Advice Needed- Practicing To Recordings

EricSheppardDrums

Junior Member
I use a pair of IEMs. You can find a set for around $100, the Shure SE215s. If you find that you are still having trouble getting a good balance of volume from headphones and the actual sound of your kit, you could always try to have one headphone in and put an ear plug in the other ear.
 

jimb

Member
I don't like playing in isolation so I use a Bose Mini Speaker mounted on a small table...its loud enough if I mute the drums a bit...I get a nice mix
 

benthedrum

Senior Member
Simple is best.....for me anyways.

I have a tablet mounted on my rack.

I use a pair of Vic Firth isolation headphones.

I turn the volume on the tablet down until I can just hear the drums with my real-world playing volume and away I go.

Those headphones are the single best investment I've made for my drumming.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Hi fellow drummers. I might be getting back into the game after many years away from drumming. How do you practice along with songs? Are headphones available that let you hear the song or recording in digital format so you can sit behind the kit and play along? Are there any other electronic devices available that are used for this type of practice these days? Thanks for any help.
Ultimately, you need to hear the audio playback, and you need to hear your drums. This can be as simple as your phone and its stock earbuds.

Start there and let us know if you find it lacking.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
You bet, First figure out your budget and go from there. You can do this pretty cheap or you can spend up to $2k on a set of the top tier IEM's, thousands on mics and a mixer / studio.

You do get what you pay for in some aspects and doing research will really help.

first, headphones, You either need some over the ear isolation phones, like the gun range type. Those vics are popular and work well but after a few hours your ears get hot and the sound is just OK. They don't cost much. If you have a larger budget getting IEM's is a dream. Custom fit ones sound fantastic and you can wear them all day.


Next, I recommend at least 1 or 2 mics. Getting a large diaphragm condenser mic like the at2020 is cheap. You can even get one that plugs into an iphone. doing this allows you to control the volume in the app and play your songs. If you have minimal mixing skills this is the easiest way. Option 2 is to get a small mixer. 2 condensers is nice as you can put one in front of the kit too and pick up the bass drum. Some guys will use 1 over head and buy a bassdrum mic.

Once again budget dictates how good of mics you can get and what type of interface/mixer. I have a 16 input mixer so I can mic my snare, toms, add room mics etc. This is great for recording, jamming, but also requires more time to set up and knowledge of things like phasing. Having built in gates and compressors really makes the drums sound good live though.

If you are just starting you don't need amazing mics. That is where people usually spend too much. Get a mixer with a few extra inputs so you have room to grow however. I have the presonus 16.0.2 and it works fantastic for what I need. My IEM"s are the ultimate ears 5's or the UE5s.

If you go the mixer route you can just plug any audio source into it. My mixer is connected to my PC for recording and I can just play tracks on it. Plus I can record in real time in full quality.

Pick your budget, decide what you are looking to achieve and how much work to put in. The simpler it is the more inclined you will be to use it.

a little 4 channel mixer is probibly a great cheap place to start too. run the audio cable into it from your headphones. run in a mic or 2 and your good to go. just make sure if the mic needs phantom power the mixer can supply it also.
 

jpjsavage

Junior Member
Hi fellow drummers. I might be getting back into the game after many years away from drumming. How do you practice along with songs? Are headphones available that let you hear the song or recording in digital format so you can sit behind the kit and play along? Are there any other electronic devices available that are used for this type of practice these days? Thanks for any help.
Most of the electronic drum kits allow you to feed in audio from an external source (e.g. smartphone) and balance it against the sound of the kit itself. For an acoustic kit, I think any pair of closed headphones would be advisable or perhaps a bespoke set of 'in ears'.
 

jpjsavage

Junior Member
Most of the electronic drum kits allow you to feed in audio from an external source (e.g. smartphone) and balance it against the sound of the kit itself. For an acoustic kit, I think any pair of closed headphones would be advisable or perhaps a bespoke set of 'in ears'.
 

nimitz

Junior Member
Get your self a Yamaha EAD10 and a pair of headphones. Lots of video on YouTube about the EAD. It is great for playing along to songs.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
Hi fellow drummers. I might be getting back into the game after many years away from drumming. How do you practice along with songs? Are headphones available that let you hear the song or recording in digital format so you can sit behind the kit and play along? Are there any other electronic devices available that are used for this type of practice these days? Thanks for any help.
I guess you don't use a smartphone... I normally have Spotify play the music or Ableton (DAW). However, in the early days I used to download the songs into an MP3 or later my ipod. Then I would put peltor-style headphones on. That easy..! Check out the vic firth headphones with cable, there are many alternatives and also better ones. You could alternatively go with custom in ear monitors as well, but that's an expensive investment, so if you are not sure yet, go with the headphones.

Along with my smartphone I also have different metronome apps. This is great because I can practice on the kit with a metronome as well.
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
You can do this pretty easy.
Get a pair of In Ear Monitors, you can get a pair of Shure SE215s for around $100 I personally use MEE Audio M6 Pros I got them off Amazon for $40. You should be able to play music off your phone/ipod and hear the drums with the IEMs in, if you can't hear the music over the drums get a headphone amp, you should be able to get one for cheap.

If you want to go gear crazy or already have any of this gear you can also try putting mics on your kit and running them into a mixer, maybe put two overheads on your kit and then run the audio from your phone/ipod into another channel on the mixer use the IEMS and you can adjust the volumes as you wish. Just be careful doing this, you can easily end up micing everything up then REALLY increasing the volume, you don't want to blow your ears out.
 

TMe

Senior Member
Back in my hardcore days I tried a bunch of different things, but the only way I could play along with a recording while drumming at full volume was to play the recording at full volume through a PA.

