Hey guys. I recently got a new drum set, its OCDP. I've been playing drums for about 10 years now and i'm 16. I am interested in recording my drums. I want to put mics on all my drums including hi-hat and i'm gonna use 2 overheads...that puts me at 7 mics. Now... i have been looking into various audio interfaces but i really have no clue what i'm doing. My step brother has tons of equipment from his old band such as Mackie CFX20 mixer...Would i be able to use this as some sort of interface to plug my mics into and then to my computer? And what is the deal with audio interfaces how do they work? What equipment would i need? If anyone could help me out that would be awesome. I have a macbook with logic 9 on it for recording but, never have recorded my drums before.
Big Decision to make first
A- want to control your individual drum tracks in Logic?
You'll need an 8 channels of mic pres w/ 8 individual outputs(Your bro's mixer possibly) and an 8 channel interface to send that to the computer
B- Want to get a live mix of drums and send a stereo mix to Logic?
You'll need 8 mic pres (Your bro's mixer possibly) and a 2 channel interface to get to the 'puter.
let the research begin.
Well what do you recommend? And with decision B what do you mean by Stereo mix? I thing that decision B is the best because then i would be able to control the EQ etc. of each miked drum? correct?
rileyocdp "I thing that decision B is the best because then i would be able to control the EQ etc. of each miked drum?"
If you wantto control the EQ, compression, gating, etc, of each individual drum after making the original recording you will need to use the 8 channel interface. Each mic goes into a seperate channel in the interface and gets it's own individual track in Logic. In this type of setup your brother's board is not needed. You will need something like this http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product?sku=184131V&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=63564206 or this update and there are other companies. Before purchasing you should check that your computers firewire chip is compatible. You also should have a second hard drive to record to. Your computer should be tweaked for recording.
The other method usus the Mackie but all EQ and mixing is done while recording and there is much, much less you can do after recording.
If you can afford it, option A gives you more control for adjust the eq and effects on each drum in your DAW. Its much easier to learn this dealing with recorded drum tracks rather than live drums through a PA (especially if you are playing the drums). You want at least eight inputs (more would be better), but they don't need preamps if you can use those in the mixer.
While you want to get an interface that will allow you to mic each drums, you really want to go a little slower. Start with a three or four mic set up: kick, snare, overhead(s). It will take you weeks or months to learn to get the most out of these mics. Until you do, the other mics will just make the sound more muddled. If you do it right, you can get a great picture of the set with just the overheads. Then work (days, weeks, the rest of your life) on getting a great snare sound, then kick, and then build up from there.
BobRogers "It will take you weeks or months to learn to get the most out of these  mics. Until you do, the other mics will just make the sound more muddled. If you do it right, you can get a great picture of the set with just the overheads. Then work (days, weeks, the rest of your life) on getting a great snare sound, then kick, and then build up from there."
Days, weeks, years... tell me about it. Wise advice. I am doing another drum tracking session Sat. and was looking for info on using a bottom mic on the snare (even though this violates the Keep It Simple Stupid 4 mic. maxim you so correctly advocate) when I stumbled on this article
These articles are great because they took the hours to provide a vast array of samples, anyway I thought it might be of interest to you.
Great post, jg49. That article is awesome.
To Riley -
Follow the advice given above. The more mics you add, the more difficult it becomes.
I started out micing all of the drums.
I still do, but I usually only use the 4 mic approach Bob laid out.
I only worry about the toms if the drummer is doing a LOT of tom work, or it's a style that requires tight, hard drum sounds. Even then, they're much lower in the mic than the other drums.
That said, I do love a bottom snare mic. So I guess I use 5 mics.
JG, FWIW - I like to get the thump from the top mic, the crack and sizzle from the bottom. I use a 57 on top & Blue Ball, which isn't made anymore, on the bottom. It's supposed to be a dynamic/condenser hybrid. I'm not really sure, but it does what I need it to under there.
thanks everyone sooo much. U guys really helped me out. Just one other question....could you explain a little to me about how the audio interface works? Because i am a little confused...being this is the first time i have recorded my drums.
Just a thought - I need to try the bottom snare mic - I need to read up on that, so thanks for getting me started.
I usually take the four (however many) tom mics and run them to a small mixer. Then I place each one in the stereo image Hard right, 1/2 right, 1/2 left, hard left. Then run the L and R main outs to sep. mono channels in cuebase (making sure each drum gives me an equal signal of course) then on mixing - pan monos to their respective extreme's and send them both to a combined stereo group channel. It make the toms moves and stereo's the set even better.
Does anyone else do this or am I just being stupid...
OCD Are you doing this because of limited tracking inputs? I usually don't pan drums extreme right or left preferring them to be more centered in the mix and not panned completely across the stereo field but to each their own.
No, I just do it to the toms. Kick and snare are down the middle and seperate channels, OHs are L and R mono tracks seperate. You still have a 6 channel drum mix.
Usually I arrive at about the same eq for each tom, so their eq's are all similar so why not group them. I just basically sub-mix 4 toms into a 2 channel left/right out then send the L and R out each to a seperate mono track in the DAW. The toms are all panned to their position. When recorded the mono tracks are not panned so the toms end up down the middle. However when you set the left tom mono channel hard left and the right one hard right then send them to a stereo group you end up with toms that are panned (high tom to low) Right, 2:oo, 10:00, and left. w/o haveing to pan them individually. It sounds good too, when the drummer plays a high, low, middle tom combo b/c the drums "move" in the mix. It gives them spatial qualities that I like. I also REALLY stereo the OH Placement for the same effect as well. Just what I have found that I like during mixing that give the drums a wider appearance. I also kind of think that your drum set gives the whole mix a sense of space/room size/depth/air etc.
I put a post up in the audio projects section. If you get a second listen to a few and see what I mean and give me your opinion. I may be way off for all i know LOL! "Revelation Song" has a good depth to the drums I think. " Blink of an eye" has a good kick...
anyway. That's why I do it that way. plus it saves me panning them later (cause i probably will later) and can still put them down the middle if I want