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Find A Great Drummer
The drummer is the single most important part of the entire process. There is no mic, no kit, no room, nor processor that can fix bad drumming. Drums are an acoustic instrument, and in relationship to rock, pop, and most mainstream music, they are considered just that--a single instrument. If they don't sound balanced and pleasing when you hear them in the room with the drummer, chances are they won't sound any better in the final mix.
Head selection and tuning seem to be the most overlooked, understudied, and misunderstood skills in the entire recording process. I could write an entire article on this alone. Drummers all seem to have the same answers about this: "Well, I kinda just put my heads on and turn the thingies till they don't buzz and stuff." Could you imagine if a guitar player came in the studio with absolutely no idea how to tune his instrument? It seems ridiculous to me, too. …