Rush Moving Pictures album snare drum sound

Sticks Of Fury

Senior Member
Hello Dudes!
I just wanna say that I've always thought that the snare drum sounded funny on "Moving Pictures". The rest of the drums sound fantastic along with everything else on the album(bass guitar, guitar, keyboards etc.). The snare just sounds funny to me. It doesn't have enough snap or pop or something, like its lacking high end. Like there's too much mids. Peart's snare sounded better on Rush's next album "Signals"(1982). On Signals it sounded more real or something. It had a nice natural crack and pop. My friend said that Peart's snare sound on M.P. sounded like it was tuned up high like a jazz fusion snare or something. I don't know too much about tuning and whatnot, so could somebody give me feedback or opinions on my post or about that particular snare sound or if the producer of the album put some effect on it? Or maybe I'm just an idiot. Well, I already know I'm an idiot. Take care dudes.
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
Interesting observation and an accurate one to my ears.

When I read your post, my first reaction was that I did not agree with you. Overall I like the Moving Pictures album better than Signals and always thought it had great drum sounds. But just now, I quickly listened parts of both albums and I agree with your assessment. The snare sound on Signals is richer and captured more in detail. Rest of the drums in Moving Pictures, like you said, sound fantastic, but the snare drum does have a muted quality.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Didn't he use Evans hydraulic heads a lot back then? I never understood the appeal of those heads.
According to Neil in the Moving Pictures tourbook (quoted by Andy Olson on his Neil Peart Page), "I use Remo clear dots on my snare and bass drums, Ludwig silver dots on the concert toms, and Evans Looking Glass (top), and Blue Hydraulic (bottom) on the closed toms. Clear Remos are used on the timbales and gong bass drums. Ludwig pedals, Slingerland hi-hat, Tama hardware, and Pro-Mark 747 drumsticks are the final details."
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Someone posted the isolated drum track for Tom Sawyer here a few months ago. My reaction was that the drum sound was almost startling. Not at all what I expected to hear. They sound so much different in the context of the rest of the music. On their own, the gating and tuning is extreme and it's hard to believe the difference.

I'm too lazy to search the forum but I bet you can find it.

I was coming from a different headspace back then, but I thought Moving Pictures had the best drum sound Neil ever got. My tastes run different nowadays, but for a young guy with a need to hear over-the-top drumming and hero fills, that sound captured Neil perfectly at the time, I thought.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
The heads used quote is right (I have that tourbook).
Have you seen the old Slingerland kit pics with those Evans Rock heads with felt strips on the toms! Holy cow! Check out the inside of ATWAS. That'd be pretty crazy dead sounding.

The CS heads are tricky sometimes. They can sound awesome, but it's easy for that head to sound flat and "plapp-y", or get a "splat".
Yeah, the snare sound is pretty flat on MP, but it's kind of a "that's the sound", and I never thought much about it. The sound on Signals is more up front. I like the way the drums sound on Exit S.L. Very warm and fat, but cutting. That's a pretty "comfortable" album to listen to I think.

The Clear dot heads sound a lot more soft, almost a rubbery sound to them compared to the Black (dot) material.
Add that to a probably pretty round (probably un-precise) edged 8 lug snare, with snare wires, tuning, mic placement more organic, with a "that sounds good" vibe, instead of the digital, pro-tools everything has to be "perfect sounding" with major separation of each piece (instead of the kit being ONE INSTRUMENT) we are used to today, people can tend to be more critical about the sound of something.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
The heads used quote is right (I have that tourbook).
Have you seen the old Slingerland kit pics with those Evans Rock heads with felt strips on the toms! Holy cow! Check out the inside of ATWAS. That'd be pretty crazy dead sounding.

The CS heads are tricky sometimes. They can sound awesome, but it's easy for that head to sound flat and "plapp-y", or get a "splat".
Yeah, the snare sound is pretty flat on MP, but it's kind of a "that's the sound", and I never thought much about it. The sound on Signals is more up front. I like the way the drums sound on Exit S.L. Very warm and fat, but cutting. That's a pretty "comfortable" album to listen to I think.

The Clear dot heads sound a lot more soft, almost a rubbery sound to them compared to the Black (dot) material.
Add that to a probably pretty round (probably un-precise) edged 8 lug snare, with snare wires, tuning, mic placement more organic, with a "that sounds good" vibe, instead of the digital, pro-tools everything has to be "perfect sounding" with major separation of each piece (instead of the kit being ONE INSTRUMENT) we are used to today, people can tend to be more critical about the sound of something.
And lest we forget, Signals was also the first album in the 80's reinvention phase. The boys were probably changing more than just influences and song structure. The heads changed slightly for the next album: "There are Remo Clear Dot heads on the snare and bass drums, Evans Heavy Duty Rock on all the toms and the gong bass drums, and Evans Tom-Tom models on the bottoms of the closed toms. These are all non-Hydraulic heads. I use clear Remos on the timbales." Beyond that, I'm sure they were doing some other things slightly differently in the studio, such as mic placement, levels, processing, etc. We all know what a bit too much on that slider or this dial can do to an otherwise great-sounding snare...
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Neil used a vintage Slingerland Artist model snare up until his endorsment of DW .The drum went through several refinishing remodels and possibly a reconfiguration of the bearing edges.

Those artist models were made in 3 ply mahogany(sometimes maple)/poplar/mahogany or steam bent 1 ply maple.Both shell types used re rings and the zoomatic strainer.

Since drumheads contribute a great deal to the sound,using hydrolic heads for resos would be akin to just covering the head with duct tape.

Steve B
 
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