Today’s featured workspace comes from reader Rasidel Slika, who put together a really intense digital audio workstation in a pretty small space. In addition to being practical and well-organized, the vibration dampening pads on the walls actually look cool (which you know isn’t an easy feat, if…
The Art of Drum Recording (And The Pitfall of Home Recording)
(Video related: It’s Chuck Treece tearing up the drum kit @ Cambridge Sound Studios)
Easily one of the most difficult instruments to professionally record, the drum kit is the auditory anchor that lays the foundation for every track in your session to rely on. If a building is only as good as its foundation, then the importance of capturing an incredible drum track from the start is monumental. If your budget prevents you from utilizing a professional studio for all of your tracking and mixing needs, at the very least consider tracking your drums in one. The result will be more than worth it.
With the ever-accelerating advances in computing, the quality and affordability of home recording is increasing every day. A MacBook bought today with Garageband can do things that engineers at EMI 50 years ago could never have dreamed of. With Digidesign’s affordable MBox series hardware, coupled with Pro Tools LE and the brand new Pro Tools 9, artists today are now capable of running the same software us at Cambridge Sound Studios (and the rest of the audio engineering community) run right from the convenience of their bedroom. No longer demoted to the sole act of performing, artists now have the opportunity to take a more active role in the production of their music, and the affordability of home recording encourages them to do so.
However, the possibilities of home recording ultimately end at the beginning—the drum kit. Excluding the factor of having an incredible drummer, the key to getting an incredible drum sound relies on three major contributors:
- Acoustics: Your average bedroom can barely house a modern drum kit, let alone the dimensions of your room, unless properly designed, can create troublesome and distorting standing waves that can greatly impact the recording of your source. For a more indepth and scientific explanation of room acoustics,
check out Steve Kindig’s article over at Crutchfield.
At Cambridge Sound Studios, both our control room and our live room were constructed specifically to avoid these problems and have been treated with professional sound-absorbing foam in addition to both diffusive and reflective surfaces to eliminate unwanted and misleading sound.
- Experience: Recording is both a science and an art. While science drives the principles of building a perfect room, there is a considerable art to bringing the most out of a perfect room. As much as we yearn for an EZ-Mode button, there will never be a magic “preset.” One compression setting may sound great on one snare drum, but awful on another. Therefore, the knowledge of knowing when to use what piece of gear on what instrument and on what track is something that can only be acquired through years of experimentation and experience. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Jim Salamone is more than qualified. A veteran of the industry, Jim’s track record includes performing with Joe Cocker and Chuck Berry among many other artists, a Grammy nomination for his production of Grover Washington Jr.’s, “Summer Chill,” and producing The Rude Boys’ “Written All Over Your Face,” Billboard’s #1 R&B Single of the Year in 1991. As an artist, save yourself the exhausting effort and time it takes to find your snare drum’s sweet spot and focus more on your performance.
- Gear: Lastly, there’s no avoiding the issue of gear. A FATSO compressor wouldn’t cost $2,000 if it didn’t sound good. A single preamp can run you your entire budget. Plugins are great, but sometimes you can’t beat the real deal. Our extensive equipment list can be seen at our Equipment page. Feel free to bring your own kit or use our custom Yamaha kit!
- 22” and 20” Bass Drum
- Custom 18x24 Bucks County Drums Bass Drum
- 8”, 10”, 12”, 13”, 14” Rack Toms
- Yamaha Oak Custom 12x9 Rack Tom
- 14” and 16” Floor Toms
- Pearl 5x14 Cherry (free floating system)
- Pork Pie 7x13
- Pork Pie Big Black
- Ludwig 6.5x14 Supra-phonic
- Ludwig 5x14 Black Beauty
- Yamaha 7x14
- Yamaha brass 7x13
- Rogers 5x14
Start your next project on the right foot and consider tracking your drums with us. Avoid becoming burnt out laying your foundation and focus your energy on building your tracks on a solid foundation on your own time from the convenience of your bedroom. The technology revolution is expanding the traditional studio setting into unimaginable boundaries. No longer limited by the confines of a single studio space, you are now able to freely and easily import and export your sessions on the go, taking your songs from the studio to your bedroom and back again.
We understand that money is hard to come by these days and urge you to take advantage of our facilities and today’s technology to rethink and redefine the way you think about recording. Feel free to contact us at info@CambridgeSoundStudios.com or by phone at (215)579-9500. We will work with you to develop a plan that is right for your personal needs and budget. Block rates or hourly rates are available.
Recording shouldn’t be a “process.” It should be a creative and relaxing escape from the noise around us.