Tom Petty drum sound fans read this!

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LeedyGuy
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Tom Petty drum sound fans read this!

Post by LeedyGuy » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:09 am

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers! That snare sound on Damn the Torpedoes is amazing to me. I like Bonham too, but this is the anti-Bonham sound I think.

I am making a record right now and that is the sound I want, but I'm finding it awfully elusive. I fear that people are going to tell me that that sound is all tape, which I don't really have access to very easily.

Here's what I hear in it: plenty of low mids, but with a fast stick attack transient that is more in the high mids/"low" highs range and an almost gated sound of the strainer. It really thumps, but it is clearly still a snare drum. It sounds kind of toweled, but maybe it's just a really thick head.

Here's what I have at my disposal:

mics:
57, 58, d112, beta 57, Okt Mk012, Joly modded Okt 219 and some other stuff, but nothing worth mentioning I don't think.

pres:
Sytek (with BB3&4), Focusrite Trakmaster, Black Lion PR8, Studio Projects VTB1, Presonus Tube Pre, and a pair of racked up PM1000s that I'll have in the next 2 weeks.

drums:
Old Ludwig super sensitive (with the rod through it) 5.5"/14"
Pearl Masters Custom 5.5"
Pearl Masters Custom 5.5" that is a brighter louder wood that I can't remember
Pearl Masters Studio (birch) 5.5"
Pearl Piccolo 3.5" that I can tune pretty low

Most of the snares have the Aquarian reverse dot head on them.

Any advice on that sound would be much appreciated!

I'm all digital into a MOTU 828 then to Sonar.

-Ken
Current band - www.myspace.com/nickafflittomusic
My music - www.myspace.com/kenadessamusic
Recording space - www.myspace.com/twinreverbsound
HOT soul music - www.enzoandthebakers.com
Freelance drum hookups available constantly

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Post by drumsound » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:48 am

You're right that the sound is mostly tape. The good news thought is it's gaffers/duct tape on the snare head and should not be a problem for you to source of pay for. YOu can also acheive the sound with Moongel or possible a towel as mentioned. Don't tuen the drum too tight. Got anything deeper than the 5.5s? Maybe you could borrow a 6.5 from a friend? I guess a 57 should work, I hat 'em but about a million records have them on SD so what do I know? This is a guess but I bet the PM1000 couls be really cool for snare.

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Post by Blade » Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:09 am

I have been having great luck with 58 on the snare lately.
It seems to have more low end and makes it sound fat.

I would try that with your new PM 1000.

Use a deep snare tuned low.

PM me if you want the snare sample to "Refugee".
You can use it for A/B ing, or you can throw it into your sampler.

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Post by Slider » Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:02 pm

I use an old Ludwig snare tuned down and muffled with a large snare strainer for this sound. CS reverse dot works well, but I don't have trouble with a regular coat ambass for this sound.
I also think using a nice bottom snare mic pulled back a little (441 or u87 are my fav) really shines in this situation. I'd try that mc012 underneath with the Beta57 up top in your case. Some punchy dbx style compression on the combined snare mics really brings out the low mid punch for me.
An obvious big part of that sound is how you hit the thing too. I've tried this with players who get too crazy with the hard rimshots and it just ruins the tone.
I think a lot of that Jeff Lynne stuff started with drum machine and had overdubbed drums BTW. I also believe the wendel was used on certain parts of those records. I haven't given them a close enough listen to really figure out what's going on track to track though. Best of luck to you.

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Post by cgarges » Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:12 pm

I agree. That album does have an incredibly cool drum sound on it. In addition to apprpriate tuning and a semi-dead room, they sound like rather large drums to me.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Post by Catoogie » Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:26 pm

Damn the Torpedoes isn't Jeff Lynne, it's Jimmy Iovine with Shelly Yakus engineering.

"Shelly Yakus II: Petty?s Torpedoes
and Beyond

Interview and photos by Bruce Borgerson


1 2 3 4



Getting from the big picture down to specifics, I?m an ex-drummer myself, and your drum sounds?at least since Damn the Torpedoes?have always sounded huge and real, almost bigger than life. The Shelly Yakus drum sound is what you always wanted your drums to sound like live, but never did. How do you make that come out on tape?

