Skip to main content

Advanced Drum Production

Lesson 2 of 52

The Tone Pie and Process Overview


Advanced Drum Production

Lesson 2 of 52

The Tone Pie and Process Overview


Lesson Info

The Tone Pie and Process Overview

stock about everything that mix up a drum tone. Now that you guys know what we're gonna cover and why you should show up for three days because I'm gonna show for three days. It's talk about what I think is a really, really brilliant invention of Mr Finn. Right here is the ah tone pie, and that's basically a metaphor for a sound being comprised of a 1,000,000 different little subtleties. Basically, there's not one giant factor that goes into getting a drum sound, and this is actually true for all of recording, I think in Andrew Wade's class on guitar, you guys talked about the tone pie and how a guitar tone is a mix of pick, string player and whatever. In this case, you're talking about the player, the room, the pre AMP the my position in the performance, the sticks. There's so much to it, the heads, the tuning You can't point toe one factor and say, This is This is why why the drum sound the way they do? And this right here is a look at the tone pie and, uh, actually want to talk to y...

ou. What do you think is the most important factor in that because we have it all even right there. But it's not actually, that's arbitrary. Well, I think it's the player. Well, well, there's It's definitely the player and how consistency of you know is important, you know, because if you're hitting in a different place, you're gonna get a different sound on the drum. Player doesn't know how to tune the drum. That's a big portion of the sound. Um, but there are just so many variables, like you said, the stick, the room you're in, you know what I mean? The mic, the channel. The mike's going through What? What what signal processing it's going through. Um, yeah. I mean shell. Even the kind of hoop die cast or not die cast That's huge, you know, would tip of nylon tip. You know, hot environment, cold environment. You know what I mean? Like, it's It sounds so, um, I think the tone pie is a really good thing. It because it gives you a visual of how many different things kind of go into that? Yeah. If you actually pay attention to every single one of those elements, you're going to probably get a better tone. Yeah. I mean, obviously, uh, if you get most of those right and the player comes in and blows it, they're all gonna be shot. That's eso Really? I think the players should be half of the tone, and it's the player knowing his gear because I would never come in here with, you know, double headed resident, you know, heads on the bottoms or like power dots or, you know, for my kind of playing. I like things open or for the styles of music that I play versus you know what I'm saying? Like there's in the symbol selection. It's the same same thing, you know? I mean, you choose a certain instrument for the appropriate situation and so knowing what sound heads have and what sounds, sticks bring and all that is a big portion of that. And let me just say that I've recorded a bunch of amazing drummers, and the best drum sounds that I've got in have all come from drummers who have done their homework. And the reason that bears mentioning is because, well, number one Sean already talked about how in the nineties bands had to be a lot more prepared and that's different than nowadays. They don't have to be as prepared, but I'm going to just jump in and say they do need to be is prepared because the best drum sounds that I've ever had came from drummers who knew everything that Sean just talked about knew exactly what kind of drum they were playing, what kind of head They knew their parts inside and out, and they came in, prepared his health. That doesn't change, even though technology makes it easier to cheat. Uh, the fact that a drummer needs to know their stuff inside and out and not rely on someone like me or my colleagues. That doesn't change one bit. So do your homework and to aspiring engineers out there, I would recommend that you think like a drummer and you do your homework and learn as much as you can about the individual drums. Learn about who it is that you're recording and, ah, generally anti Trumpian idiot. That's a big one. That's the best way to put it. I think you're the reason I say that is because it would be a waste of money and a waste of time to go into a studio without knowing all this stuff. And so, like we're saying everything matters. That's Ah, it's kind of a general statement, but it's absolutely true. Besides the player, I don't think there's one factor that's any more important than any other factor you have. Teoh, have your head selection, your sticks, election drum selection symbol selection, preempt selection, microphone selection, part selection. All of that needs to be fine tuned. Uh, as, uh, Alan Dutch is the mastering guy that we use that audio hammer always says it's on accumulation of subtleties. Um, 3% here, 5% there, 7%. Their 2% there of bad decisions will accumulate and make your recording suck, whereas making a bunch of small, good decisions like like he was saying tip of the stick. What type of resonant head you've got. Hot environment, cold environment, bunch of little decisions. Any one of those alone isn't gonna kill your drum sound. But you start stacking all those on top of each other the way that a lot of amateurs do. You just end up