I want to start recording the drums.... Outboard preamp necessary?


Well-known member
I have been a musician for years and began recording and "producing" a few years ago. Because of that, I have some limited experience with audio recording and engineering. I have never recorded a drum kit before so I hopped on here in hopes of receiving some guidance.

I started playing drums not too long ago and would like to get some practice recording drums while I learn. I am going to get a Shure PGA 7 Piece Mic Kit to start with (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PGADrumPack--shure-pga-drum-kit-7-complete-package), and I already have an SM57 that I can add once I get my head on straight if I want.

As for an interface, I am trying to land a Focusrite Clarett 8Pre (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Clar8PreUSB--focusrite-clarett-8pre-usb-18x20-audio-interface).

Should I be fine to run the mics straight into the interface or is an outboard preamp super important for drum recording?

My budget is a little tight right now, so factoring in a preamp would be difficult. I guess what I'm asking is; should I expect a decent drum recording w/o an outboard mic pre? A lot of the home recordings I hear in, say, drum demos is what I am going for, nothing too "professional" sounding. If I get the hang of recording drums (or playing drums for that matter hahaha), I would probably add one to my rig later on, but for the time being, I am hoping I can get by without one.

Any help/advice./guidance would be greatly appreciated,


Bo Eder

Platinum Member
No. You do not need additional preamps. The Focusrite preamps are really pretty good.
Another option, if you dont want to be limited to interfaces, would be the Yamaha TF Rack mixer. You have at least 16 inputs (expandable with additional hardware) and at least 8 auxiliary outputs, but also the option to record to external USB hard drive (stereo 2-track mix) or plugging in a computer running Nuendo and being able to record at least 16 tracks simultaneously, and when mixing down, you mix on the TF again. It’s an amazing piece of kit. Not bad for $2000 plus an iPad.


Gold Member
Should I be fine to run the mics straight into the interface or is an outboard preamp super important for drum recording?
The Focusrite is a very nice piece of gear, with very adequate pre-amps and A/D converter. There’s no need for an additional outboard pre-amp with the mics you’ve chosen.

What you’ll find is that mic placement and room acoustics affect the sound far more than upgrading to a $500+ per channel mic pre.


Senior Member
2 years or so ago i recorded with my Alesis MultiMix 8 (USB). just 4 mics; 2 overheads, bass and a snare mic. Recorded it in Cakewalk (great software and can't believe it's free) and worked fine. Sounded great as well!


Platinum Member
I am in consensus with the above posts. The Pre's on the Focusrite are pretty good and should have little problem handling most commodity mic's and drums.

You'll occasionally hit some corner cases, like a quiet vocalist that wants to use a 7b for the exaggerated bass response, and you'll find that you're out of headroom despite having them eat the mic. I often use a UA Apollo for main vocals these days as a result.