Well, with Stan Lynch, when he came to the sessions the first day, I tried to record his drums and finally looked at him and said, ?Stan, these sound like pink drums. I?m not going to be able to get what you expect from me with this set.? So we went out to Valley Music and they gave us whatever we wanted to use. So we put together a new set, some of it his and some borrowed, and used heads that complemented the shells, so if the shells were live we had deader heads to tone them down. The tuning and the miking was the key to how we got that sound, and Stan?s patience. We kept fooling with different snares until we got one we liked, and worked on the tuning of that. There?s no real formula here. It?s just experimenting.

Did you use close mics, or distant?

We did both. I remember exactly what I did. Okay, I?ll spill the beans here. Now some of this is what I do on just about every kit I record, but one thing is unique with Stan. On his kick I use a Sennheiser 441. For most drums it doesn?t sound right, but for that shell and that head it was the only mic that recorded in a way that we were looking for. It was so live, so hot sounding, that everything else sounded small. The 441 is a dry, dead sounding mic, but still has quality. I also had a SM57 that I mixed in if I needed it, though you always have to make sure the phase is right. Sometimes I would mix in the 57, sometimes I wouldn?t.

How were they positioned relative to each other?

The 441 was off to the side, pointing toward the back head, about halfway inside the shell, at an angle toward the beater. The 57 was just outside the edge of the drum, but set slightly further away. You know, the sound of the instrument really doesn?t take on all its characteristics until about three feet away, that goes for drums and horns and all sorts of instruments. But normally it?s not possible to pull three feet away, or you?ll pick up everything else in the room. That?s why sometimes you have to use multiple mics, with different personalities. For example, on bass drum, sometimes I?ve used three different mics, and when you put them together they translate as bottom, middle and top. It?s just the nature of what they pick up and you build your bass drum sound from that.

What about other drums?

Anyway, on Stan?s stuff we used a 57 on the snare, I used a 57 on the hi-hit, I used U87?s on the tom-toms with a pad, and I used KM-86?s for overheads. Those are awesome overhead mics. They are the greatest for cymbals. They always come out sounding smooth, never jagged. And then there was the ?bleed? mic. When we were doing a rough vocal we noticed that Tom?s vocal mic was picking up some drums and giving it amazing sound overall. He was singing into the mic so we couldn?t use it, it would ruin it, so we put up another mic right near it. It was a SM58 or a 57, and put that on a separate track so we could mix that in. Sometimes we didn?t use it, but at other times it made a wonderful difference. Also, sometimes we would use an overhead shotgun mic straight down on the drums, sometimes we wouldn?t. It depended on how he hit the drums, which changes from track to track, and of course the tuning changes on the drums, too.

So I take it you?ve leaned the diplomacy of working with drummers on tuning!

Yes, it?s a fine art. With the Petty sessions, at the end of some takes, the snare drum head would start coming down in pitch, and once that happens, the sound of the snare?because it is leaking into every mic in the drum kit, even if you use a sample it?s still in there?it?s not the same as having the drum live in the room. The problem is, if you go just a hair too far, the snare drum loses it?s sound. Everything is maxed out. The sounds are just right, and if you go any further, it ain?t gonna sound like what you want. The drum can?t handle it. Tighten the toms more and they sound boingy, tighten the snare more suddenly it gets thin. We?ve gotten everything maxed by having the right shells and the right heads and the right mics all set the right distance away, and a little luck and the planets lining up and all the electrons in a row.

You have all that going on and at the end of a take its dangerous to say to a drummer, ?Hey just bring up the snare a little bit.? We have to work well together so that he understands what a little bit means. It?s the tiniest turn on they key. Then all of a sudden that snare drum pops back into perspective and focus again. Remember, I?m doing it like I learned, listening in mono, or a very narrow stereo, and everything is already in balance the way a finished record would be. If the snare drums changes sound, just a little bit, it drops back into the track because other instruments start to mask it. And it it?s changed from what we found works with the other instruments, then it?s not a good sound anymore. Today people use samples, but that hadn?t come into vogue by that time. So its? still the same theory as back when we were doing four track or eight track. You had to get it right. I still think that?s the only way of bringing a band to the finish line in way?I mean, how many years has it been since some of these records? Twenty, thirty years?"

