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Thread: What I got vs What I want, and Do I need? Home recording drums / band

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    What I got vs What I want, and Do I need? Home recording drums / band

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    Hey all, I've been looking to improve my recording setup for drums in my basement as I've only been using 1-2 mic setups with vocal mics, not instrument mics. So, considering some of the equipment I already have, after some research I found a microphone kit and a couple AI's that would help improve on my setup. I'd also like to incorporate my band recording some decent sounding demo's with the setup, and what we have now is definitely lacking.

    What I got
    • M-Audio M-Track 2x2 C-series
    • Fender PX-2208D Powered Mixing Console
    • 1x Shure SM58 mic
    • 1x Audio-Technica ATM61HE mic
    • 2x standard XLR cords
    • 5 Piece Mapex Drum Kit
    • Windows 10 laptop, Audacity and MusicMaker (which came with my VegasPro 15 installation) my brother can't access Cubase??
    • Due to the windows laptop, I don't have any access to Thunderbolt and I'm pretty sure FireWire, thus limited to USB AI.


    What I'm considering
    • Shure DMK57-52 Drum Microphone Kit + 1x SM57
    • Focusrite Scarlett-18i20 Gen2 or Gen3 OR
    • M-Audio M-Track Eight
    • Both come with similar software, though Focusrite seems to have a wider selection
    • Neewer NW-410 condenser micsOR
    • LyxPro SDPC2 condenser mics
    • Both support Omni, Cardioid, and Super-cardioid


    With the cheaper option of the M-Audio 8, we're looking at a little over $1200 CAD which feels a bit steep for me at the moment. That being said I do understand that this stuff isn't cheap so definitely can wiggle if it means getting the best out of what we have downstairs.
    Where I am comfortable is with the Shure drum mic kit. It comes with 3 SM57's and a Beta 52A for the kick. These mics would be lovely to have and I'd never need to think about getting anything better unless we really start taking to some professional audio production past good sounding demo's. I'd use the 52A on the kick, 1x SM57 on the snare, and 2x for overhead to get stereo. Later down the line, I can invest in more SM57's to add to my other 3 toms, and potentially under-sides of them. EDIT So instead of 2 as OH, I'll bite the bullet, grab a 4th sm57 to cover each tom, and Neewer NW-410 pair for OH condensers.

    How we've been recording is through the vocal mics into the M-Track. This sounds pretty decent on drums but only 1 or 2 mics, more so for vocals on top of it, isn't quite hitting it for demo quality. Guitars and what not have been DI into the DAW and played with but with some SM57's we could get that sweet sweet live tone from the amps. Same with Bass. Nonetheless, we'd toy around with DI in the new software and their plugins.

    Where my concerns lie are with what is really "needed."

    When it comes to the mixing console, I have run several mics into it, then aux out into the M-Track to record drums. The only issue is within the DAW it's only considered 1 track. If you realize after recording you want the kick to have more lows then you'd have to re-record...

    So unless there is a way to have it record as individual tracks within the DAW for each mic, I take it I'll need a new AI that supports more inputs. Next comes to which one out of the M-Audio and Focusrite is better for the long run. I'd rather spend a bit more now than have to upgrade a part later down the line because it won't support the growing needs. That being said despite hitting 7 inputs already, I don't know if I'm ready for anything with more than 8 mic inputs just yet. That's something I'll buy a Thunderbolt PCIe card for and install it into my PC or one of us should have a Mac or something with Thunderbolt capability later down the line.

    Are there any other drum mic packages that will give the same quality as the Shure kit but better pricing?
    Is the Focusrite significantly better than the M-Audio for drum/band tracking? Any other AI I should consider?

    Any suggestions are welcomed and if I've left anything out (like something that comes with an item, I don't know, it may vary) I'll do my best to fill it in.
    I've been experimenting with what I got in a couple of different ways with not too much improvement so I feel some investment is needed.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Azurek; 08-07-2019 at 10:10.

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    I don't know much about MusicMaker, might be fine. For the money, I usually suggest Reaper, but there are other options.

    For drums, I would think at a minimum you would want 5 inputs, two condensers for the overheads, One on Kick, One on Snare, one on high hat. Overheads might be enough for them. That would get you started.

    I know others have different ideas. But that would be my minimal suggestion.

    USB 2.0 interface will work fine, make sure it has an ASIO driver. That is important. And not that ASIO for all crap.
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    If you want to experiment with tracking drums, I would get an interface with 8 mic pres. I don't know where you live, but used equipment that you can test is often a bargain. Folks upgrade (needlessly, often), e.g., to USB 3, Thunderbolt, or just another brand. It can give your budget some room.

    Personally, I've been using a Focusrite interface for a while, it replaced the M-Audio that crapped out 3-years in. (Both of these are/were 4x mix pres, though I'd added 8 channels with an ADAT unit for a while.)

