The dreaded noise of drums

We had a great start to the week with an incredible day conference with Tim Keller. I really enjoyed every aspect of the conference, from the great preaching to the joy of simply ‘managing’ all the technical aspects of the event.

Sound was mixed by the in house engineer, Ed, who did a great job, even if the mix was a little ‘churchy’ if you haven’t heard me use this expression before, what I mean by it, is that the vocals are loud and clear, and everything else, especially the drums are very quiet, coz you know ‘this is church’ and we don’t want it too loud… Arghh I hate it!!! Its as if people think satan invented loudness!

Anyway, they have a custom built drum riser and perspex screen for the drums at the venue we used, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to say something about drum screens, electronic drums etc…

We have had the dreaded ‘loud drums’ problem in various different scenarios, and have applied drum screens with some success, and also without!
Parkers Comedy and Jive is probably the most difficult location when it comes to drums, and we have been, and still are battling.

A few weeks ago we tried out an electronic kit, which although its painful for me to admit, did sound better. I say painful to admit, because hate is too weak a word for what I feel towards those rubber things! I’m not a drummer, so I can’t use the ‘they don’t feel like real drums’ line, but I am at least in part a designer, and have what I hope is a pretty good idea of what looks good or not. So hear it is, IMHO electronic drums are not cool, they don’t look cool, they don’t sound cool, unless you’re covering BROS tunes and sporting a mullet, in which case you’re a lost cause… so go for it, because the answer is ‘never’ you will never ‘be famous’ (I grew up in the 80’s with a sister, it was not my fault!)

If you want to hear what it sounded like, have a listen… Electronic drums at Parkers

So let me know what you think… and if you would permit me one more opportunity to bias you against the pads… have a look at this kick ass article from ProSoundWeb

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4 thoughts on “The dreaded noise of drums

  1. Hey Jaime, it actually sounds pretty good. It would be nice to compare it to a recording of acoustic drums in the same venue. However it does sound like the overall electric drum mix is heavily compressed… What would the reason for that be?

    • Here is a link to a recording with an acoustic kit. It was also recorded at Parkers. but its hard to compare because its a different band, and quite a different style.

      I did compress the hell out of the drums coz they were sounding too dynamic at times, the pads seem to be very responsive to velocity, but they don’t get louder, they just get softer, if you know what I mean. Its almost as if Hendri’s average hit strength was where the kit was at like 90% velocity, so if he hit a tiny bit harder it would get a little louder, but everything above that it just stayed the same volume, so that also made it sound even more compressed!!! I’m really keen to find a way to tame the acoustic drums to a point where they are only a little bit too loud! coz although the electronic kit did actually make a huge positive difference to the sound, I really, REALLY don’t like them!!

      • Okay okay, to be honest, I actually haven’t ever mixed an electric drum kit and have had very little exposure to them so I can’t really comment. I know… where have I been? But maybe for good reason the drummers have saved me the agony.

        Yeah that recording with the acoustic is far better! But saying that, the song is a lot more chilled which eliminates alot of the stage noise issues.

        I’m busy putting an email together for you that may solve the stage noise issue and effectively ‘tame the acoustic drums’ hopefully to a desirable point. I will be soooo happy if it works!

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