100% Separate Drum Recording for Every Drum

Back in the '80s, there was this man, Paul Lani. He recorded his cymbals at a different time than the snare, kick, and toms for some of his productions. I was thinking about this, why not try going all the way? Obviously the performance won’t be as spontaneous, but you would have separate room and overhead tracks for every facet of the kit. If you think the overhead for the snare is the shit, but it makes the kick sound too boxy, fear not! Since the kick overhead is a different track than the snare overhead, you can adjust to taste. Play kick, record. Play snare, record. Play hihat, record. That way you could achieve the proper balance of room, overhead and close mics to suit every specific drum. Need more room for the toms, but it takes the punch out of the snare? Not a problem, they are separated. Don’t have to worry about gating, the cymbals won’t bleed through because they are off in their own special realm. Time consuming, impractical, but I’d like try it once before I draw my terminal breath.

I recorded a Ramones cover song like this. One drum at a time…The reason I did that is because I was using drum pads…,not a kit… So I had to play the kick, snare, high hats, crash and ride separately. I hated doing it that way because it felt so awkward. Maybe had I practiced a lot, it would have been easier. If I had recorded the song using a drum kit, playing all the drums in one take , it would have been the easiest song I’ve ever recorded.

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That sounds like it would be dreadful. Why not just use samples. You can control the bleed all you want.

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Apparently Eric Valentine recorded “Songs For the Deaf” by Queens of the Stone Age by recording the drums and cymbals separately. Not exactly what you’re talking about, but it certainly made for a compelling drum sound. He describes it from about 27:10 on in this podcast:


Because that’s the easy way out. It’s no fun unless you struggle at the risk of insanity.

You’ve basically just defined midi drum software (just pick a brand). Obviously the performance won’t EVER be spontaneous but that’s what that is. Who ever said bleed was a bad thing any way…literally no one. I see no reason for sterile live drums, ever.

its a logical idea but its going to get into “the law of diminishing returns.” The time spent messing with it wont equate to any appreciable improvement.

That being said, im pretty sure its been done plenty times as far as recording cymbals separate from the rest of the kit. Especially nowadays with triggering and sampling etc. like I said though, i doubt its something thats going to jump off the recording at you as some amazing thing

Some EZ Drummer drums come pretty close to this, depending on how the particular kit has the mixer set up. Some kits have individual mics for ride and hihat and toms…and the kick is barely picked up (if at all) by OH mics anyway, so its pretty close to individual

You know that Def Leppard does a similar (silly) thing with guitar chords? they dont hit an actual chord…they record each note separately. No wonder it takes them 3 years to record an album

btw, now that I think of it, lol, I did this exact thing using EZ Drummer. Its a bit scary that you and I think alike. The way I did it was to just set up 2 instances of EZ Drummer and one had the cymbals muted and the other had cymbals only. In the end it was just 2x the work for no real big difference

Have you looked at how they made S3?

It’s interesting. I bought it for some of the workflow improvements but the sounds are good too.

After downloading the basic package it was a working plugin a lot like EZ2. I kept downloading 40gig chunks and installing them and all it did was add extra depth to the drums etc. More recordings of the same drum added like parallel processing. Well I’m sure it did more but that was all I noticed. You can’t remove the drums, if you want a small installation you have to stop at the point in the installation process where you’re happy. It’s cool though, all the extra recordings make the drums come out in the mix.

I know how they make samples, I’m just saying I think it would be a cool thing to play around with at least once in a lifetime.

I dunno. Sometimes getting emerged in recording is a fun ride. Not something you’d do for a client, but something you would do for fun, as a personal project.