Session & live gear - drums, cymbals, microphones

This is some of the gear I can bring to a session.  I've collected this lot over most of my drumming lifetime, and it's made up of instruments that have a character or special and interesting sound to me - I've been through a lot of drums to find the ones I like (which are often the cheap ones!) so this is all stuff I love.

Sonor SQ2 drum kit
ShellsVintage beech
Tom Sizes10x7, 12x8, 13x9, 15x13 FT, 18x15 FT
Bass Drum22x17
Soundbig, rounded, punchy and controlled
Colourblack sparkle

Very versatile.  I've used this for everything from progressive rock, to doom, folk and pop music.  It records really well and has a great big fat controlled sound to it.

The 18" floor also converts into a little bass drum for a funky sound and small gigs.

Sonor SQ2 kit


Gretsch stop-sign kit (1970s)

Gretsch 1970s

Gretsch stop-sign kit (1970s)
Shells6ply maple/gum
Tom Sizes13x9, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum22x14
Soundwarm, fat, controlled
Colourblack nitron

This kit is from somewhere in the mid 1970s, and I've restored it to fully working condition.  It sounds incredible under microphones.

I use this kit on quieter recordings where there's some space for the drums to sit, and it's been on country disco, pop, soul and motown gigs.

Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute Nouveau
Tom Sizes10x8, 12x9, 14x14, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum20x16
Soundpunchy, cutting, resonant, modern
Colouramber fade

Great for modern pop, rock, funk and music that requires real cut and tone from the drums. 

The toms are very clear in pitch and the bass drum has a lovely punchy sound.

Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute Nouveau

Yamaha BCAN

Sonor 3005
Tom Sizes10x9, 12x10, 16x16 FT
Bass Drum22x17
Soundbig, punchy and warm
Colourmatt orange

This is my gig kit that I don't mind getting beaten up, and I re-wrapped it in matt orange a few years ago.   However, it's been used for recording pop and rock before because it actually sounds great. 

It's on quite a lot of the live recordings as well, and has a Kelly Shu bass drum mic mount with a Sennheiser E602 mic, plus an XLR socket drilled into the bass drum for convenience on stage.

Sonor 3005, pose optional

Sonor 3005

Cymbals & percussion

I've got a wide variety of cymbal styles, ranging from loud and agressive to much more controlled and dynamic for quieter recordings.

They include:

  • Sabian HHX
  • Zildjian K/K Custom
  • Istanbul Mehmet
  • Meinl Byzance
  • Paiste 2002
  • Dream Lion series and even the odd Stagg that sounds decent.

I've also got percussion thingies like cabasas, maracas, shakers, bongos, a vibraslap, a train whistle and the odd thing taped to another thing that sounds good when you hit it with something else equally rubbish.  I like to find sounds in things that aren't meant to be instruments, and I've played floorboards, pans, paint cans, cardboard boxes, bed frames and other things that aren't meant to be hit on some of the records I've done.

I also have a little 16" busking bass drum that sounds amazing for jazzy/d&b/breaks stuff.

Snare Drums
Sonor SQ213x6"2010beechversatile
Sonor SQ214x6.5"2015beechversatile
Sonorlite14x7.25"1987maplewoody, thick
Sonor Phonic Anniversary14x6"1975ferromanganese steelbright, cutting, controlled
Lugwig Supralite14x8"2015ludalloyfat, loud, Bonham
Mapex Black Panther "Phantom"12x5.5"2011birch/walnutcut, projection
British Drum Co.12x5.5"2016birchpop, cut
Brady/Dixon Rose Gum14x5.5"2015rose gumthwack, cut, rock
Pearl Masters piccollo10x4"1995maplesmack, d&b
Worldmax "Black Hawg"14x6"2009black brassdoof, thud, fatness
Gretsch stop-sign14x5"1982maple/gumcrunch, old school sounds
Tama Starclassic G-Maple14x6"2005maplepower, cut, ping, r&b
Hovland Handcrafted Drums13x5.75"2013solid walnutpower, beef, control
Sonor Phonic beech14x10"?beechdeep, fat, pointless



I also spend a lot of time in recording studios as a recording & mix engineer (see Hidden Colour Audio) as well as running my own studio for remote sessions, so I've built up a collection of microphones that work really well with my drums.  I can bring these to a session if required.

  • 2x Coles 4038 (ribbons)
  • 2x Neumann TLM102 (LDC)
  • 2x Beyerdynamic MC930 (SDC)
  • 3x Beyerdynamic M201TG
  • 5x Beyerdynamic Opus87/88
  • 1x Beyerdynamic Opus 99
  • 1x Electrovoice RE320
  • 1x Electrovoice RE10
  • 1x Shure Unidyne III 545SD (vintage SM57)
  • 1x Shure Unisphere 565SD (vintage SM58)
  • 2x Heil PR31BW
  • 1x Heil PR20UT
  • 1x Audio-Technica AE2500 dual capsule
  • 1x SE Electronics RT1 (tube)
  • 2x M-Audio Sputnik (tube)
  • 1x Sennheiser E602 II
  • 1x Sennheiser E904
  • 1x Sennheiser E604
  • 1x Sennheiser E945
Electronics, computers and other stuff

I've also got a full custom-moulded IEM setup, plus a Roland SPD-SX sampler tigger pad and a bunch of electronic triggers for acoustic drums.  I'm good at working with MIDI, computers (I have a full live multi-track recording rig available), DAWs and live/studio desks so I can muck in with all of the other stuff that needs to get done.