"Recording Heavy Drums" tutorial by Glenn Fricker

Acidline303

Senior Member
Indeed. Shock, cringe, and pseudo-sarcastic humor don't come naturally to a lot of us. This guy is just doing a shock-blowhard routine like Rush Limbaugh. Boomy voice, tell people they're idiots, employ fallacies to promote controversy.
I think you had mentioned Penn Jillete, which is pretty spot on to the character this guy portrays.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I think you guys might be missing the humor and take-with-a-pound-of-salt aspect to all of his videos.

That said, it's not abnormal at all for engineers to ask you to move your cymbals or other parts of your kit around to combat leakage or attain a sound you/they are going for. Especially people who play EVERYTHING far below eye level. In fact, I'd worry more about a guy who simply throws mics up and doesn't get finicky about anything going on with the kit.

Remember they are performing in a sense too, and there is a balance between your regular routines and the demands of a studios clinical environment you should be open to achieving.

As someone who has sat on both sides of the glass, I understand some of the stuff he's ranting about.
True but he forgot a lot of stuff

He forgot to OIL THE F#$%ING PEDALS

and hearing the sample at the end..

He forgot to TURN DOWN THE F#$%ING REVERB
He forgot to TURN ON THE F#$%ING SPOT MICS
He forgot to MAKE THE DRUMS NOT SOUND LIKE $H1T

His advice on throne height is just wrong. Every qualified instructor I have ever worked would correct being that high right up front.

He intertwines a few correct items surrounded by a lot of nonsense
 

Lorendrums

Junior Member
I can't remember registering to this forum, but apparently I already did.

Anyhow my perspective as someone who records drummers:

1. I don't harp on throne hight. Play how you like, but don't hit the kick like a wimp on a metal record.

2. Angles and locations of kit pieces. Yeah he isn't wrong here. There are real world limitations of what I need in a setup to get mics on it. For example I've had drummer lower their ride cymbal all the way down to less than 3" from the rim of the floor tom. Well the reality is 3" is never gonna fly for mic clearance, especially if you ever get that thing swinging. Same goes for crashes/chinas and rack toms, there has to be room for mics.

In reference to what he said directly, I use a regular 57 on the snare and from drum to back of the mic I need at minimum 10" of clearance between the hats and the snare. If that can't be accommodated (as it's a reasonable request) then maybe don't record. I want it right under the hats for the most amount of rejection I can get because the more you compress a snare to get that smack sound everyone likes, the more that high hat is also going to come up with it if it bleeds to much.

3. Yeah I don't know about the blast beats. I've never had anyone do them that well in my presence. lol

4. My experience with seasoned players is that they are much more accommodating to the process than guys stuck in their ways. So who knows, Vinnie Paul might actually accommodate an engineer trying to get mics on his kit by just moving a cymbal a few inches.

5. My other experience with seasoned players is not only can they play to a click track, but they swear by it. Do I make everyone do it? No, but I would recommend it especially if you ever want to farm yourself out for studio work. I'm a very mediocre drummer, but I can very comfortably (and accurately) play to a metronome.

6. I'm not a real fan of the ambience he uses on that sample either. I think if he dried everything up I probably would though.

Anyhow here is a video of myself recording Sal Giancarelli (obviously nothing Staind related) at a local studio. I can tell you he didn't have any problem with me asking him to move things a little to get mics on the kit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j9DUSOsq1c

Of course these are just my opinions, YMMV of course.
 

dtrushr30dw

Senior Member
Glenn contacted me on Facebook this morning (we've been Facebook friends for a few weeks). He's a really down-to-earth guy, just to set the record straight. He said that the shouting is for entertainment, and I get the feeling that he does go for shock-value. He actually took the time to check out my youtube channel before contacting me, and he only had positive things to say. He also asked several questions regarding my gear and technique.

My point being that he is a nice guy, he's open-minded (even if his personality on youtube doesn't reflect that), and he answered my questions. Even though I don't agree will all of his techniques/opinions on mixing/recording drums, he was really cool to talk to and we're having an on-going conversation about drum production.

He likes the old-school mixes and drum sounds. I will admit, he has the big, aggressive 80's *metal* drum sound down. However, I think most of us drummers have moved away from that and now think of it as dated. And with that, when we hear drum mixes like his, we think "oh that sounds like butt" (to quote myself from earlier) because we have moved away from that sound. Of course, we all have varying opinions and what one person likes, another hates.

My key problem with the video though, is the advice he gives for setting up the kit with higher cymbals and throne. To me, it only makes the kit harder to play. When he answered my question on this, he said that he emphasized it in the video to get his point across. He wants to capture a powerful performance and keep the mic bleed to a minimum. He also mentioned the number of kits that he has seen that are so poorly set up that they're a nightmare to record. However, I think there's a limit to how much you can expect a drummer to change their kit for recording - especially a seasoned musician.

