Kimberly Thompson & Nino: Recording Drums

17 Apr 2012

Kimberly Thompson is truly one of the World's greatest drummers — she's versatile, too. In her career, she's played with the biggest names in jazz, soul, funk, hip hop, R&B and pop: Bobby Hutcherson, Roy Hargrove, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jay Z and Beyoncé, who she's been touring with for the past six years.

Aside from drums, Kimberly also plays a host of other instruments and is a recording artist in her own right. Her apartment in New York City is dominated by a large recording space. There's a grand piano, two drum kits, countless percussion instruments and numerous guitars, basses and keyboards. Kimberly is spontaneous — she'll have an idea and she'll want to record it right away, so everything in her space stays miked up. For this reason, she needs lots of channels feeding her Pro Tools-based DAW system. 

She uses the Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 and a pair of OctoPre MkII Dynamics to provide a total 24 channels of high-quality preamps and A-D conversion, as well as a pair of studio-grade headphone outputs, which can be fed different mixes through the included Saffire Mix Control software. "I like how easy it is to monitor when I'm working on tracks", Kimberly explains. 

When recording larger sessions, Kimberly enlists her friend and collaborator Benedetto 'Nino' Caccavale. Nino's an accomplished engineer, having recorded with Mobb Deep, Maxwell and Ashanti, and he and Kimberly have a very strong bond in the studio.

Nino put the Focusrite rig together for Kimberly's space. "She hit me up and said 'hey, I gotta figure out how to record these drums', and I found the OctoPre MkII Dynamic and knew it was going to solve the problem. I've got compressors on every channel and I was like 'yes!'. If you're doing R&B or pop music, you need to have a very clear signal, and what I like about the preamps is that it's very warm and round, so your top end is very round, it's not jagged. That's what attracted me to the Focusrite mic pre." 

Check out Kimberly and Nino in the studio here: