What Advice Would You Offer Drummers Who Want To Learn About The Recording/Engineering Aspect Of Drumming?

by kindbeats on February 4, 2015

Andrew McAuley: Whenever people ask me about recording/micing/engineering, I jokingly say, “I don’t know, man. I just hit things, remember?” In all seriousness though, what is some advice that you would offer a drummer who knows diddly about the recording and engineering process?

Donn Deniston: Get your hands on some basic gear and experiment. Get a small digital recorder or better yet, just about everyone has a computer and for a couple of hundred bucks you can get an interface with good DAW software, a microphone and a pair of headphones. That’s enough to get your feet wet and learn some basics. Do some research, learn the rules and then don’t be afraid to break them. Nothing beats hands-on experience.

Nathan Hubbard: a couple ideas – find a bandmate who does know and pick their brain. same thing w other drummers, ask if you can tag along to sessions, etc.
buy an old 4 track tape recorder and a cheap mic and start recording. a good grounding in analog will make all the digital programs make sense.
get garageband, audacity, whatever freeware and start recording. use samples, record yourself, make some bad EDM tracks, etc. this will change your drummer perspective on musical functions, etc.
take a community college class for audio/sound. take a ton of notes.
read all the books you can find on the subject, and magazines like tapeops, electronic musician and others will help you jump into this world.

Also, take note of what mics are used on your live gigs and recordings, ask the soundguy/girl questions, they love to talk.

Jon Berger: former NYC recording legend Gary chester once gave me the best advice.He said don’t simply wait for that 1st call for a recording session. Get a hold of any kind of recording gear, if even a portable raw recorder and record your self .rehearsals, practice sessions and gigs.Just turn it on and go . aim for accuracy and clarity.If you have mics and more sophisticated gear, record on a regular basis. Ask questions of more experienced players, engineers and producers, read everything you can about the recording techniques. if you have the financial means. rehearse and bring a band into the studio and record a few songs or more.study the process, ask questions

Gregory Thomas: Have your parts together and be used to playing with headphones on. Your guitar player will waste 14 hours on his solo so be prepared and save some recording cash.

Thomas Izzo: Listen to the producer, most engineers are looking to get the best drum sound they can, listen it sells studio time. Now the producer is looking for the best drum sound for the particular piece your trying to record. You can talk all day about mike placement, Neuman verses Shure or Senhauser Etc. Etc. Listen and play accordingly.

Mark Helms: As a former Nashville season player I’d say first start recording your self.. Record when your practicing and playing live then, go back and really listen to you self with a open mind. Be honest with your self just like you would be with some one else and practice with a metronome and head phones . Make sure your parts are clean and on time remember the best luck ever played is the one that wasn’t! I hope this helps take care and Rock On!

Colleen Wetherell Paydos: I got nothing for this one. I don’t record and know nothing about engineering. Oh. I do “video” record myself playing so I can learn what I’m doing right and wrong. If it’s good I’ll post it.

Christopher Cornwall: I would say skip getting a 4 track or some basic recorder and get a cheap interface with a basic recording program (pro tools LE, sonar, studio one, cakewalk, etc.). Get yourself familiar with the program by using the tutorials. They all pretty much work the same now except for shortcuts and little things, so I would go right to the computer because if you don’t start there you will just have to start over when you go to the computer which is an eventuality. Then I would try and get my hands on a couple mics, barrow from friends or bandmates. Read a tutorial on basic mic technique, there are plenty on the internet you can find, then play around with mic placement and microphone selection. Record short sections on snare with every mic you have, different positions, different drums or amps etc. After you have all that, then you get to start using plug ins that come with your DAW program ie: EQ’s, compression, reverb. Then you can work on trying to get your levels mixed properly, then pushed up with some sort of mastering program, then burn to CD! Obviously this is a lifetime learning process with every single step including mic placement and choice (there never is 1 right answer!) although it can be an extremely rewarding process and can save you and your bandmates serious cash on making albums.

Brian Phillips: Something that works for me: Record scratch demos of the guitar (or whatever instrument you feel like) to a click, then practice along to it using noise-canceling headphones. Get at least full 8-10 practices of the material (or until you feel good & comfortable playing along to the scratch tracks. Whichever comes last) before you go to record. Bring the .WAV files of the scratch tracks with you when you go to record, & have the engineer sync them to his/her click. Recording will be like a walk in the park.

Gootch Ibarra: There are different approaches but first be realistic in how you learn. If you are a submersion type and get into things headlong hands on and you have the means get a computer protools an interface and some mics and go for it and often. If you are a little more like me and intimidated by tech stuff then here is what helped me ( I was able to learn this stuff and I even surprised myself once I got into it ) I know most have been in a studio or have had mics pointed at their drums at some point. Pay attention to it. If no access hands on YouTube is all you need seriously. My daughter learned how to record at 13yrs old all by You Tube for myself I took a basic recording class at a local studio and asked a lot of questions. Once I felt comfortable enough I put some gear together. This was in the analog days and I had a hard time but I enjoyed the process. Once digital recording became prevalent I started over and learned that. I’m a protools user and I cut my teeth for a year straight with version 7 and just asked asked asked everyone I knew for help. There are so many public resources to get you going and guys want to help you basics are profound but I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy because there is a lot to learn but you can keep it simple and become a decent engineer with the basics. I’m a repetitive learner so I continue to this day to just record a lot drums gtrs vocals bands anything just to keep learning … I highly recommend learning the recording process you will become a better musician all the WAY around.

If anyone wants details on how to get started recording I will gladly share what I know … that’s what many many engineers did for me.

Shaun Oster: For playing: 1 word. Metronome. For the actual miking: Learn all 3 stereo miking techniques for your overheads so you can pick and choose based on context, learn the snare condenser/sm57 phase out trick (align the elements of both mics, phase reverse the condenser), try different angles on your drums and learn their sounds. Muffling is your friend, wackjob snare tuning is a bad habit. Large diaphram condenser on bassdrum front (phased) duckling on the beater head.

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