It was nice to hear from him and get things straightened out. He's a nice guy, so I didn't want this thread to leave a bad taste in your mouth, regarding Glenn. If you're a guitarist, he has some videos that really are helpful for shaping tones and mixes. I just don't entirely agree with his drum recording philosophy.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There are many different approaches to recording drums. I for one don't like the close micing. I like mic bleed, it sounds natural. A drummer needs to be able to mix their own balances though if the mics are backed off a few feet. A sound engineer who goes right to micing drums without first hearing the band and the style of music, and the drummers abilities, to me is putting the cart before the horse.

If I was a soundman, I'd pride myself into altering my techniques to best capture the individual visions of the band. I would start by asking if the drummer had any preferences about micing the kit, close or far.

Like a one approach fits all...no way. That's like me playing any song I do in a rock style for instance. It would make me want to ridicule the sound guy. Like really, you only know of one way to mic a drumset? Really? That's the best you can do? I feel it's the soundman's job to realize the vision of the band. Not the other way around for Pete's sake.

Of course you can't say that, but I would definitely be thinking that.
 

JacobDB

Member
From a drummers perspective, the engineer really needs to be able to work around the most comfortable set up for the drummer that is recording. There's no point in changing things because ultimately it would affect the playing which affects the sound as so many of you have mentioned.

However; from an engineer's perspective, less seasoned drummers can have some whacky set ups that may be comfortable for them but make absolutely no sense to anyone else. A lot of drummers (including myself) make the mistake of learning and keeping bad habits. I know for metal and heavier recordings, it does suck to have the cymbals right on top of the drums. As an engineer, it drives me crazy when I set up close mics and the drummer can't hit the middle of the drum and ends up hitting the mic and causing damage to MY mics or at least ruins the take. I've had to recommend to several drummers to lift their seats up because you could just watch them strugge to reach things or actually have power and control of their pedals. Not every drummer has perfect knowledge and technique.

I do agree with Larry on a lot of points. It's really up to the band's vision on how things should be recorded and that should be the first thing discussed. I also refuse to record anyone until I hear the songs either on rough demos by the band or watching them perform the songs. I also love more room mics for a more natural feel, but different projects require different things.
 

Lorendrums

Junior Member
Except he has titled the video how to record heavy drums. As an engineer I would refuse to work with a metal guy who didn't want to close mic his kit.

Why? Because later he is going to be pissed that I didn't get his kit to sound like they were hoping. Which is that in your face snare, kick and toms. From experience it would end in frustration for the both of us.

In general, the approach he takes with mics is gonna fit 90% of the metal genres out there.
 
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Lorendrums

Junior Member
I do agree with Larry on a lot of points. It's really up to the band's vision on how things should be recorded and that should be the first thing discussed. I also refuse to record anyone until I hear the songs either on rough demos by the band or watching them perform the songs. I also love more room mics for a more natural feel, but different projects require different things.

I agree with this, but I would add the expectations need to be real. If you want you snare to smack, I need a close mic 57. In order to get a close mic 57 I might need you to raise the hats a couple inches. If you want your guitars to have note definition without bees sneaking in I may ask that the gain be turned down. If you want the bass to "clank" then I need you to go get new bass strings before we record. The most important aspect of recording is the quality of the performance and the source. Mics, pres, compressors and all that other eye candy doesn't change the fact that crap in will always yield crap out results.

Most of all though, pick a guy who you feel is going to have your best interests in mind. Musicians are usually only concerned with performance. I'm usually in the mind set of how things are going to fit together in the end and in some cases that might require a request to change something you are used to doing.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
From a drummers perspective, the engineer really needs to be able to work around the most comfortable set up for the drummer that is recording. There's no point in changing things because ultimately it would affect the playing which affects the sound as so many of you have mentioned.

.
I have to disagree with this. When I upgraded my room to accommodate more inputs I had to raise the cymbals up over a foot to make room for tom mics. The hats went up 3-4 inches and the rided got moved as well. It was a non event. I love a tight, compact kit setup but I never even gave it a second thought in terms of playability. Making room for the mics and stands was much more difficult than adjusting to the setup changes
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
There are many different approaches to recording drums. I for one don't like the close micing. I like mic bleed, it sounds natural. A drummer needs to be able to mix their own balances though if the mics are backed off a few feet. A sound engineer who goes right to micing drums without first hearing the band and the style of music, and the drummers abilities, to me is putting the cart before the horse.

If I was a soundman, I'd pride myself into altering my techniques to best capture the individual visions of the band. I would start by asking if the drummer had any preferences about micing the kit, close or far.

Like a one approach fits all...no way. That's like me playing any song I do in a rock style for instance. It would make me want to ridicule the sound guy. Like really, you only know of one way to mic a drumset? Really? That's the best you can do? I feel it's the soundman's job to realize the vision of the band. Not the other way around for Pete's sake.

