Recording drumset into a computer

Discussion in 'rec.music.percussion' started by mwitthoft, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. mwitthoft

    mwitthoft Guest

    I've made pretty good demos by recording one track at a time into a PC.
    This has worked with saxes, voice, and hand drums. I haven't
    recorded a normal bass/snare/hat/etc drumset yet.

    My (low budget) scheme is:
    1. Get maybe three cheap but adequate microphones.
    2. Pipe them into the one and only computer input via this little
    mini-mix box that I have lying around. It's teeny: about 2 x 3 x 4
    inches. It accepts four quarter-inch inputs, has volume level settings
    for all four, and emits a single mixed quarter-inch output, and that's
    all. (I have used it for gigs where I was the [sax playing] guest and
    the (cheap) mixer was already full, and the mini-mix was a way to
    shoe-horn one extra mic in there).

    So, the questions
    1. Feasible scheme?
    2. I have the impression that you can get an acceptable drum sound on a
    pretty cheap microphone (although now that I think of it I'd expect that
    might not apply to cymbals). True?
    3. So, what brands of mic have proved to be worth owning? (I'm sure
    there are about a zillion, but you may have recommendation anyway) --
    i.e. even though they are reasonably cheap you don't find yourself
    saying "first chance I have, I upgrade that dang thing"
  2. In article <3F4B586D.809@austin8.rr9.com>, mwitthoft wrote:
    > So, the questions
    > 1. Feasible scheme?


    Could be - I'd say give it a shot.

    > 2. I have the impression that you can get an acceptable drum sound on a
    > pretty cheap microphone (although now that I think of it I'd expect that
    > might not apply to cymbals). True?


    Well, it would be lot easier if you could use some condenser mics, but
    I'm guess there's no phantom power on your mini mixer? If there is,
    order a pair of MXL 990's ($69 each at MF) and you might be surprised at
    how good things sounds (will depend on your pres).

    > 3. So, what brands of mic have proved to be worth owning? (I'm sure
    > there are about a zillion, but you may have recommendation anyway) --
    > i.e. even though they are reasonably cheap you don't find yourself
    > saying "first chance I have, I upgrade that dang thing"


    If you don't have phantom power, I think your only serious hope is three
    57s. It won't sound great, but it could work.


    --
    Ross Vandegrift
    ross@willow.seitz.com

    A Pope has a Water Cannon. It is a Water Cannon.
    He fires Holy-Water from it. It is a Holy-Water Cannon.
    He Blesses it. It is a Holy Holy-Water Cannon.
    He Blesses the Hell out of it. It is a Wholly Holy Holy-Water Cannon.
    He has it pierced. It is a Holey Wholly Holy Holy-Water Cannon.
    He makes it official. It is a Canon Holey Wholly Holy Holy-Water Cannon.
    Batman and Robin arrive. He shoots them.
  3. Dik LeDoux

    Dik LeDoux Guest

    "mwitthoft" <m7witthoft@austin8.rr9.com> wrote in message
    news:3F4B586D.809@austin8.rr9.com...
    > 1. Feasible scheme?


    Definitely

    > 2. I have the impression that you can get an acceptable drum sound on a
    > pretty cheap microphone (although now that I think of it I'd expect that
    > might not apply to cymbals). True?


    Depends on your definition of acceptable. If it's just to see how you're
    doing or as a "sketchpad" to lay things down and check out ideas, I'd say
    yes. If you want drum sounds that REALLY communicate details of a
    performance then I'd say no. There's a reason they use expensive mics in
    studios.

    > 3. So, what brands of mic have proved to be worth owning? (I'm sure
    > there are about a zillion, but you may have recommendation anyway) --
    > i.e. even though they are reasonably cheap you don't find yourself
    > saying "first chance I have, I upgrade that dang thing"


    For close mic'ing drums, you can't go wrong with the Shure SM57. It's
    cheap, it's an old standard and if you can't get the sound you need with it,
    the problem isn't the mic. For room mics, there's the Octava mics (small
    diaphragm condensers) that you can get in pairs for pretty cheap, and some
    here have talked about mics from Radio Shack that are supposed to do a
    surprisingly good job. Don't know their model numbers.

    Hope that helps,

    Dik
  4. f-mo.

    f-mo. Guest

    "mwitthoft" <m7witthoft@austin8.rr9.com> wrote in message
    news:3F4B586D.809@austin8.rr9.com...
    > I've made pretty good demos by recording one track at a time into a PC.
    > This has worked with saxes, voice, and hand drums. I haven't
    > recorded a normal bass/snare/hat/etc drumset yet.
    >
    > My (low budget) scheme is:
    > 1. Get maybe three cheap but adequate microphones.
    > 2. Pipe them into the one and only computer input via this little
    > mini-mix box that I have lying around. It's teeny: about 2 x 3 x 4
    > inches. It accepts four quarter-inch inputs, has volume level settings
    > for all four, and emits a single mixed quarter-inch output, and that's
    > all. (I have used it for gigs where I was the [sax playing] guest and
    > the (cheap) mixer was already full, and the mini-mix was a way to
    > shoe-horn one extra mic in there).
    >
    > So, the questions
    > 1. Feasible scheme?
    > 2. I have the impression that you can get an acceptable drum sound on a
    > pretty cheap microphone (although now that I think of it I'd expect that
    > might not apply to cymbals). True?
    > 3. So, what brands of mic have proved to be worth owning? (I'm sure
    > there are about a zillion, but you may have recommendation anyway) --
    > i.e. even though they are reasonably cheap you don't find yourself
    > saying "first chance I have, I upgrade that dang thing"



