"heavenly" recording set-up



Unlike other albums, we are blessed with tons of details and even photos regarding his recording set-ups for "heavenly" from an issue of the magazine GIGS in 1995. This gives us a lot of insight into just how much Sakura changes up his kit per song. I think "heavenly" in particular features a lot of experimentation with various set-ups because the band was not in as much of a rush to record as with the last two albums. It is perhaps because of this high amount of variation that we have such a high level of detail. Unfortunately, due to Sakura's endorsement of Pearl, a fair amount of info given by the magazine is inaccurate, but still insightful.

For recording "heavenly," Sakura commented that he used two different studios: one with a normal, neutral "studio" sound and one which had a much more "live" sound. The influence that this has on the sound of the drums cannot be understated. The songs "GARASU dama," "shizuka no umi de," and "The Rain Leaves a Scar" were all recorded in the more "live" studio, and the difference is tremendous even though much of the gear is the same.

Below I will include the pictures from GIGS magazine as well as their "specs" (which as I've mentioned are highly inaccurate as we can see from the photos). Below the pictures I will include the far more likely specs of the cymbals and drums, as well as any notes and observations.

Finally, a note on heads: the toms almost certainly are his standard Coated Ambassador over Clear Ambassador combo by now. Sakura mentioned using Ambassador Clear heads on the roto-toms for "natsu no yuuutsu" and "C'est La Vie", but he also used Control Sound heads with them and it could be those on the other songs.

Notes:
Generally this one appears to be accurate as we can clearly see the Sabian logos. However, he is almost surely not using the 13" PRO series hats. The 20" bass drum must be borrowed from Pearl as it does not match his set. The snare drum could be something different, but the view is completely blocked so there's no way to tell. The crazy positioning on the cymbal in front is apparently to cut the sustain and make it more dry.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 20"x14"
Snare drum: 14"x5.5" Pearl Custom Classic
Toms: Pearl MR 13"x8", 14"x8", 15"x8"

Cymbals:
22" Sabian HH Heavy Ride
20" Sabian HH Crash Ride
20" Sabian HH Jazz Ride
18", 17" Sabian HH Medium Thin Crash
16" Sabian HH Thin Crash
20" Sabian HH Thin Chinese
20" Sabian AA Chinese
13" Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hats


Notes:
So the data differs quite a bit more with this one. First, I find the likelihood of Sakura using AA Flat Hats quite low, and so I think he is using Paiste Sound Edges. These "mystery hats" were used almost exclusively by him after "heavenly" but unfortunately I cannot figure out what series they are from. My best guess is 2002. I am also only 99% certain they are 15" and not 14". Finally, if you look closely at the photo, you can see there is a bead in the snare drum. His Hammered Steel drum does not have a bead; the Ludwig Supraphonic does. I am guessing it is 6.5" (he also has a 5.5") based primarily on sound. Also, the Chinese could actually be a PRO Chinese as he is often using Sabian Chinese cymbals in the studio, but it hardly matters since I don't think he even hits a china in this song. This song's arrangement wasn't entirely done when he recorded the drums, so that's why he went with his "standard" set-up.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 24"x16"
Snare drum: 14"x6.5" Ludwig Supraphonic
Toms: Pearl MR 10"x8", 12"x8", 14"x8", 16"x16", 18"x16"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20", 18", 17", 16" Paiste Signature Full Crashes
10", 8" Paiste Signature Splashes
20" Paiste 3000 Reflector Chinese
15" Paiste Sound Edge Hi-Hats


Notes:
Once again, due to the visible bead on the snare, this is almost certainly a Supraphonic. However, it looks a little thinner than the one in other pictures, so I suspect a 5.5" depth instead of 6.5". As for the cymbals, I assume the Sabian ones are accurate, and just substituted the usual Paiste cymbals. However, there is clearly a chinese cymbal present, and it's heavily used at the end of "natsu no yuuutsu." So I included it in my specs even if the magazine didn't. Also, on "natsu no yuuutsu", Sakura plays ghost notes on a wooden snare off to the left of the hi-hats. Supposedly it's his Pearl Custom Classic.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 20"x14"
Snare drum: 14"x5.5" Ludwig Supraphonic
Toms: Remo Roto Toms 10", 12", 14", 16", 18"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20" Sabian HH Jazz Ride
18", 17" Sabian HH Medium Thin Crash
16" Sabian HH Thin Crash
10", 8" Paiste Signature Splashes
20" Sabian AA Chinese
13" Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hats