Of course you can't say that, but I would definitely be thinking that.
In the context of "metal" that we are discussing though, the idea of distant / minimal micing etc are just not an option. They are not capable of achieving the sounds of the genre. You actually look like a rookie suggesting it when you know going in its a metal project
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
In the context of "metal" that we are discussing though, the idea of distant / minimal micing etc are just not an option.
I get what you're saying. If you were to take a metal band, and mic it to capture the ambient sound, it wouldn't sound like the factory-produced metal we've pushed on kids for the last decade.

Understand that this wasn't always the case, and I find the alternative highly desirable.

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBv7EPJi03o

(Admit it, you thought it was strange when you first started listening, but you can't stop)
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
What a clown. Who could play rimshots on blast beats? Maybe up to around 220 bpm or so, but past that point you need to use the rebound from the snare drum. He claims to be the worst drummer in the world and then proceeds to tell you how to set up your kit. A lot of presumptuous hooey and bogus explanations going on there. People like that presume that if something works for one person then it works for everyone.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I get what you're saying. If you were to take a metal band, and mic it to capture the ambient sound, it wouldn't sound like the factory-produced metal we've pushed on kids for the last decade.

Understand that this wasn't always the case, and I find the alternative highly desirable.

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBv7EPJi03o

(Admit it, you thought it was strange when you first started listening, but you can't stop)
The music in that link that i had time to listen to isn't really metal by modern definitions. Its a lot closer to Black Sabbath than modern metal.

Not my taste but, these are examples of modern metal bands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=482tDopNzoc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qoZXKHsHrs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFfrthBpqQA
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
This guy has a lot more going on than most people here want to give credit for. In a thread regarding Lars Ulrich recording And Justice For All an article (obscure and unsubstantiated) claimed that producer Fleming Rasmussen insisted that Lars hit the drums as hard as he could. That Lars played so hard he could not play the songs in one take and therefore had to punch edit every song. Also that the drum heads needed to be replaced between every take because of the hard hitting. Everyone on this forum that responded seemed to think that sounded plausible (by everyone I mean some of you, you know who you are). To the "if I were an engineer" guys, you're not engineers, so how would you know what you "would do" if you were. That's like saying I'm not a doctor but I'd treat it this way. To all the "i don't like close mic recording" guys, you do you not have any idea how many mics are on recordings. You seem to think there is a rule of one mic per drum in close recording, as opposed to a couple mics for a roomy sound, and that's it. Truth is, there are stereo overhead, stereo close, stereo mid, stereo far, ride, HH, snare over, snare under, toms, and kick. Approximately sixteen mics on a five piece drum set. That allows you to make sounds that range from up close and personal to far out and ambient by simply mixing certain mics more in or more out. Allowing from Ringo or Motown to Bonham, from Nirvana to Jet, Soundgarden to Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica to Clutch. This guy is pretty spot on except for some of his mic choices, still overall very good. He didn't say put the snare in one room and the kick in another. Just position them for micing as "much as possible". A lot of guys don't have a clue what goes on in a studio when the fact is that it's both way less and way more than most imagine. Some are thinking that they would be arguing with the engineer about mic placement rather than shitting in their pants thinking "oh my god if we don't nail this I'm gonna be back working at f@!$ing Guitar Center". Not mention the money we're out if this doesn't work, or money you might owe back to investors or a record company. Sorry for the rant, but that vid isn't the stupidest thing I've seen on this thread.
 

JacobDB

Member
I have to disagree with this. When I upgraded my room to accommodate more inputs I had to raise the cymbals up over a foot to make room for tom mics. The hats went up 3-4 inches and the rided got moved as well. It was a non event. I love a tight, compact kit setup but I never even gave it a second thought in terms of playability. Making room for the mics and stands was much more difficult than adjusting to the setup changes
To a certain extent. If you're a good drummer that knows what they're doing and have recorded more than a few times, you should already have that room in your set up. I personally practice with mics already set up and attached to the kit because we demo songs all the time. There's a comfort factor along with the engineer's practical factor. It's not a black and white discussion. As a drummer, you really have to be confident and comfortable enough to work with the engineer to get the right set up.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
This may be beyond the scope of the video, but I wonder how disco drummers record? I get the problem of phasing between the snare and hat. I generally like the sound of an open kit with cymbals spread, even just acoustically. However, many of my grooves when not playing double bass involve left hand hihat chirps.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
To a certain extent. If you're a good drummer that knows what they're doing and have recorded more than a few times, you should already have that room in your set up. I personally practice with mics already set up and attached to the kit because we demo songs all the time. There's a comfort factor along with the engineer's practical factor. It's not a black and white discussion. As a drummer, you really have to be confident and comfortable enough to work with the engineer to get the right set up.
I had recorded for years with a 3 Mic set up that benefited from a tightly configured kit so that's what I did. I expanded and adjusted accordingly. I have had my own recording space for years. I don't need a lecture on experience and adapting to a session. I know all about it
 
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