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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Secrets Of The Led Zep Drum Sound

When getting drum sounds while recording, many engineers are asked by drummers and producers to get that "big Led Zeppelin" drum sound. Often times they then go about getting it in the wrong way, miking every piece of kit in sight.

But that's not the way that Zep got that sound. As was the norm in those days, there were usually only 2 mics (later 3 for stereo) used to mic the drums. But the famous drum sound that the band got at the  Headley Grange house used only two mic in an odd position, as bassist John Paul Jones explains in this video.

Led Zeppelin engineer Andy Johns confirms this as well in an interview for my Mixing Engineer's Handbook. According to Andy, "Listen to “When the Levee Breaks” (from Led Zeppelin IV). That was me putting two (Beyer) M160s on the second floor with no other microphones at all because I wanted to get John Bonham the way he actually sounded. And it worked!"

So don't be afraid to experiment and remember many times less can be more when it comes to mic technique.
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