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Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy

Lesson 10 of 27

Drum Micing - Kick and Snare Final Tuning

Sylvia Massy

Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy

Sylvia Massy

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Lesson Info

10. Drum Micing - Kick and Snare Final Tuning


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:01:56
5 Drum Setup & Tuning Duration:18:21
6 Drum Mic Placement Duration:09:21
8 Drum Micing - Room Mics Duration:41:25
9 Drum Micing - Toms Duration:22:10
11 Bass Setup Duration:20:20
12 Guitar Setup Duration:36:13
13 Vocal Setup Duration:17:32
14 Band Mic Check Duration:26:05
15 How Sylvia Plans a Lesson Duration:07:29
17 Recap and Intro Duration:04:17
20 Re-Recording Chorus Duration:13:46
21 Process for Editing Duration:18:42
22 Guitar Solo and Overdubs Duration:52:35
23 Vocal Overdubs Duration:32:12
24 Creative Studio Techniques Duration:1:00:11
25 How to Mix: Drums Duration:43:56
26 How to Mix: Add Bass & Guitar Duration:13:34
27 How to Mix: Add Vocals Duration:36:24

Lesson Info

Drum Micing - Kick and Snare Final Tuning

Okay. (drums playing) I'm gonna work on the kick for a little bit here and the kick is going through this 1073. (kick drum plays alone) I'm trying to get attack, a little more attack and a little more of the lower frequencies without accentuating the mid frequencies. How's our level now? Still okay? Sure. Let's work on the snare. Oh, that's the sub, I think our sub is okay. Here's the snare. (snare plays alone) So the snare is a combination of the top and bottom mics, so I'll work on the top mic first. It has its own channel here. Where is that? Okay, on a sidecar. Let me work on that first. I'm using the EQ on the sidecar here. We're gonna give it a little more attack. And I love adding midrange to the snare. What I'll do to find the frequency is I'll crank the boost really hard so I can sweep and find the frequency that I want and then I back off the boost, but you'll here me crank it and then I'll back it off once I find that frequency. That's soundin' alright. Okay. Let's see what ...

our kick and snare sound like together. (kick and snare play together) Little too much rattle, I'm gonna bring down the bottom mic. He's starting to play harder, so I'm gonna back down the kick drum level. So I'm finding out just how much of that bottom mic to add, and it's not a lot. Alright. So now at this point, I'm going to listen individually to the kick with the overheads, and then the snare with the overheads to check and make sure our phase is gonna work out. So I put the overhead mics in mono, and then I listen to them one at a time along with the kick drum at the same time, to see if we have as much low end as possible. So I'm gonna do that here. My kick monitor is open, my overheads are open. I have it mono in the center. (kick and overheads play together) And I'm gonna flip the phase. I'm wondering if the overheads sound better with the kick out of phase flip. So I'm gonna listen to the kick and the snare and check the phase between the kick and the snare. (kick and snare play together) I'm gonna do it over here. I'm gonna check the phase reverse over here on the mic three that the kick is coming in. Well the snare sounds better when it's just the way it is. The snare sounds better without flipping the kick drum phase, so we're gonna keep that the same. So I'm gonna go back to my overheads now and double check that that's true with the overheads too. (overhead, kick and snare play together) So now, when I push this phase button in, you can hear the difference in the snare. This is with it out of phase, and that's with it normal. There's something out of phase between the overheads and the kick. So what I'm gonna do, hold on, hold on. I'm going to flip the phase on the overhead mic, so that it's going to be out of phase with what the kick is right now. And that means, since I've got this MS pad, (laughs) that means I'm going to have to flip the way I've got it arranged here, so I'm going to, let's see, boy, how am I gonna do this? Lemme think. I think I could just put the phase on this, and it'll work. Let's try that. So this is out and that is out, and I'll have her play and then listen to the difference. Cool. Can you play a little bit more? (drums play) Ah, already the snare sounds better. That was a huge difference. Okay, great, fantastic. I think that was the secret right there to make these drums sound great, is checking the phase relationship between the kick, snare and the overheads. Now I'm gonna add everything else in and see what we've got. (distorted cymbals) Woooh. (distorted cymbals) Woooh, yeah. (drum kit plays in balance) Alright, I think we got somethin' great. Alright, I think we've got something great to start with on the drums. Cool. Woohoo.

Class Description

Over the last 30+ years, Sylvia Massy has built a career as one of the gutsiest and most innovative recording engineers and producers. She has worked with legends like Prince and Johnny Cash, and won awards for her work with bands like Tool, System of a Down and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will get a peek inside the recording process of one of rock’s legendary engineers. 

While she is a proficient master of vintage gear, Sylvia stresses that great records come not from having the right gear, but from capturing great performances. Join Sylvia as she records a song in the studio with Seattle alt-rock band Thunderpussy, and learn how to work with an artist to capture that magical take in your own work.

Pulling from her years of experience and sharing stories from her newly published book Recording UnHinged, Sylvia will show you:

  • How to get interesting and vibrant drum sounds, using the room and the drummer to your advantage
  • Capturing great sounding guitars at the source, without editing and reamping
  • Pushing vocalists to deliver their best vocal takes 
  • Mixing both in the box and through a console using outboard gear

Sylvia is also known as a prolific educator, speaking and teaching at some of the best recording schools around the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s most celebrated A-list producers. 


Jimmy Foot

This Studio Pass episode with Sylvia Massey covers a lot of ground. From fundamentals like correct mic placement and phase to experimentation with amps, cell phone delay and a few extra parts, Sylvia makes it fun! I have been lucky enough in my career to work with a number of great engineers and producers. I haven't had the opportunity to work with her, but Sylvia is certainly in that category, and anyone who gets a chance to work with her would be a lucky person. This broadcast is the next best thing. Great job there at Avast Studio and fantastic camera work! And as for Thunderpussy; you guys rock!

Marc Felish

Wow, that was such a blast. Thanks so much Sylvia and everyone else for making this such a fun experience. I picked up so many new ideas that I can't wait to try out! Sylvia is such a creative producer, it was so much fun to be a fly on the wall watching everything. Loved it!!

Marcus Soares

Awesome! A great opportunity to pick into the creative mind of one of the greatest and get that kind of knowledge that you can't acquire otherwise. Highly recommended!