Eric Valentine tuning drums for recording

Tornado

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Maybe it's the same guy, but I watched another video with an engineer/producer gushing about his old Pearl Export steel snare. Said it was on a bunch of records.
 

mcirish

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I watched Eric's video a few times. I'm more of a producer/mixer than great drummer, so I'm always interested in getting a better sound. From what I remember, Eric tunes his top head 5 semitones lower than the bottom. Nolly, from drummer review, tunes the top 3 semitones lower than the bottom. In my case, I usually end up with 4 semitones lower on the top head. I think the key is getting the resonant head to a pure tone; no flap. The top can then be tuned to anything from 5 semitones lower to unity pitch with the bottom. It kind of depends on which overtones you want to hear. I like the sound of 4 semitone best but it's completely personal taste. From what I have experienced with Ambassadors on the top and bottom, the pitch of the drum ends up an octave lower than what the bottom head is tuned to (+1 semitone).
 

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I watched Eric's video a few times. I'm more of a producer/mixer than great drummer, so I'm always interested in getting a better sound. From what I remember, Eric tunes his top head 5 semitones lower than the bottom. Nolly, from drummer review, tunes the top 3 semitones lower than the bottom. In my case, I usually end up with 4 semitones lower on the top head. I think the key is getting the resonant head to a pure tone; no flap. The top can then be tuned to anything from 5 semitones lower to unity pitch with the bottom. It kind of depends on which overtones you want to hear. I like the sound of 4 semitone best but it's completely personal taste. From what I have experienced with Ambassadors on the top and bottom, the pitch of the drum ends up an octave lower than what the bottom head is tuned to (+1 semitone).
What are these “ semitones” you speak of ?
 

mcirish

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If you have a pitch pipe or a piano, it would be one key. If a 10" tom is desired to be at a tuning of D, The bottom head can be tuned to a D (octave higher than what you want) and the top head is 4 semitones lower, which would be a Bb. Hope that makes sense. Think of a semitone as the smallest pitch change possible on a piano.

In some cases, the tuning I noted will make the pitch of the drum a D#. Heads and intervals will determine the exact pitch but it's easy to adjust. The reason I like this method is that there is no guessing and it is repeatable.
 

Seb77

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Oh the irony - that Pearl Export snare is literally the only drum I ever sold because I couldn't stand the sound anymore. I'm no rock drummer I guess :)

The gated effect is nice, I want a piece of leather now! The high wire tension tretches the wires however, so I would recommend doing this with only cheap wires. Same with the tight bottom head: that high the head stretches over time, and you need to replace it on a regular basis.
I can relate to his tonal tuning approach, although I've become actually less obsessed with pitches. Big sound in the end, and the toms do sound nice in the song.

Some neat tricks processing the minimal micing sound - although you could also add a close bass drum mic for that low-end-only sound, like a subkick. That compressor creating a more diffuse high-end attack is a great idea. Need to watch it again - fastattack/fast release?
 

troutstudio

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Maybe it's the same guy, but I watched another video with an engineer/producer gushing about his old Pearl Export steel snare. Said it was on a bunch of records.
I once got a 6 1/2" steel shell Pearl Export snare with a kit I bought. It had a reverse dot Ambassador on it. I set it up and that drum recorded so well, I didn't touch anything. I was like a golfer who scores a good putter. I recorded with it and it sounded great. Even though it was a cheap drum, Pearl made certain the throw and snares were solid and I think that makes a difference. Plus it's fairly certain to be round and barring some freakish factory accident, the edges would be perfect. I also included it in a YouTube video called Ten Classic Snare Drums and it still gets a lot of comments. They fit into two categories a) "why on earth would you include this in the 10 best snare drums" or b) "I'm going to look for a steel Export" I say - it's 10 classic snare drums, not "the best" snare drums; - it's there as a control sample in this experiment and since the Export is the best selling drum kit of all time, it stands to reason that we have all heard one of these snare drums on the radio or streaming, probably more than once. Seems I was right there. I ended up giving it away because I wasn't playing it much and I wanted someone else to enjoy it. Pearl have been making drums for 74 years and since they're still in business, I'm guessing they've learned a bit about it along the way. I'm not one of people that think any drum can sound good in the studio but if it's a solid drum with decent heads and good tuning (and playing) you can't really go wrong. The snare drum is a critical part of rock music and these days it's so easy to replace it in the track that the duds are not heard.
 

RhythmGJ

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Here are a few examples...

This entire album is pretty much pure, unadulterated Pearl Export 6&1/2 steel snare:


This is a Jazz ballad/brush track with the Export:

https://soundcloud.com/nocturnal-productions%2Fsong-for-colleen
It’s a great drum. Period.


GJ
 

Cauldronics

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If you're interested in recording drums this channel is cool. Nothing is cast in stone for recording but he gets great rock drum sounds and this video and the mixing drums one are worth looking at IMHO.
I’ve been watching EV videos on youtube lately, and there was one about using EQ that actually helped me improve a drum mix, right after watching it. That surprised me because I’ve been into audio engineering for a couple decades now.

I know there’s always more to learn but you don’t often get highly useful information that you can use right away.
 

RhythmGJ

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I’ve been watching EV videos on youtube lately, and there was one about using EQ that actually helped me improve a drum mix, right after watching it. That surprised me because I’ve been into audio engineering for a couple decades now.

I know there’s always more to learn but you don’t often get highly useful information that you can use right away.

Link???

How you gonna do that, bruh? That’s a tease, that is...


GJ
 

Cauldronics

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Lol.. you’re right I should’ve linked it. Not to tease again, but I’ll try to find it later on. I know I gave it a like and save, so it should be in my YT history.
 

Cauldronics

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Here it is. When he demonstrates the amount of low frequency content he takes out, and where and why, that’s one thing I didn’t do as much as he does until after seeing the video.

Also when he narrowly notches up at a corner of a high pass filter or deep subtractive cut, it brings out the emphasis of an instrument when done with awareness and care. Use your ears!

 

Browny

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I’ve been watching EV videos on youtube lately, and there was one about using EQ that actually helped me improve a drum mix, right after watching it. That surprised me because I’ve been into audio engineering for a couple decades now.

I know there’s always more to learn but you don’t often get highly useful information that you can use right away.
One of the big things I've picked up is how much he loves tape machines.... Something just doesn't sound 'right'? Just keep running it through again and again until the top end is distorted enough that it sounds 'real' (reel?) again
 


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