Tracking Drums with Martyn Peters

Yesterday I spent the morning tracking drums for Martyn Peters' new record. Here's a few kit pics and a nice demo of the room we cut drums in.

Recorded and Engineered by Russ Hayes at Orange Sound Studios - we had a chat after the session about his approach to recording drums:

"Think about the song first.. What drum sound is required / suits it? Don't bother touching any microphones until the kit sounds good / right in the room.. Tune the drums.. Think about dampening if necessary.. Listen to how the drummer plays.. Like you picked up on yourself.. "Do I need to lay off the open hats?" The 'real life' acoustic stuff comes first.. Lots of great mics and great preamps are only going to make a shit sounding kit and bad playing sound even worse!"

And what about plugins? There was some serious use of Waves' Kramer Master Tape!

"Depends on the style of music really.. I like to use tape simulation on drums since I'm tracking straight to digital.. Drum transients straight to digital tend to get pretty ugly.. I'll rarely use heavy compression on kit apart from things like room mics or on a submix of the whole kit blended in to drag up the air and create some vibe.. Different story if I'm working on something that's supposed to sound heavily processed, like metal for example.. Drums don't naturally sound like that, and drummers can rarely play with the dynamic consistency that they usually want to hear in the finished result.. So lots of compression, drastic eq, and hit replacement.. Again, all depends on the style of music.."

Thanks to Russ for top quality engineering and infinite cups of tea!

Mic List:

  • Kick in - AKG D202
  • Kick out - Yamaha Subkick
  • Snare top - Beyer M201 N(C)
  • Snare bottom - Beyer M201 N(C)
  • Rack tom - Shure SM57
  • Floor toms - 2 x AKG D112
  • Hats - Shure SM7B
  • Overheads - AKG 414 EB
  • Mono room - Neumann U87

All mics were fed by Focusrite ISA preamps, and aggressive room compression on the Neumann by an Universal Audio 1176 Compressor.

Drums:

  • Paiste Twenty 14" Hi Hats
  • Paiste Twenty 20" Ride
  • 17" and 19" Meinl Byzance Traditional Crashes
  • 13" x 5.75" Highwood Custom Beech Snare
  • 10", 14", 16", 22" Mapex M Birch Shells
  • Aquarian Super 2, Response 2 and Texture Coated Heads

Keep an eye on Martyn's Soundcloud and Facebook for the new track, as well as on the Listen page!