Skip to main content

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 1 of 29

Class Introduction

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to creative live here on the music and audio channel today's course is fundamentals of drum tuning and reporting with chris krumm it chris has a amazing career spanning over a decade. He's, the owner of interlaced audio down in portland, oregon, and he's worked with bands like issues and sleeping with sirens were really, really excited to have him here and for this course. How you doing today, chris? I'm doing really well, awesome man. I'm so stoked that you're here. I want to be here. This is a fantastic bunch of content. Yeah, yeah, I'm excited about this one, so we'll take us away, man. I will. I will take us away today. I really just want to talk about, um, getting the best drum sounds you can before you get to the the side of, like adding samples and, um, really heavy mixing and stuff like that. I want to go through all the things that it takes to make drum sound awesome from the get go and I'm going to go through the drums themselves different types of wood. You know what...

? What makes a drum sound good? I'm also going to go through heads I'm into a little section on tuning. I'm not going to get super deep into that because there's a lot of different tuning methods, and I'm just going to show you what I do in my drum sessions on dh eventually would I do in my drum sessions as a cole? I'm also going to go through different symbol types, you know what makes a good symbol what's an appropriate symbol for the song and just what are appropriate drums for the songs in general? And then we're going to get into my king and different types of microphones what's good for a snare what's, good for a kick tom's overheads rooms, and I'm gonna go in the order that I do in a session so you can really get a feel for where the sounds that you're hearing on records I do come from and you'll get a feel for for hearing where finished sounds come from in general on a lot of it comes from the source, and after that, I want to talk a little bit about the playing style itself and how different drummers will make a drum set sound different, you know, you could have five different people play the same kit and it's going to sound completely different, so I'm going to walk you through different ways to get if the drummer's not getting giving you what you want. I'm going to show you how to get that out of the drummer and then last but not least I'm just going to do a little section on drum editing and how did not completely ruin your drums with drum editing eye there a lot of courses on just howto block drums under the grid and I'd like to show you how to make keep drums musical and create grooves you want or keep the grooves you want in place without completely ruining him but being able to get things locked too a tempo enough that you can track other instruments over and what not so that's basically what we'll be covering the day um and the first thing I want to talk about is just my philosophy for drums in general uh I I really there's a lot of different schools of thought when it comes to drums like any instrument you know there's guys who of super high tuned drums there's guys who like really deep thirty sounding drums there's producers that just want to track your drums and then replace him with samples which is fine it's all this different methods but for me when I go into a drum session it's really important that that the drums are awesome going going onto the computer going on a tape like I want awesome sounding drums I want natural sounding drums I want drums that sound like they would in a big room right in front of you but a little bloated a little like super human you know I'm not really into just tracking and letting things be kind of kind of as they are kind of boring I don't know I just like drums to be really exciting I want I want to kick drum and hit me in the chest I want the snare to get your fist in the air you know not trying to rhyme either but it worked so I'll roll with it um and in order to get those things you really do need good quality drums um you need a good drummer and you know you need decent microphones and a decent set up but as I go through things were going to be using a lot of high quality gear but I'm also going to explain how to get the same sounds from lesser stuff or working within your means because I know that not everyone has access to everything that we have here today and not everyone has access to an awesome drummer but I want you to see these things and get a feel for um where you want to move towards either as a drummer or as an engineer or if you already have all this stuff you know it's just uh oh you'll see how I use it and um you'll get a good idea of what you might want to do with it too and or at least take some of my methods and translate into your methods um so I guess a little bit about my background as well. The reason drums are so important to me is that I'm a drummer. I started playing when I was like eleven years old my dad was a drummer um you know, I spent my first christmas and a hotel on tour like drums there was always a drum set set up in my room as a kid even though I really wanted to play sega and nintendo and stuff like that my dad was always, like, play the drums, you know, be a drummer, a little ricky and so drums really important to me. And when I hear records, one of the first things that focus in on are the drum sounds. So another thing that's really important for me is that, um the tones really need toe match the performance and they need to match the song. So if we have like, a super aggressive song, I really want drums that I have a lot of life and are a little bit higher pitched and a little bit a little bit more aggressive um it's a faster song one a little bit smaller symbols I just want to feel the drums and I want to feel the groove over the song you know, if we have a super chill in the song two in the drums down, so when you're going into setting up drums and getting ready for a drum session, make sure you have, um, the sound that fits the song because, you know, I've worked with guys they're like, yeah, I love low drums, you know? But we have this super fast song that's supposed to like punching in the face, and that doesn't really work with super down tuned drums. Um, being super thirty is just not aggressive to me, and at the same time, if you want to have a super chill song, that's got a fat kind of radio type beat to it, you might want down tuned drums and super high pitched ringing drums aren't aren't appropriate, so know your song um, and no, the sound you want going into it, otherwise you're going to spend way too much time messing around with stuff and not really getting anywhere. Um, so that pretty much covers, um, my philosophy behind drums, I guess the main thing is just I don't want to suck the life out of the drums. I don't want to suck the life out of the performance or the drum sounds, I really want them to speak for themselves, and I'm going to show you how to do that in the in the next few segments, um so today we've got a really awesome guest drummer who's going to be helping us out? He'll be helping us out tomorrow as well. Kj sokka yeah, and I want to introduce kj. I'm super excited that kj's here kj's a international drummers played all over the world and producer super talented guy. We're really lucky to have him here want to come on up, man? How you doing? Thanks for having me tell the studio nice to meet you, chris. Yeah, good to meet you too. This is our first time working together, so, yeah, you will see us, you will see our relationship development on camera. So this is like the basic setup where where I start with the kid is figure out the kicks. Narron hats on dh just to kind of show you where we're at at this point haven't really placed any microphone scientifically. I just did it by sight just to kind of get us started here, and so we'll have kj play a little beat and you'll get a reference of where we're at tonally and where things are and you'll hear how things developed from there. Go ahead and just give us something cool, man cool, cool, very nice group my sounding kit yeah, uh, nice sounding player, thank you for making it sound awesome

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.


Kevin Howard

Kris is methodical and goes over everything related to drum recording in great detail. He covers heads and even how much moon gel he uses for damping the heads, Mic placement, shell choice( size, wood etc ). Listen to Dance Gavin Dance to hear some of his work. I found this class to be super informative and very practical in it's approach. Thank you Kris !


this is a great class! i play drums personally, and i love percussion! he also teaches well


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.