During the past two years of recording over 30 drum covers on our YouTube Channel we’ve gotten a lot of questions on how we create them. A fair amount of the questions are about what is needed to get the sound Otto has.
We thought we’d walk you through our drum cover recording setup and share some tips on how to get a similar sound out of your drums.
On the first video we go through the basic setup we use on our drum covers.
What you need to record a drum cover
Here’s the basic gear we use to record drum covers:
- Drum kit
- Microphone cables
- Microphone stands
- Audio interface
Drum kit. Now these would be your drums obviously. You’ll definitely need a drum set to be able to record drum covers. If you’re not filthy rich I’d say you should focus on less individual drums and cymbals with a better sound and a bit more quality. The most important thing when recording is to have cymbals that are not broken and fairly fresh drum heads.
Microphones. If you want to record that drum kit, you’ll need some microphones. If you want a high quality studio sound, it’s preferable to have one microphone per each individual drum (snare, toms, kick) and two overheads. For mic’ing the individual drums, basic dynamic mic’s like the Shure SM57 or Audix i5 is good enough. For the kick you might want to use a Shure Beta 52 or the more affordable alternative PG-52. Overheads are the microphones that capture the cymbals and the overall sound of the drums. A pair of similar condenser microphones can be used as overheads.
Microphone cables. To get the sound from the mic’s to your computer, you’ll need some cables. You’ll need one cable for each microphone obviously. The cables are not something that affect the sound too much nowadays. Just make sure their long enough for your purpose.
Microphone stands. To get that kit mic’d up you need some microphone stands. On the toms and even snare, you can use those mic adapters that attach to the rim of the drum. On the kick you’re better off using a smaller stand designed for mic’ing the kick drum. With the overheads you’ll want two stands with boom arms that have a long enough reach. On the overheads you might want to go in a little and get a pair of more quality stands since you’re going to be using them in some awkward positions. The cheaper ones tend to move during the recording.
Audio interface is the piece of hardware that connects the microphones to your computer and converts the analog microphone signal into a digital one for your DAW. There are some good quality interfaces with decent mic preamps built into them. You don’t need to worry about the mic preamps, just make sure your interface has them – most of them do. Second thing you’ll need to worry is how many tracks you’ll be recording. This is basically how many mic’s are you going to record. Choose an interface with enough inputs or hook two of them together if one is not enough. We usually use a Presonus Firepod with 8 inputs.
Computer. That’s where the sound goes and what you’ll be recording with. Recording 8 tracks and doing some basic mixing isn’t nearly as intense on a computer than video editing or gaming for example. So basically any computer bought in the past few years will probably be enough. If you use a PC, make sure you have the proper drivers for your interface installed. If you use a Mac, it’s usually just plug-and-play. We have a MacBook Pro 13″ that does the job more than well enough.
DAW is the computer program you’ll use for recording and mixing. Most modern DAWs do pretty much the same thing nowadays. Only thing you need to make sure is that it supports recording multiple tracks simultaneously. The one you should use is the one you’re comfortable using and the one that supports your interface – Pro Tools doesn’t support all interfaces for example! I’ve recently moved from using Logic Pro 9 into Logic Pro X. It’s a powerful DAW with a huge plugin library with a very affordable pricing.
That’s about it.
Now I know it might be a lot to chew on at once. Breathe it in and keep calm, it’s not that bad when you get to try it out. If you have a limited budget, try starting out with the computer you have, use a free/trial DAW like Reaper and use less mic’s at first. You can always get more as you go along.
Hope this helps you out. If you have any questions or would like to hear tips on other thing related to recording, hit me up in the comments!