I want to start recording advice needed

Ransan

Senior Member
Hello I have been drumming for about 30 years I have no experience recording and want to set up a mini studio just for myself then see where/how it goes. My main thing is I have a huge concert tom drum kit that I would like to mic up, 12 pieces total. I know I need two room overheads in addition to addressing the pieces, will that be all for mic coverage? This large platform would allow me to mic up smaller kits as well but I want to make sure I have enough space for the CT kit.

I have been looking at the Focusrite 18i20, will that have enough space? Is there a better competitor? What is it I’m looking for exactly regarding jacks/channels etc..? I then plan to get the Shure dmk 52-57 kit and expanding from that. Same are these good and is there a competitor?

I plan to use my Surface Pro 3 and the software, I am not particular about that, but any opinions welcome, I do know about Protools but my guess is that’s the flagship.

I guess in short I’m looking for a studio rig template that will have enough channels/mixing space for my larger set ups.

Thanks for your advice.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Begin with the Focusrite and two (or three in your case) inexpensive multi-pattern LDCs. Something like the AKG P420 or AT2050. This will give you a stereo image and an extra one for the front. Recording will be simple and you'll get to focus on mic placement, phase coherence, and learning to self balance. If you find that you need more isolation/control on individual instruments (snare) add the dynamic mics from the DMK pack.

Understand that mic'ing for recording differs from live mic'ing in that... For Live, you want dynamics on each instrument, and the overheads are an afterthought. When recording, it is the opposite. The overheads/condensers play the main role, and the dynamics are the afterthought.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I went down the audio recording path a few decades ago and:
The room is the most important sonic influence for drum set recording. I started off in a 6’x6’x9’ basement room to a 12’x15’x 6’ basement with brick walls. Once I suspended acoustic blankets around the room, the kit became less muddy. From there I went to a very large room 25’x50’ with a sloped ceiling range of 12’–24’ high. The blankets still helped isolate the kit.
Good mic stands are worth the $. When you suspend a $500 mic over a kit and the stand easily sways, it’s never reassuring.
Have either great headphones for mixing or a good room for use with monitors. Get your mixing room/situation dialed in acoustically.
Pro Tools is the industry standard. But there are other DAWs that use the PT handoff file format, so it’s possible for musicians to pass around the audio files and maintain project continuity and each use a different DAW. Presonus Studio One is an example.
A full-featured DAW is a big program with hundreds (thousands?) of options. Find one you like. Most of them provide free tryouts.
With a kit your size, I’d consider going with one or two more overhead mics, plus only kick & snare. That’s a great way to hear the kit “in the room”.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Thanks for your replies Kamak and CB.
My room is in a corner basement so the situation must be right (haha No Sugar Tonite by the Guess Who) with 2 of the 4 walls concrete. The size is about 14’x14’ with 7’ ceilings and carpeted.

It appears that I don’t need all toms mic’d but just two overheads and snare, kick and that’s really it?!
Will the Yamaha ead10 be an option if so?
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
This is what a single AT2020 overhead, a single AT2020 3' in front of the BD and an SM57 under the snare sounds like (Skip to 1:25 for solo drums)....
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
But a concert tom kit really shines when you have a mic stuck up inside each drum, add some noise gating to each tom and overdrive the signal and you’ve got instant Phil Collins. I think everything should get a mic. Get a Yamaha TF console that starts with 16-channels total, and it also works as an audio interface straight to your DAW. The TF comes with software to do a live recording straight to your laptop running Steinberg Nuendo, or you can even plug an external USB hard drive into it and record stereo straight to that. Or use whatever DAW software you know and use that.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
But a concert tom kit really shines when you have a mic stuck up inside each drum, add some noise gating to each tom and overdrive the signal and you’ve got instant Phil Collins. I think everything should get a mic. Get a Yamaha TF console that starts with 16-channels total, and it also works as an audio interface straight to your DAW. The TF comes with software to do a live recording straight to your laptop running Steinberg Nuendo, or you can even plug an external USB hard drive into it and record stereo straight to that. Or use whatever DAW software you know and use that.
Thanks for your reply Bo.
That’s what I was just now looking at individual control aspect.
I saw an ead10 vid with rdavidr and Rob Brown, and I started to wonder about channel EQ control individually, and not sure if ead10 will make the CT kit shine.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
why are you recording?

