Recording Drums like the Beatles


Ringo played a Ludwig Hollywood drumkit with the typical 3-ply shells with reinforcement-rings
and put tea towels on the toms and the snare.  

Microphones on the original drum track:
Bassdrum:  AKG D20
Snare:  Neumann KM56 (bottom)
Rack Tom:  AKG D19c (bottom)
Floor Tom:  AKG D19c (top)
HiHat:  AKG D19c
Overhead:  AKG D19c (mono)

These microphones were recorded with the "REDD.51" mixing desk through the "EMI REDD.47" Preamp. 
The balanced mono drum track were sent through a Fairchild 660 Compressor and recorded on a "Studer J37".

My Recording:

In my recording I tried to get the setup as close as possible to the original by renting some microphones and choosing preamps, which
are close to the original. 

Ludwig USA Maple 1970 with 3-ply shells and reinforcement-rings and tea towels on top of the heads. 

Microphones and preamps on my drum track:

Bassdrum:  AKG D12 > Telefunken V72
Snare:  Neumann KM54 (bottom)  > Chandler TG Channel MKII
Rack Tom:  Sennheiser MD421 (bottom) > Telefunken V74
Floor Tom:  Sennheiser MD421 (top) > Telefunken V74
HiHat:  AKG D19b > Telefunken V676
Overhead:  AKG D19c (mono) > Chandler TG Channel MKII

I recorded with a Avid HD I/O in Pro Tools. So from that point I'm in the box. 
To get the recording chain as close as possible to the original I uses plug-ins to simulate the original devices. 
And of cause it was impossible to get a original Fairchild for the recording. 
So I used the "Waves Puigchild 660" to get that kind of character, which is by the way the most important device for getting the typical beatles sound.

As you can see it's doing a lot of gain reduction. So don't be so polite with the threshold knob. 

To add the character of a tape machine I used the "Waves Kramer Master Tape", which is doing distortion and saturation. 
And here the most important knob is the speed control. I used the 7,5 IPS setting to get rid of some high frequencies.

For the individual tracks I used the "Waves REDD.37-.51" Plugin for eq and distortion. 

But at the end of the day I found out: The absolute most important for that sound is the right drumset-preparation and the "Puigchild 660" on the drum-bus.

So I hope I could help some of you with this tutorial. Have Fun.

Greetings Helge

  • Default-avatarby

    Did you take the bottom skins off the toms?

  • Default-avatarby

    great :)

  • Default-avatarby


  • Default-avatarby

    Great job! I feel like on some of the Beatles tracks they actually recorded Ringo at a slower sped and then sped it up to match the beat, producing a stylized 'wrong speed' sound. Do you know the sound I'm talking about? It has a sharp crispness to it that I don't think could be accomplished via EQ alone.

  • Default-avatarby

    Outstanding!! Excellent job!

  • Default-avatarby

    Great drumming btw :)

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