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  #1  
Old 07-29-2018, 01:25 AM
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drummingman drummingman is offline
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Default Recording with E drums

I've been thinking about how it would be recording with e drums. Just the drums but with real cymbals. It would seem that this could make recording go faster and smoothly. Am I right on this? I've never done it before so I honestly don't know. Also, how would one go about recording the cymbals with e drums to where it turns out sounding killer?

From what I know a lot of people record this way now day's because of how much easier it is because of bleed and mixing, etc. Not to mention that a lot of people trigger their kits in the studio and live in a number of musical settings, everything from metal to country.

Last edited by drummingman; 07-29-2018 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:36 PM
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PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

Happens every day.

I would be open to it, but I would have to really trust the recording engineer. I think there's a whole lot of e-drumming going on that even the best ears can't detect. Even if the drummer plays on an acoustic kit, I think there's a lot of bait-and-switching with triggers/drum replacement happening.

I'm not a fan of e-drums, but if it makes recording easier and the music sound better, I'm open to it. However, the last time I recorded with e-drums, it sounded like absolute garbage because the engineer had no idea what he was doing with mixing at the time AND the help he was getting from someone with more experience led him down a bad path with recording.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:28 PM
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eric_B eric_B is offline
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

I have both an E and A kit set up for recording in my home studio.
For the E kit you have the option to record the sound (when using a drum module) or the MIDI data (or both).

If you want a hybrid setup with real cymbals than you would need 1 or 2 overheads mics (and maybe another for the hihat).
A thing to consider is that those mics will also pick up the sound of hitting the electronic pads and you probably don't want that in the mix. A noise gate could solve that.

When you talk about recording faster and smoothly, do you mean having to set up the kit for recording every time? Because once they are set up (and I can leave them like that), it makes not much difference if I record the A or E kit. I just open the DAW, chose the right template and voila, I can start recording.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:46 PM
calan calan is offline
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummingman View Post
I've been thinking about how it would be recording with e drums. Just the drums but with real cymbals. It would seem that this could make recording go faster and smoothly. Am I right on this? I've never done it before so I honestly don't know. Also, how would one go about recording the cymbals with e drums to where it turns out sounding killer?

From what I know a lot of people record this way now day's because of how much easier it is because of bleed and mixing, etc. Not to mention that a lot of people trigger their kits in the studio and live in a number of musical settings, everything from metal to country.
I'm not sure if it's easier, I've only ever recorded completely acoustically or electronically. I would still be worried about pad sounds bleeding into cymbal mics, but that probably depends a lot on your specific pads. At a minimum, I would do an overhead pair, a room mic, and spot mics on the hats and ride. If you have more mics and inputs, spot mic anything else you think you might want; the worst that can happen is you don't use them.

There certainly are some advantages to midi recording. Easy quantizing, moving/adding notes, changing existing sounds, perfect isolation. Modern drum software sounds quite good too.

What might be even easier is drum replacement software. I've never used it so I can't say how well it tracks or it outputs data. If it converts to midi notes that would seem ideal. Then you don't need to buy more gear, use anything you aren't used to, and still have acoustic sounds recorded to blend in.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

I've done it many, many times.

The biggest issue is most modern DAW can record audio much faster than midi.
So sometimes you're playing will be spot on, but the drums will sound behind the click, or behind the cymbals due to midi delay.

Other issues: Pads can double trigger, and pick up sympathies vibrations and insert a ton of extra midi notes/noise into the track.

You can adjust the sensitivity to eliminate this, but then you may not get the dynamic range you hoped for. It's a bit of science to get all the settings just right.

Overall, at the end of the day, I'm not sure it's any more or less work than doing it all on acoustic drums.

The main advantage is, of course, with e-drums you don't need a dedicated space. You can record in your bedroom and not disturb the neighbors.
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:08 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

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Originally Posted by drummingman View Post
Not to mention that a lot of people trigger their kits in the studio and live in a number of musical settings, everything from metal to country.
It's true that modern drum recordings use samples, but not in the way you're describing. Instead, a sample enhancement approach is used. First, an acoustic kit is recorded, in the typical way (close mics on each drum, snare top and bottom, kick inside and out, plus room mics), and then, samples are used in addition to the recorded kick, snare, and tom tracks. This way, the kit still has a somewhat natural sound, but the samples allow for greater volume, tonal enhancement, and presence in the final mix.

So, if you recorded sampled drums from an e-kit, and used acoustic cymbals, you'd be skipping a big step, because you won't have the acoustic drum sound to blend in with your samples. More importantly, overhead mics will capture the sound from the pads, if those are played while the cymbals are recorded. And that is a terrible sound to have in any recording, even "just a demo".

If you want to save time, record an e-kit, and use the stock sounds, or some other software.

Anyone can use sample enhancement after you've recorded acoustic drum tracks, but you'll need software (Logic has this stuff included), and the time to learn how to do it.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:14 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

Recording with an e-kit will save some time (money) by not having to get sounds. An acoustic kit can take 20 minutes, or 2 hours to dial-in. A module is pretty much ready to go, with a minimum of tweaking by the engineer.

Live cymbals are a must, but I don't know what the concern about pad noise is. If you're using mesh pads, there's no sound to be picked up by the cymbals mics. But even with a hard pad, each stroke is matched with a drum sound, so the pad hit is masked. The cymbals wouldn't/shouldn't be so loud in the mix where those hits would be audible anyway.

E-kits work well with many genres, but not all. Don't try jazz or any overly dynamically expressive styles.

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Old 07-30-2018, 06:05 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Recording with E drums

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
If you're using mesh pads, there's no sound to be picked up by the cymbals mics. But even with a hard pad, each stroke is matched with a drum sound, so the pad hit is masked. The cymbals wouldn't/shouldn't be so loud in the mix where those hits would be audible anyway.
Fair points. Mesh heads aren't going to make much noise, but bass drum pads usually do, and it's not a musical noise. If you're going to bother recording acoustic cymbals, it's not much more effort or gear to mic up 4 more drums. From there, samples can be added to the drums, if necessary/desired.

And, if you can get the pads to produce a good MIDI track, newer drum sample software has very decent sounding cymbals. The trick is getting a good performance accurately recorded, which is a challenge, even with the best heads/pads/triggers.

To the OP: what equipment do you already own? Is it safe to assume that you can make noise freely, since you plan to record acoustic cymbals?
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