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Profile picture for user BobRogers

Nothing like grading partial differential equations exams to make you break out the Christmas music. Put on my all time favorite - Vince Gauraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. I love the recording, but started to listen to it with my recording engineers hat on. (I'm not a recording engineer, but play one in my basement. Got to get me a hat one of these days.) Anyway, to get back to the point (you knew I would eventually) it is very cool how old school the drum tracks are on this album. Lots of room sound. Back in the mix. Nice crisp recording of rim shots, brush work, cymbals. Not much kick at all. Makes me feel guilty for putting eight channel on drums. I have my jazz group coming over for a session tomorrow. Two overheads, kick and snare does it.

I figured the music from this album would be on enough at this time of year that everyone could give a guess as to the set up they used for recording. I'm guessing either a couple of overheads or just a big old hawking ribbon mic on the room. (Maybe something closer to the snare on a song like the alternate take of The Christmas Song which has sweet brushwork.)

I also figured that it would be worth calling this to the attention of some of you young whippersnappers who think that there is only one "good" type of drum sound.


Profile picture for user MadMax

MadMax Mon, 12/15/2008 - 13:27

I can't locate the tracking or mix info ATM, but IIRC, the songs were pretty much done live in a studio...

Imagine that! A room full of musicians playing the same song from top to bottom in one take... Oh the horror of it all!

My old feeble brane bukit seems to remember seeing a pic that the drums were simply a pair of OH/Room mic's and nothing else... thus the thin kick... with an XY on the piano and a single mic on the bass.

Profile picture for user JoeH

JoeH Mon, 12/15/2008 - 23:19

I play that CD every year at this time, and it never ceases to amaze me; the music, the technology; everything about it is timeless.

I'm guessing it was done at Fantasy Studios in Berkley CA, only because the original release label is Fantasy, which (aside from CCR on their roster) was a big Jazz label. (Saul Zaentz owned the company and bankrolled it by making a fortune with his connections to movie making and hits like "one Flew over the Cuccoo's Nest).

Fantasy has been sold and repurposed again I hear, so who knows who remembers what these days, but I'm guessing the story is still out there somewhere...

Profile picture for user BrianaW

BrianaW Mon, 12/15/2008 - 23:32

I love the way this album sounds on my NS10's. So natural. :) Thank you for bringing that up! I too love the overall sound of this record, it's pretty much close to perfect in my book! Anyone see "The Royal Tenenbaums"? They used Christmas Time Is Here in it... very cool moment. Killer drum sound, amazing recording all around. :) That's just gotta be a Gretsch.

Profile picture for user BobRogers

BobRogers Mon, 12/07/2009 - 11:23

I'm going to bump this thread since this album is in heavy rotation this time of year and I think people who are recording drums should give it a close listen. Not every drum recording is close miced, gated, and compressed to death.