Neil Peart's sound

Drumlove65

Senior Member
Neil should dust off his Tama Granstar kit since nothing I've heard from his DW kit sounds/resonates like those 80's albums from Permanent Waves through Signals. I've tried to muster some level f respect for DW since the company has many respected artists/endorsers but my ears simply hear thud after thud from any kit I've tried or have heard others play.

I'm curios to discover what others think about Neil's current sound and also what others think about the "endorsement" phenomena.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Endorsements are mostly nonsense from a consumer's point-of-view. It's a business relationship between a drummer and a brand, and it's about being pragmatic. A big-name drummer who goes on tours all over the world needs a company with a global presence who can take care of getting him gear wherever he may go.

As for the sound of DW drums, I'd base it solely on your hands-on experience with them. And I'd withhold judgment until, if it's at all possible for you to do so, you've tried different head combinations and tunings.

There are too many factors when dealing with the sounds on a record to judge the drums themselves by them. Besides head choice, tuning, playing style and post-production, there's a chance the artist isn't even using the brand he endorses in the studio! I know Neil's sound has changed, but I would attribute that more to him and his choices of all those variables than the brand.
 

NVIC

Senior Member
That's exactly 100% how I feel. Neil on DW's sound rather lifeless, thin, weak, watered down, umphless...
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Neil should dust off his Tama Granstar
Neil never once played a Tama Grandstar. So he has nothing there to dust off.

Moving Pictures was recording with a Superstar.

Signals, Grace under Pressure, and Power Windows were made with a one-off prototype of what later developed into, after significant changes, the Artstar line.

But to the point:

Drum sound on what exactly?

On recordings? Live?

Drum sounds are so much more than the drums themselves. Heads, tuning, mircophones, eq, compression, reverb, the room, and how it's mixed.

I think the difference in drum tones is far more about his changes in heads, tuning and the overall production than the drums themselves.

I also never thought of Neil's 80's drums as particularly resonate, given he used to favor those older evan's heads. And prior to that, he was fan of muffling. Compared to Steve Smith's sound on "Captured", Neil's drums are almost dead sounding.

I'd say the bigger problem with drum sounds in the last 10 or so years is he prefers to crank the heads well above where most people do, to the point the drums just choke. And then producer Nick Raskulinecz pushes the drums in the mix, which sucks the warmth out of them.
 

Drumlove65

Senior Member
Neil never once played a Tama Grandstar. So he has nothing there to dust off.

Moving Pictures was recording with a Superstar.

Signals, Grace under Pressure, and Power Windows were made with a one-off prototype of what later developed into, after significant changes, the Artstar line.

But to the point:

Drum sound on what exactly?

On recordings? Live?

Drum sounds are so much more than the drums themselves. Heads, tuning, mircophones, eq, compression, reverb, the room, and how it's mixed.

I think the difference in drum tones is far more about his changes in heads, tuning and the overall production than the drums themselves.

I also never thought of Neil's 80's drums as particularly resonate, given he used to favor those older evan's heads. And prior to that, he was fan of muffling. Compared to Steve Smith's sound on "Captured", Neil's drums are almost dead sounding.

I'd say the bigger problem with drum sounds in the last 10 or so years is he prefers to crank the heads well above where most people do, to the point the drums just choke. And then producer Nick Raskulinecz pushes the drums in the mix, which sucks the warmth out of them.

I am actually AWARE of the myriad different ways that heads and tuning and mixing can have on the over all sound of a drum but all I'm saying is that the Tama Artstar or Granstar or whatever star kit he played on those previous recordings that when he plays a fill the drums have a tonality that his current cranked up DWs don't have. And apparently at least one reviewer agrees with me.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I quite liked the sound of his DW kit on Test for Echo. I found it to be probably the most natural-sounding of any recording of his kits, and was before he starting tuning quite so high.

Probably my favorite sounding recording of his drums was the Ludwig kit on Counterparts.

