AF’s Weblog

July 20, 2009

Recording Drums with Michael Wagener – Part 2

After explaining how he mics up drums, Michael Wagener now talks more about ribbon microphones, which he considers much less understood than their condenser or dynamic counterparts.

In fact, the subject almost creates a debate: whereas some say that ribbon mics inhibit hi frequencies, Michael feels that it’s the other way around; condenser mics exaggerate hi frequencies, and they sound less natural and are more difficult to use correctly…

This second part also gives us an opportunity to: go into further detail about some of his choices (why use a stereo mic for overhead?), to see how he sets up drums in a room to get the best possible sound, and especially to hear the result after recording and mixing. Does he get a huge sound? Yes, that’s the right word … In fact, we put the final drum mix into 24-bit 48 kHz, so you can judge for yourself. You can download it here …

See exclusive video demonstration:

Recording Drums with Michael Wagener Part 2

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July 13, 2009

Recording Drums with Michael Wagener Part 1

Recording is an art and often a matter of experience, and so what better way of gaining some understanding of what’s involved than by listening to the prestigious American engineer Michael Wagener talk about his recording tips and secrets. Starting with mic placement for drums …

Michael Wagener: If you like rock in general and metal in particular, you probably know his name, because this engineer has worked with some of the most prestigious artists such as: Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Helloween, Testament, Dokken, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Accept, Extreme, Janet Jackson, King’s X. Quite simply, the list of albums and singles he has recorded or mixed is simply staggering…

So when Royer Labs and Jukebox LTD invited us to meet him while he was in the studio with the band Cockpit, we jumped at the opportunity and decided to film the whole experience, to better show you how he does his thing. And needless to say, we weren’t disappointed. We were even surprised. Not by Michael’s skill (he has little to prove), but by his affable manner and willingness to share his wisdom.

So, we were able to ask him almost anything we wanted about microphone placement, or about the gear he uses. The result is a kind of Masterclass, that we will unveil, episode by episode, in the coming weeks.

Michael Wagener is quite exhaustive on the subject of mic placement, and his views are all the more interesting since he uses ribbon mics quite extensively. He therefore dispelled certain preconceived notions about them: no, ribbon mics are not only for jazz, no, they are not limited in the high frequency range, and no, they are not as fragile as we’re led to believe, you can even record a bass drum with them.

But let’s listen to what he has to say in this first episode:

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

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