Mar 26, 2012
Here is a video that we made this past month off the new Lambs Among Wolves EP coming this spring. It's a very dynamic EP with lots of different things going on. During the bridge of "Make Us Bold" a Hammer Dulcimer is played by Myles, a chior joins in, and drums begin to build.
We set up the drums in the left 1/3 of the room. The two starburst colored drums are Pearl Masters Birch drums, with Remo Coated Ambassadors on them. The blue drum is an old drum without a bottom head on it. It sounds pretty worn, but it has a punchy, thick sound. Nate said he really like the sound of this drum, so I used this sound as inspiration to help me choose the kind of recording techniques I used.
We used a AEA R88 for it's punchy but warm tone. Being a ribbon, it has a quick response, but the warmth of a dynamic mic. I only used the R88 as a mono mic, using only the top ribbon of the mic, as this mic has two ribbons in it. I wanted to keep it as punchy as possible, so I didn't want to muddy up the mix with two layers of stereo drums. This was a classic style of recording drums with minimal mics. If we used close mics it would take on a totally different sound and character. I choose to use a single mic so that the drums could balance themselves as a single and cohesive unit...kind of like a chior, but with toms. The best part about this approach, is you don't have phasing issues. No canceled frequencies, and a pure honest sound from the drums that's very easy to eq and mix.
I used the distance of the mic to control the amount of room captured with the drums. I also made this decision with the knowlege of how this will translate after it's compressed, because I knew I would want some heavy compression to help all the hits even out and sit in the mix.
If you listen closely, you can hear that this video only covers one of the two drum tracks that you hear in the final mix. For mixing we simply compressed with a UAD Neve 33609 and hard panned the two takes.
The bass drums also changes during the part of the song. We used a UAD 1176 on the room mics so that the bass drum would increase in it's intensity and character. We found that the room helped blend the bass drum into these more trible sounding drums. During the rest of the mix, the bass drum has a much more dryer and more direct sound to it.