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ShowMedia Studio Session JAN 2017: Drums

Posted 8/7/2017

By Bonning

 

As everything was settled for the recording of the album, we were at the same time looking for a new place to rehearse. That’s when my old buddy Chris told me they might have room for KU in their local at Showmedia studio. A place that I knew well, since he and I jammed there a few times. Good isolation, the kind of place we’ve been looking for. We moved there in November.

 

Our first jam was great. And the acoustics of the room made us change our plans, the drums would be recorded there, not at Tiri-bonni. This was not our last surprise, since our roommate Eric gently offered us to use all of his recording material that was already there. Needless to say that all that was planned during preprod was revised.

 

We agreed to start the recording early 2017, before going back to work after the holidays. As Pépine only joined the band a few weeks ago, it would give us and him time to ajust. Each jam brought us closer to the beginning of the recording.

 

A week or two before we started, I received an order of drum heads. I changed everything but the kick. I like the sound of Ambassador coated heads on my Ayotte set.

 

 

With a freshly tuned and set up kit, we started recording with a ton of material that we were not supposed to have. It allowed us to make a lot of tests to choose from.

 

So January 4, 2017, me and Ted went to our studio for what was gonna be a long day of work. Our mission: drums trackin. Considering the mic set-up that we had planned at the beginning, we were able to pimp the kick, snare, hihats and overheads.

 

Drum Setup

  Drum  

 Mic

 Position

 Phantom

 Interface

  Hihat

 E614

  5 cm over

X

 Tascam US-2000

  Overhead X2

 X1R

  130 cm from center of snare on both sides

X

 Tascam US-2000

  Snare Top

 E604

  Clipped on Rim

 

 Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

  Snare Bottom

 E604

  Clipped on Rim

 

 Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

  Kick

 E602-II

  Inside in front of the beater

 

 Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

  Kick

 Beta 52A

  Front of batter

 

 Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

  Tom 1

 PDKM7-B

  Clipped on Rim

 

 Tascam US-2000

  Tom 2

 PDKM7-B

  Clipped on Rim

 

 Tascam US-2000

  Floor 1

 PDKM7-B

  Clipped on Rim

 

 Tascam US-2000

  Floor 2

 PDKM7-B

  Clipped on Rim

 

 Tascam US-2000

 

 

My Tascam US-2000 interface might have 16 inputs, but there are only 8 preamps. So I also used Willows interface for the kicks and snare mics (2 each). The cool part is that each input has its own compressor. But the output is in S/PDIF and my laptop does not have that kind of input. As every input has its own output, I hooked them into the US-2000 in the channels that had no preamp. In the end, every connections go through the US-2000 and then sent to my laptop via USB cable. Yep, USB! The US-2000 is a great interface and my laptop can take some and then some more.

 

 

 

So we ended up with 11 tracks for the drums, recorded with Tracktion 5, a free software perfect for our situation. The challenge We decided to record everything individually. Meaning I played every song with a click track. The studio configuration didn’t allow us to record all together, without having a lot of bleeding in the mics to deal with. We wanted a clean sound so we could have fun mixing it without having to use compressors, limiters, gates and what not to isolate every track. So, we arrived at the studio at 9:00 a.m.

 

 

While Ted was setting up mics around the drum kit, I would hook the cables into the interface and configuring tracks in the software. I already configured the click track I would use for every song. Soundcheck started at 10:15 and around 11:00, we started recording.

 

 

From then on, Ted pushes the buttons, and I hit the cans. 

 

 

Around noon, Headache was done, and our friend Eric Williams came in for a visit.  He helped us a lot during the recording, not only because he provided a lot of mics and stuff, but he also helped us setting them up properly.  If you listen closely, you will hear a slight sound difference of the cymbals on Headache.

Guest what, overhead mics must be placed in a certain way…  First lesson I got from this: KNOW YOUR GEAR!

Anyways, the track was nearly perfect and we did not have a whole lot of time,  so we’ve decided to keep it like that and to learn from our mistakes.  The challenge was still there to record the other five songs before calling it a day.  We have great roommates at the studio, and it was already discussed that the studio would be back to normal when we would leave.  It is almost impossible to reset all mics at the same place the next day or week.  So we had to do it all the same day.

And we did.  It was hard and painful for what I am concerned.  Being a perfectionist, getting a perfect track without using triggers, it’s not always a one taker.  As much as we wanted to do everything quickly, but everything has a limit.  I felt like i had run two marathons, sprinting.

 

Conclusion of the day

 

In 13 hours of work, we took about 2 hours to setup everything and then replace everything, maybe two hours of break and lunch, and the rest of the time, I was hitting on my kit.  The day ended up with two extenuated buddies, but also two satisfied buddies.  We finally started the recording, and the table was set for the rest.

Next time, we will try to take more time, maybe a few days.  It should be less stressful and a good night of sleep before going back with the exact same setup will be helpful.

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