with really crappy drum sounds. A lot of you guys record like you were saying you're living rooms with, like, four mikes or something like that. There's a lot of classic albums have been recorded that way in bedrooms, So there's no saying that just because your gear isn't some $1,000, studio that you can't get great tones. If you actually pay attention to the tone pie and ah, do your homework, you can actually get those types of tones that you hear on records. Um, gonna be definitely referring to it a lot. So just real quick. Say it's the flip side. It's the same thing for the drummer. I think that the drummer showed Luneau or get to know microphones in gear and the process of recording. Um, you know, I think that that helps the session as well, because sometimes you have amateur engineers that you know, do do things that you're just like, Whoa, wait a minute. I mean, is it not a little too close? Or shouldn't you be using this kind of mike instead of this? You know, I've run into that situation, Um, certainly live, You know, when you're venues. Um, but I always it always benefited me. And every time I went into a recording studio, I was the guy talking the engineer's head off, you know, asking questions. I just think it really helps the drummer in the whole session. If you're aware of not only your gear in your parts, but what's going on behind the glass, you know what I mean? Absolutely. I'll just back up what he's saying. Also, the best drummers I've recorded did happen. Toe also know the most about recording. Strangely enough, there's no coincidence there that the best recordings come from the most knowledgeable people. People don't just wing this stuff. It's too complicated. You can wing other other things like I know that my buddy under Glover is gonna hate me for saying this, But you can wing base a lot more than you can wing drums. It's true. You can, even though bases the, um, is the hidden weapon. And most mixes. Uh, there's some quick workarounds for bad base, whereas the workarounds for bad drums air pretty Ah, pretty time consuming. Ah, I will say that also there, the reason that we're spending the whole day on virtual drums is because whether you're going the real route or the virtual route, it's gonna take you about the same amount of time. It's a lot of work either way, and you got to do your homework. So that brings me to our process. This is what we do. We start by, uh, getting a lay of the land. And for me, that means who my recording, like what in my recording is is gonna be blast beats at 2 50 the whole time. Is this gonna be ghost notes and dynamics like something Sean would do what in my recording? A recording? The Black Dahlia. Murder in my recording. Cynic, what's what's going on here? That seems obvious, right? But it's not. And, ah, you need to know who's coming into the studio. You gotta know what gear you have available to you. This seems like common sense, like obviously the Gary have is the gear you have, but you need to know what it is, what its limitations are if it's messed up. You know, if your symbols or cracked like put your gear together and make an inventory know what's going on, choose it. Then you get some rough tones, meaning make sure that everything that you have is what you want to use. Things sound good you find Tune basically steps three and four kind of go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until you're happy. And then five, you make an album. So at Audio Hammer, this takes us a while. We're gonna be talking in three days about something that takes me about 5 to 10 days in real life. Um, I'd say that drum and Cymbal selection takes half a day to a day, sometimes more, sometimes a day and 1/2 sometimes were changing drums out up until the moment of recording, which could be five days in So miking. The kit will take me anywhere from two hours to half a day, and that's that's ah, once we've chosen what drums? Because you can't Mike Thin air, obviously. And then the tweaking part says here, half a day to four days, that's ah, that's about accurate. And then recording takes is long as it takes, listed a few albums that I've done just to show you guys the differences. Black Dahlia. Uh, on ever black. I think we had a week total to record the drums and spent two days getting tones. Five days tracking two songs a day on Devil Driver. Winter kills 3.5 days of tones. Seven days to track. Why? Chapels album That's gonna come out this year, which is really, really amazing. Three days to get tones and five days to track, so kind of probably can see a pattern here, which is that it doesn't happen in half a day and doesn't even happen in one day. It happens in multiple days. So what we're doing here is we're cramming 5 to 10 days of work into three days. So this is not gonna be a perfect album sound. We're not making an album. We're showing you how to make an album. So you want to be critical of anything you want to learn stuff, ask about the process. The tones don't really matter so much. We through this together and we're gonna be troubleshooting it as we go. But it's not gonna be perfect. And that's not even the point of this. If ah, you want perfect coming audio hammer and, uh, and spend 10 days and ABC, but he always be closing. That's a secret. That was improvised too. That's pretty good. Um, think. Thank you. So, uh, Like I said, we're gonna be showing you how to make an album. We're not going to be making an album.

