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While the definition of a great sounding drum kit is different to different people, in the studio it usually means that the kit is free of buzzes and sympathetic vibrations. This means that when you hit the rack tom the snare doesn't buzz and the other toms don't ring along with it, and if you hit the snare the toms don't ring along either. Let's have a listen to a great sounding kit. (music playing) Note the lack of buzz and sympathetic vibrations.
When the drummer hit the snare you can hear the toms ring too much, when he hit the toms you didn't hear the snare rattle. Let's have another listen. (music playing) So how do you achieve this drum nirvana? It's all in the tuning and the kit maintenance. Note how balanced the cymbals are with the rest of the drums.
Heavy cymbals are good for live, but might not work for recording. (music playing) Usually thinner cymbals sound better in the studio, because they are brighter sounding and not as loud. (music playing) Try not to mix light and heavy cymbals, since the light ones might get lost in the mix, and you might have to mic them separately.
In closing a great drum sound not only has a lot of tone, but it's free of buzzes and sympathetic vibrations as well. Also, the cymbals are well balanced with each other and don't overpower the rest of kit. Remember, if the drums don't sound great in the room no amount of gear or plug-ins will make them sound better.
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