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Sound Advice

Gating Drums by Stacey T. Heydon

“The difference between rally musically effective drum gating and disastrous gating is a fine line. Ambience, crash cymbals, resonating skins and snare and hi-hat bleed are among the most common pests when recording acoustic drums. The following tips may help you elude any of these bleed problems and allow all drum effects or equalizers to receive the cleanest of uninterrupted, natural drum sounds.

For key mic, routing and patched, gated signal.

Step 1. Set up two SM57s on the snare, one underneath, almost touching the snares (key mic), your second SM-57 normally positioned one to four inches away above the snare (snare mic).

Step 2. Set up gate setting on snare mic, not choking signal with too much threshold.

Step 3. Solo key mic input; set up gate on key mic with fast release, fast attack, tightest possible threshold (you’ll just hear a tick with snare contact) and maximum range.

Step 4. At this point you must patch output of gated key mic signal to external imput or key input on snare mic gate. (Check for external input or key input switch on snare mic gate).

This method of gating will completely separate snare, tom and kick signals without injuring in any way the natural sound qualities of each of these drums, therefore allowing effects and equalizers to receive the cleanest possible send.”

Stacey T. Heydon – producer/engineer (Sheriff #1 single), guitarist (David Bowie).

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