Preparing drums for the studio

I have seen a few threads on how to mentally prepare for a studio session (practice with metronome, know the stuff inside and out, arrive early, etc).

I am going into the studio to record with a band that I play with from time to time. I'm wondering if there are any tips you have for getting my drums ready. I have a few questions to start:

-should I put new heads on my set? The ones I have are pretty used (maybe 4 months), but still have life left in them, cost is no issue if I "should" get new heads.

-does the studio tune your drums? I would say I'm a mediocre tuner, not bad, not great. Part of me is a little worried that I am going to put new heads on, and screw up the tunings horribly.

-what other things should I keep in mind? I typically use two main crashes: a 14" A Custom and 16" A Custom. Would you recommend bigger cymbals?

-finally: Snare drum--every one seems to have an opinion on snare drums in a studio setting. I personally keep my snares pretty tight (I typically play ska and punk, but that's not what this session is for). How much can an engineer do to make a snare drum sound good and appropriate? Because I tend to keep my snares tight, looser tensions don't sound great to me. In a way, "I wouldn't know what a good loosely tuned snare sounds like". Sounds weird, but it's kind of true.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I have seen a few threads on how to mentally prepare for a studio session (practice with metronome, know the stuff inside and out, arrive early, etc).

I am going into the studio to record with a band that I play with from time to time. I'm wondering if there are any tips you have for getting my drums ready. I have a few questions to start:

-should I put new heads on my set? The ones I have are pretty used (maybe 4 months), but still have life left in them, cost is no issue if I "should" get new heads.

Yes. Stretch / tune / stretch tune and they should be sounding their best

-does the studio tune your drums? I would say I'm a mediocre tuner, not bad, not great. Part of me is a little worried that I am going to put new heads on, and screw up the tunings horribly.

Not typically. If the session has the budget some will hire a drum tech. Others provide a house kit.

-what other things should I keep in mind? I typically use two main crashes: a 14" A Custom and 16" A Custom. Would you recommend bigger cymbals?

Smaller cymbals actually work better in the studio. They tend to be a bit quieter and they speak and get out of the way

-finally: Snare drum--every one seems to have an opinion on snare drums in a studio setting. I personally keep my snares pretty tight (I typically play ska and punk, but that's not what this session is for). How much can an engineer do to make a snare drum sound good and appropriate? Because I tend to keep my snares tight, looser tensions don't sound great to me. In a way, "I wouldn't know what a good loosely tuned snare sounds like". Sounds weird, but it's kind of true.
Tune the drum appropriately. Bring several drums with some various tunings to see what works on each tune
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
-finally: Snare drum--every one seems to have an opinion on snare drums in a studio setting. I personally keep my snares pretty tight (I typically play ska and punk, but that's not what this session is for). How much can an engineer do to make a snare drum sound good and appropriate? Because I tend to keep my snares tight, looser tensions don't sound great to me. In a way, "I wouldn't know what a good loosely tuned snare sounds like". Sounds weird, but it's kind of true.
well do you need to tune your snare differently?
 
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