A little help with mic/mixer options..

Icetech

Gold Member
Quick story and please bear with me.

First, the background..
I am a basement dweller and i just play for myself because i love it. My setup is basically music through headphones from a computer into a stereo. (with a projector to play along with stuff i like on youtube). I have been playing for about 6 years and didn't realize that my inexpensive headphones started blocking less sound from my kit and i was cranking up the music more and more until a couple of months ago i got some random ringing in my ears at work and decided i have to fix it now or pay dearly. (i seem to only learn from hindsight)

So on advice from a lot of people here i ordered a pair of Ultraphones and they are amazing. The issue is i didn't realize just how much they would isolate sound even playing hard i can barely hear my kit. I'm sure all of the experienced drummers here knew that they are pretty much made for a mic'd kit so you can precisely control levels and such..

So this is where i am at the moment.. I basically am looking for advice on a decent mic/mixer setup that isn't crazy expensive and will do the job..

My setup is just 2 up, 1 down, 1 kick and 4 cymbals nothing massive. And would like something that can take the headphone in from the stereo to play in the headphones with the drums.

P.S. this whole rambling story was just to explain my situation as clearly as possible and i'm sure this has been asked 1000 times but new items come out and i also want t make sure i get something that can take the input from the stereo. This is old hat to most here but i make bad decisions and would prefer to learn from people that know better.

Thank you very much and i hope you all have a awesome day :)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I walked the same path.

The biggest hurdle for me was eliminating latency from my audio gear. When a mic sends a signal to the preamp and computer/recording system, the audio interface must be able to deliver near-zero latency into the headphones. If not, it’s impossible to play along to a tune and record at the same time.

Presonus and other companies offer hardware designed for this.

I recommend you start off with four mics: two overheads, bass, snare. This will give you an excellent audio image of the kit, without close mic-ing the toms. This means buying cables and mic stands as well as mics. Try to avoid the cheap mic boom stands if you can afford it. You’ll want the ability to place the OH mic anywhere, and a cheap stand can prohibit that.

If you decide to record, you’ll need to get comfortable with a DAW (digital audio workstation). When I jumped into the Presonus pool, I began using their progam Studio One and am happy with it.

You can always call Sweetwater and get a consult on what you need. That will give you an idea of costs

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johnjssmith

Junior Member
You'd need a mixer and then a drum mic setup, plus stands, cables, yada yada... which would cost you around €500 at least if you want to get something half decent.

Unless you want to record yourself (you'd then need an audio interface instead, or on top, of a mixer) you'll get there much sooner, and spending a lot less, if you buy a pair of different headphones that let some more sound from the outside through, such as a pair of decent chinese IEM with memory foam eartips.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
When I first got into audio gear I went fairly cheap and yet it still sounded good.

I bought a Tascam mixer:

And a cheap Mic Kit (I went with Samson just bc it was in stock locally):

I have no idea how good it is, but behringer has a 7 piece mic kit for... 99 bucks!!



So at 425 bucks total you can get a full mic’ed kit and learn the basics and then over time upgrade the mics.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Thanks for the tips guys, i will check reviews on lower end mic kits... It's this or modify the ultraphones to let some more sound in.... just hate to do that:)
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
I’ve never used the ultraphones but man do I love the Vic Firth isolation headphones.

Because they are made for drums, they seem to perfectly cut out the unwarranted harsh noises. But you can still hear the drums and even better, they sound amazing no matter if your tuning is crappy or not.

Before I had a mic setup, I just played along to drumless tracks with those headphones and my iPhones. And they happened to blend so well that it just sounded good.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I’ve never used the ultraphones but man do I love the Vic Firth isolation headphones.

Because they are made for drums, they seem to perfectly cut out the unwarranted harsh noises. But you can still hear the drums and even better, they sound amazing no matter if your tuning is crappy or not.

Before I had a mic setup, I just played along to drumless tracks with those headphones and my iPhones. And they happened to blend so well that it just sounded good.

