How I record my drums

I’ve had a few emails about this topic and thought I would save myself some repetition and post it.

My drums are in a smallish room which was formerly a partly open verandah or balcony. Then it was enclosed with aluminium windows. I put sheets of thick plasterboard into the window channels, which certainly reduced the spill, but also made the room very hard. I try to eliminate the room sound as much as possible by close miking. I’m very familiar with the setup, so I have learned to work with it. Good drums with decent heads, tuned well and close miking = decent drum sound.

The mics are a very basic collection. AKG C1000 overheads; Audio Technica ‘KitPak’ mics on the toms; Shure SM57 on the snare top head; CAD 95 condenser on the bottom head; Shure SM81 condenser on the hi-hats and a vintage AKG D12 for the kick.

I route the kick and snare drum mics through an ART Tube pre-amp; then into one of two compressors : an HHB Radius 30 or a Presonus Tube; then into Cubase via a Focusrite OctoPre interface. The snare drum bottom mic is routed through my main interface which is a TC electronics Impact Twin.

I use EQ in Cubase – these are settings I’ve had for a while. I also use Waves compressors. The kick and snare are already compressed lightly on the way in. I use gates on the toms, but not for every track. I’d like some better tom microphones but I’ve used the AT’s for so long I know what to expect. That’s it.

AKG C1000
Audio Technica Snare Tom mic
Audio Technica Tom Kick
Shure SM57
CAD 95 Condenser
Shure SM81 Condenser
AKG D12
Trout rack

Farewell Yamaha RC’s

I sold these drums this week. Off to Adelaide to a nice bloke named Luke. They were pretty rough when I brought them home :

Yamaha RC

But they leave in much better shape:

Yamaha RC after restoration

This was an interesting kit. One of my mates Dave Egan told me about them. They were for sale in The Drum and Percussion Co-Op in Sydney. When I went to look, I thought they were a bit worn out. Turns out they were ex-hire drums from Sydney’s famous Sound Level rehearsal studios. There were actually two kits, one in a Steve Gadd type layup – 10/12/14/16/22 in deep shell sizes and the other which was 12/13/16/22 in standard depths. These were very early 9000 series shells. Two drums had RA badges and two had RC’s. The serial numbers I got from this site put them at 1982 and 1984.

I took them completely apart and cleaned the shells and hardware. It was a marathon job. They were filthy. All the heads were wrecked. However the Yamaha hardware did not disappoint and there wasn’t a single issue that wasn’t solved with polish and lubrication. The bass drum hoops were another story. They had valleys in them from all the kick pedals over the years.

RC bass drum