    I have some experience here, and I'd give you the following advice -- take
    it for what it's worth (free...) ;)

    1) Yeah, it's a feasible scheme for *really* rough recordings. They should
    be better than open air room mics (as long as you mix properly), but nowhere
    near as good as discreet channels going into the computer. I'd say that the
    biggest issue you're going to have is that once the track is recorded, it's
    RECORDED. There won't be much you can do at all to mess with it except
    maybe changing overall EQ (which will probably screw up other things). No
    seperate EQ, no seperate leveling, no seperate effects, NADA. The thing
    here will be to make sure that you get your recording mix SOLID because you
    can't tweak it later. If the hats or cymbals are too loud, you're basically
    screwed.

    Given the SERIOUS limitations of your input box, you really should consider
    upgrading that little input box to a more functional mixer. You can get
    something like a Behringer Eurotrack 1202 mixer for $79.00 (the 1002 is even
    less -- around $60.00), and that thing's got 4 XLR (mic) inputs a bunch of
    1/4" line inputs, phantom power, EQ for each channel, etc. Trying to get a
    decent sound with a small and limited mixer is going to be a LOT of work
    that would be much easier with an even slightly more functional mixer.

    2) Yeah, you can get a good drum sound out of pretty cheap mics. Probably
    the best is the ubiquitous SM-57. Cheap, nearly indestructable, and you can
    get a great snare, tom and even kick sound out of it. As for overheads
    (condensers) for cymbals, they tend to be a bit more expensive and a bit
    more elusive in terms of quality. Plus they need phantom power, so if you
    don't have a mixer that will put out phantom power, you'll need to get mics
    that will run on batteries. For cheap, I've personally had really good
    experience with Oktava MK-219s. They're large diaphragm condensors, they're
    pretty good quality, they have great sound and they cost around $60 a
    piece!!! You'll need a couple of these if you want stereo imaging for your
    overheads.

    3) See #2.

    Hope this helps!

    --Jim.
  5. mwitthoft <m7witthoft@austin8.rr9.com> wrote:

    > My (low budget) scheme is:
    > 1. Get maybe three cheap but adequate microphones.
    > 2. Pipe them into the one and only computer input via this little
    > mini-mix box that I have lying around. It's teeny: about 2 x 3 x 4
    > inches. It accepts four quarter-inch inputs, has volume level settings
    > for all four, and emits a single mixed quarter-inch output, and that's
    > all. (I have used it for gigs where I was the [sax playing] guest and
    > the (cheap) mixer was already full, and the mini-mix was a way to
    > shoe-horn one extra mic in there).


    > So, the questions
    > 1. Feasible scheme?
    > 2. I have the impression that you can get an acceptable drum sound on a
    > pretty cheap microphone (although now that I think of it I'd expect that
    > might not apply to cymbals). True?


    semi-feasible scheme. I have done this with my computer. Only
    I have a true microphone passive mixer (which is what your box is).
    Your box is likely designed for mixing guitars (which are line
    level high impedance signals). Good mics are low impedance low level
    signals. Seem my files on rmmp-net for how to build passive dynamic
    mic mixer.

    I recorded using my passive mixer, Radio Shack "wondermics"
    (cheap, but no longer available) and a PC.) Totally GREAT
    sound, but lacking in tinkly brilliance. To get that I
    have a pair of chinese Marshall large diameter overheads.
    These mics are dirt cheap and KILL. You'll need to have
    phantom power to run them which means you'll need a "real"
    mixer to add them. Check into cheapo Behringer stuff.

    You'd be surpised how good this low budget setup can sound
    just recording into a soundblaster card. Remember Low Z
    dynamic mics will need a matching transformer to feed
    the line-in on a sound card.

    If you use Hi Z mics you can use your mini box as is.
    If you use low Z mics (eg. SM57) you'll have to get
    a matching transformer for EACH mic and use it ahead
    of your mini mix. This is why my passive mic mixer
    is better in that it mixes at low Z. Then you only
    need one (or two) transformer(s) to feed the PC.

    Does this make sense?
    Good Luck!

    Benj
    --
    SPAM-Guard! Remove .users (if present) to email me!
  6. mwitthoft

    mwitthoft Guest

    thanks yall

    sounds like a Behringer minimix and any of several recommended mics and
    some 57's ... Where'd I leave that piggy bank?

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