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  1. #1
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    Default Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    Hey there all, i'm a newbie here!!

    Im currently researching into recording an 80's rock sounding track for a guitar rhythm action game (like guitar hero) for a university project. Im finding it difficult to get some advice on getting that phat Bon Jovi, Def Leppard Sound. Think of the intro to 'Lay your Hands On Me' by Bon Jovi.

    I understand using gated reverbs and some nice valve mic's and pre's. But what kind of drum's?? what snare sound?? type? Skins?. I understand the processing part of it but its just getting the sound in the first place. A lot of it was MIDI triggers and sequences but im trying to get it from acoustic drums in the first place.

    Im also trying to get a nice kick sound. Its still very resonant and clicky. I've tried adding coats, duvets etc, into the sound hole and tried various mic placements. Is it best to take the front off and go from there??

    So many questions but I hope I can get some help!!

    Cheers!!!

    Danny

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    Interesting thread. I must admit that I don't know much about the drum stuff like shell type, heads, etc.

    Also, the sound of Def Leopard drums sounds quite a bit different from album to album.

    However, the sound of these huge drum sounds is almost entirely in the processing. The intro to lay your hands on me has a WILD amount of reverb on it. I could be wrong, but the way I see it, the wetter the drum sound, the less significant the tone of the drums (within reason).

    I've not read much on Bon Jovi 80s production, but I have with Def Leopard. The short answer is "anything goes". Midi triggers, layering samples, entirely using electronic drums, doubling drums, etc are all options. No rules. Any means justify the end with this sound.

    If I was going for the Lay Your Hands On Me intro, I'd start with triggering a white noise sample into reverb and blending that into real drums.

    I would not even attempt to record drums in anything less than a huge room when going for the huge sound.

    Another popular trick was using a gate with a key to only let the room mics shoot up after a snare hit. This is how they got a lot of those Power Station / Robert Palmer recordings. BTW, the power station drums are real. They are not using digital reverb....just a lot of gating on room mics.

    Michael Wagener told me that the first Skid Row album's drums were done in a huge concrete room where they had a car show the night before.

    I know that Bob Rock did drums for The Cult in a concrete warehouse.

    Brandon

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    Thanks alot for the advice !!

    I'm going to get back in the studio and have a couple of hours setting up and having a play. With the kick problem I might add a synthesized one underneath or even a sub tone quite low, with a multiband sidechained with the bass.

    You couldn't point me in the right direction for some literature on anything 80's could you? Drums, guitar, production techniques? I've got to do a research report alongside the project. I'm struggling to find much at all...

    I'll keep going, im just creating a MIDI guide track to put down the drums and then i'll upload what i'm doing to you can all rip it to shreds hehe!!!

    Thanks again ,

    Danny

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    Default Re: Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    You couldn't point me in the right direction for some literature on anything 80's could you?
    There are a few problems with this.

    #1 There really isn't a such thing as "80s recording". There are recording engineers and there are people who are not recording engineers. A recording is just a capturing of sound. Whether you are recording jazz or folk or hair music is irrelevant. It's the same process. You slap up some mics on a source that you want to record and you adjust things until you get what you want.

    #2 Within the 80s there are 100,000,000 different sounds. George Michael "Faith" has nothing to do with Pet Shop Boys "Always On My Mind" which has nothing to do with Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart". There are some fairly dry vocals in the 80s. There are obviously some songs that have lots of reverb.

    There were some cliches that were used quite a bit in the hair band scene like reverse reverb and stuff like that. However, I think it's easy to get hung up on the cliches and forget about the quality of tones that were captured back then.

    With the kick problem I might add a synthesized one underneath or even a sub tone quite low, with a multiband sidechained with the bass.
    That may be perfect. It may be stupid.

    Sometimes people read about a trick and say "THIS is the best way". Well, sometimes you don't need a kick drum mic at all. Sometimes you need a couple kick drum mics. Sometimes you need a couple kick drum mics, sample replacement, pitch shifting, etc.

    Audio engineering is the search for tones. It's not a method. You never know what is going to be thrown your way. You just react to what you are given. So, if you find that the kick drum is too short (in time) and too thin, may be the synth thing is what you want. However, these are icing on the cake tricks and may not be necessary at all.

    Brandon

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    Default Re: Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    Thanks alot,

    Okay let me re-phrase what I said...

    Is there any literature from the leading rock producers from the 80's?? Any stuff on the equipment used in the big studios, what mic's, compressors were big at the time? If alot of Hair rock was sequenced, what did they use?? Atari ST's?

    I just need stuff like this to evidence that I have researched into the area and from this, used the techniques to emulate the sound of the 80's rock!

    Thanks for all your help!

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    Default Re: Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    When I hear those big snare sounds, I think one thought: BIG!

    As a starting point, I'd use the deepest snare you can find, preferably a nice wood, like maple.You want the bottom skin tuned tight, but don't crank the top head too hard. Mic both heads with a 57 (go for the beta if you can, I can hear a good difference between it and the SM) Definetely angle the top mic towards the center of the drum.

    Then after that, play around with cmpressors and gated reverbs. The idea on alot of those 80's drums sounds always seemed to be that it was using reverb to simulate an arena sized venue, but gating it so that the fall off would get cut quickly.

    -Steve

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    Default Re: Getting that 80s Rock Drum Sound!!

    I spent 10 days at the Michael Wagener Workshop last year. He was one of the biggest hair band producers at the time. He neve really mentioned mics being any different than they are today.

    I remember he liked the Telefunken 251 on Sebastian Bach. He also mentioned U47s. These are the same mics used on Jewel records or whatever. It's industry standard top of the line stuff and it's used now just as much as it was used then.

    The tricks that he did mention were:
    1) Recording in a huge room (as mentioned above).
    2) Using an Eventide Harmonizer on the snare (to make it sound WAY deeper) and bring that in on an aux return.
    3) The use digital reverbs can into play quite a bit more, but it depends on the album. As mentioned, the Power Station drums are completely real with heavy use of a gate.

    The idea on alot of those 80's drums sounds always seemed to be that it was using reverb to simulate an arena sized venue,
    It's easy to get caught up in this stereotype, but most drum sounds in the 80s weren't nearly as over the top as we may think. While I agree that the intro to "Lay Your Hands On Me" is certainly over the top, the drums on "Photograph" by Def Leopard aren't THAT crazy. Now Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You" are pretty damn over the top (and actually sound very natural).

    I took a modern rock project up to a pro studio in St. Louis (Music Creek Studios). I thought their room was Appetite For Destruction to a T. I was scary just how similar the two sounded, in my opinion.

    So, needless to say, the equipment wasn't that different than what was being used in 1995. It was just being used differently.

    Now the difference between 1995 and now is pretty damn great because of the computer revolution.

    Brandon

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