In recent years, electronic drums have increased as more individuals realize their potential. They provide you access to hundreds, if not thousands, of various sounds you may trigger from your drum set and allow you to perform more subduedly so you do not disturb the neighbors. This article examines the process of recording electronic drums and their value. Electronic drum kits may give people who previously would not have considered recording drums at home the opportunity to do so. Some people even opt for free solutions, such as learning to record electronic drums on Garageband, a program that comes pre-installed on most Apple products.
There are several ways to record electronic drums. We describe the various approaches you can take and the various outcomes they will produce. Some are perfect for drum recordings in your bedroom or a modest home studio.
Electronic Drums Vs. Acoustic Drums
Which option should you choose if you have the option of recording electronic drums or acoustic drums? Both have benefits and drawbacks.
Acoustic drums make it far simpler to achieve the sound of a 1960s drum kit and the crisp warmth of analog. The fact that you will be utilizing microphones to record acoustic drums adds to this warmth, but you must consider how challenging it can be. Some drum recording setups require a mixing console (or maybe an audio interface) and at least 5 or 6 microphones, making them quite complicated. This entire setup is not necessary for electronic drums.
In essence, electronic drums have a built-in computer. All you need to remember when learning to record electronic drums on a PC or Mac is that the electronic kit’s “brains” must be able to interact successfully with the computer. Electronic drums offer many different approaches to getting the same outcome. The data can be recorded as complex audio or even as MIDI. You have the choice.
*** Read more: How To Read Drum Notation: Quick And Simple To Learn
What Are The Benefits Of Recording Electronic Drums?
Even though acoustic drums are the “real thing,” recorded drums are simpler, faster, and frequently produce excellent results.
It takes time and a lot of skill to record drums correctly since many mics must be set up for each drum and cymbal, levels must be checked, phase problems must be resolved, etc.
However, with electronic drums, all you need is a drum set, a computer, and a USB cable or audio interface (depending on your setup; more on that below)!
What Do I Need To Record Electronic Drums?
#1. Using A Computer
A computer is a must for modern recording because it has the software that enables the recording of audio and virtual instruments.
One thing to remember is that you do not need a PC that is an absolute powerhouse to record electronic drums. Most entry-level laptops and desktop computers can run the required applications without issues.
#2. Using A Daw
Digital audio workstations, or DAWs, are computer programs that let you record, mix, edit, and export audio. They frequently include “virtual instruments” (also known as VSTs) that let you make music “in the box.”
Great free alternatives include Audacity and Garage Band, which are included with Mac machines.
You can pay for more sophisticated solutions with additional features, such as Pro Tools, Logic, and Ableton Live.
What Are The Different Ways Of Recording Electronic Drums?
Electronic drums can be recorded using one of two methods:
– Audio recording
– MIDI recording
Recording audio entails using the electronic drum set’s audio output to capture the sounds that are already there in the e-drum module.
In contrast, using a MIDI interface for recording enables you to trigger virtual instruments in your DAW using the pads of an electronic drum kit.
*** Read more: Top 12 Easy Songs To Play On Dums For Beginners
How To Record Audio For Electric Drums?
#1. Recording Audio For Electric Drums Using A USB Cable
a. What you’ll need
– An electronic drum kit of the highest caliber, preferably the Roland V-Drums. It is essential to have a USB output.
– A USB cable for drums and computer connection.
– Audio-recognition program for recording.
b. Recording process
– Use the USB cord to connect your drum set to your computer.
– On your DAW, select the drums as an audio input. If you have selected a capable, acceptable drum set, this should be a choice in the preferences or settings.
– Create a new audio track and load it with your drum set as the input. Press the record, then start the music.
– After recording the audio, you can add effects or edit it by chopping and looping different parts.
Depending on the model of drums, you may need to install some drivers if your computer is having difficulties recognizing the drum set. When linked, many will immediately install.
c. Pros and cons
When recording in this manner, there are several advantages and disadvantages. Some USB techniques only allow for mono recordings, not stereo. In addition, you are counting on the drum set to have a good enough interface to deliver a loud and clear recording signal.
