First off I have to let you know that drums are probably my favorite part of the recording process and to me the most important thing to get right. A poorly recorded drum sound or bad sounding kit will not yield a professional polished recording. That being said it is recommended to the highest degree that you invest in your drum sound and follow these guidelines if able-
To start, we have an incredible pro kit you are welcome to use when recording with us. Our kit was purchased brand new in the fall of 2020 at a little over 4 grand. It includes the Mapex Saturn V Exotic shell pack with sizes that include a 22x18" bass drum, 10x7" and 12x8" toms and 16x14" floor tom. These shells sound massive and have the upmost clarity and punch. I have recorded many many kits in the studio over the years and this has been my favorite of them all.
The set includes Zildjian A Custom high end cymbals. A 23" Sweet Ride Cymbal, a pair of 15" New Beat hats, along with 18" and 20" Thin crashes. You are also welcome to bring your own cymbals and or add them in to your kit for recording.
For Snares we have an incredible USA 3mm thick Gretsch Bell Brass and a Tame Spotted Gum Tree wood snare. These both sound amazing.
New drum heads are the key to achieving a pro sound. New heads are louder and brighter. Brighter drums mean less eq, meaning less cymbal bleed and an overall much better drum sound. Louder drums mean less cymbal bleed into the close mics and less cymbal bleed means we can actually use your real drum sounds instead of relying on sample replacement.
To drive that home a little further and in my experience, I would much rather record a $1000 drum kit with new heads than a $5,000 drum Kit with heads that are a year old, however if you have both the quality is going to be Extreme! All heads on the kit are replaced every 3-4 months. If you are doing a full EP or album let me know and we will get fresh heads on before.
New sticks are also a must and make a big difference in your drum sound. It is also good to note that different sticks have different sounds and using 2 separate sticks will yield an uneven sound. Make sure you bring a fresh pair for the best results!
Please note that our house kit has a single Iron Cobra kick drum pedal. If you use a double kick please bring your pedals. You are also welcome to bring your own throne or anything else and mix and match if you wish.
USING YOUR OWN KIT:
If you are planning or wanting to use your own kit then please keep reading and follow the instructions below as well as the ones above!
Now I hear you, purchasing and replacing drum heads is by no means cheap or convenient. If you are on a tight budget at the very minimum replace all the batter heads and leave your resonant heads (Unless they are over a year or so old). But the difference is one you will be grateful for in the long run plus you'll have an awesome sounding drum kit to keep playing in the months to come.
Below is a list of drum heads I would recommend but you are free to use whatever you love as well!
-Aquarian Super Kick II
-Remo Powerstroke 3
-Remo Coated Controlled Sound
-Aquarian Hi Velocity
-Aquarian Performance II
-Evans EC2 SST
You should put your heads on about 0-2 days before the session and make sure you are happy with the sound and are able to get them tuned up and sounding great. It's very important that your kit is tuned to the best of your ability to have an ideal drum sound. If you are not confident in your drum tuning abilities be sure to STUDY and learn how to do this. Drum tuning is a skill that you as a drummer should know and breathe just as a guitarist knows how to tune their guitar or a vocalist knows how to sing in key. If you are not confident in your drum tuning abilities I will fine tune the kit before we begin recording just do your best beforehand.
Practice on your old heads and get familiar with the process and then apply what you have learned to your new heads. Below are some videos I would recommend- Please study & practice these to become an expert.
Also check out Rick Beato's drum tuning workshop:
Also you will want to make sure you have a port hole on the side of your kick drum head at least 4-5 inches wide for the kick in microphone. They sell rings you can put on your kick drum and then cut around the ring. Or you can purchase a kick drum resonant head with it already built in. Either option is great. See links below for purchase options.
"Moon Gels" are a great addition to help reduce the resonant and annoying frequencies. These can be purchased at almost any music store or online at this link- we will also have moon gels to add if needed.
Last but not least feel free to bring your own in ear monitors or earbuds. However if you do not have any you are welcome to use our Ollo Audio over ear headphones.
Thanks for sticking with me and reading through all of this! The more you adhere to these suggestions the better your drums will sound and the happier you will be with the outcome. There is a reason people do this over and over and take the time to make sure their record is top notch. By following these steps you are setting yourself up for success and having one of the greatest sounding drum recordings possible!