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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jesus, Mic the Drums

posted by on August 30 at 11:30 AM

God is good, gear is great.

Here’s a two-minute drill with Gary Reynolds at Electrokitty Studio setting up mics to record drums. The kit is simple: Ludwig kick, brass Pearl snare, and Zildjian hi-hats.

Gary gets hyper corduroy on the snare and he hates hi-hat mics. His placement and touch are expert. He’s like a really good dentist. He comes in, gets good drum sounds, and you’re onto recording. Just like a dentist comes in, bangs out the cleaning and is onto their afternoon round of golf.

Mic Selection:

Snare - 441 hyper-cardioid
Kick drum - RE-20 and a 47
Hi-hats - 451
Overhead - U-47
Room – U-87’s, pair of ribbons

Carrie Underwood recorded her vocals for “Jesus, Take the Wheel” at Electrokitty. Her picture and gazillion copy selling record hang in the lounge. I don’t know how I feel about her using Jesus’ name in the title of her song.

RSS icon Comments


I'm confused. If he hates hi-hat mics, why did he use one? Actually, just why did he use one? Hi-hat is pretty much one of those things that you end up trying to get less of from all the other mics, in my experience. Giving it its own mic seems like asking for trouble.

Now that I think about it, I guess that helps explain why Stewart Copeland just played hi-hat on (I think) "Red Rain." If you record the hi-hat totally separately, no bleed worries. And if you're going to record the hi-hat separately, who better to finesse it than Stewart Copeland?

Posted by Levislade | August 30, 2007 11:53 AM

Hi Levislade,

He used a hi-hat mic because the kit was just kick, snare, and hi-hat. The hi-hat sound is pretty integral to the session that was being recorded.

There will be plenty of hi-hat in the room mics, but he wanted the option of giving the hats their own mic. You know, just to have it in case.

Posted by trent moorman | August 30, 2007 12:01 PM

Word. I probably should have watched the video first (although I was still a bit confused after I did). Thanks for the clarification.

Hi-hats are definitely tricky. I recently read a letter to TapeOp from J. Robbins - a seasoned rock recordist - looking for tips on that very subject.

Posted by Levislade | August 30, 2007 12:07 PM

I will have to look that article up from J. Robbins. Do you have a link? Or a summary for me??

Posted by trent moorman | August 30, 2007 12:14 PM

Well, it was in the letters section. I don't think they put their content online, but I could go try and find it at home and scan it or something? I just remember he was having issues with hi-hat bleed, particularly with drummers who overplay their hi-hats, and looking for ideas. It was a while ago, though, but I think that was the gist.

If I remember I'll look for it tonight.

Posted by Levislade | August 30, 2007 12:23 PM

Yes. Give me gear, and bread. And wine. And gear.

Posted by Monty | August 30, 2007 2:42 PM

Stewart Copeland's hi-hat on "Red Rain" was overdubbed above Jerry Moratta's excellent drum track. It should be noted that to play hi-hats well (like Copeland, Manu Katche, etc.) requires a good amount of hand control and attention to dynamics. As a drummer, it's something to be extra-senstive to when recording.

Posted by hanphenlang | August 30, 2007 4:30 PM


I don't know if you'll read this, but I scanned the tapeop thing (all four pages!) and e-mailed it to jz. If you can pull my e-mail off these posts you can drop me a line, too.

Posted by Levislade | August 31, 2007 8:30 AM

Trent, I think the stranger should just have you write the becoming a Seattle muscians for becoming Seattle muscians. As always, greatness in your blog,

Posted by tante | August 31, 2007 9:47 AM

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