Drums sounds, such an epic variety of vibes, tones, sizes etc etc. On this occasion Manchester-based Patterns (on Melodic Records) left Jamie (the drummer) & us (George Atkins, Kev Jones & Jon Mills) to cover all bases sonically but with an onus on ‘big’. This meant we could go all out mic wise & include some esoteric experimental options.
Our live room is perfect for big drum sounds: with its 28-feet high ceilings and 1000-square feet footprint, it offers a large yet controlled reverb time and a reinforcement to any instrument recorded within. We decided this session would be a good time to try the Glyn Johns micing method, the man responsible for the legendary Led Zeppelin drum sounds and the very definition of ‘big’ drums. His surprisingly minimalist approach involves using 4 microphones: inside kick drum, snare drum top and 2 kit overheads, a pair of vintage Neumann K84s on this occasion.
This sounded fantastic: with only 4 mics, phase issues are minimsed, which can sometimes diminish the power and impact of an instrument. To give the mix engineer more control we threw up a further 13 microphones, including close, room and weird n wonderful options. It’s somewhat of a tradition of ours to include a few more esoteric choices: so we used an AEA R84 ribbon microphone pointed at the kit and heavily distorted by the Neve Genesys desk pre-amps, a Placid Audio Copperphone for a narrow bandwidth AM radio effect that can help add a bit of glue, plus a DPA 4090 at ridiculous height for pure room ambience.
We also ran a sub mix of the kick and snare microphones out to our Studer A810 ¼” tape machine and back into our DAW, adding tape compression vibes and punch in the most important areas of the kit. We all listened back in the control room beaming.
While we were at it, it made sense to get the kit comprehensively sampled. News about this sexy drum library in both stereo samples & as a multi layered Kontakt 5 instrument patch format to follow soon!
More photos here