Recording brushes played on a snare drum is challenging. You wouldn’t think it at first glance, but there is actually a huge dynamic range necessary when recording brush parts that incorporate both swishing and slapping. Compression can help the whole part sound more cohesive and balanced. The first step though of course is tracking it properly. Due to the large range in volume between the accented slaps and the gentler swishes, it is necessary to record at a relatively low volume.
Universal Audio’s Century Tube Channel Strip is the perfect first step in getting a warm and fluid brush sound. Close drum mics don’t generally need as much gain as quieter sources like acoustic guitars, or even vocals. This is the perfect scenario to take advantage of the Century Tube Channel Strip’s gain staging. Engaging the pad and then boosting the Level knob results in a nice thick warm tone. Combine this with a nice steep low mid roll off and a subtle 10k boost in the EQ section, along with a few dB of sweet vintage opto compression and you are halfway towards your final drum sound. Add on Universal Audio’s Pure Plate reverb, and you’ve got a sound with real personality and vintage charm.
Here we’ll look and listen to the workflow involved in setting up an SM 57 to track a snare drum played with brushes, through Universal Audio’s Console.
Century Tube Channel Strip is a great “do no harm” plug-in. It works on a huge range of sources, and it’s almost impossible to dial in a bad tone.