"But normally in the studio I hit the drums way softer. I simplify the drum beats. I''ve found that if you have a less-dense arrangement and hit the drums lighter, they come through and sound a lot bigger."
I totally agree with this statement. This is key. Nothing like the drummers finesse being able to translate through the recording. It does add an "expansive" element to the overall sound. This is a common theme of all my favorite drum recordings (from a sound quality standpoint).
I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.