Start to Finish: Greg Wells - Episode 5 - Recording The Drums

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01h 32min


In Episode Five, Greg Wells sits at the drum kit in the live room of Sunset Sound's legendary Studio A to lay down a powerful drum track for Bryce Drew's song "Lucky Number"

Watch as Sunset Sound Engineer, Zach Zajdel:

  • Chooses microphones
  • Goes over microphone placement and setup
  • Dials in the initial drum sounds
  • Checks phase relationships between microphones
  • Positions stereo sets of microphones to reflect the stereo image of the kit

Then, watch as Greg:

  • Reviews and adjusts the drum sounds to taste
  • Compresses and EQs the mono kit microphone
  • Performs the drum track
  • Uses beat detective to edit the drum performance
  • Uses parallel compression and EQ to make the side stick and snare drum sound larger than life
  • Times a specific snare reverb for the bridge

Watch the rest of the series here

Equipment & Software


  • AEA R88
  • AKG 451
  • AKG D112
  • Neumann U47 FET
  • Neumann U67
  • Shure SM57
  • Telefunken 251
    • Software

  • Audio Ease Altiverb
  • Fabfilter Pro-G
  • Fabfilter Pro-Q2
  • Focusrite d3
  • Soundtoys Devil-Loc
  • UAD API 560
  • UAD Distressor
  • UAD EQP-1A
  • UAD Fairchild 660
  • UAD LA-2A
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    Greg Wells

    Grammy award-winning, Canadian musician, songwriter, and record producer, Greg Wells, has been dubbed “A Swiss Army Knife” in the recording studio by the legendary Stewart Copeland for good reason.

    As a multi-instrumentalist, he has the ability to artfully mold his productions with incredible precision, craftsmanship, and most importantly, taste. Combining his musicianship with his uncanny abilities as a producer, engineer, and mixer, he has seen album sales top 120 million, with streaming numbers in the billions. With a B.

    His diverse list of credits includes superstars such as Adele, Dua Lipa, Twenty One Pilots, Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Celine Dion, Deftones, Kid Cudi, Weezer, OneRepublic, Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, Aerosmith and so many more that we would need a really long scroll bar to list them all. 

    Greg has seen monumental success recently with the release of the motion picture soundtrack for “The Greatest Showman”, which he not only produced but played on as well.


    The Greatest Showman


    Katy Perry

    Twenty One Pilots

    Grace VanderWaal

    Dua Lipa

    What do you have to say?
    Leave a comment
    2022 Aug 17
    God is not happy this time with beat detector on the tracks provided to mix at the minute 2:09 ...MESSSSS hahaha anyway great Videos, learning so much !
    2022 Feb 19
    Gregs story between the lines and the musical he met... wow amazing! great to heart and see it! Thank you too much.
    2021 Feb 22
    Hi! How do you use the 47 without a Pad and not geting hot??
    2021 Jan 14
    I am blown away by the simple yet complex drum arrangement. So many details all required to put together a song that sounds amazing! What a learning experience. Gregg you are amazing ...from a fellow Canadian!!
    2020 Jul 19
    was there gating done on the snare top mic? i am trying to emulate the sound and i cannot keep the hi hat out the snare top mic at an attenuated level that is given in the exercise files..
    Rodrigo Cunha
    2020 Apr 01
    part 2 is without subtitles portuguese
    Mister Branch
    2020 Mar 22
    Thank you very much for the video and the tips regarding placement and types of the microphones. I can immediately apply it to my drum kit.
    Oscar Gasch
    2020 Mar 13
    Im loving Zach Zajdel procedures, Id like to see him mixing!
    2020 Mar 07
    I've been recording and playing drums for a long time. Yet in these videos I've learned more great tips and tricks for recording and mixing drums than I have in years. Thanks Greg!
    2020 Jan 13
    The beater mic cable instead of being suspended away from touching anywhere around the hole of resonant head, it was just left there. That should affect the sound when he hits the kick. I don't get why no one is paying attention to that.
    2020 Jan 04
    Great series! What kind of drum kit is that? Kick sounds so great!
    2020 Jan 03
    I'm in mic heaven watching this video! :)
    2020 Jan 01
    This series is OUTSTANDING! Thank you Fab for bringing us something that only a few years ago musicians and producers could only dream of seeing.
    2019 Dec 30
    Really great video!
    2019 Dec 30
    Great tutorial! Also, not sure if it's ok to ask questions here. To me it sounds like the kick head is broken or something when listening to the D112 (sorry to use a word like farty, but it kinda sounds farty). Is that typically just a characteristic of miking the beater from inside the kick or is that more a characteristic of the mic?
    2019 Dec 22
    I want to say thanks to Mr. Wells and Mr. Zajdel. I am learn a lot from this series and I am looking forward to more. One issue I have, now I can say HAD, was phantom power when using ribbon mic's. Zach, I can't thank you enough for sharing your solution. It seem to be an issue for a lot of folks. It seem they use the same product but never considered using it to deal with phantom power issues when using ribbon mic's.. Got one and it works. Now I can sleep at night knowing I do not have to worry about someone plugging in one of my ribbon mic's. in to the console with phantom power on.
    2019 Dec 22
    I haven't seen Greg using any of his plugins, like El Rey from Acustica Audio. Are this kind of plugins just commercial treats?
    2019 Dec 21
    Really great tutorial! So far, my key take-away from the series is, can Mr. Wells please record all the tracks for all my songs?! =) Truly a great musician, great instincts, great playing!
    2019 Dec 21
    Another great series tutorial. Thanks for the tips on the tweaking of the snare and approach with Beat Detective...Well explained and the drums and song is really coming together.
    2019 Dec 21
    Again lots of great information in this video
    2019 Dec 21
    OMG please tell me he brings the snare in at some point for the second chorus. as a drummer I feel very triggered by this video... EDIT: the answer is no, he did not. how can you use the snare during the bridge and then go BACK to the sidestick during the final chorus? I demand answers from Greg. But, still a great video. Thanks!
    2019 Dec 20
    OMG please tell me he brings the snare in at some point for the second chorus. as a drummer I feel very triggered by this video... haha
    2019 Dec 20
    Great stuff. Compelling viewing.
    2019 Dec 20
    Absolutely fabulous! This video is full of gems! "C'est de l'or en barre" (French expression). Thanks to all the team and of course to Greg for such precious insights.
    2019 Dec 20
    Great vid! Greg explains things perfectly. I like how in this series he does things first and you just observe than he goes back and explains them. Also You should do more videos with the engineer (Edit: Zach Zajdel) setting up sessions and patching things etc, He's great and there's lots to learn on that side of thing!