Video: Fleetwood Mac's Super Dry '70s Drums | What's That Sound?

This week's edition of our What's That Sound series sees Noam and Jessica go their own way to explore the recorded drum sound of Fleetwood Mac's pop-rock magnum opus Rumours. Not long after the album's release in 1977, Mick Fleetwood's takes were cemented as the prototypical reference point for the super dry, hi-fidelity drum recording of its era.

Dry '70s Drum Loop in the Style of Fleetwood Mac
Dry '70s Drum Loop in the Style of Fleetwood Mac
By Reverb
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With this particular recreation, the name of the game is separation—the distinction between the snare, the hi-hat, and the rest of the kit on a track like "Dreams" practically sounds overdubbed. In order to get that separation, we distanced the hi-hat as far from the snare as we could; in fact, Jessica actually played the take with an open stance to accommodate it. From there, the kick, snare, and all three toms are close-mic'd, while the overheads are treated with heavy filtering to only accentuate the cymbals.

For this session, Jessica's kit is comprised of a Ludwig Vistalite Kick Drum—open, muffled with a blanket, and with the front head removed—as well as a 6.5 x 14” Ludwig Neusonic Snare dampened with a wallet, and 12" & 16" Gretsch toms, with a tea towel placed on each. For the cymbals, we used a pair of 14” Zildjian K-Sweet Hi-Hats and a 18” Zildjian K-Sweet Crash.

We kept it simple for the mic setup, which was arranged air-tight and without room mics: we ended up using an Electro-Voice RE20 on the kick for some added punch and an AKG C414 on the snare for a rounded sound . The two toms both received their own Sennheiser 421s, while we relied on a stereo pair of AKG 451s for the overheads.

How close did we get to the original? Watch the full video above.

Learn more about how your favorite artists created their signature sounds in our ongoing What's That Sound? series.

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