eds1275 2010-11-18 - 12:20pm

Another vote for Less is More

So I am currently writing the soundtrack to a video game to be released on Xbox Live Arcade. Don't ask for a name, because it's so early in development that the working title is bound to change. I can tell you there are Zombies in it! With a capital Z!

Anyway, one of the benefits of using me as the music man is that when I record tracks, I send them demos, and when they are approved I record the good version. No midi drums, no software emulated guitar tracks.

I was feeling a little lazy this past week. Not a good thing to do when you're "on the job" but whatever. I've been renovating my studio some more, it's so close to completion if it had a smell I could smell it. A lot of gear is put away right now [due to the renos], and it was time for the drum sessions. I didn't want to hook up more preamps and microphones and stuff, so I just used what was sitting there ready, which was an 8-channel mic pre. That of course limits me to just 8 mics on the drums, and I usually use 14-18.

I was going for a strong beat, nothing flashy - so for once I miced the hihat, just to emphasize rhythm mainly. I normally hate micing the hats because they are so loud anyway in the overheads. And then one on the kick, two on the snare, and one for each pair of toms. So in total:


Shure SM57, snare top and bottom

Shure Beta 52a on kick

AKG C414 B-XLS stereo overheads

Audix D2 rack toms

Audix D6 floor toms

Rode NT-3 on hihats


I really had to pull the tom mics up alot further to capture both toms into each mic as shown in the picture. This extra bleed I got from pulling it back pretty much glued the rest of the tracks together sonically.

My drum kit is a bit of a freakshow, it's a DW maple kit that I scored for cheap [$1400 for a $5000 kit]. It's got 4 toms, 10 12 13 14 - I want a 16" but DW wants $800 for one. The 14 is tuned as low as absolutely possible, but the D6 on the lowest toms really beefed it up a bit. I also use lighter cymbals when recording than I would if I were playing a rock gig. I use mainly Zildjian HHX stuff - that Dave Weckyl has some good taste in cymbals.

The drums were really crisp and tight, and the bleed from the tom mics let me cut everything from 500hz down on the overheads to clear up the bottom end without making it thin. Other than roll offs, the only major eqing I did was roll off some extreme highs and most of the bottom of the hihats. A little compression and I had a really great drum sound. We got ten tracks recorded that day [each between 30 seconds and 2 minutes]. As you can see it is not me drumming, I brought in a friend to do it.

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