Affordable USB Pre-Amp and Mic Kit

Hey Guys!

I'm rather new to recording drums, and I'd like to know if anyone out there has some tips on affordable mic kits and pre-amps, as I am looking to record my drums (Mapex Armory Series 6-Piece Studioease). It basically consists of 4 toms 1 snare and one bass drum, any suggestions on mics there? I am also looking for a preamp so that the mics, can be mixed on my mac (No hate please!), and it should be USB and also rather affordable. I am thinking of 8 channels, one mic for each drum and 2 overheads (suggestions to changing that are also welcome).

Thanks a lot!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Hi there,

We get the same question a lot. This will greatly improve the answers we give you:

What is your desired budget? What is your maximum budget?
Are you recording alone, or with other instruments playing simultaneously in the same room?
Will the equipment be used to record live performances?
How many pieces is the drum kit you will be recording? 6-Piece
Are you currently using a mixer? Are you looking to add a mixer?
What DAW do you intend to use? Garageband
Do you require the ability to record when 'not' tethered to a computer?
What is the intended quality level (amateur / professional)?
What styles are typically being recorded?
What equipment do you already possess?
How do you intend to monitor and playback (headphones, studio monitors, pc speakers?)
Will you be recording anything other than drums?

I've had a great deal of success with the following rig for recording drums:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121114
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
The "rather affordable" part needs to be defined. I can do great recordings with two mics, by those are good mics. Define your budget please ;)
 
Hi there,

We get the same question a lot. This will greatly improve the answers we give you:

Quote:
What is your desired budget? What is your maximum budget?
Are you recording alone, or with other instruments playing simultaneously in the same room?
Will the equipment be used to record live performances?
How many pieces is the drum kit you will be recording? 6-Piece
Are you currently using a mixer? Are you looking to add a mixer?
What DAW do you intend to use? Garageband
Do you require the ability to record when 'not' tethered to a computer?
What is the intended quality level (amateur / professional)?
What styles are typically being recorded?
What equipment do you already possess?
How do you intend to monitor and playback (headphones, studio monitors, pc speakers?)
Will you be recording anything other than drums?

I've had a great deal of success with the following rig for recording drums:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121114

What is your desired budget? What is your maximum budget? 600$ Desired, 800$ Maximum
Are you recording alone, or with other instruments playing simultaneously in the same room? Alone
Will the equipment be used to record live performances? Possibly at later stages in time
How many pieces is the drum kit you will be recording? 6-Piece
Are you currently using a mixer? Are you looking to add a mixer? I use a Usb mic (Blue Yeti) and use an adapter to get it on my iPad in GarageBand and record through that (quality is rather poor), so no
What DAW do you intend to use? Garageband
Do you require the ability to record when 'not' tethered to a computer? No, I will always have a computer/laptop available
What is the intended quality level (amateur / professional)? Intermediate
What styles are typically being recorded? Rock, Punk, Pop, Alternative (Rock, Metal)
What equipment do you already possess? Basically nothing recording wise other than my laptop and some XLR cables (not sure if they are good or not), and my drums
How do you intend to monitor and playback (headphones, studio monitors, pc speakers?) Headphones and/or in ear monitors
Will you be recording anything other than drums? Maybe some guitar/bass and some vocals, but not anytime soon
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
What is your desired budget? What is your maximum budget? 600$ Desired, 800$ Maximum
Are you recording alone, or with other instruments playing simultaneously in the same room? Alone
Will the equipment be used to record live performances? Possibly at later stages in time
How many pieces is the drum kit you will be recording? 6-Piece
Are you currently using a mixer? Are you looking to add a mixer? I use a Usb mic (Blue Yeti) and use an adapter to get it on my iPad in GarageBand and record through that (quality is rather poor), so no
What DAW do you intend to use? Garageband
Do you require the ability to record when 'not' tethered to a computer? No, I will always have a computer/laptop available
What is the intended quality level (amateur / professional)? Intermediate
What styles are typically being recorded? Rock, Punk, Pop, Alternative (Rock, Metal)
What equipment do you already possess? Basically nothing recording wise other than my laptop and some XLR cables (not sure if they are good or not), and my drums
How do you intend to monitor and playback (headphones, studio monitors, pc speakers?) Headphones and/or in ear monitors
Will you be recording anything other than drums? Maybe some guitar/bass and some vocals, but not anytime soon
Interface:
Zoom R16 , alternatively Focusrite 18i20 or Presonus 1818VSL

Mics:
2 * decent $100 LDC's (AT2020, AT2035)
1 Good $100 directional dynamic mic (SM57)
1 Good BD mic (Beta 52, D6, E602)

Cables, Stands, 20' USB cable.
 
