Choosing Cymbals

 

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

 

Lesson Info

Choosing Cymbals

All right, so now I'd like to talk about symbols and symbols player really interesting role in drums in general, but in recording symbols are really, really important, and I feel like a lot of people are all about their kicks out, and they're snare sound and obviously that's that's really important, but what I find, what I find people kind of skipping over sometimes is the fact that the symbols are the most played instrument on the drums, it I mean, I can't think I mean, I can think of a few times, but I can think of very few songs throughout the whole song that the kick and snare playing more notes than the symbol you're usually playing about four notes on the symbol forever you kick hit or for every scenario or two, but but it's always way more. And if you don't have good sounding symbols or even the appropriate symbols, you don't have a drum recording because you have either really bad sounding cheap symbols just running through your whole mix like everything after that there's no, ...

changing. The only thing you can really do at that point is just program the drums, you know you can sound replace a snare if it turns out the if it turns out different than how you really wanted it though I think you really do need to get it right from the start it's an option you can sound replace the kick you khun sound replace that tom's you really can't sound or place symbols you khun adding emphasis symbols and accents and stuff but you can't get rid of that awful washi sound of a bad symbol or broken symbol or a symbol that's too small for the song or a symbol it's way too big for the song that's not articulate so symbols are really like take everything else away for me give me good symbols because I can't work with the drum sound if symbol sound bad the you know all the symbols were going to be in every mike bleeding over if you have the world's greatest snare sound and a crappy symbol sound a less than good symbol sound um your snare sounds ruined because those bad symbols are in the in the snare track so right now for one I kind of want to just display how big of a difference like a broken symbol is going to sound cause I even had guys come in it's like I was just a little crack you know it's not a big deal but it makes a big difference in the broken symbol I bought brought is a little more than a big little crack it's like almost cookie monster bite taken out of it but I just kind of want to show you first off because I don't personally own any cheap symbols on I prefer to stay away from cheap symbols s o I had nothing to bring in to show you why it's important how nice it was I brought a broken symbol to show you the difference so if you want to play a beat for us that's ah, we're using this yeah and yeah, and I'll get into the why have the big symbols on there right now? But let's play do you want to ride on that twenty since this is a nineteen the one on the left? Yeah, just play me a beat where your crash riding on that and I'm gonna give you kind of a slow tempo because this is going to show even more during slower tempos someone give you ninety five come just give me kind of a cool beat at that tempo or ninety and that's kind of a cool technique of almost treating it like a ride, children the top and playing in that that will really show us why it's important to have non cracked symbols because this is a thistle high quality symbol, it just has a crack in it and that's this is why you don't want to do that unless you're going for an effect I've done stuff we're going to in effect for a weird sound we want it to sound like it's falling apart of broken but yeah well I'm talking about everyday stuff in everyday use this is um good symbol on this is bad symbol uh bast symbol change that all right go ahead and I'm not gonna lie that does sound kind of cool because you're playing like a super cool beat kind of countering what I was trying to get it because you're too good to make things bad I know yeah that's all right though because I think it still gets the point across if you're playing it cool beat like a j and k j you can use broken symbols anytime you want because that sounds cool but all my symbol used to be broken yeah because I couldn't afford you so you just make cool beats based around stuff like that well so this goes to show you can make things sound cool but also if this was just like a standard rock song or you just wanted a um uh you know, kick on the one and three type beat um it wouldn't be appropriate so I'll play back how much that shows through in the recording it's a good symbol you know has a nice sustain and super musical now ignore the coolness of this and just listen to the sustained and the overall tone that we're missing in the broken so it sounds cool has more of an accent because there's no sustained, but it doesn't it doesn't sound good, it doesn't sound like something you'd want to use for, like iraq's honors it's more kind of like a low five beat sound to it, which I guess broken goes along with low find, then here's a good symbol again broken symbol again trashy and that's kind of the same thing you're going to get, it will even be worse the chief symbols and like I said, even though that sounds cool, can you really imagine that going through the whole record? You know, do you want that sound going the whole time? And that's? Why it's important to have good quality symbols that are not broken because things like that happen in it and it only gets worse sounding, but let me put this good symbol back on. So now that you have good symbols, you wantto decide um basically two said the size of the cymbals and the most common thing you'll find for like iraq or metal set up is to crash cymbals one on the left, one on the right crash on the left is usually slightly smaller than the crash on the right, and then you'll have the rights symbol in the center that's, you know, usually at least uh two three inches bigger and that all kind of stays relative. You can switch the sides depending on when you want the higher accent here or the hot higher accent. Here I find a lot of times that you want the bigger symbol on this side. The bigger crash, because drummers have more of a tendency when their crash writing the crash right on this crash and not necessarily like in the high hat stance. So for me, I want a little bit bigger. One to be the crash ride on. Do you have the ride? And then more of the accident crash on the left, which obviously totally changes per drummer. I have a feeling you're set up is, like, way different. But for for rock stuff like that's, kind of the the average, it suits the way the average drummer plays. So keeping that in line the symbol sizes will be relatively the same, but all together could be bigger or smaller. And this is definitely on the bigger end of things. These air, like really big symbols out of twenty three and tried a twenty inch crash on that side and a twenty one inch crash, which is actually a ride. But it works well as a crash on this side, and I'm gonna show you where it's appropriate to use big symbols. And where it's not appropriate and where it's appropriate to use smaller symbols where it's not appropriate because I feel like guys kind of