Drum Recording Questions

Rmgreg

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Bear with me I'm new to drum recording and setting up my music cabin soon. This is a beginner question. If I have 4 - 7 mics on drums and also record guitar, bass and vocals, this sound like a nightmare of cables leading to the audio interface. I'm curious how others setup their recording equipment in relation to the drum set etc? I assume the recording desk should be close to the drums? Or do you use a smaller mobile setup to bring the interface and a Pc close for recording then transfer to a larger recording desk for mixing and processing? I will have a 20x20 cabin split between music area and a small living area. About 20x8 of it for music area. Any tips appreciated.
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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Space is a problem.

A couple years ago I picked up a Zoom L20 for the band. It's a live mixer that also records multi-track. I use that for recording drums. I put it on a TV tray by my drums, then I transfer for it later ti the DAW via SD card.

Another option I've used: Electronc kit used as a trigger for Toontrack EZ Drummer. Fantastic application with a lot of different drum and cymbal sounds available. It's cleaner and quieter with tons of control in post. Fix a tiny mistake on an otherwise great take. Change the individual drums and cymbals AFTER the fact if you change your mind etc. Cool option but a bit pricy on the front end.

Or you can run a bunch of cables and do a bunch of getting up and sitting back down, trying not to knock any of your perfectly placed mic stands and stuff. I do that sometimes too. I feel your pain.
 

Rmgreg

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Space is a problem.

A couple years ago I picked up a Zoom L20 for the band. It's a live mixer that also records multi-track. I use that for recording drums. I put it on a TV tray by my drums, then I transfer for it later ti the DAW via SD card.

Another option I've used: Electronc kit used as a trigger for Toontrack EZ Drummer. Fantastic application with a lot of different drum and cymbal sounds available. It's cleaner and quieter with tons of control in post. Fix a tiny mistake on an otherwise great take. Change the individual drums and cymbals AFTER the fact if you change your mind etc. Cool option but a bit pricy on the front end.

Or you can run a bunch of cables and do a bunch of getting up and sitting back down, trying not to knock any of your perfectly placed mic stands and stuff. I do that sometimes too. I feel your pain.
LOL. You gave me an idea! I do have an old fostex multitrack recorder. I wonder if I could record the drums to that then transfer to the daw?
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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LOL. You gave me an idea! I do have an old fostex multitrack recorder. I wonder if I could record the drums to that then transfer to the daw?
Yep. If it has good preamps, it'll work. And has enough inputs etc.

The only issue then might be getting the track you're recording OVER onto there. Like your ghost track or whatever with your click on it. You can probably transfer that easily enough. Then export your drum tracks back to the computer and rest of the process is like a walk in the part compared to the drum recording. It's the hardest thing to get right IMO.

Good luck.
 

Rmgreg

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Yep. If it has good preamps, it'll work. And has enough inputs etc.

The only issue then might be getting the track you're recording OVER onto there. Like your ghost track or whatever with your click on it. You can probably transfer that easily enough. Then export your drum tracks back to the computer and rest of the process is like a walk in the part compared to the drum recording. It's the hardest thing to get right IMO.

Good luck.
Here it is. FOSTEX MR-8HD. I was leaning towards 4 mics for drums. 2 overheads, kick and snare. I'm seeing mic inputs! This might work!
 

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JonnyFranchi$e

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Yep - with that 4 mic set up that should work.

Not sure what the bit rate or whatever is. 8 bit 16 bit or whatever. I guess that matters, but I'm a drummer so I never worry about.

If this is for hobby stuff it won't matter anyway. If you're recording for a paying client it would probably matter though.

Yeah I would rock that set up!

I use a similar mic'ing setup except I add one mic to the underside of the snare to bring in more sizzle. Lots of people don't bother and I don't always bring it up in the mix. With good mic setup you probably won't need it.

Does that unit have a good way of exporting? A long time ago I had a Boss BR1180 except it was the one WITHOUT a CD burner, so it took miracles to export a project's tracks. Worth checking into before you put in the time and energy.

One project I had to export all the tracks from the Boss ONE BY ONE into whatever other system I was using for mixdown. And not "export" like we think with computers - drag and drop - I literally sent each track and hit "record" on the other unit to capture EACH individual track on an entire album worth of material. Then align everythng. O man that took forever.
 

KevinD

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As far as cable management, one common way is to run your mics from your drum set or the other instruments to a snake that is located near the performance area, then tie the individual mics will tie into a single cable back to your interface where they'll break out again.
This keeps things neat...
There are a number of different types of snakes available, this is just one type as an example.

 

Rmgreg

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It has
Yep - with that 4 mic set up that should work.

