Drum Tips - Recording a Great Drum Sound

Recording Drums

Recording a great drum sound should not be difficult. Start with a great sounding room and tune your drums well so that they sound good in the room. Then all the engineer need do is put up a few decent mics and record.

I remember a session I recorded with the fabulous engineer Gary Mankin. Someone came through the control room and asked him how he got such a great drum sound. He said it was VERY DIFFICULT, he had to put up a few mics and run them into the board – that’s it – no eq, no gimmics, no tricks. Just a well tuned drum set, in a good sounding room, played well and we had a great drums sound.

I have been fortunate to recording in some very nice recording studios, I have also been involved in some very low budget recording projects. You don’t need a high priced studio to get a great drum sound, it helps a lot, but it is possible to get a great drums sound in a low budget situation too. You need a great sounding room! With the portability of recording technology today you can take the recording studio to the great sounding room. I recorded the drums for one project in an empty parking garage. It sounded fabulous, and it was FREE!

I had a very unique experience recording two different projects in the same room a few weeks apart. The room was huge brick walled room that sounded WONDERFUL!

On the first project I got the drums set up and tuned and they sounded amazing in the room, to this day I don’t know how the engineer managed to screw up the sound so badly! The sound that guy was recording had absolutely nothing to do with the great sound the drums were creating in the space. I was complaining about how bad the drums sounded on the tape and he kept asking me what kind of sound I was looking for – I said come out into the studio and LISTEN to what the drums sound like – THAT is the sound I want to hear on tape.

Oz FritzTwo weeks later I did a different project in the same room but this time with a GREAT engineer named Oz Fritz. Again once the drums were set up and tuned they sounded great in the room. Oz set up a few good mics, carefully placed them and viola! We had a great drum sound again!

The big elements – a great sounding room, a great sounding drum kit, well tuned, and played well. That’s it, that’s the big secret to a great drum sound.


Anonymous Homie C said...

So you probably have the best drum blog I've ever seen.

Friday, July 21, 2006
Blogger troy-vernon said...

Thanks so much for your very kind words.

Friday, July 21, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice. I am also wondering how to make a not great sounding room sound better? I have great sounding drums, tuned well, but the room sucks. Is there any thing I can do to the room?

Sunday, August 24, 2008