I like the sound of his Tama kit a lot, but I would disagree that it is "more resonant." On the contrary, the heads he used back then were much more muffled. I liked it, though, especially on Power Windows.

Ultimately, I have to agree with the posters who say that the change in his sound has as much to do with heads, tuning, and recording/production as with the drums themselves.

It's not that I've drunk the DW KoolAid, it's just that I hear what I hear. I've played DW kits that covered a wide variety of sounds, depending on -surprise! - heads and tuning. I don't own one because I think there are better values out there.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I don't think his current setup sounds bad, but I do think they sound generic. Think the DWs sound more open and buoyant than prior setups...which can be a good thing. But for rush, that just isn't the sound I enjoy.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I am actually AWARE of the myriad different ways that heads and tuning and mixing can have on the over all sound of a drum but all I'm saying is that the Tama Artstar or Granstar or whatever star kit he played on those previous recordings that when he plays a fill the drums have a tonality that his current cranked up DWs don't have. And apparently at least one reviewer agrees with me.
I think those albums had more to do with Producer Terry Brown just really captured the band well, and blended everything to sound rather warm.

As you said " from Permanent Waves through Signals." But Waves/Moving Pictures was a different drum shell than Signals.

You didn't say through Power Windows, even though Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows was the same drum kit as Signals.

The common bond on Permeant Waves through Signals is they were all produced by Terry Brown, as were all there albums to that point.

Starting with Grace, the band began working with a variety of producers. Some of whom did well, some of whom were pretty terrible IMHO.

Two of the three albums made with a DW kit with were produced by Nick Raskulinecz, whom I think is largely responsible to sucking the life out of the drum tone. I can't even listen to Snakes and Arrows as the production on that album is just so freakin' terrible.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
You can play a cardboard box and a tin pie plate and with proper post-production sound like thunder and crackling ice.

I point the finger at the post production decisions. Something muddy this way comes.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Well, not to piss off any real Neil fans here, but has Neil Pearts' sound ever not been generic? I recall great playing on some great tunes, I don't recall ever listening and going "that drum sound just knocks me out". I think all through his career, he's been close-mic'd and EQ just like everybody else. His sound fit with the music they were making, and I think it just happened to be the generic studio drum sound developed in the 70s.

There might have been times he had more reverb or what not, but to me, his drum sounds were always kind of generic. And I don't mean that in a bad way, it sounds great for the music they made. I don't know if big and ringy would translate well to their material anyway. His snare wasn't super-low Steve Gadd mushy, but the recording techniques used weren't too different, were they?

But I really liked Vapor Trails, it sounded like the band was starting to open up and his drum sound sounded that way too. And those were on his DW's. Up until then I thought he was muffled a bit too much.
 

Drumlove65

Senior Member
Well I guess you can hit an empty cat food can and make it sound like a Sonor SQ kit with the right effects but that's just gimmicky. To my dying I'll prefer his Tama whatever the hell Star kit he played at the time and yeah when they kicked Terry Brown to the curb Neil's sound to me and my subjective ears lost something.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Well, not to piss off any real Neil fans here, but has Neil Pearts' sound ever not been generic? I recall great playing on some great tunes, I don't recall ever listening and going "that drum sound just knocks me out".

I'll have to agree totally with this. Peart has never (IMO) been a guy with a great/stand out drum sound, its just not who he is as a drummer.



Peart has a common breakfast cereal kinda drum sound, a little sweeter here n' there, but nothing noteworthy in the world of recorded pro-drummer sounds, and certainly not A list on the sound menu. He used to VIBRAFIBE all his kits, not sure if he kept that up with the DW's.
 

