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  #1  
Old 05-21-2011, 11:16 PM
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Default Drum Recording Set Up

I am hoping to obtain recording gear over this summer to start recording at home. I have an idea of what I am going for, but I'm basically looking for some opinions and recommendations.

I've checked out some previous threads, and have found that the 'Zoom R16' and the 'Tascam US-1641' are popular choices for a preamp/audio interface. These would work well for me, as I plan to record directly into Logic on my Macbook Pro.

Also before I go any further, I play a 6 piece kit, so a mic to every drum and two overheads would suffice.

I guess the main obstacle is choosing microphones. I know of specific mics that work well with my kit, but the only thing stopping that tactic is my budget. I am not sure if it would be best to buy an average full mic kit like this - http://www.google.co.uk/products/cat...=1275&bih=587# or start by building up a collection of mics that work the best at a higher price. The reviews seem very positive, but I don't know if they are valuable opinions.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-22-2011, 01:19 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

Those mic's offer great value for money, but don't expect wonders from them. Sure, you can go the close mic ultra process route, but don't rule out going for a simple 3 mic setup of higher quality. To get the best from this, you'll need reasonable room acoustics & a well tuned kit. The rewards, IMO, are a more wholesome & dynamic drum sound.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:15 PM
AJNystrom AJNystrom is offline
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

TimLovesDrums.com (I think it's youtube.com/timelovesdrums but don't quote me) has a vid series up regarding "ghetto" recording, or recording w/ 4 mics on a budget.

Give him a shout and see what you think.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Those mic's offer great value for money, but don't expect wonders from them. Sure, you can go the close mic ultra process route, but don't rule out going for a simple 3 mic setup of higher quality. To get the best from this, you'll need reasonable room acoustics & a well tuned kit. The rewards, IMO, are a more wholesome & dynamic drum sound.
There are limits to what you can do even in a good room though. You can never get a hyperreal modern rock sound without spot mics, for example. If you use spot mics you're not reliant on the room to make everything sound good, which if you're on a budget and working with what you've got is a very valuable thing. I speak from copious experience!

As far as budget mics go I can personally recommend Red5 Audio's drum mic set. I've been using these lately and the results have been quite startling given how cheap they are.

Here's an example of what they sound like. The only addition is an AKG C414-LTD which I use to mic the kick drum externally, and that could probably be replaced with a cheaper large-diaphragm condenser without much loss of quality.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

I'd get the mic kit, IMO getting individual pro gear isn't going to make home recordings sound professional. If you're gunna buy anything separate, just get something like an SM57 for your snare.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

Just wanted to chime in about the Interface... I have been using the Tascam US2000, which i believe is pretty much the same as the US1641 but with light meters and a few cosmetic changes... it's worked great for me!
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

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There are limits to what you can do even in a good room though. You can never get a hyperreal modern rock sound without spot mics, for example. If you use spot mics you're not reliant on the room to make everything sound good, which if you're on a budget and working with what you've got is a very valuable thing. I speak from copious experience!

As far as budget mics go I can personally recommend Red5 Audio's drum mic set. I've been using these lately and the results have been quite startling given how cheap they are.

Here's an example of what they sound like. The only addition is an AKG C414-LTD which I use to mic the kick drum externally, and that could probably be replaced with a cheaper large-diaphragm condenser without much loss of quality.
Got to agree. Great rock drum sound there. Are those the Red5 mic's? I have heard good things about them, especially for the money.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

Regarding your choice of interface (the R16 or the Tascam USB), are you aware that the R16 doubles as a USB interface as well? You can plug all your mics into that, and via USB, plug it into your computer to get the signals in there too. The R16 is unique in that if you wanted to do a live recording somewhere, you can do that without hauling your computer with you - just have a big enough SD card.

Sometimes, not always, after I record straight into the R16, I can then dump that card's tracks into GarageBand or Logic as separate tracks and continue with computer mixing. This is something you do not have the option with should you go with any USB-interface.

As far as mics go, sometimes those cheap mic packages are good, although Andy's recommendation of three really good mics is a great one, I guess it depends on what you want. If you're not planning on abusing the cheaper mics by taking them out on the road, they should do OK. But maybe consider trying a really nice studio condenser (or two) over the kit, and a nice dynamic either in or just outside the bass drum. I did a recording with just an AKG pencil condenser (an SE300B) overhead (about 24" above the center of the kit) and a Shure SM58 on a stand just inside my bass drum port, and that sound rocked!
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

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Got to agree. Great rock drum sound there. Are those the Red5 mic's? I have heard good things about them, especially for the money.
Yeah, as I say it's the full RVK7 set plus my AKG C414-LTD.
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

Thanks for the replies.