Using this technique, you can record complex audio instead of MIDI. As a result, you will not be able to readily modify the sounds or individual notes the way you can with MIDI data.
#2. Recording Using An Audio Interface
a. What you’ll need
– A computer with a DAW installed.
– A cable that works with the output of your drum set. A ¼-inch TRS cable may be suitable, but check what is listed on your drums.
– An audio interface.
Keep in mind that we advise against using a microphone. If necessary, you can use an amp or PA system to boost the drums’ sounds before miking them, which adds unnecessary more components to the audio chain.
A word of caution: you will need one stereo audio cable, typically a TRS cable with black rings, to indicate that it is stereo if the module on your drum set has a stereo output. You will need two simple jack-to-jack cables, like those used for guitar amplifiers, if there are two outputs, one for the left channel and one for the right.
b. Recording process
– Join your drum set’s output to the audio interface’s input. You can use an XLR cable or a 14-inch cable to connect.
– Attach the audio interface to your computer and run any necessary driver installations.
– Check if you have a clean audio signal and that the computer and your DAW can recognize the audio input from your interface.
– Create a recording-ready audio track in your software. Play the necessary drum line and press record! Make sure you are familiar with the intricacies of your particular DAW because understanding how to record electronic drums on Ableton Live may differ slightly from how to record electronic drums on some other program.
c. Pros and cons
You must be sure that your audio interface is excellent. For those who only require a few inputs, the Focusrite Scarlett has grown to be a popular model. Nevertheless, you are adding something more to the setup, and if you do not obtain a suitable interface, you could end up harming the sound.
The advantage of recording with this approach is that you can recreate the sound of a complete drum kit without using many microphones because you are capturing the audio signal directly from the drum set. When done correctly, this arrangement is relatively straightforward and efficient.
*** Read more: Learn How To Play Drums Without A Drum Set!
#3. How To Record Electronic Drums Using Midi
a. What you’ll need
– A drum kit with a USB-MIDI output or MIDI output through MIDI. Since you can send MIDI signals with just one straightforward cable, USB-MIDI is straightforward.
– A DAW containing a virtual instrument for the drums. It follows that MIDI can produce sounds.
One of the simplest methods to set up your drums for recording can be this. You only need to check that the MIDI is transmitting; you do not need to worry about the audio. This functions similarly to other MIDI controllers that instruct the audio module when to produce sound but do not carry any sound.
b. Recording process
– Attach the MIDI output of your drum kit to your computer. To transmit MIDI, you can utilize an audio interface or, if available, a USB-MIDI cable.
– Your software’s MIDI input should be your drum kit.
– Create a new MIDI track and set it up using a drum module or drum VST. It follows that your MIDI controller, in this case, your drum set, can be used to control this virtual drum instrument.
c. Pros and cons
When using MIDI, it is crucial to ensure you get the most out of your drums. You will not obtain the nuance and dynamics that you would with other methods if you use an interface that does not support features like velocity or a VST that contains low-quality sounds that are not velocity-sensitive.
However, MIDI is such a powerful and standard tool. If you record an entire song in MIDI and discover that you missed a few beats or that your timing was off, you can go in and edit the audio to fix it. Suppose you are familiar with music production and editing. In that case, adjusting the location of a drum beat inside a timeline, for example, will be exceedingly straightforward because the MIDI is just data and not audio.
There may be some initial learning curve if you have never used MIDI. However, since many of us have experience with MIDI keyboards and controllers, switching to an electronic drum set will not present too many technical challenges.
*** Read more: How To Tune Drum Set? For Beginners
Recording Electronic Drums: Troubleshooting
#1. Audio Interface Isn’t Being Recognized By The Computer.
A common issue is when the computer fails to recognize an audio interface. Depending on your audio interface, there are many ways to set it up. If you are lucky, everything will go according to plan. This indicates that the drivers should automatically install once the audio interface is connected. The driver is what actually “demonstrates” to audio applications how to interact and use the interface.
