Electric, Programmed, or Real
Drums are one of the most difficult parts to do, but when they are done well, they can transform a song from lame to exciting.
We basically have 3 options for obtaining a drum part, with each method having its own unique pros and cons.
1- recording an Acoustic drum kit with microphones.
2- recording an electronic drum kit through the stereo output and or through midi
3- programming drums using software.
1- recording an acoustic drum kit with microphones
This is the most natural sounding, because it’s the real thing. It’s also the most challenging to record because you need good room acoustics, lots of inputs on your recording interface, and a bunch of good microphones. It’s also the most challenging to mix because of microphone bleed, and a lack of flexibility to manipulate the sounds.
2- electronic drums.
There’s 3 ways to record an electronic drum kit
If your electronic drum kit has a midi output, then you can just record the midi information and in the software you can have this midi information trigger a software Drum kit. This provides great flexibility in customizing the sound, and editing the performance.
- multiple outputs
Some electronic drum kits provide outputs for each individual part. So, the snare will have its own output channel, so will the kick, and each Tom etc. You can route these to the line inputs on your recording interface, and record the performance from the drum kit, and have individual tracks for each part. This way you capture the authentic sound that the drummer created, and in mixing you have control of each part.
- stereo output
If all else fails you can just record the master output. It will be a single track, either in mono or stereo, and contain the entire drum performance. This method is the most simple in therms if recording, however, when mixing you can not isolate and adjust any individual parts, you can only edit the performance as a whole.