How do we record our drum samples?

Many customers like to know the “behind the scenes” information that goes into producing our drum samples. While this is not the most existing information, we’d like to share with you the technical information regarding the recording process as well as the drum and cymbals themselves. For hardcore techies and recording enthusiasts only!

So, whether you are looking to expand your Ableton sounds, load up Slate Trigger, or program your own drum virtual instrument in NI Kontakt with real drum samples, here’s some of the recording details from our recording sessions.

Drum Sample Recording Information and Specifications: Drum Gear

Drum Samples by Drum Werks Full Drum Kits:

  • Tama Starclassic Maple
  • Pearl Masters MMX
  • Drum Workshop Collectors Maple
  • Ddrum USA Maple
  • Mapex Maple
  • Pearl BLX Birch Masters
  • Premier Artist Birch
  • Premier Genista Birch
  • Yamaha Recording Custom

Individual Snares:

Ludwig Black Beauty
Ludwig Supraphonic
Ludwig Acrolite
Ludwig Acrolite Black Galaxy
Pearl Free Floating Maple
Pearl Maple Piccolo
Pearl Chad Smith Steel Snare
Pearl Dennis Chambers Maple Snare
Pearl Steve Ferrone Brass Snare/i>
Pearl Morgan Rose Steel Snare
Pearl BLX Masters Birch Snare
Yamaha Recording Custom Birch Snare
Smith Custom Maple Snare


Zildjian Avedis, K, Z, and A Custom Cymbals (various sizes and product lines, both new and old)
Paiste 2002 cymbals (various sizes)
Sabian AAX, AA, HH, and HHX cymbals (various sizes and product lines, both new and old)

Percussion: Coming Soon!

Recording Information: Microphones and Preamps Recording drum samples Microphone placing setup


Preamp: True Systems Precision 8
Preamp: API 3124+
Preamp: API 3124+

Microphones (by drum and application):

Snares: Shure 57, Sennheiser e604, Audix i5
Kicks: Shure Beta 52, AKG D112, Shure Beta 91A, Yamaha SubKick
Toms: Sennheiser 412, Sennheiser e604
Overheads: Neumann U87, Shure SM81, AKG 451, assorted condensers (cheap, expensive or borrowed!)

The Overall Sampling Process:

We recorded each drum sample with both a close mike (at a distance of a few inches) as well as room mike at a greater distance (three to five feet). The room was extremely controlled and dry. The samples are provided as mono samples for more control in the stereo image. A true stereo image can be created (in most sets) from combining the matching samples in a given set. Attention was given to phase issues. Any slight ambience is purely natural and a product of the room used (again, very minimal).

And, yes, it bears repeating: No processing was added anywhere in the signal chain.

Various recording rooms and configurations were used to record and mix the drum samples.

Information about the Snare Samples

The cymbals and snares have the most extensive sampling. You need lots of hits if you’re looking to avoid get the dreaded “machine gun” or “drum machine” effect in your programmed drum sequences and patterns.

Each snare has a full range of sounds, featuring all sounds and attacks from gentle taps to all-out rimshots. We have also provided most snares with both muted as well as wide open sounds. Additionally, we have provided crosstick samples, samples with the snares off, and flams. We really try to coax every conceivable sound out of each snare. In many snare download packs, you will also find multiple tunings of the drum, from classic fatback sounds to high-pitched extreme snare sounds. Again, you can blend, mix and match for even more custom sounds.

If more sounds are need from a particular drum, we will edit and revise the download sets in an attempt to improve the versatility of the drum sounds. As we all know, music is an unending process of producing, revising, and redoing. At Drum Werks, we always strive to improve quality on the go in order to give you the best product possible.

During recording, we used many different kinds of snares, be it differences in material (wood, metal, brass), size (deep, piccolo), or age (classics or ones currently being produced). We have some classics like the Ludwig Black Beauty as well as modern snares to provide as many differences in snare sound character as we could. Tastes in snares are as personal as tastes in clothes- we will continue to enlarge the palette of snare sounds as the site grows.

Recording the Cymbals

We really went to town in capturing the sounds of the cymbals provided here at Drum Werks. From soft splashes to aggressive slams, we have tried to capture the full range of expression inherent in each cymbal we have chosen to present. We have also included cymbal chokes, cymbal flourishes, and other nuanced samples that are damned near impossible to program realistically by any means. Cymbals are given full decays so don’t be surprised to find individual cymbal samples lasting 15-20 long. Not cut-off cymbal decays here! Admittedly, our attention to detail on the cymbals can at times be overkill (see the download sizes of the individual cymbals for proof of that) but, again, we would rather have you walk away with the feeling you got TOO MUCH for your money than TOO LITTLE. We are confident that you will find the cymbal samples thoroughly expressive and varied, more than enough to handle any recording/writing situation.

Recording the Kicks and Toms

Kicks were recording with a minimum of two mics to achieve the sounds available on Drum Werks. Both close (or slightly inside mic for the kicks) and room mics were used, which were then blended for a full kick sound. Multiple drum tunings were also employed, from very deep tunings to open tunings to muffled, tight tunings. Again, we hope we have captured the range of sounds each drum (kicks and toms in this case) have to offer.

We also made sure each drum kit voice was attacked in a variety of ways, in a variety of angles and velocities. Again, the goal is to give the user the most complete range of choices possible.