Drumlove65

Senior Member
I dare anyone to go back, listen to tracks from Hemisphere, Moving Pictures-listen to tracks like "Trees", "Jacob's Ladder", "Natural Science"-yes I know these examples are not all on the albums mentioned-and tell me he had a "generic" sound.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I dare anyone to go back, listen to tracks from Hemisphere, Moving Pictures-listen to tracks like "Trees", "Jacob's Ladder", "Natural Science"-yes I know these examples are not all on the albums mentioned-and tell me he had a "generic" sound.
Sound 'is' subjective, but in big picture of all things drumming, Peart is a generic sounding drummer IMO. Peart may not be trying to sound generic, its just who he is tho.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I dare anyone to go back, listen to tracks from Hemisphere, Moving Pictures-listen to tracks like "Trees", "Jacob's Ladder", "Natural Science"-yes I know these examples are not all on the albums mentioned-and tell me he had a "generic" sound.
Those albums were my favs as well, I'd spend hours listening to those too. But sorry, he had a generic sound on those. That's not a bad thing - as a band their music is recognizable as a whole. And that's more important.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Those mid-period albums had a certain clipped, staccato quality to Neil's drum sounds. Everything attacked, then got quickly out of the way, which suited his style at the time as well as the band's more progressive approach. It's not too much different than the clipped, gated sounds of most other acts at the time. Certainly if you listen to any Police record of the day, it was very similar, and that was Neil's big influence at the time.

But I don't think anyone would produce a live drum sound that way in this day and age. There's a part of me that really enjoys the less-EQ, more organic drum sounds that have really come of age in the last five years or so.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I find his playing active enough that a fairly mid-line sound envelope works best to not over-shadow the other timbres.

Big sustain...or overwhelmingly wide frequencies would be kinda messy.

I just don't like the post production from 2002 forward...but hey...everyone has different ears!
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
Two of the three albums made with a DW kit with were produced by Nick Raskulinecz, whom I think is largely responsible to sucking the life out of the drum tone. I can't even listen to Snakes and Arrows as the production on that album is just so freakin' terrible.
BINGO YAHTZEE. This is it, folks. I don't think Snakes and Arrows is nearly as bad as Clockwork Angels, which is insanely overcompressed and has this strange, awful rumbling in the low-mids. The snare is super compressed and the snare ends up sounding like somebody smacking a hollow log and I hate it. Compare it to Kevin Shirley's mixes on Counterparts and it's like night and day. (I'm a huge Kevin Shirley fan.)

For a while he had a drums-only clip of The Main Monkey Business on his website, which I don't think is there anymore, but the drums sounded huge, warm, and wonderful by themselves; too bad that doesn't always translate into the mix. I always felt that Raskulinecz should have let that beautiful room at Allaire speak with more of a voice in Snakes and Arrows.

I think the original mixes of Vapor Trails has some great drum sounds, even with the piss-poor mastering. The remixes sound artificial to me. A Work In Progress has some of my favorite drum sounds ever - it's the same straight-maple Keller-shelled kit, tuned a bit looser because the shells weren't pitched way down and made to be tuned low. Coated heads don't hurt either.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Well, not to piss off any real Neil fans here, but has Neil Pearts' sound ever not been generic? I recall great playing on some great tunes, I don't recall ever listening and going "that drum sound just knocks me out". I think all through his career, he's been close-mic'd and EQ just like everybody else. His sound fit with the music they were making, and I think it just happened to be the generic studio drum sound developed in the 70s.

There might have been times he had more reverb or what not, but to me, his drum sounds were always kind of generic. And I don't mean that in a bad way, it sounds great for the music they made. I don't know if big and ringy would translate well to their material anyway. His snare wasn't super-low Steve Gadd mushy, but the recording techniques used weren't too different, were they?
I would agree with you on this Matt. I've loved Rush for a long time and it's his playing that stands out to me not the sound of his drums. I saw them live on the Presto tour before he was playing DW, the sound was good but nothing that made you go wow, the playing on the other hand made you go wow.

His DW kit is MORE than capable of having a very open sound to them without a doubt, but doubt it would fit the music very well.
 
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