Interface:
Zoom R16 , alternatively Focusrite 18i20 or Presonus 1818VSL

Mics:
2 * decent $100 LDC's (AT2020, AT2035)
1 Good $100 directional dynamic mic (SM57)
1 Good BD mic (Beta 52, D6, E602)

Cables, Stands, 20' USB cable.

Hey, thanks for the suggestions, I saw a interface during looking through the ones suggested, and it seems do the same for a lower price, will this do the job, or is there some bad, unknown stuff about it? Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820

I think I'll get a Beta-52A and the SM 57, however what do you think of just one overhead, does that work too?
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Hey, thanks for the suggestions, I saw a interface during looking through the ones suggested, and it seems do the same for a lower price, will this do the job, or is there some bad, unknown stuff about it? Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820

I think I'll get a Beta-52A and the SM 57, however what do you think of just one overhead, does that work too?

I'd avoid Behringer and agree with the Focusrite. The reason you spend more for the interface is the pre-amps on the microphones. The Focusrite ones are superior to a lot of stuff out there for the price. I have the 18i20 and the little Solo version and they sound great.

You could save some money and get the 4-channel version of the Focusrite, and get three good mics and your kit will sound awesome. I'd recommend getting two Audio Technica AT2020 mics and an Shure Beta 52 bass drum mic. Set the two AT's in a X-Y configuration over your kit, and put the Shure inside (if you're ported) the bass drum and go to town.
 
I'd avoid Behringer and agree with the Focusrite. The reason you spend more for the interface is the pre-amps on the microphones. The Focusrite ones are superior to a lot of stuff out there for the price. I have the 18i20 and the little Solo version and they sound great.

You could save some money and get the 4-channel version of the Focusrite, and get three good mics and your kit will sound awesome. I'd recommend getting two Audio Technica AT2020 mics and an Shure Beta 52 bass drum mic. Set the two AT's in a X-Y configuration over your kit, and put the Shure inside (if you're ported) the bass drum and go to town.

Alright I'll take that advice for now. So do you all think that one SM57, one Beta 52A, one SM 137, and a 4 channel Focusrite for now should do it, and once I have the cash to spend, buy another 4 channel, however connect the 4 Tom microphones to that? Thanks a lot guys, really appreciate the support :)
 
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M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Alright I'll take that advice for now. So do you all think that one SM57, one Beta 52A, one SM 137, and a 4 channel Focusrite for now should do it, and once I have the cash to spend, buy another 4 channel, however connect the 4 Tom microphones to that? Thanks a lot guys, really appreciate the support :)

Most software doesn't work that way. GarageBand doesn't recognize more than one interface. However, I'm told that Studio Logic does, but it's a bigger learning curve, and a program that you have to spend $$$ on. So if you stick with GB (like I am) you have to upgrade your interface.

Which isn't an altogether bad thing. I have both the 8-channel, and the single SOLO one, and having the smaller one is cool because with my laptop, I'm totally mobile and can do stuff out in the field with little or no hassle. As soon as you step up to the 4-channel, that interface needs power.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Alright I'll take that advice for now. So do you all think that one SM57, one Beta 52A, one SM 137,

I do not believe so. The 137 is an SDC. You need an LDC. You gave the budget for two $100 LDCs for running stereo, or the budget for one $200 LDC for running mono. We recommend the AT2020 because it's cheap and works well for drums. There are a few other brands/models in the price range that will do just as well (AKG Perception 220).

Here's what 2 AT2020's sound like in spaced pair:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOwnaxaPr5I

You can let the LDC's do all the heavy lifting, and move the 57 around. Here's the 57 under the snare to get more sizzle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX920nBug0s

As Bo said, GB lets you use one interface at a time. Some interfaces come with software that makes two of them look like one to GBand, but I cannot attest to how well it works. Like Bo, I'm not a fan of the Behringer/Tascam preamps. I'm not overwhelmed by the preamps on my Zoom, but at least they're quiet and workable. Focusrite and presonus are probably the vest value in terms of preamp quality. United Audio would be what I considered high-quality, but their price reflects that.
 
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Alrighty then,
This is my shopping list then:
1 x Shure SM57
1 x Shure Beta 52A
2 x Audio-Techinca AT2020*
1 x Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

Is that correct?

*I had the chance to record my drums this morning with my Blue Yeti as a single overhead (I'll try to post an example video later tonight), and it seems to do a fairly good job at it. Do you guys think it could work for now, and at a later point in time, I can buy the AT2020s or similar? I own the USB version of the Blue Yeti however I found this thing http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/peavey-usb-p-usb-di-format-converter#productDetail Could this work to input the Blue Yeti into the Interface? Thanks a lot guys, really appreciate the support!

