AC/DC Drum Sound

ruanddu

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I love the sound of Phil Rudd's drums, especially on Back In Black. Can you fill me in on the following for the recording of Back in Black:

- What drums did he use? Brand and sizes would be great to know.

- What kind of heads did he use?

- What kind of muffling, if any, was used?

- How did he tune his drums? Did he tune to pitches? Anyone experiment and get his signature snare "thud"? How did you tune the resonant versus batter? Any drum dial settings you want to share?

- How did he play his snare?. Dead center or rimshots? Sounds dead center to me.

- What were the recording techniques used to achieve the sound, i.e. mics, mixer, room size, etc.

Thanks for any info you can provide!
 

Cosh

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HUGE AC/DC fan here,
im pretty sure Back In Black was done all on Sonors, i know he used some sort of Remo Skins, but most times he put black tape over the Remo Stamp
 

Tomb

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yes, Sonors and Mutt.
Loved that sound so much I bought myself a set of Phonics back in the day! :occasion5:
 

Doof

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Mutt Lange. thats all.
+1

I might add that I read somewhere that he used alot of what Compass Point Studios had onsite as well. I don't know what they had onsite then, but I do know they had some Brady gear, and some Gretsch, if memory serves me correctly. I'm sure arranging cartage to Nassau would be daunting, even for a band of that stature in 1980. Compass Point has a website and forum - maybe someone could help you there.
 

ruanddu

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Thanks guys. Will check your suggestions out.

Please keep the info coming.
 

Chunkaway

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I'm almost certain I read that Back in Black was recorded with Phil using a Ludwig 402.
 

jrfrond

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It's not just Mutt Lange's production, and it's not just the particular drums he used. It's also his tuning and touch. I saw AC/DC live here in NYC a few years back, and he pretty much had that EXACT same tone in concert with a Sonor Designer kit and his signature 5 x 14 (yes folks!) snare drum.

Big, in-your-face drum sound like that is accomplished with compression and EQ and in concert, gating as well.
 

Patrick

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If it was all down to Mutt Lange, chances are a machine did the drumming and Phil contributed the cymbals if Mickey Curry's experience and what I understand about the labourious construction of the Shania albums will suggest about Lange's approach to drums
 

ruanddu

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Found this interesting source of info on the sound of Back in Black drums:

http://soundhow.com/243/acdc-back-in-black-drum-recording/

Or read below:

Recording:

Drums were through an MCI console to tape at 30ips. The drum mics for Phil Rudd’s kit were:

  • Overheads: Neumann U87s (or U67s)
  • Snare: Neumann KM86 (top) Shure SM57 (bottom)
  • Toms: Shure SM7s
  • Kick: Neumann U47, Emperor coated drum head
  • Hi-hats: AKG 414 (or 451)
Processing:

The snare was gated and detuned with an Eventide H910 harmonizer set to “93″ with the “Feedback” and “Anti-Feedback” controls cranked up. There was also a short delay applied to the snare. No compression was applied to the drums.
 

jrfrond

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Found this interesting source of info on the sound of Back in Black drums:

http://soundhow.com/243/acdc-back-in-black-drum-recording/

Or read below:

Recording:

Drums were through an MCI console to tape at 30ips. The drum mics for Phil Rudd’s kit were:

  • Overheads: Neumann U87s (or U67s)
  • Snare: Neumann KM86 (top) Shure SM57 (bottom)
  • Toms: Shure SM7s
  • Kick: Neumann U47, Emperor coated drum head
  • Hi-hats: AKG 414 (or 451)
Processing:

The snare was gated and detuned with an Eventide H910 harmonizer set to “93″ with the “Feedback” and “Anti-Feedback” controls cranked up. There was also a short delay applied to the snare. No compression was applied to the drums.
Do NOT believe the last statement. I hear the compression loud and clear. You don't get drum sounds like that without compression, even if you are running the tape at 30ips with high-bias tape at +6dB to minimize overload.

Detuning snare drums, kick drums and even room mics was becoming a common practice back then, as popularized by Bob Clearmountain, who also recorded Mickey Curry a lot. You can hear the effects of detuned/gated room mics on Bryan Adams' album "Cuts Like A Knife". They made use of a device call the "Publison Infernal Machine" to accomplish this. http://garynobleshow.blogspot.com/2011/04/blast-from-past-publison-infernal.html
 

ruanddu

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J.R. - thanks for the info. I think you're probably right about the compression.

Can you explain about the the detuner? How does it actually effect the sound?

Thanks.
 

ruanddu

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Okay, check this live clip out for Who Made Who (not Phil Rudd but good nonetheless) -


How the heck do you get a snare to sound that thick with that much definition and no muddiness??? Man that is freaking amazing tone!
 
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chetatkinsdiet

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They're only saying that no compression was recorded to tape. It was definitely added at mix and master.
I've seen rumors that Mutt took the recordings of the drums and ran them back through a PA system that he set up in a studio and mic'd that to add ambiance. I don't think that I've ever seen that come from him. The story probably came from the mixdown of Highway to Hell. On that one, they pumped some tracks through the studio monitors and recorded that. Just basic re-amping stuff that's pretty common these days.

I gotta say that I prefer HTH. It's a bit rawer, rougher sounding. BIB to me, is just too 80s. I do love it though, but prefer the other record. I'm also partial to Bon.

m
 

chetatkinsdiet

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...I should add.....no outboard compression. There is compression throughout the process.....
 

kip

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Phil is the man. What a pocket

IF you listen to AC/DC w Simon Wright or Chris Slade... the music just doesn't swing like Phil makes it, and those guys played all the same notes, in the same places...but just didn't have Phils feels.

One of my favs

-k
 

kaide

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Here's a link that says it's a Gretsch snare!
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=286823184671218&set=a.216720015014869.63085.200162950003909&type=1&theater
 

SteveB

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Truth is..in those days you got compression without compression because the recordings were so hot..then they added compression and then the record was compressed at the lathe.

Maybe there are some but I don't hear one ounce of dynamics in these recordings...and in this case it works great! Always enjoyed that band.
 

scaramanga

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I don't remember how much of this was about drums (I think a fair amount) but there's some interesting stuff here from the most reliable sources:

http://prorecordingworkshop.lefora.com/2011/01/29/back-in-black-further-notes/
 

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