Least cost way to record drums for youtube stuff?


Senior Member
I guess I'm you're typical mid-30's guy, a job, a wife, 3 kids, a dog. Not much time for drums and certainly not time to be in a band and gigging. On top of that, I play weekly services for our church (contemporary praise band ala Bethel) that includes a Thursday night 7-9 rehearsal and an 8:30-12 Sunday commitment.

Here's the thing, I still try to jump on the kit for 30-60 min once or twice a week at home and I'd like to be able to record it well so I can polish myself and also to share with the youtube audience.

I have a MAC and it has Garage band. I have a friend who is a studio engineer and conversations with him have gotten overly complicated. I don't need studio quality sound. I just need something that replicates the sound better than my iPhone. I took a few recording classes in college so I'm familiar with the basics of mic placement and such. What I really need input with is an interface and/or software. For video, I'm 100% good with still using my iPhone. I just need to be able to connect a song track, the mics, and the video all together and upload it to youtube. Pretty sure I can use iMovie for that.

As far as mics, I'm comfortable experimenting, but was going to to with kick and overhead to start.

EDIT: or maybe just an all-in-one Zoom recorder unit. I don't care really, just want some decent, share-able sound.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!


Silver Member
I am a fan of the Zoom type recorders for cost effectiveness and sound quality.

I just went from a Zoom H5 ($250) to a Zoom H6 ($350) and am completely satisfied quality-wise and consider both units to be a good bang for your buck. One advantage with the portable units is being able to take them with me to band practice, and even church services for on the fly recordings. I can even use it with my dslr for video, and there are a few accessories like shotgun mics and XLR "heads" available to build up a nice little package. One thing I haven't done is use the built-in mics. I have been using an Audix DPQuad package for that. But I have heard recordings using the on-board mics on an H5 and they are pretty good honestly.

Hard to imagine a cheaper way to get into live recording than this type of unit. By the time you purchase 2 mics, cables, interface, etc. I think you may easily be over $250. Advantage would be better preamps I guess?

I'll see if I can put some files up on soundcloud... Playing won't be impressive, but at least you'll be able to hear what you can expect. lol

H5 3 mics Tama kit: https://soundcloud.com/user-404965202-934619345/h5-1

H6 4 mics Rogers kit (Just messing around with mic placement, not a serious "copy"...backing track kept intentionally low, last time they flagged a file for "copyright"): https://soundcloud.com/user-404965202-934619345/rogerstest
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Platinum Member
I use a Tascam, similar to Zoom and it gets decent all kit sound.
Just experimented yesterday and discovered optimum placement:
on a camera tripod, shoulder height, 2 feet away from bass drum, pointed slightly down (30 degrees) toward the kit captured a really nice balance of all my kit - cymbals, snare, bass drum, toms. Very low tech, fast, cheap.


Senior Member
The drummer from seventh day slumber, blaise rojas, posted a few drum covers awhile back. I asked him how he recorded the audio, and he said it was camera audio from his iPhone - so you might want to try to experiment with that.


Senior Member
that being said, focusrite also has some great cheap interfaces.....if you can mix/eq so that two microphones is enough for you, they have bundles at $250 which will get you as far as an interface, a mic stand, two cables, and a decent condenser microphone.


Platinum Member
You could use the phone for the video and put a Zoom sound recorder above the kit or behind your head. Then blend or replace the camera audio in Garageband.

I bought a secondhand Q2HD video camera for $50ish and the sound quality is great. Video quality is like an older phone with no zoom, tiny lens.

Also - iphones roll off bass below 200Hz, so you could try boosting bass from 200Hz to recover a more natural (mono) sound.


Senior Member
I use a full rig when I record drum videos...usually 8-10 mics, but I don't think its necessary to get a good sound. For me I like the control aspect of it more than anything....but all that being said, I have seen some fairly impressive results with this setup:


and OR


I feel like I see the mv51 more. I think either of these are going to sound better than a zoom though. Good luck!


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I've been using a Zoom Q3 HD for a few years for Youtube vids. Has great sound and decent video. See if you can find a used one of those. The short USB cord is built in and their is Zoom software that allows download to the Zoom file section or to your desk top and then to Youtube. They upload slowly but it gets it done.

I just looked and there are a few on Ebay

Matt Bo Eder

I'm a big fan of the Zoom stuff too. In fact, I did this video with an H6 and just TWO mics. The video was done with a Q2n, although I use a Q8 exclusively now.

I have a simple set-up: one Shure SM58 in the bass drum, and an AKG C214 as my lone overhead. That's all I used this recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jjY9vwyvg4

You could even get started with a couple of Shure SM57's, it doesn't matter.

But although I also have a couple of Macintosh's with GarageBand, I hate recording using that stuff. I prefer the Zoom stuff because I could just get the recording done simply with nothing in my way. Setting up a computer and an interface and then making sure that always works right is a big PITA for me.

I just tried a 8-channel PreSonus AudioBox 1818VSL USB interface and just sent it back because there's too much stuff in-between me and the recorded product. I hate the process, although in our computer world, I think there are several generations of kids these days who just don't know how to do simpler.