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Post by Slider » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:23 pm

Guess I have to brush up on my TP record titles.
That early TP drum sound is very real and very amazing.
Cool info.

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Post by LeedyGuy » Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:28 pm

cgarges wrote:I agree. That album does have an incredibly cool drum sound on it. In addition to apprpriate tuning and a semi-dead room, they sound like rather large drums to me.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Yeah man, you ain't kiddin. "Don't Do Me Like That" has some huge toms on it, maybe even without bottom heads. Anyone want to buy me some U87s to get me closer to that tom sound? The compression on those cymbal hits at the beginning of that tune is serious too! It's such obvious sounding pumping compression.

My favorite tune on this record though is Shadow of a Doubt.

Thanks a lot for that interview. I think I'm actually getting close to the sound, though I haven't tried a mic on the bottom snare yet, but I will first thing in the morning. I do not have a 441 at my disposal though...an 012 will have to do. I tried an 012 with a Cascade ribbon in mid-side today with the 012 pointing right at my face peeking over the first tom and it sounded kinda good, but that has not much to do with the snare.

How about getting some suggestions on that reverb sound on Refugee? I have RVerb, but that has been getting some flack lately around here.

Thanks!!!

-Ken
Current band - www.myspace.com/nickafflittomusic
My music - www.myspace.com/kenadessamusic
Recording space - www.myspace.com/twinreverbsound
HOT soul music - www.enzoandthebakers.com
Freelance drum hookups available constantly

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Post by runrunrun » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:49 am

while were talking tom petty drum sounds....how about that snare on You Don't Know How it Feels! damn. the whole wildflowers album really...

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Post by Ian » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:31 pm

out of tune wrote:while were talking tom petty drum sounds....how about that snare on You Don't Know How it Feels! damn. the whole wildflowers album really...

I personally love the drums in "A Woman In Love(it's not me)"

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Post by joel hamilton » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:25 pm

out of tune wrote:while were talking tom petty drum sounds....how about that snare on You Don't Know How it Feels! damn. the whole wildflowers album really...
Totally. Wildflowers sounds really good to me every time. I dont even really like that record very much, but sonically I really like it. Has that perfect "everything is loud" feeling, and I dont mean the mastering... just everything sounds like it is meant to be there... mostly arrangement wise it is killer, and the engineering hangs well too...

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Post by shakestheclown » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:07 am

Wildflowers = Rick Ruben

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Jul 06, 2007 7:37 am

Shelly Yakus wrote:Stan, these sound like pink drums.
so, so good.

and he makes a good point about messing with the tuning between takes. a delicate business, that.

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Post by mrufino1 » Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:27 pm

http://www.musicianscast.com/
It looks like they have stopped doing their podcast, but Shelly Yakus was one of the hosts and I learned a TON from listening to him. The last two are an interview with Stan Lynch, and this very thing was talked about in detail. Also, the interviews with Niko Bolas were so funny but also so educational that they are definitely worth a listen.

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Post by Slider » Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:02 pm

joel hamilton wrote:
out of tune wrote:while were talking tom petty drum sounds....how about that snare on You Don't Know How it Feels! damn. the whole wildflowers album really...
Totally. Wildflowers sounds really good to me every time. I dont even really like that record very much, but sonically I really like it. Has that perfect "everything is loud" feeling, and I dont mean the mastering... just everything sounds like it is meant to be there... mostly arrangement wise it is killer, and the engineering hangs well too...

Yeah nice sounding record.
Jim Scott, David Bianco, Richard Dodd.
Pretty awesome engineering lineup.
I think they dubbed, or didn't play cymbals on some tracks so they could crank up the room mics.
I worked with David Bianco right in the middle of that Wildflowers record. It won a Grammy for best engineered rock album or some shit. I specifically remember Rubin calling the studio asking how to set an 1176 to record vocals one night because there was no engineer there. lol

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