That wasn't very pleasant at all.

Eventually I decided the only way for me to play along with recordings is at low volume, with speakers. That's great for working out parts and memorizing songs, but it isn't completely realistic since I'm practicing at a much lower volume than I actually play.

For full volume practice I use a click or nothing at all for accompaniment.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Hi fellow drummers. I might be getting back into the game after many years away from drumming. How do you practice along with songs? Are headphones available that let you hear the song or recording in digital format so you can sit behind the kit and play along? Are there any other electronic devices available that are used for this type of practice these days? Thanks for any help.
Depending on your budget, my first suggestion would be to get a pair of Shure SE215 in-ears headphones. I've used Shure in-ears since almost day-1 of my time as a drummer. (I started at the tender young age of 33)

First it was a pair of Shure H1s - the old flimsy flesh-colored, single driver model with the yellow foam earpieces.

Those didn't hold up well to regular use, and Shure bumped me up to a pair of E3cs on a warranty replacement. I had 2-3 pairs of of the E3c headphones - typically they'd stop working within the warranty period, so I'd just send them back and get them replaced. Eventually I had a pair outlast the warranty period.

The nicest pair I had was a set of Shure SE425s that were purchased for me by a church. I got those in 2011, and they were workhorses. I took care of them, but finally one side completely gave out last year. I wasn't going to spend that kind of money to replace them, so I picked up the SE215s, and I've been completely happy with them.

By the time I got the 215s, the 425s had seriously degraded, and therefore the 215s actually sounded much better than the 425s - more sound, better clarity - headphones do burn out over time.

Others will suggest other things I'm sure, but that has worked very well for me. Because I'm a church drummer and I'm constantly learning new music, 85-90% of my practice on the drums (maybe more) revolves around working with and practicing along with recordings, and this is what I've always done - first it was with a portable CD player, then an iPod classic, and I currently use my iPhone.

It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.
 

n1ck

Member
n1ck: I wonder what the difference to normal isolation headphones is - do you feel like the sound is clearer due to the in-ear headphones as opposed to the regular isolation headphones?
The sound is clearer and more audible because having the iso-phones on top of the earbuds keeps the sound of the drums out of the earbuds. You can turn the volume of the music way down and still hear it and play along at a normal volume.

I'm a bit indecisive about the optimal way but to me, cutting out about 30 dB is way too much for most situations, especially because it's not the same amount of isolation across all frequencies and the highs get cut more. So, there's the danger of playing the high voices too loudly because under the headphones it sounds right. I've had it more than once that I was playing something with those headphones and everything felt great. But when I slid them to the side, I realized that the ghost notes or hi hat were way too loud or unpleasant for example.
This method does require some adjustment. You basically just have to get used to it. Things will sound/feel weird for a little bit, but it's worth it. After a while, you'll forget they're on and everything will sound normal.

Early on, where hearing failed, I was able to compensate by adjusting my touch and technique. If you're in tune with this stuff that should work for you too.
 
n1ck: I wonder what the difference to normal isolation headphones is - do you feel like the sound is clearer due to the in-ear headphones as opposed to the regular isolation headphones?


I'm a bit indecisive about the optimal way but to me, cutting out about 30 dB is way too much for most situations, especially because it's not the same amount of isolation across all frequencies and the highs get cut more. So, there's the danger of playing the high voices too loudly because under the headphones it sounds right. I've had it more than once that I was playing something with those headphones and everything felt great. But when I slid them to the side, I realized that the ghost notes or hi hat were way too loud or unpleasant for example.
 

n1ck

Member
I like to use a pair of earbuds UNDERNEATH the protective headphone things. Someone on the internet hipped me to this a few years ago and it changed my life. It protects your hearing, lets you play louder, and lets you keep the music low all at the same time.
 

TMe

Senior Member
I started using speakers after watching a video where Peter Erskine advocated it.

For me, playing with speakers is just more pleasant.

With headphones, I keep wanting to hear everything clearly, so I end up having a volume war with myself, turning up the phones, playing louder, turning up the phones some more...

With speakers, the first thing I had to accept is that, just like playing with a band, I'm not going to hear every detail and, just like playing with a band, I have to match my volume to what's coming out of the speakers.

Combine that with my finally realizing that if I play loud, that doesn't mean I have to practice loud, and the result is a much more pleasant practice session.

I found that when I practiced loud, and had music blaring through headphones, practice was a chore, and I fatigued quickly.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Depends on your budget. Earbuds or headphones and adjust the volume so you can hear your drums over the audio is cheap. Take out one earbud if you want.

If you can afford it, IEM's with mic's on the kit running into your pc or a mixer. .now you can play to the music, eq the sound, even record.


there is something for every budget.
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
I mic my drums. Then I use in-ear monitors and play both a recording and my drum kit into my mix. It gets me the closest to what I hear whenever I’m gigging

I’m always miced up though, so if you don’t use mics then you might should try what these other guys suggested
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..A former teacher of mine recommended playing to speakers as much a possible..

I agree 100% with that, but ALWAYS with quality hearing protection and those speakers on at least a few meter distance..

About the kinda psychological reason that your teacher gave i am not sure (allthough makes sense in a way), but i would always be very carefull to put a direct soundsource (which headphones are much more than a speaker) on your ears..

With headphones and playing acoustic drums, the volume combination from drums and music in my opinion will almost always be too loud, unless you play with brushes to a headphone volume that normal people choose to listen music on a quiet evening at home..

But then again, i live in a detached house with no complaining neighbours and i realise very well that for a lot of other people this is not the case..
 
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