Top Tip – Kream Krackered

Busy recording artists for a CD for a charity project, of which more later, but I did get a chance to try something like this one again recently with a new band who had a very fierce drummer, which is when it works best.  The drums on the Knack’s immortal ‘My Sharona’ were recorded in a large room, high ceilinged, with a pipe organ covering one wall.  This added all sorts of interesting overtones, which would be neither here nor there if not for the room mics.

Using room mics was out of fashion in American studios at the time (1979), when bone dry soundstages were what producers were looking for, so as to be able to layer up massed overdubs  without the song turning to mush.  Dead booths and close mics allowed this, but the Knack wanted a huge live sound so the Neumann condensers were spaced high and wide, and an extra mic added about 10 ft directly above the snare.  This was gated so when the snare was hit it would take the attack and suck in all the fat room sound with the organ ring and all.  The guitar amps in the same room were faced away from the drum kit at a distance so that the mics on them were picking up yet more drum bleed.  Experienced engineers will know that a naturally big drum sound needs a big reflective room, but Sharona has one of the biggies, not exceeded to my ears until U2’s War album.

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