Yeah, ultraphones are made specifically for drummers and were recommended by bermuda and other guys here.. i forgot that they are all mic'd and pro level guys :) I am shocked at how much sound they really kill though.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Yeah, ultraphones are made specifically for drummers and were recommended by bermuda and other guys here.. i forgot that they are all mic'd and pro level guys :) I am shocked at how much sound they really kill though.
When you hear your drums + bass, guitar, keys in your Ultraphones, and realize how low the volume is in the ‘phones, and how it’s protecting your hearing, you will then begin working on your “monitor mix” to get the right balance of drums & music for your playing. Using the Ultraphones is a lesson in “how low can I go?” And still hear things well.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
When you hear your drums + bass, guitar, keys in your Ultraphones, and realize how low the volume is in the ‘phones, and how it’s protecting your hearing, you will then begin working on your “monitor mix” to get the right balance of drums & music for your playing. Using the Ultraphones is a lesson in “how low can I go?” And still hear things well.

I learned that last night... i used to turn my volume to 50 (arbitrary in this context) and last night i was only turning it to like 18... i feel horrible for what i have done to my ears for the last few years.. but not being able to hear myself is an issue now :)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
but not being able to hear myself is an issue now :)
It’s gonna blow your mind when you hear your mic’d kit in your headphones. It’s a real treat! You’ll hear articulation, ghost notes, and of course, all the flubs with perfect clarity.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
It’s gonna blow your mind when you hear your mic’d kit in your headphones. It’s a real treat! You’ll hear articulation, ghost notes, and of course, all the flubs with perfect clarity.

Actually i was afraid i wouldn't hear the mistakes as well as i did without a mic'd setup.. i am much more interested in hearing my mistakes than the proper stuff:) so that's good news.. gonna do more research and figure this out. thanks for the help! :)
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Quick story and please bear with me.

First, the background..
I am a basement dweller and i just play for myself because i love it. My setup is basically music through headphones from a computer into a stereo. (with a projector to play along with stuff i like on youtube). I have been playing for about 6 years and didn't realize that my inexpensive headphones started blocking less sound from my kit and i was cranking up the music more and more until a couple of months ago i got some random ringing in my ears at work and decided i have to fix it now or pay dearly. (i seem to only learn from hindsight)

So on advice from a lot of people here i ordered a pair of Ultraphones and they are amazing. The issue is i didn't realize just how much they would isolate sound even playing hard i can barely hear my kit. I'm sure all of the experienced drummers here knew that they are pretty much made for a mic'd kit so you can precisely control levels and such..

So this is where i am at the moment.. I basically am looking for advice on a decent mic/mixer setup that isn't crazy expensive and will do the job..

My setup is just 2 up, 1 down, 1 kick and 4 cymbals nothing massive. And would like something that can take the headphone in from the stereo to play in the headphones with the drums.

P.S. this whole rambling story was just to explain my situation as clearly as possible and i'm sure this has been asked 1000 times but new items come out and i also want t make sure i get something that can take the input from the stereo. This is old hat to most here but i make bad decisions and would prefer to learn from people that know better.

Thank you very much and i hope you all have a awesome day :)
My recommendation for a low budget option would be the Zoom Livetrack L-8 or L12, GLS mics for the toms and snare (or one of those 7 piece drum mic kits such as the Sampson Dk 707 or similar cheap kits.. (you can upgrade mics one at a time later if you wish).
The reason I recommend the Zoom, is because you can record direct to the unit without needing a computer, it is a mixer so you can plug other audio sources to it and "mix" them.. but it also acts as a sound card should you decide to use your computer to record as well.... I would get the Livetrack L-20 just because of the amount of inputs... you are not going to run out anytime soon, even if later you decided to have a couple of friends join you and gig, they will all be able to plug in directly (bass/guitar) and you can record all with a very decent sound. Of course don't expect studio level quality. You can spend 3 to 5 thousand for a digital console such as the Presonus Studio live for that...
 

calan

Silver Member
If all you are looking for is some foldback for self monitoring, you may find a simpler solution more worthwhile. Perhaps an EAD 10, a single (or stereo/pair) room mic, or even a handheld field recorder (Tascam DR, Zoom H, etc).

