Old School: Iron Maiden: Drum Recording

Discussion in 'Drums' started by sonornut, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. sonornut

    sonornut Guest

    Hello all. I'm new here and glad I found this forum. I was wondering if anyone out there has any info on the techniques/equipment/mics that Nicko McBrain used in the Piece of Mind sessions. I read an article years ago in which he described in great detail how they achieved the drum sound (which I think is amazing) on that album, but I have no idea what happened to it. I recently purchased a seven piece Sonor Sig Heavy Bubinga kit, and my brother-in-laws band is going into the studio next month. I'm going to let their drummer use my sigs for recording. I would like to help them out with sound any way I can. I know Nicko used Sigs during that particular session.

  2. 7string

    7string Guest

    Hello everyone. First post. Thought I'd help this guy out.

    First off, I’m not an audio engineer. I’m just a guitarist whose band has done one self-financed record and is preparing for its second. But I will share my thoughts on pre-session preparation with you. Beware, I may be flat wrong.

    As far as what Nicko used on Piece of Mind, your best bet would be to watch the “Flight of Icarus” video that was shot during the sessions for that album. They recorded at a top notch studio in the Bahamas. The place probably had a huge console, 2” tape machines, racks of killer outboard gear, a big great sounding all wood drum room, and an engineer/producer that is like the 6th band member. I remember seeing huge deep power toms with no bottom heads, Remo black dot tops, and 421 mics on the toms.

    For your bro’s record. Contact the studio and ask him how he likes to do drums and explain what you are trying to accomplish. If he doesn’t have enough channels of money mic pres, mics, or other outboard gear like compressors or eq’s, you should ask how to go about getting some rented. You guys should consider tracking to tape for the type of sound you are hoping for. Offer to pay for some extra setup time to do a little experimenting to be sure the tone is there at tracking. Don’t be upset if this guy doesn’t use Pro Tools. There are other options. Maybe even better options.

    I think your kit will sound awesome. Just get all the bugs worked out of it. Fix any squeaky pedals or hardware. Get new heads and work out all the dampening issues.
    Learn how to properly tune both the top and bottom heads. Get a couple of different snare drums dialed in. Bring the best cymbals you possibly can. Maybe some big 16”-18” crashes and a 22” ride. DO NOT bash the living $*^t out of the cymbals.

    Try to get some click tracks done that have the right feel for the song. Include any intentional fluctuations or any other weird stuff that is part of the song. We didn’t do any click tracks. There where some pretty unstable parts when we went to do guitar and bass.
    There was some graffiti, words of the prophets written on the studio wall, “No Click Tracks For Retards!” mocking us the whole time.

    Take all the guitars and basses to a good luthier / repairman for a setup and intonation.
    Use heavier gauged strings that are still comfortable to play. Bring a few good tube heads and 4x12” cabs with good speakers. No ice pick to the ears speakers. Use the Pods for warming up. I like to do separate tracks for the rhythm, clean, and leads. Instead of pedal dancing during the take. Don’t go crazy with the gain settings. It sounds heavier if you back some of that preamp mush out and get some of the beef tone from your hands with good picking and muting technique. Get one good tuner that everyone can use.

    Couple last things. Show up well rehearsed. Buy enough time for the guy to do a good job. Have some common sense when it comes to bringing extra people or partying. Don’t let anybody brickwall master your stuff. Good albums have dynamics and headroom. Good interaction and space between instruments. Don’t stress and have fun.

  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    nope ... it doesn't look wrong to me
    good work Pat
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