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Recording VDrums

Discussion in 'Drums' started by TomF, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. TomF

    TomF Guest


    I have a group coming in to record in three weeks.
    The drummer wants to record using his TD-20 VDrum Kit.
    The Module has 8 direct outputs that are unbalanced(+4dbu).
    The kit outputs are
    1.snare 2.kick 3.Hihat 4.Ride 5and 6are Toms LH/RH, 7 and 8 are Crash LH/RH

    What do you think the best way to record this Kit?

    1) Run the 8 outputs directly into the line inputs on my Soundcraft Ghost?
    2) Run the unbalanced signals into direct box to output a
    balanced signal and go into the pre's on the board or external?

    Thanks for the Help!
  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    you will have to try it at the time
    and do some test recordings

    I ended up making a specific unbalanced to balanced unit for a Vdrums owner.

    It may old depend on how you drive the recorder ... or DAW
    and at what levels things end up at.

    It's also a good idea to record the midi stream at the same time.
  3. sammybotz

    sammybotz Guest

    I have an old yamaha DTX drum kit. Its got two audio outs but the way I record is using the midi for the drums and I use real cymbals which I put two mics for overheads. Once I get the drums recorded in midi I run a "split notes to tracks" (sonar calls it) and then all drums get there own track. I then tighten them up a little via midi and convert to audio one at a time.
  4. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    Okay this may be a little nuts and I'm willing to be laughed out of the room...

    But I was wondering if you could make the whole thing sound more like a real kit if you were to record the V-drums and then:

    when the guys go home, you set up a spaced omni pair, or XY or something in your room, then run the high hat, cymbals, etc through a good set of monitors and record the signal to get some'room' in the mix, just for flavour.

    Would it maybe give a more realistic sort of 'live' feel to the V drums? You'd certainly have a ton of control.

    Food for thought, no?

    I suppose that really one could run out multiple channels and have several speakers, each in the location that instrument would actually be on a kit, and it would get even more realistic.

    Then again I suppose with all that effort one could just record a real kit in the first place.

    I'll go away now :oops:
  5. TornadoTed

    TornadoTed Guest

    When I've done sequenced drums for singer/songwriters I've sent the drum track to a hi-fi in the live room and recorded some room ambience, it does certainly make them sound more 'real'. The princapal is the same with the V-Drums I guess, give it a go.
  6. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Thanks alot for the replies!
    They're definitely given me some ideas here.

    As far as the signal goes, I think I'd be better off converting the signal to take advantage of my pre's. Rather then running the direct outs in the line inputs.
    I was looking at this ( I know its Behringer) but it looks like it might be the answer to converting the signals.

    Kev is this Behringer unit something similar to what you made.

    I'm also going to try recording the Vdrums recorded signals in the live room with a set of monitors , to see what kind of sound I get.
    I was originally thinking of recording the original tracks along with this live room approach but then I figured I have to contend to the clicking sounds of the pads ,etc in the room.

    Thanks again
    I appreciate the info!
  7. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    The Behringer multiple DI unit ??
    I haven't see inside that one
    typical low price
    has extra features you don't need for this job
    is 8 enough ?
    how many on the TD6 and other Vdrum units ?

    good versitile unit --- but I haven't heard it

    mine is a 16 way unbal to bal +4
    LM833 followed by SSM2142
    each channel is trimable - internaly - made to be set and forget.

    see my balancing box on my old site for an example of the circuit
    many ways to do this
  8. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Kev, Thanks for the reply!

    The TD-20 Mod has the most direct outputs with 8 total.
    All the other Roland mod's are less. So the Behringer unit
    would be enough at this time.

    I've checked your site for your box. I'm definitely not capable of of making something like that at this point. I can make any type of cable ,but that's the extent of it.

    I contacted Roland and there Tech stated that because the TD-20's unbalanced outputs are putting out a strong +4dbu signal.They said,I won't have a problem going straight into my pre's with a TR-XLR or TRS-XLR cable. I though an unbalanced signal was -10dbu and that a balanced signal is at +4db.
    Does this all sound right to you

    Kev , What do you think is the best way to approach this ?
    I appreciated your Help!

