Recording - September 2015 - 48

Soundware Showcase
Spitfire Audio:The Grange
by Jon Hillman

If there are sacred spaces for drum recording, Headley Grange is definitely one of them. That gloriously huge sound of John Bonham's drums in
the first 7 seconds of 'When the Levee Breaks' was recorded there, as well
as countless other legendary tracks. So when you hear that distinguished
sample house Spitfire Audio put together a drum library with three of the
world's most revered drummers recorded at 'The Grange' with classic mics
and preamps to 2" 24-track tape, it's time to pay attention.
The sound
Spitfire has built quite a following with
the great sounds of its libraries, but the
sound of The Grange is exceptional.
Perhaps I'm partial to the sound, having
grown up on my parents' 1960s-'70s
rock records, but this library really nails
that classic rock drum vibe-it feels like a
time machine dropped you into a Led Zeppelin session. A lot of care
was taken to make sure everything sounds wonderful without painting
you into a corner with an 'already mastered' sound, a concept I hope
other drum library makers learn.
Beyond the legendary space and gear, a huge part of The Grange's
sound comes from the players and their kits. Roger Taylor (Queen),
Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), and Andy Gangadeen (Massive
Attack, Chase & Status) each have their own kits and loop collections.
As Spitfire puts it, "You're not playing Chad's kit, you're playing Chad
playing Chad's kit!" It's not just the sound, but also the musicality of The
Grange that really stands out.
So, whether you're grabbing loops or digging deep into the kits, it's
going to sound amazing. Having covered that right up front, let's look
at the finer points of The Grange.

1

Consider the source
In the Instruments browser for The Grange (see screenshot 1), you'll
find 4 categories: Easy Tweak, Kit Mics, Mixes, and Stereos. You can
think of these categories as different mixing approaches on the same
recordings, and you can easily load the same kit from multiple categories to achieve the sound you're after. Within each category are
mapped and unmapped versions of kits from Roger, Chad, and Andy
(isn't it nice to be on a first name basis with these guys?), and you'll
also find ready-made loops in Easy Tweak and Mixes.
You can think of Easy Tweak as the essence of The Grange, where
it's all about the sound of the room. Besides mapping controls, which
we'll cover later, you'll find mix controls labeled T (tight), G (ground
floor room), 1 (1st story room), and 2 (2nd story room). With both the
kits and loops, you can load/unload and freely mix each flavor to
quickly arrive at a cohesive sound with tons of vibe.
Kit Mics provides access to the individual pieces of the kit: Kick,
Snare, Hi-Hats, and Toms. With each element loaded and at 0 dB in the
mix, you can tell a lot of effort went into making these sound great right
out of the box. If you're looking to fine-tune the mix you need, or just
want to make the kick hit harder or the snare snap more alongside a
variant of the same kit from another category, this is where you'll do it.
In Mixes you will find three perspectives of the kits: Tight, Medium,
and Epic. Choose one or blend all three to find the perfect pre-mixed
(on a classic Cadac console with analog outboard gear, no plug-ins)
sound. Personally, I gravitate to these patches because they sound so
close to what I have in my head when it comes to great drum sounds.
48

RECORDING September 2015

2
Stereos gives you different stereo overhead mic pairs
in different positions, the number of which varies from
kit to kit. These range from standard close-in overheads,
to slightly roomy, to top of the stairwell (รก la John
Bonham) huge. Again you can mix and match all of the
provided perspectives, but I found this most useful in
selecting a particular pair to dress up a Kit Mics patch.
What Spitfire has given us is a very flexible approach
to arriving at the desired drum sound. Quickly grab
vibey goodness from Easy Tweak, or combine patches
of the same kit from every category to finely craft your
perfect drum sound. Either way, it's easy to do, thanks
to The Grange's well-designed organization.

3

Mapping
If you put several producers in front of a drum library and
ask them to play, within a few seconds you'll be remapping
kits to the setup each person is most comfortable with. So with
any drum library, the ease with which pieces of the kit can
be mapped to specific notes on the keyboard is a huge part
of its playability. With The Grange, it's as easy as clicking on

4



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015

Contents
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
Recording - September 2015 - 2
Recording - September 2015 - 3
Recording - September 2015 - 4
Recording - September 2015 - 5
Recording - September 2015 - Contents
Recording - September 2015 - 7
Recording - September 2015 - 8
Recording - September 2015 - 9
Recording - September 2015 - 10
Recording - September 2015 - 11
Recording - September 2015 - 12
Recording - September 2015 - 13
Recording - September 2015 - 14
Recording - September 2015 - 15
Recording - September 2015 - 16
Recording - September 2015 - 17
Recording - September 2015 - 18
Recording - September 2015 - 19
Recording - September 2015 - 20
Recording - September 2015 - 21
Recording - September 2015 - 22
Recording - September 2015 - 23
Recording - September 2015 - 24
Recording - September 2015 - 25
Recording - September 2015 - 26
Recording - September 2015 - 27
Recording - September 2015 - 28
Recording - September 2015 - 29
Recording - September 2015 - 30
Recording - September 2015 - 31
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Recording - September 2015 - Cover3
Recording - September 2015 - Cover4
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