And thanks for the video PQleyR, the RVK7s sound great, especially for the price of them. If I were to go with that mic kit, I'd most likely buy an SM57 to use on the snare, making use of each tom mic on each tom. Do you reckon there would be any major advantages with the RVK7+ with the large diaphragm condensers rather than small, rather than possibly saving up for other better quality condensers such as an AKG Perception?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Regarding your choice of interface (the R16 or the Tascam USB), are you aware that the R16 doubles as a USB interface as well? You can plug all your mics into that, and via USB, plug it into your computer to get the signals in there too. The R16 is unique in that if you wanted to do a live recording somewhere, you can do that without hauling your computer with you - just have a big enough SD card.

Sometimes, not always, after I record straight into the R16, I can then dump that card's tracks into GarageBand or Logic as separate tracks and continue with computer mixing. This is something you do not have the option with should you go with any USB-interface.
Yes I was aware of that, and at similar prices, it seems the R16 would be a better choice since it is capable of doubling as a live recorder. Unless there are any advantages with the Tascam to the R16?
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:26 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

No real advantage here regarding the small diaphragm vs. large diaphragm condensers. Both are budget mics, and both will do the job. How good the results are will depend more on your abilities as a mixer and engineer. The AKG Perception will not be noticeably better than the Red LDCs I think. I've heard quite decent recordings from my friend's MXL.

The large diaphragm mics will probably be more versatile in the long run. LDCs are a standard choice for vocals, distant and close miking of guitar cabs, and room mics for drums. I can't think of one instance where I would prefer an SDC to an LDC, not even acoustic guitar.

+1 on getting an SM57 for the snare. Careful with the positioning, though.

I've mentioned the Sennheiser e604s for tom mics in other threads. If you can find a used set, or get a 3-pack from GC and use a coupon, they are VERY tough, easy to use, great sounding tom mics, though they might be out of your budget (used they are about $125 each). I would worry that the tom mic clips in cheaper sets will break or strip threads.
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  #12  
Old 05-23-2011, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

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Yes I was aware of that, and at similar prices, it seems the R16 would be a better choice since it is capable of doubling as a live recorder. Unless there are any advantages with the Tascam to the R16?
I had the Tascam US-1641 as well and I think you're only advantage over the R16 is that you can get maybe up to 14 inputs into it. But even using only the 8 inputs, then you're up against processing power because tweaking EQ's, effects, and dynamics in any kind of real time really taxed out my computer and created the worst experience for me ever. Finding a box that reminded me of the old cassette porta studios of my past was much easier to get my head around and quicker for me to get what I was after.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

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I had the Tascam US-1641 as well and I think you're only advantage over the R16 is that you can get maybe up to 14 inputs into it. But even using only the 8 inputs, then you're up against processing power because tweaking EQ's, effects, and dynamics in any kind of real time really taxed out my computer and created the worst experience for me ever. Finding a box that reminded me of the old cassette porta studios of my past was much easier to get my head around and quicker for me to get what I was after.
I think it's as much a User Interface thing as much as anything. This is where we differ, Bo. For me, using an interface into a computer has always been the way I prefer to work, because ever since I began being even vaguely interested in recording, it's always been digital and usually onto a computer. I was never of the 'PortaStudio' generation so using standalone devices is actually trickier for me than an interface and a laptop.

I also think that it's easier for a beginner to use an interface and computer because it's easier to visualise what's actually going on. You can 'see the sound' much more easily than on a small LCD screen and there are fewer menu options - it's all usually laid out right in front of you.

It still stands that the R16 is a good unit. I would be tempted by one although I think the Tascam is a more refined product. It really comes down to whether or not you value the standalone ability of the R16 against the fact that (I think) it only has four channels that can be phantom-powered. For me, the Tascam would win out because I carry my laptop with me all the time and do all of my work and editing on it, as an add-on interface I'm not sure it's as good as the Tascam is. It's a personal call right there, but I think it's as much generational as anything else.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:14 PM
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I think it's as much a User Interface thing as much as anything. This is where we differ, Bo. For me, using an interface into a computer has always been the way I prefer to work, because ever since I began being even vaguely interested in recording, it's always been digital and usually onto a computer. I was never of the 'PortaStudio' generation so using standalone devices is actually trickier for me than an interface and a laptop.

I also think that it's easier for a beginner to use an interface and computer because it's easier to visualise what's actually going on. You can 'see the sound' much more easily than on a small LCD screen and there are fewer menu options - it's all usually laid out right in front of you.

It still stands that the R16 is a good unit. I would be tempted by one although I think the Tascam is a more refined product. It really comes down to whether or not you value the standalone ability of the R16 against the fact that (I think) it only has four channels that can be phantom-powered. For me, the Tascam would win out because I carry my laptop with me all the time and do all of my work and editing on it, as an add-on interface I'm not sure it's as good as the Tascam is. It's a personal call right there, but I think it's as much generational as anything else.
I agree. It's a generational thing. I grew up with actual recording decks and no LCD screens at all. At most it was needle VU meters and looking at a physical patchbay!

