Video: Recreating The Reverse Drums in Pink Floyd's "Echoes" | What's That Sound?

Drums in the Style of Radiohead's Exit Music
Drums in the Style of Pink Floyd's Echoes
By Reverb
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There was much meddling involved in this week's episode of our What's That Sound series. That's right: Noam and Jessica attempted to replicate the spacey, psychedelic drum sound of Pink Floyd's side-length magnum opus "Echoes", originally released in 1971. Like everything else that the band tracked in the 1970s, it's super high-fidelity and deploys plenty of state-of-the-art studio trickery, including an innovative early example of a reverse reverb effect.

This time, our kit was made up of a Ludwig Vistalite kick stuffed with a sleeping bag and with the front head removed, a Ludwig Acrolite snare dampened with a Big Fat Snare Drum cloth quesadilla, and our trusty '70s Gretsch toms. For our cymbals, we used Zildjians all around—K-Sweets for the hi-hats and crash, and an A-Sweet ride.

Recorded between Abbey Road and AIR Studios in London by the engineering duo of John Leckie and Peter Bown, this particular drum sound is marked by a wide snare sound and and even wider toms. Because of how quiet Nick Mason's playing is, Noam decided to take the risk of using a Neumann U 87 on the snare with the -10dB pad activated. Also notable is the lack of room microphones: the sound of the kit was controlled by the distance of the overheads, in this case a pair of Coles 4038s placed six feet above and set wide. Our kick was captured by an Electro-Voice RE20 and our two toms each received a Sennheiser 421.

Drum Bus Kick Snare OH Toms

Of course, the hallmark of this particular track is the reverse reverb effect. At the time it was recorded, this was achieved by bouncing select tracks to a separate roll of tape, which would then be flipped and played in reverse. While the tape was in reverse, the reverb would be printed on a separate track on the same roll and once flipped back around, the reverb would reveal itself before the drum source. Because we only heard high-end in the reverse tails, Noam opted to limit this practice to the overhead microphones with the low end filtered off. Though we panned the reverse reverb hard left to match the original recording (probably due to track limitations), one can only imagine how amazing it would sound in stereo).

Watch the video above to check out our recreation—who knows, maybe you'll try it out for yourself one of these days.

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