Not sure what the bit rate or whatever is. 8 bit 16 bit or whatever. I guess that matters, but I'm a drummer so I never worry about.

If this is for hobby stuff it won't matter anyway. If you're recording for a paying client it would probably matter though.

Yeah I would rock that set up!

I use a similar mic'ing setup except I add one mic to the underside of the snare to bring in more sizzle. Lots of people don't bother and I don't always bring it up in the mix. With good mic setup you probably won't need it.

Does that unit have a good way of exporting? A long time ago I had a Boss BR1180 except it was the one WITHOUT a CD burner, so it took miracles to export a project's tracks. Worth checking into before you put in the time and energy.

One project I had to export all the tracks from the Boss ONE BY ONE into whatever other system I was using for mixdown. And not "export" like we think with computers - drag and drop - I literally sent each track and hit "record" on the other unit to capture EACH individual track on an entire album worth of material. Then align everythng. O man that took forever.
Looks like 16 bit from the manual? It has a hard drive, a cd burner and a USB out. I assume I can export direct through USB?
 

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Rmgreg

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As far as cable management, one common way is to run your mics from your drum set or the other instruments to a snake that is located near the performance area, then tie the individual mics will tie into a single cable back to your interface where they'll break out again.
This keeps things neat...
There are a number of different types of snakes available, this is just one type as an example.

Awesome. What does the 8x4 mean? 8 in 4 out???
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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It has

Looks like 16 bit from the manual? It has a hard drive, a cd burner and a USB out. I assume I can export direct through USB?
Yep I bet you can. I would totally use that. The snake idea is pretty dope too! Never thought of that (I'm just a drummer - not here for my brains). I might get one of those some day.
 

Rmgreg

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Yep I bet you can. I would totally use that. The snake idea is pretty dope too! Never thought of that (I'm just a drummer - not here for my brains). I might get one of those some day.
Sweet. I'm reading it can be mix down, bounce tracks, overdub and more. Basically an old school interface and pc in one. It can all be done on this machine. This may be the way to get started in recording then upgrade to an interface when I outgrow it's capabilities.
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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I have done SO much recording on those studio in a box units.

Tascam Porta 7 - cassette tape!

Boss Br-1180

Yamaha AW 16G

Done a bunch of full length albums on those. None for widespread distribution more for hobby+ stuff.

For tracking, these things are awesome. For doing everything on a very tight budget before you move to a computer DAW, yeah they're OK but extremely time consuming relatively.

If you have a Mac I would record your drums with the Fostex - maybe record everything if you don't have an interface - and then transfer the raw tracks to Garageband for mixing. It's just so much faster.

You can find some good compressors and stuff for free DL out there.

I love Toontrack stuff. EZ Mix is like the "make it sound better" button for me. But this stuff gets expensive.

Yeah if you are literally just starting out with recording - messing around figuring out how to record and mix - the studio in a box set up like you have is pretty cool. One benefit is it forces you to learn what you're doing BEFORE you move to the "make it better" button. It helps.

I will say that mixing and editing and such is a TON easier on a DAW. Cutting and pasting, automation, etc. But do what you can with what you have until you're hitting up on its limits and have the budget to upgrade.

Recording is a blast. Rabbit hole of time and money consumption, but super fun.
 

Rmgreg

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I have done SO much recording on those studio in a box units.

Tascam Porta 7 - cassette tape!

Boss Br-1180

Yamaha AW 16G

Done a bunch of full length albums on those. None for widespread distribution more for hobby+ stuff.

For tracking, these things are awesome. For doing everything on a very tight budget before you move to a computer DAW, yeah they're OK but extremely time consuming relatively.

If you have a Mac I would record your drums with the Fostex - maybe record everything if you don't have an interface - and then transfer the raw tracks to Garageband for mixing. It's just so much faster.

You can find some good compressors and stuff for free DL out there.

I love Toontrack stuff. EZ Mix is like the "make it sound better" button for me. But this stuff gets expensive.

Yeah if you are literally just starting out with recording - messing around figuring out how to record and mix - the studio in a box set up like you have is pretty cool. One benefit is it forces you to learn what you're doing BEFORE you move to the "make it better" button. It helps.

I will say that mixing and editing and such is a TON easier on a DAW. Cutting and pasting, automation, etc. But do what you can with what you have until you're hitting up on its limits and have the budget to upgrade.

Recording is a blast. Rabbit hole of time and money consumption, but super fun.
I'm already in the rabbit hole . I'm thinking I can play with the FOSTEX while my music cabin is being built. I had planned on a presonus Thunderbolt interface with 8 mic inputs. I'm a Pc guy so probably studio one artist. I'll learn the basics of recording and mixing on the FOSTEX before I get the rest setup. The FOSTEX just sounds convenient for recording right at the drums in 4 different tracks... Definitely better than recording with a handheld recorder onto one track.
 

