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Home recording drums advice!

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Home recording drums advice!

Postby kraken78 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:08 pm

I am looking to record a standard drum kit into Audacity as I have found this is the most user friendly DAW for my needs. I have an SM57 and an SM58, as well as a Rode NT1 USB condenser mic which is very sensitive. I’d like some advice on the best way to record all three mics simultaneously into Audacity to create one drum track. I don’t have a mixer so any recommendations welcome. Previously I’ve always used multitrack recorders like Korg and Tascam but want to move to DAW on PC. Thoughts on the best way to do this with what I have? Thanks!
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:44 pm

Hi and welcome to the forums.

Firstly it's doable, to a point, with those mics, though they are not ideal but before we go into that we need to cover the other equipment you'll need. You don't mention an audio interface? You will need one to be able to record your Shure mics into a computer. The minimum would probably be something like a Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD at a little over £100. That will allow you to record up to 4 mics at once.

WRT the mics, I don't use Windows but I don't think you can use two audio interfaces at once, if not then your Rode is not going to work for you as the audio interface would need to be the only USB interface.

Recording drums in a domestic space is difficult, and more so if you only have two or maybe three mics as they need to be far enough away to capture the whole kit, however it can be done, and it is how I usually record drums. My method is to use just a kick drum mic and an overhead, the former inside the kick and the latter centred over the snare about 3' up. It is possible to get quite reasonable results using this method (particularly for jazz/acoustic music and suchlike) but it's not ideal for heavier rock styles. The other issue is the sound of the room, a domestic room is not going to sound good for drums unless you can improvise some acoustic treatment, usually two or three strategically placed duvets to minimise reflections of the walls, and if possible, the ceiling.

I'd probably start with the 58 in the kick and the 57 overhead and see how you go.

BTW Glyn Johns devised a method using three mics which he used on many well known recordings.

HTH
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:34 pm

Whereas Audacity is a wonderful piece of software, it falls a way short of 'normal' DAW facilities. I would recommend you consider trialling Reaper before committing.

It is free to use for 60 days and should you decide you like it after that period is a very reasonable $60 to buy a personal licence (but it will continue to work regardless). It's extremely powerful, comes with a number of plugins, can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of them and is used in many a studio.

The post-processing and editing facilites are an order of magnitude better than Audacity and for the job you are talking about you won't find better for the price.
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:43 pm

:thumbup: Definitely worth trying, it is more complex than Audacity but as Eddy says, well worth the effort.
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby paul tha other » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:00 am

cakewalk is a freebie these days too...ive just downloaded it and was pleasantly surprised how good it was
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby kraken78 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:57 am

Thanks guys. I’m not really looking for software recommendations, I’m happy with Audacity, more how to get the signal from all three mics into my PC
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby The Bunk » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:24 am

Way, way back when I first recorded my band, I cobbled together what mics I had and used a Yamaha AW16G. I got away with a 58 on the kick and a 57 on the snare.
And +1, absolutely, for trying Reaper. I have used Audacity and found a number of limitations with it. You won't go far wrong with Reaper.
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby James Perrett » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:15 pm

kraken78 wrote:Thanks guys. I’m not really looking for software recommendations, I’m happy with Audacity, more how to get the signal from all three mics into my PC

Audacity is an editor that does recording. For drums you need a proper multi track recorder that allows you to process each channel separately. Audacity cannot do that as far as I can see (and certainly couldn't the last time I tried it).

You will also need an audio interface with at least 3 microphone inputs. Probably the cheapest is going to be the Behringer UMC404 which has 4 microphone inputs. There are one or two users of that device on here who seem to like it.
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:49 pm

The OP has three mics but one is USB only.

#kraken78, realistically you'll need another mic you want to record all three at once. And, while you don't want DAW advice I think you'll soon run into the limitations of Audacity so store the advice given up for future reference.

Accepting that you are going to have to spend some money to achieve your aim, what would your budget be?
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Re: Home recording drums advice!

Postby James Perrett » Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:35 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:The OP has three mics but one is USB only.

If it is the NT USB then it looks there's a trick you can use to get an analogue output. Just connect the headphone output to a line input and set the mix control to input. You'll need to have the mic connected to a usb socket for power though. However, looking at the spec, I'm not sure that it will handle the sound level from a full drumkit (or many other sources for that matter) so it may be better to ignore this mic and buy something more appropriate for the job.
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