How do i record Drums?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by catchthatmonkey, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. catchthatmonkey

    catchthatmonkey Member

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    Hello all.. This is probably the noobiest question to ask but seriously how do i record drums?
    Cause ive been looking into recording recently and i am really woindering how do i capture the sound from the Drums onto my computer?
    I do understand that i need mics duh but where does it connect to so that it can be recorded on the computer..
    Thanks again hope someone out there can answer this
     
  2. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

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    Well, yes... VERY nooby, but that's ok. :)

    First, a few Q:

    How many inputs on your computer? What type of input? How many mics do you own? Do you own a mixer?
     
  3. zydeco papa

    zydeco papa Member

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    The very most simple thing is to buy a USB mic and download a simple program like Audacity. Find a place to put the mic that sounds reasonably like it sounds in the room (like on a stand just above your head). You're done.

    You can certainly get more complex with things and get different results but if you just want to capture yourself playing drums, this way will tell you how it really sounds in the room.

    When I do something like this I use an external USB stereo mic pre which offers more flexibility and allows me to use ribbon mics in a Faulkner array.
     
  4. catchthatmonkey

    catchthatmonkey Member

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    Well i am actually looking to you know capture like the sound of the snare, toms, high hat, cymbals and bass drum all with an individual microphone.. but i am just wondering now what do i need to transfer all the sounds picked up by the microphones and recorded to the computer.. i just wanna know what device is needed from the sound picked up and reorded to the computer.. very noobish but im willing to learn and can someone explain whats a MIDI?

    Well two USB input.. currently no mics yet but im saving up for a couple of 2 overheads, about 4 other mics for the tom,bass,snare and hight hat but currently i do not own a mixer
     
  5. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I can't advise on the interface but i'm pretty happy with two carefully placed LDC's (large diaphram condensers) a Shure Beta 52 on kick and a Shure SM 57 on the snare. Sometimes i'll add a second SM 57 on the snare bottom.
     
  6. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    I've done tons of recordings using 2 overhead condenser mics like the Shure SM81. I've never really mic'd the toms individually but I DO mic the kick drum and the snare. A good overhead mic will also pick up the toms. The hardest thing for me was learning how to EQ drums. I do something called
    "destructive eq'ing" where you boost the mids around 6-8db or so and then sweep the midrange until you find the bad frequencies and lower then by 2-3 db. The "bad" frequencies usually sound kinda boxy and card-boardy if that makes sense.

    The kick drum is eq'd the same and possible adding some compression and high end to get the snap of the drum. Snare is treated the same with some high-end added if necessary. I NEVER add reverb to the kick and usually solo out the kick and the bass drum to make sure they sit well in the mix together. The snare usually gets some compression and reverb if the song calls for it. The overheads get eq'd and maybe some reverb too.

    There are good books out there on mixing and recording. Check your local Border's or Barnes and Nobles.

    Good luck.

    Chris

    PS I've had great luck with the Presonus Firepod which is firewire based. I also love my Mac and garageband...
     
  7. catchthatmonkey

    catchthatmonkey Member

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    Ha ha thanks for the advise guys but again to my question that what do i need to transfer all the sounds picked up by the microphones and transfered to the computer.. i just wanna know what device is needed for the sound picked up from the drums to be directly translated and feed into a computer.. but thanks again for the advise ill check out the Shure mics u told me about
     
  8. Big Boss Man

    Big Boss Man Member

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    You need an audio interface. Some interfaces have built in mic preamps. You connect the mic cables to the audio interface, and the audio interface connects to your PC via firewire, usb, or pci. There are many different audio interfaces. The best one for you is going to depend on budget, recording software, and what your PC and operating system can support. This web site http://www.studio-central.com/ is a good place to learn about the basics of recording. Good luck.
     
  9. zydeco papa

    zydeco papa Member

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    I think only having USB is going to limit the number of channels, so using multiple mics without an analog mixer might be tricky. If you don't need the flexibility of adjusting the individual levels after the recording, you can buy a mixer with USB output. You would mix the signals in the mixer, which would then send a digital stereo mix to the computer to record. If you have FireWire, an interface the the ART TubeFire8 is great way to go. There are others like it as well and they all come with software like Cubase LE to record with. 8 channel interfaces are all over the place.
     
  10. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    You'll really need a firewire port as it is MUCH faster than USB. This link explains the difference in speeds...

    http://www.barefeats.com/usb2.html

    Take care.

    PS Again, I have had very good luck with my Presonus Firepod. I can do 7 channels at the same time into my Mini-Mac. 8 is pushing it and sometimes makes the computer crash but a faster hard drive wouldn't have any problems.

    Chris
     
  11. JamminJeff

    JamminJeff Member

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    Oh boy. Not sure if I should open a can of worms or a can of whoop ass.

    I guess you admitted up front of being a noob so maybe it will prevent the later, for now.

    The internet is slammed with "basic recording" info for computer/DAW platforms and you really need to do MORE HOMEWORK first. Answer the basic questions first by reading. This will make YOU seem smarter and will help you define your questions. It will help those who know, who do want to help, know where to start, but starting from zero seems painful.

    In other words, don't be lazy about it. You are entering into the wonderful and endless world of recording (and potential debt) but gee willikers beave, give us non-noobs a break.

    It would help if you start by listing what equipment you currently have for recording and not just "computer". The others guys might be more forgiving. :mob
     
  12. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    www.tweakheadz.com

    Start Reading. . .

    It depends on what you want to do. If you want to make demo's or learn to write and arrange songs, and practice your craft, there are many, many cheap ways to go about this.