look past stuff like this sometimes like you know you'll get you'll run into a drummer that has a sound in his head and were like a drummer that he really likes the place smaller symbols but it doesn't necessarily fit the band that he's in and that's something that's kind of your job as an engineer and your job as a drummer, but I don't blame people for having those thoughts because your job as an engineer to remind them of what our orders a producer to remind them of what band they're in and what style fits the song and the music. So I'm going to play this ninety tempo again and can you give me something on the something that goes on the ride and then a couple crash accents but like halftime at ninety something kind of slow and this to me would be the appropriate time to use big symbols is something that's halftime quarters? Uh yeah that's your choice you can play whatever you're feeling so haft I'm beat big symbols play it just give me a part that has like a type of things that we can really hear the symbol sustain okay, but the same accident is there sure, yeah, ok, ready, yeah and that works for me because like I've said about the other drums, the symbols really um fill that fill the gaps by being bigger symbols and being washer and having more sustained on dh that sustain is nice to be able to hear that now I'm just going to switch out a couple yeah, exactly the sustained goes with the beat so that's when it's appropriate to have bigger symbols now I'm going to switch these out on I'm gonna get pretty drastic you're just too prove a point both um just actually let's just do know you know let's do both do you have a smaller crash with the bench and yeah, so we're going from a twenty one on this side all the way down to a sixteen which is a very small symbol is you can see the difference but it has its place and I can't tell you how many times I've had drummers come in that have a set that's like fourteen sixteen um you know eighteen or nineteen on the ride this's better and then this one will match the custom little better um let's do the bisons because as I said by that buys dance yeah and again my nomi no yeah um this's actually a crash were using as a ride because I don't have a ride this small but I just kind of want to want you to understand the importance of symbol size and again I'm being very drastic with this stuff and no matter what I say is bad, I'm pretty sure cage is going to make it sound cool so you know, keep in mind everyone is not as wicked as he is same type of beat yeah let's do the same thing looking just label this beat small symbols go for it, play that back and if you notice too that he's kind of playing the cymbals as well, you notice that because he's such a skilled drummer and ah, you know, has probably played all different kinds of things and nose he's an intuitive drummer, so he knows what he's playing you notice that he actually started playing a little bit softer on the small symbols and a little bit more of a bouncy touch to not over wash them, which is good, it gives you an example of how to make him work, but you totally changed you're playing style to fit these symbols, so you're going out of my into the big ones yeah, exactly does it to make him resin resonate? Yeah, and if you lay into these, you just get short smacking sounds that don't work, yeah, but that aside I'll play these small symbols for you it works it's not bad, you go to the big symbols, yeah and you can hear with the big symbols even with low crashes like if you imagined you know you're playing that song to a guitar that's unlike dropsy super distorted or something um those bigger symbols, they're going to sit with that lower guitar really well and they're going to fill all the gaps and that's kind of what I want most of time from symbols I don't want to overly washing and unclear, but I want I want the space filled and I kind of want them out of the way while still being present and that's the bigger symbols, they're going to give you a lower pitch and more sustained as the where if you imagine like a lower guitar super loud, super distorted with these symbols sounds like you're playing slow the other beat to me when you listen to this, I don't hear you playing slow because all the spaces filled this this one dragging I'm like, come on, man, pick up the tempo and it's not the same tempo, it's just because the symbols of decaying faster it's drawing your attention to that and it's and it's making kind of an uneven note value by doing that and that's that's kind of the important there and so then we'll go the other route and of course this is going to sound a little silly because these symbols air hyper small um at least for the ride but I'm gonna do a tempo what's a good tempo for you for something like fast and kind of hyperactive like a one sixty cool let's do a beat at one sixty and do something real busy for us call is busy bee small city cool and you can already tell that that's like away more fitting tempo and style for symbols like that so just to go in reverse so you're not thinking oh, well, this big symbols all the time every day let's throw the big symbols back on well, anyone take that one off make this fast, right that's a twenty three that wasn't eighteen is the crash and so we're back to the first set of symbols that we had and now he's going to play that quicker, we're high for beat visit beat, all right, go for it cool and again, like I said, no matter what kg, does it's going to sound cool? But we can wasn't close in here house is kind of inappropriate big symbols and here's the small ones, small ones and here's the big ones work. It really doesn't leave a room for all the little stuff that you're doing on day also because they're bigger, they're a lot louder and I feel like they kind of just sounds mick mismatched and one sixty is probably like on the top end of where I would stop using big symbols one fifty one, sixty or something in between. Obviously, andi, I probably wouldn't use symbols that small that we're using before, but once you get into like a one, eighty one, ninety type of tempo with the beat like that, the these big symbols would just be way too messy to ringing, as opposed to the smooth separation. When he goes, bop is really clear and you can really hear those accents, and it doesn't stop on the rest of the beat, theo just kind of like you hear the big one, but the second one, I don't know if that's a different symbol just because there's less attack and more sustained that's just running into each other s o basic lesson here is just, you know, be aware of the symbol sizes and how the symbols are affecting the tempo. Obviously, make sure using good, simple symbols so you're not ruining things, but, um, really be aware of how the symbols air filling the space and make sure that's a part of your drum recording because, again, you can't replace the symbols, you really can't go back, you can't eat you out bad symbol, you can do your best, but I'm just making sure that the symbols fit the kit is really the most important thing. And that really concludes the actual, like, symbol part of the kid. And I'll talk a little more about symbols when we get into using microphones on dh, setting up the microphones and how to treat different symbols. Small and big in that scenario.