Notes:
Follows the same patterns as the other sets. The visible bead on the snare leads me to believe it's a Supra, and it looks to be slightly deeper. The chinese appears to have a rounded bell, indicating Sabian, but then again I don't think he even uses it in "Cureless."
Bass drum: Pearl MR 24"x16"
Snare drum: 14"x6.5" Ludwig Supraphonic
Toms: Remo Roto Toms 10", 12", 14", 16", 18"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20", 18", 17", 16" Paiste Signature Full Crashes
10", 8" Paiste Signature Splashes
20" Sabian AA Chinese
13" Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hats


Notes:
This song seems to use a lot of fancy extra percussion. I made the usual adjustments to the cymbals, but I think he may actually be using the Hammered Steel drum this time. It seems like I can just barely see the logo plate. I could be wrong though.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 24"x16"
Snare drum: 14"x5.5" Pearl Hammered Steel
Toms: Remo Roto Toms 10", 12", 14", 16", 18"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20", 18", 17", 16" Paiste Signature Full Crashes
10", 8" Paiste Signature Splashes
20" Sabian AA Chinese
13" Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hi-Hats

Also included: 20" Paiste 3000 Reflector Chinese stacked with a Paiste 8" Signature Splash, a pair of 6"x12" and 6"x15" cannon toms, and a Remo Spoxe on the hi-hat


Notes:
Here, the snare drum is not visible but I would bet my first born it's a Supra on this track. The sound is just right. Everything else is pretty standard. Could be his Paiste Chinese but again, I don't think he even uses the thing in this song. Sakura states he tuned the toms a bit "low" to be more "rock" but kept a high tuning on the snare to let it pop. Also, there are timpani and tamborines overdubbed through much of the song.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 24"x16"
Snare drum: 14"x6.5" Ludwig Supraphonic
Toms: Pearl MR 14"x8", 16"x16", 18"x16"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20", 18", 17", 16" Paiste Signature Full Crashes
10" Paiste Signature Splash
20" Sabian AA Chinese
15" Paiste Sound Edge Hi-Hats


Notes:
Usual adjustments. Once again the snare looks fairly shallow so I'm going to assume a 5.5" depth. Not sure where he uses the stacked cymbals in this song.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 24"x16"
Snare drum: 14"x5.5" Ludwig Supraphonic
Toms: Remo Roto Toms 10", 12", 14", 16", 18"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20", 18", 17", 16" Paiste Signature Full Crashes
10" Paiste Signature Splash
20" Sabian AA Chinese
15" Paiste Sound Edge Hi-Hats

Also included: 20" Paiste 3000 Reflector Chinese stacked with an 8" Paiste Signature Splash.


Notes:
Well, the biggest change I made to this one is the snare drum, of course. It isn't visible in the picture but it sounds to me to be a 6.5" deep drum. Knowing Sakura's tastes, it seems like he would love to play a vintage drum on this song anyway. So I am just guessing it is the Radioking and not the Custom Classic here. The hats could be different but frankly he's on the ride nearly the whole song, so it hardly matters. As you can see he's using vintage mics to record this one, and he tuned the toms to a more high-pitched "jazz" sound. Apparently this was his favorite song to record for this album.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 20"x14"
Snare drum: 14"x6.5" Slingerland Radioking
Toms: Pearl MR 10"x8", 12"x8", 14"x8", 16"x16"

Cymbals:
22" Sabian HH Heavy Ride
18" Sabian HH Medium Crash
18", 17" Sabian HH Medium Thin Crash
14" Sabian AA Flat Hats


Notes:
Making a few leaps with this one. Again, the snare isn't visible, but I am going to guess by context that he is in full Bonham worship mode and is using a 6.5" Supra. Also, the magazine indicates 2x of 20" and 18" crashes, and since I know he was acquiring some Paiste 2002 cymbals around this time, I'm going to guess that's what accounts for having two of each. Finally... the hats actually do visually look like they could be AA Flat Hats from the picture. But, it's very hard to tell and I'm convinced he uses Paiste as much as possible.
Bass drum: Pearl MR 26"x16"
Snare drum: 14"x6.5" Ludwig Supraphonic
Toms: Pearl MR 12"x8", 14"x8", 16"x16", 18"x16"

Cymbals:
22" Paiste Signature Dry Ride
20", 18" Paiste Signature Full Crashes
20", 18" Paiste 2002 Crashes
15" Paiste Sound Edge Hi-Hats