Video: How The Black Keys Get Their Drum Sound | What's That Sound?

Patrick Carney, Photo Kevin Winter / Staff, Getty Images.

Drums in the Style of The Black Keys
Drums in the Style of The Black Keys
By Reverb
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This week's episode of our What's That Sound series sees Noam and Jessica take on the drum sound of a bombastic modern classic: "Tighten Up" by blues-rock duo The Black Keys, from their 2010 album Brothers.

Produced by Gnarls Barkley's Danger Mouse with Tchad Blake and Kennie Takahashi behind the boards, the drums on "Tighten Up" live up to the song's name. But despite Patrick Carney's seemingly big-as-hell sound, the simple Glyn Johns-style setup here only requires three mics all in phase with each other. We placed a Soundelux iFET 7 four feet away from our Ludwig Vistalite kick with the resonant head removed and a pillow placed against the batter—we filtered off the high-end and ran it through a Neve 1073 preamp without compression. To round out the rest of the kick, we used a Ludwig Black Beauty snare and a pair of Zildjian K Dark hats.

For our overhead and side mics, we used a single Schoeps V4U condenser placed near the snare and a Shure SM57 respectively. This pair of microphones went through the same processing chain, which does most of the heavy lifting: EQ, distortion and compression courtesy of the Decapitator and Devil-Loc Soundtoys plugins, tape emulation, and multi-band compression. To top it all off—borrowing a classic move from Tchad Blake—the bus signal was treated with a Tech21 SansAmp Classic pedal, which delivers the track's signature drive. Finally, both of the overheads are panned hard left and right, creating a strange spatial relationship that adds a lot of the character to the overall mix.

How did we do with this recreation? Watch the video above and hear it for yourself.

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