Depends on the fidelity you require.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
If all you are looking for is some foldback for self monitoring, you may find a simpler solution more worthwhile. Perhaps an EAD 10, a single (or stereo/pair) room mic, or even a handheld field recorder (Tascam DR, Zoom H, etc).

Depends on the fidelity you require.
My suggestion is to try to avoid buying double the gear for the same function. Yes you can buy a portable recorder, but later on you are going to end up needing more inputs, so now you go and get a mixer, but later you need to be able to record that mixer... so why not buy a small digital mixer that has more inputs than the portable recorder, it is already a mixer so the functions/effects are there, and being digital can also record directly to an sd card or act as an interface. The Zoom Livetrack l-12 and l20 seem to fit that bill perfectly. considering that a decent portable recorder is going for at least $400....
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I will never gig or record... This is mostly just so i can hear myself play cause right now with ultras and no mix i can't hear much at all :) Will figure it out.... main thing is making sure i can just take a lineout from the pc into the mixer to add to my ears so i can hear music+me..

Thanks again guys.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
My suggestion is to try to avoid buying double the gear for the same function. Yes you can buy a portable recorder, but later on you are going to end up needing more inputs, so now you go and get a mixer, but later you need to be able to record that mixer... so why not buy a small digital mixer that has more inputs than the portable recorder, it is already a mixer so the functions/effects are there, and being digital can also record directly to an sd card or act as an interface. The Zoom Livetrack l-12 and l20 seem to fit that bill perfectly. considering that a decent portable recorder is going for at least $400....

I have zero desire to ever record myself and it won't change.. i only play for me :) Just trying to get music+drums into my ears while i play without blowing my ears out how i was doing it.
 

calan

Silver Member
My suggestion is to try to avoid buying double the gear for the same function. Yes you can buy a portable recorder, but later on you are going to end up needing more inputs, so now you go and get a mixer, but later you need to be able to record that mixer... so why not buy a small digital mixer that has more inputs than the portable recorder, it is already a mixer so the functions/effects are there, and being digital can also record directly to an sd card or act as an interface. The Zoom Livetrack l-12 and l20 seem to fit that bill perfectly. considering that a decent portable recorder is going for at least $400....
I don't disagree, but having a spot mics on everything and a multitrack rig that never gets used is also a waste of money. If one were to own a field recorder that also got used for, you know, field recording, it wouldn't be a waste.

In this situation I'd still be inclined to get a 2 or 4 channel interface and a couple of LDCs just for the utility and better resale, but better to put all options on the table.

The EAD 10 may be the most plug and play solution here.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I have zero desire to ever record myself and it won't change.. i only play for me :) Just trying to get music+drums into my ears while i play without blowing my ears out how i was doing it.
The Zoom Livetrack still fits the bill, you can plug your audio source (phone or stereo ) to it, then mic your drums and plug your headphones to it mix everything nicely and play. I know you said you are not interested in recording, but how about playing to a click track? you can have your DAW (if you don't have one Cakewalk by bandlab is FREE). Anyway your daw can send the click track to your mixer and you can use it to improve your timing, you can use the DAW to loop difficult song parts, slow parts down, add other parts that are not part of a complete song.. the choices are endless.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I don't disagree, but having a spot mics on everything and a multitrack rig that never gets used is also a waste of money. If one were to own a field recorder that also got used for, you know, field recording, it wouldn't be a waste.

In this situation I'd still be inclined to get a 2 or 4 channel interface and a couple of LDCs just for the utility and better resale, but better to put all options on the table.

The EAD 10 may be the most plug and play solution here.
EAD10 is nice if you have a 5 piece set (single bass drum) and not many cymbals, I have a 7 piece set and 11 (as of now) cymbals, the EAD10 will be terrible for that. I could do much better with a couple of overhead mics or room mics and a small audio interface.
 
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