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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sound and Drums

One of the reasons I decided to record at home was to capture the sound of the house, because every home has a unique sonic environment. I wanted listeners to hear the band together—the drums in the dining room, the bass in the hallway, the guitar in the living room.

My intention was not to turn this into another recording studio with each instrument being recorded in pristine isolation. I wanted the sounds to blend into an organic whole, and still allow enough separation for mixing.

In this situation, the biggest challenge was how to allow a great drum sound while maintaining limits—and keeping Adam visible so we could communicate and feel the groove.

Nik started by walking the house and listening to sound reflections. He proposed that the drums be placed in the northeast corner of the dining room and asked us to lay carpets over the hardwood floor to manage sound reflection from below. We rolled out a 9’ x 12’ carpet from Jane’s parents in the dining room, two smaller ones from Adam in the living room, and a Nepalese carpet of Jane’s in the front hallway under the bass station.

In order to soften reflections from behind the drums, Jane and I pinned two foam mattress covers over the corner walls and lay big pillows along the floor. As a final touch, Jane removed two legs from our dining room table and Nik covered it with carpet underlay and placed it in front of the drums.

With simple household items we managed to achieve a natural balance—and the kit sounded great.

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