There are some studios that have that magic sound for tracking drums, and the famed Sound City in Van Nuys, California was one. Every great sounding tracking room that I’ve ever been in has been a product of luck rather than design, and Sound City (which ha since closed) was no exception. The combination of a smooth reverb decay, a tailored frequency response, and finding just the right spot in the room makes all the difference.
Here’s an excerpt from Dave Grohl’s excellent Sound City film that talks specifically about the drum sound of the room. It features luminaries like Lindsay Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Rick Rubin, Jim Keltner, and Keith Ohlsson, among others.
We can talk about microphone placement, mics and preamps all day, but in the end, it still all starts with the basics – a great drummer, good sounding drums, and a great room.
If you haven’t seen the Sound City movie, you’re really missing out. It’s one of the best music films going.