You can install the driver from the manufacturer’s website if you believe it could be the problem. You might also need to update your operating system to ensure the most recent compatibility.
Look in your DAW’s choices or audio settings, where you can configure inputs and outputs. You should see your audio interface listed as an audio input.
Check the cables if you are still experiencing issues. Any audio problem is frequently the result of faulty cables. The power cord and any USB-MIDI cables you use might need to be changed.
#2. The Recordings Are Too Quiet Or Distorted.
You may experience problems if the recordings are played at an inappropriate volume level. For instance, it is challenging to adjust the mix if the recordings have come through exceptionally quietly. You should always have a loud, clear audio source to work with.
If it is too quiet, gaining control is probably to blame. A knob or button to regulate the audio “gain,” or how much the audio is increased while it is being read in the device, will be present on an audio interface. When you boost from the interface, you get a clean audio signal, but if you try to boost after you have already recorded, you are working with fewer data points and risk getting an unpleasant gritty sound.
On the other hand, you need to watch out that the gain control is not turned up too loud. Setting this too high will almost always result in distortion, commonly known as clipping or peaking. Especially on digital audio recordings, this does not sound very good. The audio cannot be fixed once this has been laid down as a final take, and the clipping can mess up your recordings. You will eventually have to re-record.
Getting the gain control right is crucial in this. To receive clear audio, you must make sure it is loud enough. Make sure the volume meter is not turning red if you have one. You will experience peaking and clipping in the red. You do not want this.
#3. There Is Latency Or Lag In The Recording.
When there is a delay in the recording, it is called latency. This can be a significant problem if you use live monitoring. The drumming will likely be out of sync if you record with latency. It is essential to handle latency because even a few milliseconds can matter.
Although it requires more CPU, reducing the buffer size can often solve latency-related problems. This implies that there may be audio dropouts. When recording, there is always a cost to be paid.
You can increase the sample rate if you like because a more significant sample rate typically results in a shorter latency. Once more, this increases the CPU’s workload. Therefore, you need to be sure your setup can handle it. A computer with lots of RAM is necessary.
Other factors contributing to delay or lag include using the built-in audio system that comes with your computer rather than a dedicated audio interface or a poor-quality audio interface.
#4. There Is Hiss Or Static Noises In The Recording.
Another problem that many people have when recording is hiss and static. First and foremost, you must understand that getting a loud and clear drum sound for your recording is a brilliant place to start.
You might need to increase the gain after recording if the audio you capture has a hiss and you do not have a loud, clear signal. The hiss or static noise volume may increase as a result.
The use of subpar wires is another common cause of static noise or hiss. It is amazing how many people spend a lot of money on high-quality guitars or drum sets but less on the connections that link them. A subpar cable can give the recording a terrible tone.
The recording contains a lot of potential sources of noise and hiss. Make sure you do not have any unnecessary loud equipment operating. Some individuals record an entire song before realizing they had the air conditioner on.
Electrics should be kept to a minimum as interference might increase noise or hiss. It is simpler to say than to do. Fortunately, high-quality cables can let you record in that position and save you from getting terrible electrical noise on your recordings. However, they are not magic, so it is crucial to consider where your drum set will be and what other electronic equipment you will use.
*** Read more: How To Play The Cajon? Everything You Need To Know
In the present era, there are so many different techniques to record drums. Drummers who want to start and learn the fundamentals of playing or create their music have a variety of alternatives to electronic drums.
It is not very difficult to record electronic drums, but it is crucial to select the approach that works best for you. Do you want to record complex audio or MIDI? Are you looking to record some practice tracks to transmit to your bandmates, or do you want to be able to alter the MIDI? Some methods for recording acoustic drums are more expensive and time-consuming than recording electronic drums. Since microphones are not required, it is a good choice for home studios and anyone who only want to make some simple recordings to see how their playing is developing.