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Engineer Joe Barresi On Drum Set Miking Techniques

Producer/mixer/engineer Joe Barresi

Producer/mixer/engineer Joe Barresi (whose credits include Tool, Queens of The Stone Age, Bad Religion, The Melvins, Skunk Anansie, Turbonegro, and Clutch) states that he prefers to capture a big, rockin’ drum sound. Working out of his private studio, JHOC (Joe’s House of Compression), he recently worked on the forthcoming Columbia Records album for the Nyack, New York-based progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria.

Barresi recently purchased a second Mojave Audio MA-200 condenser microphone. Armed with a stereo pair, he finds that he has the flexibility to use them as drum overheads or individually for spot microphones on select instruments.

“Prior to the MA-200,” Barresi says, “I was unhappy with the sound of the cymbals I was getting. While I was recording a track with the rock band One Day As A Lion, I had the opportunity to experiment with several different pairs of microphones for overheads. When I heard the sound of the MA-200s, I really liked it, so I just recently purchased a second mic so that I’d have a pair to work with.

“While making A-B comparisons with a variety of mics,” Barresi continues, “I found that the MA-200 sounded a lot warmer and thicker than the competition. The snare sound in the overheads was a lot fuller and the MA-200 was never overly aggressive, nor bright. Not only do these mics handle the attack transients of percussion instruments really well, they don’t lose any of the detail as the cymbal sound decays.

“When I had just one MA-200, I used it as a mono spot mic to reinforce the sound of the drums. I’d frequently place a single MA-200 anywhere between a foot and six feet in front of the kick drum to pick up the body of the kick. I’d also use it closer to the drum kit between the kick and snare. Either way, I’d get this incredible presence that just made the drum sound that much bigger and fuller.

“The MA-200s are great all-around microphones for numerous applications,” Barresi concludes. “I’ve known David Royer for 15 years or more. He has a real talent for designing mics that capture the true character of a sound. They’re extremely musical and his passion for audio is inspiring.”

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