I do, however, use GarageBand for my mix down, and I also use Adobe Premiere for the video (which is only one camera feed anyway). I'll mix my two mics to a stereo track, convert it to an mp3 file, then sync that up with my video in Premiere, and from within Premiere, I can upload the finished product to YouTube, which is how I did the video above. Incredibly fast and fun!

On my H6, I have the attachment so I can actually plug in SIX mics if I want to, but right now I'm really happy with just the two. I may add one more mic near the floor toms to balance out that sound, but that'll be my next recording.

I can't recommend this Zoom stuff enough. I can get my entire recording rig, including the video camera and a laptop, into a small backpack!


Senior Member
Here's what my iPhone 7 sounds like. I'd like better.

Maybe mess with placement? Here's one of Blaise's videos, he used an iphone 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D-YG9Ovfac
it's significantly better than that video you linked

Also, if you're fan of just quick and easy the zoom probably works (I've heard it in action, it sounds just fine) but I completely recommend the focusrite setup, with about a hundred extra dollars you could get some great sound.

This is the set I bought: https://www.amazon.com/Focusrite-SCARLETT-Studio-Pack-Microphone/dp/B00CLFWLHC/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1493177248&sr=8-8&keywords=scarlett+2i2

This one is slightly more expensive, but it comes with everything you need: https://www.amazon.com/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-USB-Interface/dp/B009DQF14C/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1493177248&sr=8-9&keywords=scarlett+2i2

I'll link a few of my videos I did with the first setup, but keep in mind I used a $10 microphone for the bass drum - you can do better :p

Oops that ride cymbal sounds pretty bad, but it was a ZBT and I thought it sounded a lot better than it did so I used it a little too much heh. Don't judge the microphones or interface just based on the ride cymbal

Oh yeah, my band twelve foot shadow did this demo with that setup too, I thought it sounded pretty decent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKEj9rvme4c
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Platinum Member
If it's just for Youtube and your not doing any mixing just get one of those mics that plug into the Iphone port. Is it Audio Technica, the AT2020usbI


You can even get cable extenders... but this way you can position your phone in a good spot and have a nice clean overhead... If you buy the mic that attaches you have to find a good spot for sound and it may not be good for video.. Get a good shot, and it might sound bad.

You want to have both seperate.. If your not interested in mixing, eq, editing, using one overhead can usualy sound great, and the Iphone takes excellent video..

If you get a kick and overhead that is good for 2 mics, but now you need and interface, PC, DAW, Video software, camera, memory card, etc. Plus you'll have to sync the audio and video..

I find if your using 8 mics, and looking to get a pro sounding mix in your videos it makes sense to do this. I usually go that route. But for a quick instagram video the Iphone is fast, and works.. I often don't bother recording a video because it's a pain to mix it all and do all that extra stuff.


Should be able to find a Zoom Q3HD for pretty cheap nowadays. They've been out for a while now and been replaced with better, more up to date models. I've got one, and though it's not the best rig out there, it's good enough for YouTube for a reasonable cost.


Silver Member
Sorry for the delay...

Here is a sample from a Zoom H6 using the on-board microphones (90 degree pair). No on-board effects or after-effects added. Right off the SD card, into Audacity to bring the level up a few db and onto "Soundcloud". Put the H6 on a camera tripod centered on the kick drum, 24" off the floor and 45" in front of the bass drum. Kit info is there is you want to check it out. As far as the space, well, there is a reason they call it "The Bunker". Unfinished 10 course (7ft. ceiling) basement with no treatment whatsoever other than a rug on the floor and some furniture. Imagine what you could do in a "real" space...lol.

This is what I got:


I will try to upload one using the H6 compressor on the "drum" setting, and something with a backing track using the same setup if anyone is interested.

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I use a Zoom Q8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sscr4-A2p4
A few videos later a started using a bass drum mic which I plugged directly
in the Q8.
At the moment I just use the Q8 for video, I have 4 mics now. I think somewhere
in the future I will switch to a better camera for more quality video. But
the Q8 is definitely no bad choice to start with.


Senior Member
I use a zoom q8 too. Sound is great off the built in mic, and you can add 2 external mica in the future. Video is not great, but the audio is very good.


Platinum Member
No one uses a GoPro?

I found its audio to be perfect balanced and the video quality is amazing.

The remote app is very handy for preview and makes that you don't have to use your iPhone (eventhough it can record some neat stuff)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2c7azt4q58enfu3/Foto 02-05-17 23 48 28.jpg?dl=0

The only downside is that you need to melt totegether files that are over 4gb because thats when the GP slices the video because of the quality protection.

And you can record several other things with it too (family parties, concerts, gigs, trips etc)

But still for me the GP is the winner.


Platinum Member
"Just experimented yesterday and discovered optimum placement:
on a camera tripod, shoulder height, 2 feet away from bass drum, pointed slightly down (30 degrees) toward the kit captured a really nice balance of all my kit - cymbals, snare, bass drum, toms. Very low tech, fast, cheap." Yes I did the same with my Q2HD and found pretty much the same-right in front 2 feet away from bass but I go about 4 ft high-though I'm going to try this at a higher overhead is my last angle to try-so far I agree with you. You can suspend it right over kick pointed at snare if you really want to get your kit boom but it's almost too much.


Junior Member
For the people recording with phones, what do you use to hold the phone? Do you use a tripod, something that attaches to a cymbal stand, or something else?