    If you think you want to put out a CD, then pre-arrange your stuff at home, and then rent time at a studio, a real studio, to get the best results.

    If you think you're going to produce CD quality stuff at home, without exceptional recording, playing, arranging and writing skills, you've got a serious wake up call coming. You can spend about $1K per channel on decent mic pres plus computer (MacPro advised--approx. $4K), plus storage device, plus A/D/A converters (ProTools or Apogee Symphony recommended), and recording platform/software (ProTools recommended. Others of note, Reaper, Sonar, Logic Audio, Garageband, Ableton Live).

    If you want a cheap, all in one alternative, check out ebay and look for a used Roland, VS1680. . .

    If you want to stay in the computer, which is advised, then you'll need some kind of audio interface. . .You could go PCI, Firewire or USB. I'd stay away from USB for the time being. . .but some have used it to great effect, expecially when using a Digidesign M-Box (See ProTools LE).

    You've got some reading to do.

    Lot's of luck!
     
  13. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    I'm going to add something to the equation.

    You could consider purchasing Superior Drummer 2.0 (See www.Toontrack.com.

    I know of some CD's that were put out by pretty decent bands (even signed ones) that used samples for the drums, and sequenced the drummer's parts. Of course, if you know how to play the drums, you can think like a drummer and get it pretty close to how he would have played the part.

    Anyway, you could check out Superior Drummer 2.0 or BFD. . .I've got both and favor Superior Drummer. It has some pretty good recorded samples of drums. Then, you can either step sequence the parts, or play them with any kind of trigger device, like a zendrum, keyboard, electronic drum kit. They'll probably sound a whole lot better than mic'ing a real kit if you don't have any experience with mic'ing a kit. Of course, experience comes from hands on activity, so if you really want to learn how to do it, then, by all means, get some mic's and start learning. But then, that opens up a whole 'nother box of worms. . . .like, which mic works best for kick drum, how many mic's do you use on snare. . .do you mic each tom, and each cymbal. . .what do you use for overheads. . .how about a room mic or two for the natural ambience of the room instead of reverb from plug-ins. . .how about compression and equalization?

    See what I mean?
     
  14. Randaddy

    Randaddy Member

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    Here's one other simple option, catchthatmonkey.

    Once you have your mics, especially if the money is not there yet for a decent audio interface with multiple inputs, you could...

    1. Buy a cheap mixer with 6-8 mic preamps (XLR inputs). Plug your mics in and plug the output of the mixer into the line in of your computer sound card. You can pan the channels left and right to get a good stereo sound.

    2. Record using whatever software you have. You must learn to set the levels correctly and you must learn to use the software correctly.

    There are some great disadvantages with this technique, but there are advantages also.

    Some will say that this is too low tech (they may be right), but it will get you started, and honestly, you have lots and lots of fun learning to do before the difference in quality will matter. You will also have a small mixer to use for live playing if you don't already have one.

    One of the main disadvantages is that you cannot mix the drums after they are recorded... whatever mix you set with the faders on the mixer is what you end up with in the recording. Therefore you must record a few seconds of playing and then play it back and listen to it. Make adjustments until it sounds good. Then go for it. You can learn a lot this way and you will upgrade soon enough.

    Just my opinion.
     
  15. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    do a youtube search of the Recorderman technique.
     
  16. catchthatmonkey

    catchthatmonkey Member

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    Hey guys really appreciate the advice on the different techniques of recording drums , i know i had definetly brought up a bunch of can of worms .... but i think i have decided to take the advice from one here and try out EZ drummer program , cause i counted my budget and i can afford the Multi track recorder but buying the Mics, Mic stands the cables , programming for the recording and i realise i cant really afford it at this time so ive taken the advice and going for the EZdrummer program, i think its for the better cause its cost friendly.Thnx again for all the output

    Anyways just wanna ask all the veteran Producers and recording pros here.... What would you recommend for a Music Production Software. Im looking for something stable and can offer a lot but cost-friendly... Ive had Options like Ableton , Steinberg Cubase, Image Line FL and some other.. some i find quite pricey but really want a second opinion thnx
    .
     
  17. Randaddy

    Randaddy Member

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    I believe you've made a great decision.

    I'm not a pro, so my opinion should not be considered too heavily, but I have Ableton Live and I love it! I think it all depends on how you intend to use the software. Live's advantage is its intuitive workflow. Others have advantages like superior control over the details, or great midi control.

    Have fun.
     
  18. catchthatmonkey

    catchthatmonkey Member

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    Any other recommendations...
     
  19. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Check out this running forum on recording and mixing "metal" drums. Many of the techniques here are applicable to any style of pop/rock. Not so much for jazz.

    http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/production-tips/217656-acoustic-drums-metal-guide.html

    here's a stripped down article style version with no pictures:

    http://noise101.wikidot.com/metal-drum-guide

    More tutes:
    http://homerecording.about.com/od/recordingtutorials/ss/recordingdrums.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiFOD1EeKhQ
    Keep in mind the "recorderman" technique is not quite as useful if your room sounds like **** or you don't know how to deal with phase issues. For basement and especially noob recordists, I'd stick with an X/Y pair centered over the kit because you will minimize phase issues. Also spaced pair close to the cymbals is another good choice because it minimizes (bad) room tone and cuts down on snare bleed but phase IS an issue especially with the snare bleed. Lots of folks, including myself use a string to measure the distance from the snare to each mic in a spaced pair to make sure they are roughly equivalent.
     

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