How do you get that HUGE sound from drums?

Discussion in 'Drums' started by longgone1, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    I find that all of my drum recordings sound good but when i compare them to professional recordings i find that they are puny and weak sounding. I was wondering what kind of tricks to big professional studios employ to get that huge rock sound.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Posted by longgone1 ,
    Could you please discribe how you are recording drums? What mics, pres and other gear are you using, and how are you setting it up? Kurt
  3. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    New Milford, CT USA
    Home Page:

    > I was wondering what kind of tricks to big professional studios employ to get that huge rock sound. <

    Mostly by using ambience. You can get that either naturally in a large room with hard floors using distant as well as close miking, or by adding the effect afterward with a reverb unit set for a "room sound" type effect. A small amount of compression will accentuate this even further.

  4. Kemble

    Kemble Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    Try renting a huge stone mansion with 20 foot ceilings. Put the drum kit in the recieving area, close mike it, use overheads, then put a mic in 3 adjacent rooms.
    Mix to your liking.

    ...then again, do what Ethan and Kurt tell you... :D

    (I heard doing this will also raise the soul of John Bohnam)
  5. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    1/Close Over Heads
    2/Gates on Kick and Snare (and if you've got enough ,on the toms)
    3/Compression on Kick and Snare after Gates to keep peaks uniform.
  6. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Something like tape saturation to get analog punchiness?
  7. ErikFlipside

    ErikFlipside Guest

    I've never been fond of gating anything other than the toms. could you explain your gating process a little further? thanks.
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The only gates I have ever found that are reliable enough to use on drum tracking are the Drawmer gates. 202's and 404's. I have found nothing else that doesn't false trigger or fail to open at times. I also like the Valley Dynamite gate / compressor for triggered gates. I like to gate kick snare and toms. The only problem with gating snare is it cuts little portion of the leading edge or attack of the snare off, so you have to be sure you can pull a bit of this from the overheads. Gating toms allows you to really turn them up loud without adding a lot of spill from the cymbals. Keeping the cymbals low in the mix can contribute to a bigger sound. Adding some verb and a bit of lows and highs makes the toms sound huge. Gating kick and snare can help with ring and allows you to tighten up the sound and time the amount of overtone so that it won't interfere with the rest of the kit. I personally avoid distance micing most of the time. I think it causes phase anomalies that “smear” the sound. I prefer to re amp drums through a speaker in a large room and mic that up in mix. This technique seems to have more definition and allows more control by allowing you to select which drums get the distance treatment. …….. Kurt
  9. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    I am using some cheap apex mics as overheads, 57 on the snare, unfortunatly a 57 on the kick, 57's on the high and mid toms and a 58 on the low tom. For preamps all i have are the ones on my studiomaster console which aren't the greatest. I guess what my question should have been was, what do i need to buy to get a fuller bigger drum sound. I have an idea of what microphones to use but I dont really have a clue about preamps.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I think part of the problem you are having is the preamps. IMO there is no substitute for good mics or pres. I made a post regarding this a few days ago in another topic thread … here is part of it.

    It is difficult at best, to get huge sound from mic pres and front end gear that is energy starved. Huge amounts of headroom are necessary to get the “BIG” sound that you are looking for. I have been posting a lot of reviews for quality mic pres in the RO EMAG.

    Click here --->

    Keep an eye out, I will be reviewing more mic pres from JLM, a Millennia Media STT-1 Origin, and Studio Projects in the near future. Also coming is a review on the Speck Electronics ASC equalizer! I can tell you already I have become a fan of the Speck ASC EQ!
  11. Doug Milton

    Doug Milton Active Member

    Sep 23, 2002
    An option to gating, if you work in the digital domain, is to edit the tom tracks after recording. This will allow you to clean the tracks of bleed and also put little fades after each tom hit so they ring out and disappear more naturally sounding than having a gate close. Time consuming you say? Maybe, depending on how often the toms get hit. But anything worth doing…

    Whether you’re using audience perspective or drummer perspective in the mix, the cleaned tom tracks can be panned without skewing your stereo image of the overheads. I second Kurt’s comments on mic selection and mic pres and would add that quality A/D converters will help also, especially with cymbal clarity.
  12. For another opinion, go to and check out Fletcher's guide to drum miking with only three mics. I have used these positions (added a top snare and a mic on the kick to have options) and it works! The drummer's style and the kit/room will have a huge impact as well. Doc
  13. BTW Fletcher used to be a Moderator here, and he's a Bad Bamalama. Doc
  14. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    Yeah, what those guys said. Huge drum sound usually comes from a huge drum sound, meaning the room is huge and you mic the ambience. However I did not see my usual setup which is to get a decent kit sound with a room mic that gets good low end. Take that sound and add a quick slap delay. Put a little delay on the rest of the kit as well. It's much more controlable than reverb and does the trick for me.


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