In these days of loops, samples, virtual instruments and remote recording we’ve lost some of those skills that made quality recording a real talent. One such skill is drum tuning. This important detail is often overlooked but can mean the difference between a hook that really pumps and one that doesn’t quite sit right. Some things to consider;
i) Have you got the right kit!? What sort of music are you recording? A jazz kit, even an expensive one, will sound wrong on a Metal record!! Obvs.
ii) What key is the song in? What chords does it follow? It’s a good idea to try and tune the Toms within the structure of the track, they’ll sit better. The floor Tom, tune it to the root or fifth for some added interest.
iii) What do you want the snare to do? This is a trial and error one. Has it got to crack through the mix or provide a lazy shuffle? Try out different depths. I’ve had some nice results with deep, really loose snares.
iv) Mix it up. There’s nothing wrong with samples. They open up a whole world of possibilities and allow you to experiment with augmenting your recording. So, mount some midi drum triggers while recording and make hooking up an extra snare a doddle when mixing.