Cauldronics

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I'm already in the rabbit hole . I'm thinking I can play with the FOSTEX while my music cabin is being built. I had planned on a presonus Thunderbolt interface with 8 mic inputs. I'm a Pc guy so probably studio one artist. I'll learn the basics of recording and mixing on the FOSTEX before I get the rest setup. The FOSTEX just sounds convenient for recording right at the drums in 4 different tracks... Definitely better than recording with a handheld recorder onto one track.
I started recording in the mid 90s on a Roland VS-880 and it was like the Lego version of Pro Tools. It was a great way to learn even if the controls and editing were caveman like by today’s standards.

The Fostex looks to be similar, relatively simple enough that you can learn the basics of recording without having too many distractions like you can get from a DAW with endless plug-ins and choices. I found that learning fundamentals first was a good way to go and by the late 90s I learned the analog recording side along with Pro Tools in a recording institute.

Your approach is a good idea and you can get a lot of benefits from doing it that way.
 
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Seb77

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As far as cable management, one common way is to run your mics from your drum set or the other instruments to a snake that is located near the performance area, then tie the individual mics will tie into a single cable back to your interface where they'll break out again.
This keeps things neat...
There are a number of different types of snakes available, this is just one type as an example.

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Awesome. What does the 8x4 mean? 8 in 4 out???
I wanted to suggest the same. That's what's used in studios or on stages where you have a longer distance from mic/DI boxes to desk. It uses XLR/symmetrical cables (each channel cable using two cables with flipped polarity on one) in two directions, that's what the two numbers refer to, the "return" ones going back from the desk to front-of-house power amps/loudspeakers, or you could also manage a simple monitor system that way.
 

Rmgreg

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I started recording in the mid 90s on a Roland VS-880 and it was like the Lego version of Pro Tools. It was a great way to learn even if the controls and editing were caveman like by today’s standards.

The Fostex looks to be similar, relatively simple enough that you can learn the basics of recording without having too many distractions like you can get from a DAW with endless plug-ins and choices. I found that learning fundamentals first was a good way to go and by the late 90s I learned the analog recording side along with Pro Tools in a recording institute.

Your approach is a good idea and you can get a lot of benefits from doing it that way.
Awesome thanks! And I get to put an "antique" recording station to use . I also picked up one of these from my high school days for $10 the other day!
 

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dsop

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I assume the recording desk should be close to the drums? Or do you use a smaller mobile setup to bring the interface and a Pc close for recording then transfer to a larger recording desk for mixing and processing?
I haven't used an actual physical mixing console in over 25 years. I do everything in the box now. Laptop and interface on a chair next to my drums when recording. My interface has 12 inputs, and multiple monitor mixes, so I can actually record a full band at the same time, but rarely do.
My main obstacle is not having a dedicated space to setup. I have to rent a room every time I record. That means setting up all that stuff on the fly each time. Very frustrating.
 

phdamage

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you can run mic cables a long ways without losing signal. I would encourage you to keep your listening environment separate from the loud music. it certainly won't hurt it, but it would decrease the risk of tripping over cabling and makes getting sounds a lot easier. you could just get a small stage box to stick in your live room/area and run it over to your interface/computer. yeah, you'll need to walk/run back and forth but it's just hard drive space. i used to run up and down two flights of stairs to record myself on my old 1" 16 track machine. once you get your sounds/levels, you're good to go. you can always get a bandmate/friend to bang on the drums a little bit to get your levels and sounds. i know i always hit harder than most other folks who would be playing, so if you're in the same boat, just back off the level a little. besides, at 24 bits, you don't really need to worry about using all those bits
 

Rmgreg

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I haven't used an actual physical mixing console in over 25 years. I do everything in the box now. Laptop and interface on a chair next to my drums when recording. My interface has 12 inputs, and multiple monitor mixes, so I can actually record a full band at the same time, but rarely do.
My main obstacle is not having a dedicated space to setup. I have to rent a room every time I record. That means setting up all that stuff on the fly each time. Very frustrating.
Since it will be me by myself or with the wife most of the time recording one instrument at a time, sounds like the best setup would be a small cart on wheels for the laptop and interface that I can roll right up to the drums or guitars to record myself. Then maybe a larger mixing desk to hold a full size monitor and docking station along with monitor speakers and midi keyboard. I could leave the cart and interface near the drums and just move the laptop back and forth.
 


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