DVD Reveiw – Dave Weckl: How To Develop Your Own Sound
Dave Weckl’s last offering to the drumming populace is all about getting your sound out of the drums. It’s also probably the most valuable DVD in the series because he gets pretty in-depth into mics and EQ, a subjects most drummers (myself included) are pretty ignorant about. This isn’t a video about your touch on the instrument, rather it’s about how you tune, mic and EQ your drum-set.
The video starts off with a section on tuning your drums. Dave covers the different head types and gives a very basic out line of their sound qualities. Dave is a Remo endorsee so he talks about ambassadors and emperors and such because that’s the Remo line of products. He then show’s you how he tunes his drums on a tom tom from his kit. The problem I have with this is that tuning a tom-tom is a different process from tuning a bass drum or a snare drum. The snare drum has the added component of snare wires and specialized snare side heads and bass drums are often ported and are typically the only drums you muffle. I kinda wish he did a section on snare drums and bass drum tuning but, alas, he didn’t.
After his section on drum tuning he has a section on muffling. This section is pretty much a commercial for two different remo products, one of which he helped create. That product is something he called a physical noise gate. Basically it’s a little felt plunger that acts like an o ring for your drums but it can be adjusted to stay open and let the drum ring for longer. It’s a nifty little device that is now sold under the name “The Remo Snare Dampening System!” He doesn’t really mention the other alternatives for dampening a snare drum though. He does mention duct-tape but that’s the only other method he mentions. He then talks about muffling the bass drum in an equally commercial fashion. He talks about the old way he used to muffle the drum by rolling up a towel and taping it to the batter head. But then he talks about the new way he does it with the Remo Adjustable Bass Dampening System! Which is essentially the same thing but it’s made by Remo.
Ok so the tuning section is kinda bland and the muffling section is a commercial but it does gets better! Dave moves on to talk about microphones in a pretty educational manner. He does make sure you know that he’s a Shure endorsee but this section isn’t a commercial. He talks about Condenser-Mics and Dynamic-Mics as well as the different types of mic patterns… that being a fancy term for the direction the mic will pick up sound. The four patterns are cardioid, hyper-cardioid, omni-directional, and figure eight. Dave talks about how and where he likes to place each kind so that it will pick up only the instruments that he wants it to pick up. Probably the best section in the whole video but this isn’t the end. There is one more section that we have to cover and that’s the section on the mixing board.
The micorphones are probably as techie as most drummers will get in a normal situation. The sound board is definitly the territory of the sound man and most drummers are fine to leave it in his care. Still, it’s good for any musician to understand the mixing process and if you are looking into having a home sudio you’ll need to learn this stuff. I’m no expert on this subject (not even close) but Dave makes a good case for understanding what is going in the mixing process because he shows how radically it can effect your sound. He plays one of his tracks and messes with the frequences in flight and helps to effect the sound of the instruments. The drumset is interesting because it has components that fall into the low, the low-middle, the high-middle, and the high frequencies of the spectrum. The bass drum is obviously in the low scale, the snare drum can fall anywhere between low-middle and high-middle, and the cymbals are in the high spectrum. After that he throws a couple of short sections on some the other topics that he didn’t cover earlier in the video. He discusses the monitor/monitor guy, phase, noisegates, and mixing. All of which are very well done and will proably add to your typical drummer’s knowledge of sound production beyond the actual playing of the drum-set.
Alright time for the breakdown
for content I give this DVD 2.5 stars. It would have been all three mics if they had done a tad better witht the muffling section and the tuning section… the rest is exceptional.
for presentation it’s the same as all the others and gets .5 of a star.
for extras this video gets half a star… Unlike the other videos there isn’t any interviews or bonus footage aside from the section where Dave talks about his new equipment. So essentially the extras are commercials… big whoop.
Never the less this DVD earns 3.5 stars… the best in the series.
This is the only one that I would definitely recommend as a priority to watch. Not nessicarily to buy but you should definitely see this one a couple times to soak up all the knowledge.