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I thought mike playing mapex drums which i play also is so good they sounded great do you think too?
The octabans on Mike's kit made me fall in love with those silly little long skinny toms straight away. I'm obsessed with octabans now :P. I think the drum mix for me was best on BCSL. Systematic Chaos was ok most of the time (mixwise), but on the Dark Eternal Night its all metally and gross, with the cymbals far too quiet and the kick far too loud. It's just such a cheesy metal mix to me and for me that ruins the drums on that song.
I hate the sound of that Mapex kit. Toms sound dead and the snare is crancked way too high. But the bass drums sound very nice.
The kit on I&W sounds nice, but the triggered snare is just a big no. If i listen to the remixes of "Greatist Hit", it's almost the opposite in my ears. The original triggered snare sounds open and wide, the un-triggered snare sounds dead compared to it. It's the same sound on the LIT video, but i don't like metal snares. And that clear Control Sound is not something i'm a fan of (although it sounds better on his signature snares with the CIM dvd). I love the drum sounds on WDADU more then I&W, same kit and cymbals on both, but the drums on WDADU sound a litte more alive. Only the cymbals on WDADU are too soft in the mix.
Having said that, my favourite drumkit sound is on Systematic Chaos. Nice resonant and fat toms with the right amount of attack. Well, on the metal side. The Bonham side is not my cup of tea, sounds too big and i don't like the big metal 14x6.5 snare on that side. I do like the larger octobans on the Mirage and BC&SL (recording) kit, opposed to the "medium" set of octobans he used on the previous kits (exept the mapex, which sound to shallow in my opinion).
I prefer his Tama gear. And the recording techniques used on later albums. The earlier stuff (ESPECIALLY Images and Words) still have giant 80's snare... *shudders*
Mike would sound good playing a plastic bucket. I don't know enough to answer this one to you satisfaction.