Sound at Source: The Creative Practice of Re-Heading, Dampening and Drum Tuning for the Contemporary Metal Genre

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Abstract

A review of academic literature on drum recording and production will reveal significant discussion of microphone choice and placement. However, there is little presented that specifically relates to the studio production of contemporary metal, and even less concerning the concepts and techniques to achieve the genres drum sound at source. This can be problematic due to the often dense and complex performances involved, and the very specific weight, clarity and definition required of these drum tones.
This paper will firstly focus on the physicality of drums, their components and their impact on timbre. The nature of drumheads, re-heading, dampening and tuning, which is at the core of the drum sound producers endeavor to capture, will then be explored. Discussion will be provided throughout as to broad principles that can be applied to gain the most appropriate tonalities, at source, for the genre.
Drum tuning can therefore be seen as an art in itself and its importance cannot be overlooked, as even the best quality drum kit is still going to sound poor unless properly tuned.
This body of work will reflect the author’s nine years experience producing within contemporary metal production, including releases through Sony and Universal, and working alongside some of the most successful and respected producers from the genre, including Colin Richardson, Andy Sneap and Jens Bogren.
LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal on the Art of Record Production
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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Metals
Sound
Drum
Tuning
Clarity
Placement
Tonality
Sony
Metal Production
Physicality
Art
Timbre

Cite this

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title = "Sound at Source: The Creative Practice of Re-Heading, Dampening and Drum Tuning for the Contemporary Metal Genre",
abstract = "A review of academic literature on drum recording and production will reveal significant discussion of microphone choice and placement. However, there is little presented that specifically relates to the studio production of contemporary metal, and even less concerning the concepts and techniques to achieve the genres drum sound at source. This can be problematic due to the often dense and complex performances involved, and the very specific weight, clarity and definition required of these drum tones. This paper will firstly focus on the physicality of drums, their components and their impact on timbre. The nature of drumheads, re-heading, dampening and tuning, which is at the core of the drum sound producers endeavor to capture, will then be explored. Discussion will be provided throughout as to broad principles that can be applied to gain the most appropriate tonalities, at source, for the genre. Drum tuning can therefore be seen as an art in itself and its importance cannot be overlooked, as even the best quality drum kit is still going to sound poor unless properly tuned. This body of work will reflect the author’s nine years experience producing within contemporary metal production, including releases through Sony and Universal, and working alongside some of the most successful and respected producers from the genre, including Colin Richardson, Andy Sneap and Jens Bogren.",
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AB - A review of academic literature on drum recording and production will reveal significant discussion of microphone choice and placement. However, there is little presented that specifically relates to the studio production of contemporary metal, and even less concerning the concepts and techniques to achieve the genres drum sound at source. This can be problematic due to the often dense and complex performances involved, and the very specific weight, clarity and definition required of these drum tones. This paper will firstly focus on the physicality of drums, their components and their impact on timbre. The nature of drumheads, re-heading, dampening and tuning, which is at the core of the drum sound producers endeavor to capture, will then be explored. Discussion will be provided throughout as to broad principles that can be applied to gain the most appropriate tonalities, at source, for the genre. Drum tuning can therefore be seen as an art in itself and its importance cannot be overlooked, as even the best quality drum kit is still going to sound poor unless properly tuned. This body of work will reflect the author’s nine years experience producing within contemporary metal production, including releases through Sony and Universal, and working alongside some of the most successful and respected producers from the genre, including Colin Richardson, Andy Sneap and Jens Bogren.

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