  9. Kuzan

    Kuzan Guest

    I have just completed a project where the drummer used a TD6. It only has 2 audio outputs.
    I recordered a stereo audio track and incerted a valve compressor over the inputs that gave it a really nice sound.
    Then I also recorded the midi info which gave me the option to use soft drums if I wanted to change the sound, or split the midi track and re-play each slipt track through the TD6 allwing me to manipulate the sounds or replace the sounds with drummagog.

    You have loads of options. Also, if you the the TD kit, cut the cymbals and get the drummer to over-dub live cymbals. it gives the whole kit a nice analog / live feel.

  10. Some observations after having done a number of sessions with electronic drums:

    1. The sounds in most of the electronic drums kits I've heard aren't nearly as good as the samples that come with the new software drums instruments (Native Instruments Battery, Steinberg Groove Agent). I always record the MIDI info to allow me to swap out sounds.

    2. I haven't heard a completely convincing high hat. I like my drummers to be expressive with the high hat, using the full range from fully open high hat to fully closed high hat. I will always beg, borrow, or steal a real high hat for electronic drums sessions. Your results may vary.

    3. Electronic drums tend to work better in songs with full arrangements or more of a pop or electronic sound. Every generation gets better, but electronic drums can still sound artificial on open or quiet songs, as well as songs that feature very exposed drums.

    4. Using all real cymbals can limit your ability to adjust the timing of individual parts. On one of the songs I recorded using all real cymbals, the sound of the sticks on the pads in the cymbal mikes were so loud that I couldn't really adjust the timing of the snare (it started sounding like a double hit). If you are going to use real cymbals, you may want to place the microphones closer to the cymbals than you normally would. You may also want to use a slightly more open pattern (wide cardioid or omni) or three mikes to keep from creating a "hole in the middle" sound.

    Of course, some of these things can be debated. I just hoped my experience would be helpful.
  11. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Thanks for info on your experiences with recording VDrums !
    I will definitely experiment using your input.

    I've checked your balancing box out on your website.
    I don't have your technical knowledge, so I won't attempt
    something like this at this time. But I would appreciate your
    expertise with my situation. I enter a message to you a couple back on this post and would appreciate your input.

    Thanks for yhe help!
  12. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    I let this one slip off my radar for a couple of days

    not so
    A balanced signal can be +4dBu ... nominal BUT it is not a given.
    Some radio Mic Receivers are balanced output but can be quite low.

    Likewise there are some UN-balanced outputs that are VERY strong indeed and single ended +20 dBu is very possible.

    As I said in the opening
    trying the unit into your desk with a few DI and Balancing box options LIKE the B unit is worth the time and effort.

    I don't think you will have any trouble into the line/mic inputs of the Soundcraft.

    Before really giving solid advice it would be handy to know your intentions of recording and monitoring.
    I usually like to get to the DAW/Recorder as direct as possible ... even if I do use a desk for monitoring.

    You may find that you like the sound created by transformers as DI units.
    A simple 1:1 trafo from the V-drums and then on a typical XL cable to either the interface or desk.

    Use separate Mic-pres or the Pres in the Desk ... or try to drive line level to line level straight from the TD20.

    The TD20 is not as dynamic as a real kit but the science of recording can be just the same.
    The sound of a Snare through a unit that suffers some high level saturation LIKE a trafo or ClassA Mic-pre can bring a special sound to the V-drums just as it does to a simple SM57 of a real snare.

    I'm not trying to duck the question BUT as I said above ...
    there are many ways to do this

    Your soldering skills are good enough to make a couple of specific adapter leads and even a simple Passive Trafo DI box
  13. TomF

    TomF Guest

    Thanks for the reply! Kev
    I was given a TD-20 module to experiment with. I'll try several
    different variations. First will be ,just going direct to the board.

    Thanks for the Help!

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