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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drum Prep Checklist

Sad Snare image
The drums are the heartbeat of any recording and the secret to a great drum sound that anchors the song is the drums themselves. Here's a quick checklist from my The Recording Engineer's Handbook 3rd edition that will help you get a great acoustic drum sound in the room.

"Now that we’ve looked more closely at what it takes to make a drum kit sound great, here’s a simple checklist to follow before you set up any mics.
  • Have the heads on all the drums been changed? Be sure to change at least the top heads before recording
  • Have the drums been tuned? Are they tuned to work with the other drums in the kit?
  • Are there any sympathetic vibrations occurring? Tune the drums so that any drum that’s hit does not cause another to ring.
  • Is there an unwanted ring? Suppress it with tape, a muffling ring, or MoonGel.
  • Is the hardware quiet? Spray with a lubricant like WD-40 if not.
  • Is the level of the cymbals all the same? Balance the level with lighter or heavier cymbals as needed.
  • Is there another snare drum available? A song may call for a different snare drum sound."
If you follow the above checklist, you'll find that your drums will sound so much better before you even place the mics.

To read additional excerpts from The Recording Engineer's Handbook and my other books, go to the excerpts section of

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