Charlie Waymire visits Scott Francisco’s studio and gives his kit – The Batmobile – a test drive.

Also: Kurt Berger breaks down the tuning and setup of the Batmobile for a hard-hitting rock sound.

I purchased the Batmobile a while ago as a house kit for my studio. Though I’d had the kit for a few months, I had been tied up on other projects and hadn’t had much time to play with it. Also, Kurt had just swapped the heads out, so it was like doing a new kit – albeit in my own room, with my favorite drummer. For this reason, I started out with my basic mic setup. Since this was our first day of shooting, we set up all of the audio the night before. Having the luxury to dial in the sounds without the pressure of fitting into a very full shooting schedule was key. The Pearl Reference series drums are ideal for the meaty rock sound we were going for. The toms use varying combinations of birch, maple, and mahogany plies, using darker woods as the shells get bigger. The kick is mix of maple and mahogany. This gives the Reference Series drums some impressive low-mid punch. The 5×14 Ludwig Black Magic snare was also an easy pick after shooting it out with a couple others. Since these were the right tools for the job, the basic mic setup need very little adjustment. The biggest variation (literally) was the 18″ woofer we used as a sub kick. We had just received it for our sub kick episode, (stay tuned) and it definitely delivered some extended low end!

The inside kick, snare top, and toms, went through Chameleon 7602s. The snare had a couple db of boost at 7k and then went through one side of a DBX 162 at about 4:1, the kick had a bit of snap added. Otherwise, there was no eq on anything else. The other mics went through a Millennia HV-3D straight to the converters – except the room mics, which were getting a pretty good squash from the Overstayer Stereo VCA Compressor. The recording was done in Pro Tools HD at 24 bit 96k and mixed in the box.

If you check out the full-bandwidth, multi-track downloads, you’ll hear the tracks as they were in the mix at their relative levels, minus the panning on the mono tracks. You’ll also notice the 452 room mics don’t match near as well as a brand new pair, but that’s the way it goes with vintage mics! This is really the ideal way to really hear what is going on. Laptop speakers and streaming video do not do it justice. Next week we go to Charlie’s place to explore overhead techniques.