DPA Microphones played a vital role in helping nearly 100 studio engineers get to grips with the black art of miking a drum kit during a workshop seminar given by Grammy award-winning drummer Morgan Ågren, entitled Producers Seminar: Drums with Morgan Ågren.
Hosted by Sweden’s Studio Magazine, the seminar took place in Stockholm in conjunction with DPA Microphones and Avid/Pro Tools. Opus3 label founder and “Microphone Doctor” Jan-Eric Persson was also a guest speaker.
“The aim of this workshop was to show how to record and mix drums and percussion,” explains Ågren. “There was a strong focus on sound ideals, and I used examples from my own Pro Tools sessions, with and without software plugins, to demonstrate the points I was making. I also played some CDs that I have mixed and some that I simply find inspiring.”
Ågren used a DPA d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone on his compact drum kit. To demonstrate transient response, he conducted a test with a similar microphone from another manufacturer and the audience reaction to the DPA d:vote was incredibly positive.
He also explained the advantages of having as few different types of microphones as possible so that the sound blended together better. His personal preference is for DPA microphones, which he likes to use for all of the instruments he is recording.
Ågren also discussed the importance of recording as cleanly as possible, and referred this back to his own experiences where he is often recording for people who are not 100 percent sure of the character they want for the final version of the track. He explained that it was important to leave that decision to the person who was going to mix the track so that they could decide on the sound they wanted.
To complete the seminar, Ågren gave a practical demonstration of drum kit miking using DPA 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones. Designed to offer a linear off-axis response in a smaller frequency bandwidth, DPA 2011 mics make stage separation and gain-to-feedback higher and microphone level easier to control.
“I always use DPA microphones because they sound better than any other mic I’ve tried,” says Ågren. “They even sound better on the snare, which is rare for a condenser mic. I now own 12 DPA microphones, and during this seminar I was happy to tell the audience why I like them so much.”
Born in Umeå, Sweden, Ågren has been a drummer since the age of four, and first performed live when he was seven. In conjunction with blind keyboardist Mats Öberg, he formed the Mats/Morgan Band in the mid-1990s and began releasing CDs on his own label, Ultimate Audio Entertainment. The band has subsequently toured in Europe, Asia and the U.S., where Ågren and Öberg’s superb playing ability has amazed progressive jazz/rock audiences.
As a drummer, Ågren has also played and recorded with many internationally acclaimed artists including Frank Zappa, Bill Laswell, Steve Vai and Mike Keneally. He was also voted number one in Modern Drummers’ reader’s poll in the Fusion category and is widely admired by professional drummers on both side of the Atlantic.