll add one when he puts a pillow in his bass.
    I tell him the sound he thinks he wants is called studio magic.

    1. LOL That's a great line man! However, you really should watch this tutorial from Neil Peart's stage drum tech regarding the bass drum. The whole thing is really good stuff:

  4. Aaron, Mike, Justin - Thanks for your comments. You're great!

  5. It is always an interesting conversation I have with my History of Rock class I teach. We have an overview of the evolution of recording technology. I love seeing the surprise on the kids faces when we discuss it, and the live vs. recorded experience and why/how so many bands supplement their "live" sound. It was also a very interesting discussion following the super bowl discussing live musicians "faking it".

  6. Thank You Keith, I enjoyed learning about this :)

  7. Again, thanks for the comments. As a blogger, it's gratifying that someone - anyone! - benefits from this. Happy drumming!


Drummer's Weight Room: Tap Timing Exercise

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