Review: The Drum Recording Handbook


Most engineers will agree that the acoustic drumkit is the most difficult instrument to record and get a professional quality sound. It probably doesn’t help matters that I’m also a drummer, so I’m a tough customer to please. My drum recordings have gotten progressively better over time (thanks mostly to some helpful mixing tips and tricks), but I’m always looking for something to help take my recorded drum sounds to that elusive “next level”. That’s why I got excited when I saw The Drum Recording Handbook. I’ve previously read another book by one of the authors (The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski), which I found very helpful. For that reason, I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, I was a little let down.

I was hoping that an entire book devoted to the subject of recording drums would be much more exhaustive than this. The book is somewhat short, and the margins on the pages are so large that the book could have probably been half its size with the same number of pages and still included all of the same text. But I guess the margins could be good if you want to take notes as you go.

The included DVD includes a lot of good information, expecially for a beginner. It illustrates most all of the same information from the book with an additional video interview with drummer Michael White. Co-author Dennis Moody goes through the process of miking up each component of the drumkit, setting levels, recording, and even mixing.

In summary, if you’re new to recording drums, this book will probably be a big help to you. But if you’re an experienced engineer, you’re probably not going to learn too much. I think you’d be better off by visiting the Gearslutz or forums and read all of the threads about recording and mixing drums. On a positive note, I would probably buy and read the book again, as it makes a good reference and a good refresher course if you need it. This book has a lot of potential, but just falls short of greatness. Maybe we’ll see an updated, second edition in the future that will really deliver.

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