Is it jsut ot hear your own drums?
Will you eventually be recordning drum tracks for other people?
will these tracks need to be sent over the internet for additions?

I would consider some of these parameters as you are looking for a board...you will want to get something you can grow into from that aspect as well.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
The size is about 14’x14’ with 7’ ceilings and carpeted.

It appears that I don’t need all toms mic’d

Depends. I would argue that in hard rock and metal, you’ll really want close mics on the toms, in order to cut through heavy guitars and bass in the final mix. But less aggressive music doesn’t need the toms to have close mics.

The cool thing about a kit with lots of toms is, when you play a big, descending fill, you hear the smaller toms on the right side of the mix, and the lower toms on the left. A well-spaced pair of overheads will do this much better than the EAD10.

With low ceilings, you’ll want to acoustically treat the area above your kit, so that when the sound reflects, it is either absorbed, or more scattered. You can build a few acoustic panels yourself or buy some acoustic foam. You can get into treating the walls and corners, too, if you want.

For overhead mics, I strongly suggest you spend a little more and get a pair of large diaphragm condensers (LDCs) rather than small diaphragm condensers (SDCs, sometimes called pencil mics). LDCs will sound smoother, and you can record other things with them (vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, amps, etc.). SDCs are often used in live applications because sounds coming in from other directions, from instruments or amps, sound reasonably good. In your case, the only noises will be coming from the drums.

I’d suggest an 8-channel USB interface, too. So that you have some room to grow if you want to add a couple tom mics, a room mic, an under snare mic, a hi-hat mic, a crotch mic, etc. There’s a lot to explore other than “to close mic or not to close mic”.
 

Zaster

Well-known member
Of all the gear you will buy, mics, stands, etc, nothing depreciates in value like the audio interface you choose— everything else can typically be sold for close to what you paid for it. When it comes to the interface, you will be more likely to be a bit more stuck with your purchase for a while so I suggest planning wisely— you’re starting out recording drums, one of the most potentially channel-intensive recording tasks. Don’t just plan for what you want to do NOW. Even if you’re not interested in close-micing everything at the moment, you may gravitate towards that next year and find it supremely annoying to have to swap out your interface at a loss. Look for expandability, 8 channels minimum, something you can have a little room to grow into.
 

Zaster

Well-known member
Also, by way of recommendations, since I also record in a basement space, I use these acoustical blankets to portion off my kit space:


And this type of stuff on the ceiling above:

 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Of all the gear you will buy, mics, stands, etc, nothing depreciates in value like the audio interface you choose— everything else can typically be sold for close to what you paid for it. When it comes to the interface, you will be more likely to be a bit more stuck with your purchase for a while so I suggest planning wisely— you’re starting out recording drums, one of the most potentially channel-intensive recording tasks. Don’t just plan for what you want to do NOW. Even if you’re not interested in close-micing everything at the moment, you may gravitate towards that next year and find it supremely annoying to have to swap out your interface at a loss. Look for expandability, 8 channels minimum, something you can have a little room to grow into.

yeah, that is what I was also getting at...so many people by for the "now", and then get strangle held...I think of it like a bike: when I shop for bikes, the one thing that will never change about my set up is the geometry of the frame. I can change out everything else to improve the bike, but the frame will be the one limiting factor of the bikes use

In recording the room, and the board are those 2 factors that are hardest to change down the road. Mostly because of cost. Invest wisely and for the future here!!!
 

Ransan

Senior Member
why are you recording?

Is it jsut ot hear your own drums?
Will you eventually be recordning drum tracks for other people?
will these tracks need to be sent over the internet for additions?

I would consider some of these parameters as you are looking for a board...you will want to get something you can grow into from that aspect as well.
Hi Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX thanks for asking. I want to experience and explore for myself the recording aspect. I read threads and posts here and think it would be a very fun, yet challenging endeavor.
I am not a studio drummer, a gigging musician or even a band member. It’s more for audio visual sharing - maybe I’ll be in a band someday. I would also like to share covers, sound samples through YT for drum posterity and review.

I more or less know that I want something that will give me channel control like the focus rite but for a 12 piece kit will that be enough and if so, will that be maxed?
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Regarding audio interfaces, I’ve owned/used an m-audio 2-track USB unit, a MOTO 896HD (with FireWire), a Presonus StudioLive 16-track console (with FireWire), and now I’m running with a Presonus Studio 192 (with USB 3.0) hosting an Audient ASP880 via lightpipe.

