During recording I’ll spend lot of time getting a drum sound, both in tuning and mic placement. However, in post production I’ve tended to use a lot of compression, gating, EQing and reverb. I have finally learned that less truly is more. Through the course of recording this album, I have ditched most EQ, all gating on the snare, and reverb.
I started out this record using two mics on the snare and inverting the phase to accent the strings. As time went by I felt that wasn’t necessary and didn’t add much to the sound. Granted if I had more inputs I would mic the bottom because it can come in handy when bringing out those soft grace notes.
I’ve started miking the Kick, Snare, High , and Low Tom while adding 2 Overheads and 1 Large Diaphragm Mic 2 rooms away. This probably sounds strange but it got the sound I’ve been searching for. I have a preference to a deep muted snare, but in recording I couldn’t get it to sound like a BIG deep muted snare. After trying out different reverb plugins, it just wasn’t doing it for me. The mic 2 rooms away gives the kit a nice full verb while keeping the drums crisp without making the cymbals harsh. Even though I would use LP/HP (Low Pass & High Pass) filters on the plugins, nothing beats %100, all natural reverb.
As far as post production goes, I’ve been only adding compression to the whole kit and boosting the 12 -15k range on the EQ along with taking down the low frequencies on the room mic. So the lesson here is mic the kit well, and use less FX. Plugins can only get you so far.
Fun Fact: After recording all of “Italy in Italics”, I discovered the Kick head had been ripped underneath the kick pad and had probably been like that for the past few songs. The drum head was not initially torn as much as it’s shown in the photo below. This was the result of me being excited that I broke my second Kick head. I’ve only broken 2 over the course of 8 years (Aquarian Super Kick II heads last forever). Yes, I get strangely thrilled when I destroy equipment.