Groove3 present Tracking Rock: Drums, their latest tutorial that focuses on the oft-regarded too complicated technique of recording live drums…
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A lthough there are now many sampled drum libraries available that enable you to take a MIDI drum performance and add in the sounds of a perfectly recorded kit, you miss out on the potential to add your own personality to the drum sound.
Of course, recording your own live drums is no mean feat, which is why Groove3 and producer/engineer Kenny Gioia have put together this 150-minute tutorial on recording rock drums.
Although the tutorial is taught in Pro Tools, the majority of the techniques demonstrated are readily transferable to any system. From the very first chapter, things are presented with the Pro Tools window in the background and superimposed video footage of the actual drum kit, room and recording equipment on top. This works really well, as we can see each drum being struck as it’s recorded.
After an introduction filled with tips on the overall setup, we move onto five fairly long videos covering the kick, snare, toms, overheads and the room mics, with each focusing on how to get the best sound and where to place the microphones.
Gioia then tries out several mics on each drum and records them before discussing the sound and picking his favourite. Even if you don’t have a large number of mics to choose from, this is a great method as it shows a whole range of possibilities and makes it easier to judge what you’ve got. Gioia also adds a little EQ and compression to the channel at the end of each chapter to shape the sound.
Once each mic is chosen and set up, we move on to the performance, with details on how best to set up a click track and headphone mix for the drummer. We then have chapters on adding reverb and transient shaping and correcting the timing using Elastic Pitch and Beat Detective. The final two chapters look at adding several layers of kick and snare samples to subtly support the beat.
We found this tutorial extremely easy to follow, and the extensive A/B comparisons of each decision really help you to understand what’s going on. Everything is very well structured and laid-out, and each chapter moves logically through the process of setting up and recording a kit.