EpiK DrumS EDU is a separate two DVD set, priced at $29.99, published by Alfred which features instructional material from Scott’s recording sessions for the Sonic Reality set.
The videos are fascinating on a number of levels. For aspiring producers and engineers who do not have any or much experience in recording drums the information will be invaluable. Scott is undeniably a master of his art and craft and here he explains his philosophy of recording and precisely how he goes about recording drums. He alludes to (what sometimes seems like) a closely held secret among the great engineers, which is to make sure the sound is right in the studio first before doing anything else. In the same vein, he uses much the same microphones, in similar positions, and with almost identical EQs and gating no matter what the drum set or the room. This is not to imply there are no differences from one session to another or that the results sound the same but that the recording processes are strikingly similar from one project to the next.
In the video portion he goes step-by-step clearly explaining his methodology. For engineers and producers experienced in recording drums—especially those who were trained before drum machines became common in recording—there are no revelations. For anyone else, and those who feel like they have gray areas in their understanding of this process, this material is an opportunity to sit at the feet of a master. Scott takes the viewer from setup right through the mix. He opens up his tool bag of techniques including demonstrating the adaption of analog gating for Pro Tools or other DAWs and a discussion of the application of reverb including the musical considerations. In the bonus clips there is a painfully familiar scene where he struggles with a mystery buzz that could be a mic, a cable, a channel, a stand or the drum itself. For the less experienced seeing someone of his experience relentlessly hunt the buzz down by systematically eliminating elements of the signal chain could be instructive.
There are interviews with the drummers, and it is interesting to hear their perspectives not least that they variously alluded to the ease of working with Scott as a producer but acknowledged that he was no pushover when it came to perfecting the sounds and their parts.
On the negative side, I had some difficulty getting the multitrack sessions to run on my DAW. I left a message with Alfred and received no response, in a second call the, otherwise helpful, rep could not solve the problem but promised to call me back. The link to additional downloads, and information in the pdf instructions takes you to a “Coming Soon” page. Nonetheless, for this price I think the master class videos alone make this a worthwhile educational tool for anyone interested in learning the best practices in drum set recording.
EpiK DrumS EDU, by Ken Scott, $29.99, 2 DVDs
UPC: 038081420875, ISBN 10: 0739080881, ISBN 13: 9780739080887