I was burned badly when Apple dropped FireWire. Not only was my audio interface at EOL, all my external FireWire devices were too.

Currently a computer can connect to an audio device via USB, Thunderbolt, Ethernet and a PCI card using lightpipe or Ethernet (DanteNet).

Choose wisely.

I went with USB cuz it will be around for at least another ten years.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Depends. I would argue that in hard rock and metal, you’ll really want close mics on the toms, in order to cut through heavy guitars and bass in the final mix. But less aggressive music doesn’t need the toms to have close mics.

The cool thing about a kit with lots of toms is, when you play a big, descending fill, you hear the smaller toms on the right side of the mix, and the lower toms on the left. A well-spaced pair of overheads will do this much better than the EAD10.

With low ceilings, you’ll want to acoustically treat the area above your kit, so that when the sound reflects, it is either absorbed, or more scattered. You can build a few acoustic panels yourself or buy some acoustic foam. You can get into treating the walls and corners, too, if you want.

For overhead mics, I strongly suggest you spend a little more and get a pair of large diaphragm condensers (LDCs) rather than small diaphragm condensers (SDCs, sometimes called pencil mics). LDCs will sound smoother, and you can record other things with them (vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, amps, etc.). SDCs are often used in live applications because sounds coming in from other directions, from instruments or amps, sound reasonably good. In your case, the only noises will be coming from the drums.

I’d suggest an 8-channel USB interface, too. So that you have some room to grow if you want to add a couple tom mics, a room mic, an under snare mic, a hi-hat mic, a crotch mic, etc. There’s a lot to explore other than “to close mic or not to close mic”.
Thanks Brent for the comprehensive explanation. Yes I have about 30 foam panels that I have glued pieces of poster board to so I can start putting command strips and start absorbing.

As for the mix, that’s what I want is ambient controls if that’s even a thing.
Yes I am aware of overhead stand quality as a centimeter slide can change the game. For the ldc and sdc components, I will research. Does the shure dmk kit not have good overheads?

What would an 8 channel do, will I need to get another 8 i.e. 2x8 to cover my 12 piece kit? Is that the focus rite board?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Thanks for your reply Bo.
That’s what I was just now looking at individual control aspect.
I saw an ead10 vid with rdavidr and Rob Brown, and I started to wonder about channel EQ control individually, and not sure if ead10 will make the CT kit shine.

As the toms get farther away from the EAD10, the crappier they’ll sound. This is much less of an issue for a one up one down set up.

Also the EAD10 does not have a good bass drum mic on its own. It uses a trigger to enhance the kick sound.

However, the EAD10 is very quick and easy to use, and, compared to a set of mics and an interface, very inexpensive.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Thanks Brent for the comprehensive explanation. Yes I have about 30 foam panels that I have glued pieces of poster board to so I can start putting command strips and start absorbing.

As for the mix, that’s what I want is ambient controls if that’s even a thing.
Yes I am aware of overhead stand quality as a centimeter slide can change the game. For the ldc and sdc components, I will research. Does the shure dmk kit not have good overheads?

What would an 8 channel do, will I need to get another 8 i.e. 2x8 to cover my 12 piece kit? Is that the focus rite board?
Not all interfaces are expandable. I know Presonus makes one, and the sound quality of Presonus is surprisingly good.

Personally I would not trust the SDCs in a mic kit. They usually sound awful, and one of the mics in the kit will break after a year or so. Just buy a pair of LDCs (used maybe), a kick mic and an SM57 for the snare. Add tom mics later. If you have to sell, you’ll recoup near what you paid.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Regarding audio interfaces, I’ve owned/used an m-audio 2-track USB unit, a MOTO 896HD (with FireWire), a Presonus StudioLive 16-track console (with FireWire), and now I’m running with a Presonus Studio 192 (with USB 3.0) hosting an Audient ASP880 via lightpipe.

I was burned badly when Apple dropped FireWire. Not only was my audio interface at EOL, all my external FireWire devices were too.

Currently a computer can connect to an audio device via USB, Thunderbolt, Ethernet and a PCI card using lightpipe or Ethernet (DanteNet).

Choose wisely.

I went with USB cuz it will be around for at least another ten years.
Thanks CB, I didn’t even consider the port compatibility down the road much less OS.
Is recording equipment something that has to be refreshed every few years or so?
 
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