Tech Tip:Salvaging Poorly Recorded Drum Tracks for $13.99


Here's a  recording tip from world-class producer/mixer Ronan Chris Murphy, whose  expertise in recording and mixing drums includes work with Terry Bozzio,  Victor Bisetti (Los Lobos), Gregg Bissonette (Santana, David Lee Roth),  Bill Bruford (King Crimson), and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, Mister  Mister, The Rembrandts).

In a perfect world, every time we  recorded a drum set, the drums would be tuned well, played great, and  recorded perfectly, with just the right gear for the sound we were going  for. Unfortunately we don't get to live in a perfect world. Trying to  mix a song and realizing that the raw sounds on your drum track are not  happening can be a really frustrating experience. There are some  advanced mixing techniques as well some often costly software and  hardware options that can go a long way toward salvaging poorly recorded  drum tracks. If you do not yet have the experience for advanced mixing  techniques; the money for the right tools to do the job; or the drum  tracks seem beyond help; there is one cool option that is effective,  easy, and best of all—cheap.

The mighty tambourine!



Believe  it! One of the best techniques I've found for helping mixes with poorly  recorded drums is strategically adding a tambourine track. A simple  mono tambourine track (a real one, played live and recorded with a  microphone) can add a sense of depth, texture, and energy to a mix,  actually pulling the listener's attention away from the sound or timbre  of the drums but not the performance or its groove.

The great  thing about the tambourine is that it can be mixed fairly loud and come  across as a creative choice. The loud tambourine has been employed in  rock records for decades, from Motown and the Rolling Stones to Oasis  and Rob Zombie. A big, loud tambourine track is part of far more great  mixes than you may have realized. The important thing to keep in mind  when applying the drum-salvaging tambourine track is to make a nice  clean recording with conservative recording levels and simplicity. The  latter is the secret to the whole trick. Your tambourine performance  must be very, very simple with no variations. I usually prefer a simple  doubling of the snare that goes through the whole song (except during  drum fills). A simple part without any kind of variations will not draw  the listener's attention to the tambourine and many listeners will not  notice it, even if it is quite loud in the mix. If you do any kinds of  fills or accent, they will draw the attention away from the drums, and  the trick is ruined.

We'd like to thank Ronan Chris Murphy for  sharing his valuable knowledge and experience. As you can see, you don't  always need to invest in expensive equipment to make the most of your  recordings. In fact, the best investment you can make is knowledge, and  there's no better way to learn to make the most out of your recordings  than up close and personal with someone like Ronan Chris Murphy. Check  out Ronan's Home Recording Boot Camp at and keep checking your email for more recording tips from Ronan Chris Murphy.