Recording my drumming

Mart61

Silver Member
Hi Guys

Don't ask me why but I have a hankering to attempt to record my drumming using a better setup than my iPhone camera and mic. I've never used a mixer or sound editing software in my life.

So here's the thing:

I'm considering buying a XENIX Q802USB mixer at about £65, a few cheap mics (possibly four Pyle-Pro PDMIC78 at a total of about £56) and some mic stands at a total of about £40.

This all adds up to about £160, plus a bit of shipping.

I'd use GarageBand on my MacBook to do the recording/editing.

Yes I know that this isn't gonna be even close to a pro set-up but do you guys think this would be OK? Surely it has to be better than the iPhone?

If there's a better way for a similar budget I'd appreciate anyone's input.

Many thanks.
 
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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
The mic's are the weak link in your proposal. They will be your limiting factor, but still way better than your iPhone mic setup. All depends on what you're trying to achieve, but you can carry out quite considerable audio modification in Garageband if you wish. In most cases, the more "impressive" you want the sound to be, the less critical the mic's & source are. If you want good quality naturalistic recordings however, it all gets a bit more involved.

For the money you're proposing, I'd say go for it. You'll soon find where the pinch points are, & there's no better way of finding out where to go next than jumping in feet first :)
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks Andy. I may well give it a go.

As you say the mics are a bit pants but hey, for about £14 each, what should I expect eh? They seem to be even cheaper in the USA - I read of a guy that paid $27 for four!

If only one could get stuff that cheap in the UK...
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
If all you're trying to do is listen back to yourself for the sake of improvement, then going a cheap option like that will definitely be better than an iPhone + microphone :).

But if the time ever comes when you want to make a serious effort at recording your drums for real, expect to take time saving and purchasing good quality microphones over time. You'll also want to invest in a good multi-track mixer (that supports i/o with ALL channels via USB or Firewire). Once you're serious about recording there is no point in buying cheap mics. You can get sets from brands like AKG and Audix (I prefer Audix, personally) that will include say, 1x snare, 3x toms, 1x kick and 2x overhead mics - or a similar variation. This is probably the cheapest and easiest way to get quality mics. But do your research first.

That all said - until you're really serious about quality, go as cheap as you like!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Personally, I'd invest in one or two inexpensive condensers(like Behringer) and then just start saving for a bass drum mic. That's all you really need unless you're doing special processing or have to fix inner dynamics post recording.

The rest of the stuff needed can be expensice, but really, there's so much cheap second hand stuff available.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I would start off with a set of condenser overheads. You can make a pretty good recording with them if you place them well. A good set can be had for about $150 USD.
Add a good bass drum mic and eventually obtain snare and tom mics that are comparable to Shure SM57.
You should also get a large interface that can handle at least 14 tracks.
Don't waste your money on super inexpensive gear.
 
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T

The SunDog

Guest
Look at Digital Reference mics. Very low cost and surprisingly good sound. Behringer isn't my fave but it will do what you ask. GL
 

Euphorialus

Junior Member
I would suggest getting a couple cheap dynamic mics, those have given me consistently the best quality for price, and they're great for drums.

I've gotten really good results from using a two mic setup. I've got two decent dynamic mics, an SM58 and another more expensive one, whose name escapes me (when I get back in the practice room I can add this, haha!). I position the better one up on a stand in front of me and above my crashes, essentially (I have an offset tom setup with two crashes in front of me). This mic captures almost everything with perfect definition, with surprisingly little wash from the cymbals. I use the SM58 low to the floor next to my floor toms, as the higher mic's main issue is that, with the cymbals, the kick and lower tones of the toms can be lost in the audio ether. The SM58 grabs great definition from my kick and helps bring body to my toms. I've never needed anything else. I've heard this described as 'letting the drums breathe', which I'm all about. Less is more!

If you are planning on getting four mics, however, I'd recommend using one above you and your snare as I described above, with another over your floor tom/ride area. The other two would serve you well by your kick(s) or for an extra snare/hat mic. This just comes from my experience helping my buddies mic things, and experimenting with my own rig during practice.

In the end, what matters is what works for what you need. Your mic choices sound very reasonable and cost-effective. Just ensure that, if you need phantom power, you get the appropriate gear for that too. There are USB dynamic mics that wouldn't need phantom power, but I haven't had the opportunity to pick one up yet, so I can't speak for their ability.

As for programs, I've never had the need for a mixer, I use a program called Audacity (free and cross-platform) which has lots of FX to work with, including things like EQ and wacky stuff like phasers and custom works. It's also really easy to use, and supports direct recording into the program, with a largely unlimited capacity for added tracks.

I hope your purchase goes well, and that you're satisfied with your new sound.

Cheers!
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Resurrecting an old thread, I find myself in Bangkok as I type and I'm wondering if any of the necessary equipment may be cheaper in these parts.

Just to be clear, am I right in thinking that, with a USB mixer, even if I have four or more mics, the signal into my MacBook will only be two channels from the USB, or would it transfer each mic as an individual track?
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
It depends on the mixer.

I use a Behringer XR-18 Air, which has 18 in/18 out via USB.

But other mixers will definitely only have stereo in/stereo out.

Read the specs for the product carefully!
 

Mart61

Silver Member
Thanks for the reply. I downloaded the manual for the Behringer Q802 USB I've been considering but can't see where that detail is shown. I'll have another look.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
I would use only overheads to record yourself. It will make/force you to be a balanced drummer and have all your limbs at the right level: most drummers have their right hand (hats, ride) too loud because it is their dominant hand. Using multiple mics will allow you to bring each drum up and down in the mix but will not make you a better drummer

1 or 2 overheads/room mics will make you a more balNced drummer. Just listen back and adjust accordingly.
 

Mart61

Silver Member
I would use only overheads to record yourself. It will make/force you to be a balanced drummer and have all your limbs at the right level: most drummers have their right hand (hats, ride) too loud because it is their dominant hand. Using multiple mics will allow you to bring each drum up and down in the mix but will not make you a better drummer

1 or 2 overheads/room mics will make you a more balNced drummer. Just listen back and adjust accordingly.
Thanks - that makes a lot of sense.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Thanks for the reply. I downloaded the manual for the Behringer Q802 USB I've been considering but can't see where that detail is shown. I'll have another look.
I am fairly certain the Xenyx mixers only have stereo in/out. Certainly the old Xenyx I have only has stereo in and out, which was a surprise to me as there was nowhere in the spec sheet that stated what it had.

Compare that to the Features page for the XR-18 mixer I have:
http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Mixers/Digital-Mixers/XR18/p/P0BI8

18 x 18 channel, bidirectional USB interface for direct recording on iPad etc.
So that's really what you're looking for, and it should be advertised on the page for the device. Failing that, you can always contact Behringer and find out.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
A couple of PZM mics in the room will be absolutely fine.

One just in front of the kick and then on on the ceiling above.

Buy a cheap interface into your garageband and you#re well away.

My only concern would be disk space on your iPad, especially without connection to the cloud
 
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