Class Description

Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record, because in reality, a drum kit can be upwards of 20 or 30 instruments being played by a performer at one consistent time. Each drum head plays a huge role in determining the overall tone. The range of frequencies is broader than any other recorded instrument, with sub-kicks extending down below 60 Hz and hihats and cymbals with presence and ring above 16kHz. The dynamic range can include subtle ghost hits and flutters to pounding snares that fill a room, and yet somehow all of this is supposed to fit inside a mix without getting lost in a sea of guitars.

Kris Crummett has over a decade and a half of experience recording bands like Sleeping with Sirens, Issues, Alesana, Further Seems Forever and Emarosa. Kris will walk you through every step of the process to capturing killer drum sounds.

Which Drums to Use?

  • The size and type of the kick drum is a good place to start, and will largely dictate what kind of tone you end up with when you get the final mix. Do you want a modern sounding kit with a big low end and a bright punch or a more vintage tone with a rounder, softer low end punch?
  • Snare sounds can often define the tone of an entire record with a range of sizes, head choices and tuning options. How much ring is left in the resonant head can be deceiving when listening to an drum kit on its own, but can often be lost when blended in with the rest of the band. From maple and birch full bodied and nuanced tones to aluminum or even brass bodies, the snare drum can have one of the biggest impacts on your final track.
  • Drum heads can also have a huge impact on the transients that you capture when recording. Coated heads can offer a punchier, thicker sound while clear heads are a bit brighter. Tuning the top head and the bottom head to resonant together is an essential art that takes practice and expertise.

Which mics to Use?

  • There’s no right or wrong way to mic a drum kit, from the famous ‘When the Levee Breaks” 2 microphone room tone to modern metal drum production with 30+ mics in place.
  • Deciding when to use a condenser and when to use a dynamic mic is dependent upon the style, the drummer’s playing style and even the room in which you’re tracking. What sort of room mic techniques can give you that big open kit sound? What about a tight, small room trap kit sound?
  • Kris is prepared to walk you through all of these choices, with examples from his storied career and tips and tricks that only years in the studio can earn you. With legendary guest drummer KJ Sawka, you’ll have an experienced team to guide you through how to overcome the biggest challenge for a home studio engineer, the drum kit.

Reviews

Brent HALENKAMP
 

This is an amazing class! Kris is a very scientific instructor. This really opened my eyes to the drum recording process. Take Notes!!!! There are about a thousand unique facts and techniques that you should know. This will help you to record drums correctly at the source so that you can minimize the amount of digital destruction you will do later and thus get a "Professional" sound.