I have no qualms about this being the wave of the future and how the new people are doing it. It's just a new and different way. But I was looking at the economics of it as well. If you had nothing, you're also having to buy a computer too, and the R16 keeps you from having to do that. Of course, if the computer is as much a home appliance as a toaster these days, then perhaps it isn't an issue anyway (which is also a generational thing, since I grew up in the 70s too).

In fact, I'm sorta' forcing myself deeper into the new way - just picked up Logic Studio for the mac and am finally getting into software synths. It'll be cool to track drums with the R16 in a different room, then import those tracks into whatever music I have in Logic Studio. I'm kinda' looking forward to it - no more sound modules or keyboards cluttering up my computer room ;)
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

Well the first recordings I did were on four-track tape - so it's all good. I still use a lot of outboard and a (gasp) physical patchbay at the studio at University. Plenty of good outboard gear there and I certainly prefer mixing out of the box (using ProTools as a tape recorder) most of the time, the workflow is much easier and more defined. The problem I always find mixing on (in?) a computer is that you have so many options to begin with and that means your workflow gets blurred - at least mine can do very easily. I like the limitations of physical mixing, apart from the space and cost issues. Just one of those things.

I've been using Logic Studio for years. I have version 8 on both of my Macs (2006 iMac and 2009 MacBook Pro) and I've never used half of the features - I just don't need them. In fact, to save hard drive space, I got rid of all of the included loops and most (if not all) of the software synths. I work in audio the vast majority of the time - but I work with other programs if I want to do any synthesis and it's usually on the level of programming my own basic synthesisers, but that's just how I roll.

The R16 is a great bit of kit and I would happily recommend it if I thought that somebody would use it stand-alone. Personally, I wouldn't and my interface does me just fine (with its oddities), but I get the appeal. A couple of years ago (before I had my laptop) I used to use a Yamaha AW1600 multitrack recorder and that was great aside from the fact that it had a really terrible user interface. It was horrible, but it was well made and once you got the hang of Yamaha's interfaces (which are still tricky, although they've gotten better as you know) it was flexible and highly reliable. Trying to teach somebody from first principles on that thing though - as I've had to do - was a total nightmare.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:33 PM
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Well the first recordings I did were on four-track tape - so it's all good. I still use a lot of outboard and a (gasp) physical patchbay at the studio at University. Plenty of good outboard gear there and I certainly prefer mixing out of the box (using ProTools as a tape recorder) most of the time, the workflow is much easier and more defined. The problem I always find mixing on (in?) a computer is that you have so many options to begin with and that means your workflow gets blurred - at least mine can do very easily. I like the limitations of physical mixing, apart from the space and cost issues. Just one of those things.

I've been using Logic Studio for years. I have version 8 on both of my Macs (2006 iMac and 2009 MacBook Pro) and I've never used half of the features - I just don't need them. In fact, to save hard drive space, I got rid of all of the included loops and most (if not all) of the software synths. I work in audio the vast majority of the time - but I work with other programs if I want to do any synthesis and it's usually on the level of programming my own basic synthesisers, but that's just how I roll.

The R16 is a great bit of kit and I would happily recommend it if I thought that somebody would use it stand-alone. Personally, I wouldn't and my interface does me just fine (with its oddities), but I get the appeal. A couple of years ago (before I had my laptop) I used to use a Yamaha AW1600 multitrack recorder and that was great aside from the fact that it had a really terrible user interface. It was horrible, but it was well made and once you got the hang of Yamaha's interfaces (which are still tricky, although they've gotten better as you know) it was flexible and highly reliable. Trying to teach somebody from first principles on that thing though - as I've had to do - was a total nightmare.
Yeah, I hated that AW1600 - nothing was intuitive. And of course, we use Yamaha's big consoles at Disney (PM1D's and 5D's, M7's) and I swear it takes quite a bit of homework to learn how not to screw yourself with it on a live show (minutes do seem like hours when there's a full venue waiting on you!). So I give myself credit for trying at least - lest I be considered another luddite from another age!
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

I have to use a DM1000 in a couple of weeks. I've used it several times before, but every time I look at it confusion reigns supreme.

I just want the old Mackie back. That did what I told it to do...
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Drum Recording Set Up

I can relate to MFB with the whole generational philosophy. I have mainly only worked with recording directly onto a computer screen, therefore the standalone unit would probably not be used, as I would prefer it to go straight into my laptop anyway. (I also use Logic)

I'll have a further look into everything again, but I think my mind has been made up on what pieces of equipment I will be aiming to purchase.

Thanks for the input again guys.
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