Class Description

Recording drums that sound both hyper-polished and authentic has always been something of a black art — one that isn't taught at any school, one that you could only learn from one of the few elite engineers scattered across the planet. Until now.

In this three-day class, free to watch while live, you'll learn the real-world production techniques that producer Eyal Levi uses every day at Audiohammer Studios — on albums for bands like The Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red, Chelsea Grin, and Whitechapel. Eyal will show how to select the right drums for the sound you want, tune and set them up, and mic the kit. Oh, and did we mention that the legendary Sean Reinert (Cynic, Death) is the in-studio drummer?!

You'll also learn how to use virtual drums, including when to use Toontrack's Superior Drummer and other software instead of a human drummer. Finally, Eyal will reveal the closely-kept secrets for polishing tracks —everything from editing and sample replacement to layering samples. At the end of this class, you'll know the trade secrets of high-end drum production and be armed with a toolkit for creating world-class drum tracks.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. The Tone Pie and Process Overview
  3. Getting the Lay of the Land and Q&A
  4. Assemble Your Gear
  5. Drum Tuning Part 1
  6. Drum Tuning Part 2
  7. Fine Tuning Tones Part 1
  8. Fine Tuning Tones Part 2
  9. General Guidelines of Tracking Drums
  10. Tracking with Sean Reinert
  11. Pop Quiz
  12. Basics of Superior Drummer
  13. EZDrummer vs Superior Drummer
  14. Constructing a Metal Drum Kit Part 1
  15. Constructing a Metal Drum Kit Part 2
  16. Constructing a Rock Drum Kit
  17. Grooves and Programming
  18. General Q&A
  19. Prepping Virtual Drums for the Mix
  20. Superior Review with Q&A
  21. Intro to Mixing and Drum Clean Up
  22. Interview with John Douglass
  23. Intro to Drum Editing
  24. Manual Editing Approach
  25. Editing with Beat Detective
  26. Editing with Elastic Audio
  27. Sample Layering
  28. Replacements
  29. Gain Staging and Bussing
  30. Mixing Essentials
  31. Compression and Parallel Compression
  32. Reverb and Automation
  33. Mixing Tips and Tricks
  1. Bonus: EZDrummer - Introduction
  2. Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to EZDrummer
  3. Bonus: EZDrummer - EZDrummer Foundations
  4. Bonus: EZDrummer - How a Drummer Plays
  5. Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Part 1
  6. Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Part 2
  7. Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Q&A
  8. Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to Grooves
  9. Bonus: EZDrummer - Writing from Scratch
  10. Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to Fills
  11. Bonus: EZDrummer - Writing Fills
  12. Bonus: EZDrummer - Mixing in Your DAW
  13. Bonus: EZDrummer - Bussing and EQ
  14. Bonus: EZDrummer - Compression and Reverb
  15. Bonus: EZDrummer - Conclusion with Q&A
  16. Bonus Video: Editing
  17. Bonus Video: Toms and Cymbals
  18. Bonus Video: Snare Midi
  19. Bonus Video: Kick Midi


El Bulbo Studio

This class will give you confidence when tracking drums. Eyal's interaction with the drummer will help you communicate better with the artist to get the best performance and tone. The added bonus on drum replacement is very valuable and will improve your mixes.

a Creativelive Student

My drum sound has improved by 150% and counting. I'm grateful that Eyal would share this information with us. Not every technique is for every situation, but they all work. It's up to you to have the vision and to use the right tools for the job. Thank you guys!!

Michael Nolasco

To the guy that said buyer beware: this is an advanced production class, it's not meant for beginners who are learning to mic up a kit. I'm a beginner, but i'm using superior drummer, so this class was perfect for me to learn how to process drums post recording. I refer to it constantly. The editing videos are also prime information.