P.S. Would you guys recommend a stand or a rim clip for the SM57, if it's a clip which one? Thanks!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Alrighty then,
This is my shopping list then:
1 x Shure SM57
1 x Shure Beta 52A
2 x Audio-Techinca AT2020*
1 x Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

Is that correct?

Yup
*I had the chance to record my drums this morning with my Blue Yeti as a single overhead (I'll try to post an example video later tonight), and it seems to do a fairly good job at it. Do you guys think it could work for now, and at a later point in time, I can buy the AT2020s or similar? I own the USB version of the Blue Yeti however I found this thing http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/peavey-usb-p-usb-di-format-converter#productDetail Could this work to input the Blue Yeti into the Interface? Thanks a lot guys, really appreciate the support!
The DA converter adds latency and is greater than 50% of the cost of an AT2020. I'd say pass. These converters are more for dictation/oration jobs where latency is not as much a concern.
P.S. Would you guys recommend a stand or a rim clip for the SM57, if it's a clip which one? Thanks!

If you look at my thread above, you'll see I went with cheap "On Stage" stands. 2 long booms and two short booms. The short booms are fine. The long booms are barely sufficient, but fine if you have a fairly static setup. The stands cost me about $20 a piece. Do not clip a mic to a drum as it adds mass and decreases resonance. Do not attach a stick bag to your floor tom for the same reason.
 
I just realized that a second AT2020 with the 18i20 will break the budget, however i found another interface (not sure if it's good), for cheaper, and do you think one AT2020 could do it for now? Here's a picture of what the shopping cart currently looks like, feel free to make any suggestions http://m.imgur.com/DXg6TWl
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
You can find the Tascam interfaces used for even less. I have a US-1800 that I bought reasonably on eBay.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I just realized that a second AT2020 with the 18i20 will break the budget, however i found another interface (not sure if it's good), for cheaper, and do you think one AT2020 could do it for now? Here's a picture of what the shopping cart currently looks like, feel free to make any suggestions http://m.imgur.com/DXg6TWl

When I first got my stuff, I got the Focusrite 2-channel one (the one that can take two mics), and I got a couple of nice mics. If you got that one interface, and the AT2020 and a SM58 for your bass drum to start, you'd be surprised at the quality of recordings you can do with just two mics with a little work. I always recommend people getting into this to start small anyway. Put the condenser mic overhead, and the bass drum mic in the bass drum and start recording. Alot of great hit records were made this way. Try that.

I meet too many drummers getting into recording and they want to put a microphone on everything. I say make your kit sound great by itself, then work with what you have to capture that sound. Then you will understand more when you finally get more mics.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
I meet too many drummers getting into recording and they want to put a microphone on everything. I say make your kit sound great by itself, then work with what you have to capture that sound. Then you will understand more when you finally get more mics.

I take this philosophy too. There are many advantages to a large micing setup but if you want to learn from first principles, 'honest capture' is a great way to start. If you can master using a minimal setup to get good results with (in order of importance) placement, basic EQ, compression and reverb, then you can work up to a larger setup with sound principles. If you first learn to do this, then when you work up to a larger setup those principles will be embedded and you can get stunning results with minimal post-production work.

When I was recording regularly I would use a three or four-mic setup despite having much more available to me. I had a lot more fun with it. Five minutes longer setting up a microphone will save you half an hour in the editing process.

There are, of course, times when it's absolutely appropriate to use highly-editing sounds but natural recording is the start and where many fall down.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Yes, by all means, start simple. I started with an inexpensive Samson USB Interface Mic. I learned a lot about recording drums by recording with only one mic.
When I moved up to multitrack recording I didn't have to waste time learning how to tune the kit for the mic along with other issues like setting EQ, etc.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I just realized that a second AT2020 with the 18i20 will break the budget,

I have a really hard time recommending Tascam and Behringer, mostly due to the poor quality of their preamps. If I had an outboard strip/preamp for each channel, I'd definitely give them consideration. They're the type of interface that a lot of kids buy with the "Samson 8-drum-mics for $149.99".

I found the Zoom to be good enough for drums. Not quite as good as Presonus/Focusrite. I'd definitely grab a channel strip if I were going to attempt real vocals with it though.
 

calan

Silver Member
If you look on Ebay, you can sometimes find some packages where some mics are bundles with an 18i20 that make them either close to free or really cheap. Could still be too much, but might be worth a look.
 
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