4 Benefits of Recording with an Electronic Drum set
Using an electronic drum kit to get a drum track is often an easier alternative to recording a full acoustic kit. Electronic drum sets have many benefits and simple recording features are some of the biggest.
We’re going to have a detailed look at why this is the case and how to record drums with an electronic kit.
What are the Benefits of Recording with Electronic Drums?
No Microphones Needed
Learning to mic a drum kit is a skill in itself to learn. You need to be highly aware of positioning and phase issues with those mic positions. You also need to have a set of drum mics to pick up the sound of each drum.
This is something you never have to worry about with electronic drums as you’re simply running a USB cable into a computer to record the drum track. The mics have already been expertly placed to get the sampled drum sounds on the electronic kit’s module.
Drums Are Already Mixed and EQ’d
All the samples on the drum module have been mixed and edited to sound as best they can. So, you don’t need to worry about doing any intense mixing work to get a great sound when recording electronic drums.
You may need to adjust levels and add a bit of your own flair, but most of the hard yards have already been done on the drum module. This also makes it easier for people who don’t have mixing experience to record with electronic drums compared to acoustic drums.
All electronic drum modules have a wide array of drum kit sounds to choose from. This gives you many options of how you want your drums to sound in the recording.
Since the module gets connected via MIDI, you can also download a VST on the computer to get even more potential drum sounds.
Your choices are virtually endless when you go down that route, making electronic drum kits highly valuable in the recording process.
Before doing any altering on the computer, electronic drums allow you to adjust the volume straight from the module. This is a huge benefit that acoustic drum kits don’t offer.
You can play as hard as you want to and simply lower the volume so that it’s not overwhelming in the recording.
How to Record with an Electronic Drum set
Every electronic drum module has a USB MIDI port. To record the drums, you need to plug connect a USB to MIDI cable from the module to a computer. You then need to run the module through a Digital Audio Workstation.
Since the drums are coming through one MIDI cable, the output only comes through one channel on the DAW. However, some electronic drum kits that are more advanced allow you to run multiple channels to the computer, giving you more freedom.
On standard electronic kits, you need to do most of the individual drum mixing on the module itself before working with the output channel on the computer.
Digital Audio Workstations
All DAWs recognize electronic drum sets quite easily. You may need to install a few drivers depending on what kit you’re using. However, most drum modules simply work as plug-and-play devices.
When it comes to different types of DAWs, it comes down to personal preference on which one you should use to record electronic drums. If you’re already using one and you have a fair bit of experience, you should stick with that one.
If you’re new to recording, GarageBand or Audacity are two DAWs that are very easy to learn and start recording with.
Are electronic drum kits good for recording?
Electronic drum kits are fantastic options for anyone wanting to go through an easy recording process. Since their sounds are already mixed and mastered on the drum module, you don’t need to have any extensive recording skills to get a good sound in the end.
They’re also incredibly easy to record as you simply need to plug one cable into a computer and then run the kit through a DAW. You don’t need several microphones and an interface like you do with an acoustic kit.
However, electronic drums aren’t as ideal as acoustic drums if you’re wanting to get a natural drum sound.
Are electronic drums worth it?
It depends on what you’re using them for. If you’re wanting an easy option for recording a few drum tracks, they’re highly worth it for most people.
They may not be worth it if you’re wanting a high-quality kit to learn the drums on. An acoustic drum set is always a better option in that regard.
Many drummers tend to have both types of kits. They’ll use the acoustic kit to learn and play gigs with. Then they’ll use the electronic kit to practice at times when the acoustic kit isn’t a viable option to use.
What is the purpose of electronic drums?
Providing a digital platform that is easy to use is the main purpose of electronic drums. They’re a quieter alternative to acoustic drums, and they’re much easier to record.
One of the biggest benefits of electronic drums is having the ability to produce sounds that acoustic drums can’t. Electronics have become more popular in drumming over the years, so the electronic drum market has thrived because of that.
How do pros record electronic drums?
They typically use very high-quality electronic kits and connect them to a computer via a MIDI to USB cable. All electronic drum kits get recorded the same way, no matter the price or quality.
Hopefully, after reading this you’ve seen how easy it can be to record electronic drums. If you’re wanting some organic drumming in your tracks, using an electronic kit is one of the best and easiest ways to get it.
When it comes to sounds, the possibilities are endless thanks to VSTs. You just need to get a good electronic kit so that you can do the initial work from there. The best brands to look out for would be Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis.
Diego Cardini is a professional drummer. He started The Drum Ninja, a website for drummers of all levels where he shares his passion and knowledge.