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 Forum index » How-tos » Production - engineering/mixing
How 70s drumsets were recorded
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opg



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: How 70s drumsets were recorded Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So, I haven't quite figured out how to replicate this. From what I've read, miking each individual drum was started in the 1970s (or late 60s). But like all new technology, it was at first heavily exploited. In the 50s and into the 60s, they would often use spring reverb to give the drums a sense of space and liven them up. When they started miking each drum, they must have been so amazed at the newfound closeness that they figured the drums could stand up by themselves, without reverb. But, after being exposed to music in the 80s (when digital reverb and other effects were exploited), the drums in the 70s have a very DEAD quality to them. Now, I'm sure the mikes picked up some room reverb, but from what I've read, they did a lot of recording in iso-booths or what have you.

Is there more to it than this? I just listened to those Moog funk songs at Musicthing, and they all have the same drumset sound. Another song I like with that dead sound is "Green-Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf. In fact, it seems the "lower-budget" the song is, the more it has this sound. You know - unpopular instrumentals, TV theme songs and kid's shows (Sesame Street), etc.

It's the toms that give it away the most - that flat, dead sound. I like the snares with this recording setup because all the hits sound like ghost notes. The best funk music is made with this setup, I believe.

I'm sure there's more - recording onto tape, the machine used for compression/limiting, etc. - but I just wanted to get your thoughts.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

AFAIK there was not one particular 70s way of recording drums. It all depends. As for reverb, plates were in fashion too back then. They still are. What you can do is to look into some of the SOS articles re how classic albums were recorded. Click here. Look for subject titles that have a 70s ring to them.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Muffling of skins and single head drums were very popular back then as well. Today, most drumkits have 2 heads (top & bottom). This goes a long way to creating resonant, ringing drums. Single head drums have a more "open" & big sound when not muffled (ala Genesis / Phil Collins). But when muffled, they don't have that second head to resonate with, and loose a lot of their energy very quickly.

Muffling can be done with a piece of duct tape, or tape that's been folded back on itself several times so it has "fins" to absorb energy, taping cloth or felt to the head, or even taking a used head, cutting a ring out of it, and placing that ring on the drum. One of my favorite snare sounds is to just throw a rag over the top head.. it has a very explosive sound when miked closely, almost like it's been WAY over compressed (works well with loose snares).
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paul e.



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

getting a very dry sound on a drum kit is a big challenge

after trying all the usual stuff , i was not satisfied with my latest attempts to get that dead sound [altho it was a decent, useable result]

so two things left to try is the iso-booth option or, and some drummers will cringe, getting the drummer to play a V-drumset or somesuch and trigger dry sounding samples

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opg



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've tried to sample songs to get individual drum hits, but I haven't found a song yet with a drum fill that's not a roundhouse fill on the toms. Like on "Green-eyed Lady," it sounds like he's playing on cardboard boxes!
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paul e.



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:
... it sounds like he's playing on cardboard boxes!


now, that might not be a bad idea ....

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Lukeys



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I finally discovered only 2 months ago that I had to use drum muffles to obtain that great late 70s snare sound I love so much!

Beside Muffling, try to learn how to use Eq
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