    The Shure kit is also something you might look around for used if that's a possibility where you live. You can do a lot with 4 mics - I hear. (I've only ever had enough channels available to do 3! Up to now, I should say, at least I hope I get the chance someday...) I know there are other kits as well, and you could always put together something yourself by picking up a mic here and there.

    P.S. If you just need to up the bass of the kick, you should be able to trigger a sample from even the stereo drum track, I'd think.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM60 View Post
    I usually suggest Reaper,
    I'll definitely keep this one in mind!

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    Folks upgrade (needlessly, often),

    Personally, I've been using a Focusrite interface for a while, it replaced the M-Audio that crapped out 3-years in.

    P.S. If you just need to up the bass of the kick, you should be able to trigger a sample from even the stereo drum track, I'd think.
    Haha ngl completely forgot about used. Hell, I bought my kit from Long & McQuade used as a kit they used to rent out. I'll definitely keep an eye out (we have kijiji for local buy and sell, and L&M is our music stuff so I can see if they have any used kits they're willing to sell off... though might be harder).
    I'll look into the durability and how long each of these AI have lasted for others, hearing the M-Audio crapping out on ya just makes me wanna make sure. The one we got is still fine but we are starting to use it more.
    And I'll totally keep the kick sampling in mind, experiment with solo trigger, and combining live and trigger.
    Last edited by Azurek; 08-06-2019 at 19:24.

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    I've never found 57s on overhead duty very useful. The one place the sizzle from cheaper condensers actually works. you're not really looking for warm mids and decent bass with an overhead? They're great on the kit close in for toms, and at a push hats if you only really want the slickyness.

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    SM58s and 57 are great dependable mics, but for vocals (and overheads) you want mics with some better high end definition - to give some 'air' to the recording.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azurek View Post
    ...
    I'll look into the durability and how long each of these AI have lasted for others, hearing the M-Audio crapping out on ya just makes me wanna make sure. The one we got is still fine but we are starting to use it more.
    ...
    I'm pretty sure the M-Audio failure was heat related. For 4 mic pres or more, you'll need AC power, and if the supply is in the case (most are, vs. wall wart), that means heat unless it goes to sleep properly when the computer does or it has a power switch. The M-Audio seemed to never sleep and did not have a power switch. It was actually repaired once, thanks to Sweetwater's 2-year extended warranty, but failed again a year later. My Focusrite does sleep (it's FireWire, though don't know if that matters), but it also has a power switch, which I use if I'm going to be away for an extended time, and a mute button (shuts off headphone and monitor preamp out), that I use regularly for day-long breaks. So, it might be just as failure prone if it had the same usage scenario, but I'm more careful now, and it has buttons to facilitate that.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I've never found 57s on overhead duty very useful.
    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    SM58s and 57 are great dependable mics, but for vocals (and overheads) you want mics with some better high end definition - to give some 'air' to the recording.
    Found some budget-friendly condenser mics. Neewer NW-410, mostly great reviews and supports, omni, cardioid, and super-cardioid. I suppose mics built for toms wouldn't be great overheads, what was I thinking smh. (Trying to save money that's what)

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    I agree with Keith on the interface power, get a ac driven box.

    Mics on drums we started setting up for a drummer and did the Shure mic kit, and then we decided they would go to a semi-pro studio instead so having the "SHURE" brand the mics sold easily without a loss of cash. (point is buying Shure name brand has its benefits if selling)

    My brothers dealing with the same issue drums and more channels. He grabbed some cheap LDC's and Dynamics is still trying to find the sound.

    Vocal mics are funny, you have to seek the voice match up and preamp match up and all that.....putting a sm57 on a guitar amp or a Bass into a DI is a lot easier, imo.
    Like a broken record, Matt Wallace did a # 1 Billboard with a MXL 990 $50 vocal (into a quad pre/ 1176 blackface)...so who knows? He said they did a blindfold test with
    numerous mics, he chose which one and so goes the story of that day. Twenty One Pilots have a cranked UA 610 tube with the $$$Sony$$ etc..etc.. SM58 can work..
    Adele and the Rode # 1, the RE20 and SM7b $400 range (and good room noise rejection)…. I think the Shure KSM27 original is a sleeper, LDC for $80-$120 at times, very close to the $1000 KSM44... or rent a U87, $170 for a month... add...yeah SDC can be vocal mics, the SM81 was originally marketed for voice

    I think overall Drums are probably the hardest to record, in theory, I haven't done it but they require more mics, the room is a huge role for OH and distant mics....

    Hope you keep this thread going, its great....keep your updates coming, good stuff...good luck!

    Last edited by CoolCat; 08-10-2019 at 05:55.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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