Recording drums is still very much a heavily talked about subject across the professional circuit, hobbyists and musicians alike. And yet, it still retains the stigma of being a ‘dark art’, with hours of Internet content, videos and forum posts looking for the ‘secret sauce’ that’s missing from their recordings. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t fall into that category!
We’re all guilty of pointing the finger elsewhere, and this blame transference happens all too quickly in our opinion. “I need a better preamp”, “I need better microphones” or “I need better room acoustics”. As much as these observations do have an element of truth in them, they are not the ‘secret sauce’ we all look for. Really, the only ‘ingredient’ that’s missing in our ‘sauce’ is the use of basic principles, the practice of our craft and attention to detail. Anyone can achieve professional-quality drum recordings with whatever gear they have available to them so long as they put in the time, the effort and the focus on solving the problems that come hand in hand with recording. But really this blog isn’t necessarily about just recording drums; really it’s more common recording practice that should be used when recording any instrument. It just so happens that Drums is a pretty encompassing example to use to demonstrate them with!
Anyone can achieve professional-quality drum recordings with whatever gear they have available to them so long as they put in the time, the effort and the focus on solving the problems that come hand in hand with recording
So in that sense, the missing ingredient in our ‘secret sauce’ is you, the engineer. Despite being primed with a trained ear and the capability to solve problems we face, we’re all guilty of opting straight for the easy option. “Fix it in the mix” or “we’ll just sample replace” come to mind! With music being an art form, is carbon-copying the trend really an art form anymore? Each of the ‘household’ names in the audio engineering world have their own unique sound which makes their recordings entirely individual to them. So unless you’re willing to solve the problems you encounter yourself, how are we supposed to create what could be the ‘next’ drum recording technique? Ask yourself, what is your ‘audio signature’?
All questions we hope you’ll be able to answer yourself, once you approach recording with a slightly different mindset.