You all will agree with us saying that recording a drum is not an easy task at all. Where most of the companies provide us with drum recording facilities and products at high rates, the mastery of this task itself needs some time. Many drummers have a variety of misunderstandings when it comes to recording their drum sounds.
Usually, they think that a drum recording interface is the only thing on which their recording’s quality and fine-tuning depend on. That being said, there is an art to picking an audio interface for drums, and hopefully, our guide will help you!
The fact is, the best way to record our drums and have a quality recording is to pay attention to how we have been tuning our drums all along. Other than that, a Good Drum Microphone is the second most crucial thing to ensure a better quality for any of your drum’s recordings. It is only after these two things have been considered that the quality of your interface matters for your drum recording.
Which Is The Best Drum Recording Audio Interface?
Now that your mics being of the highest possible quality and drums all fine-tuned, focusing on which particular drum recording interface to invest in should be your next step. With a wide variety available in markets when it comes to drum recording audio interfaces, making the final choice can get tough. Therefore, here is a list of all our recommended drum recording interfaces with the best possible features for you to select your favorite one from. It’s time to find the best audio interface for you as well as how to use audio interfaces to record drums!
1. The Best Overall Drum Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
This drum recording audio interface is the first and foremost choice of many experienced drummers because of the unprecedented quality of recording it provides the drummers with and overall sound quality. There is minimum latency that aids focus on recording, and the preamps of Focusrite Scarlett make room for quality and versatility.
This USB audio interface is more suitable for big bands and groups because it has a large number of input slots available, and because of its sturdy body that allows for its fearless travel from home to studio and elsewhere.
The compact body of this interface must not be confused for the limited features it will offer. Coming with all the necessary software updates, the Focusrite Scarlett has eight different input slots for a variety of plugins and is very easy to use.
The only issue with this recording interface is that the mic inputs are all black, and finding where you have set the levels is difficult.
Some novice musicians may also find it hard to set up the audio interface for the first time use; however, once understood, the working will get easier, which is the case with most audio interfaces.
If some functions of this one are not enough for you, we suggest you look up the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. That model has many more amazing features but some shortcomings that this one is fulfilling well. If you’re looking for get into seriously recording drums, then this is one of the best audio interfaces for you!
Highest Quality Drum Recording Interface: Universal Audio Apollo x8
The universal Apollo audio interface is another excellent choice for anyone looking for versatile and durable audio interface equipment. This audio interface allows you to experience the highest quality conversion when recording while allowing minimal noise and hissing to be a part of the conversion.
The super-strong Hexa core processor with six chips for a lag less functionality and adds more to the quality of digital audio you get on the computer. This is one of the best audio interfaces for those recording drums frequently.
The preamp emulation and zero latency offered by this interface is also something to be appreciated to anyone with a drum kit. Just like in the interface presented above, the eight input options of the universal Apollo interface are also for the fattest sound recording without having you make any compromise on your needs.
The only problem that you will, however, face after buying this one is the pathetic customer support service by the makers. In case you want a service or need to know something about the warranty, you will have to wait for days and even months to get your request noticed at all. That being said, by buying through amazon or Sweetwater you can get the best audio interface for you without having to worry about the customer service aspect.
Best Audio Interface For Beginners: Behringer UMC404HD
If you are new to drumming and hoping to take this skill up to a professional level, then investing in a recording interface as budget-friendly and straightforward as this one should be something you must consider. This is a great choice for those who are just getting into recording drums
The Behringer UMC is basically a 4 x 4 USB audio interface that records the microphone and instruments perfectly with its 24-bit and 192 kHz of resolution power.
This audio interface has an excellent compatibility range and is movement-friendly for you to take it to your studio, to your room, and even to your drumming classes.
The ultra-low latency with which this interface records your drums is another factor that contributes to making it one of the best interfaces meant for novice drummers.
However, in the case of some users, there has been reported a consistent hissing sound in the background that this interface was not able to vanish while recording and conversion.
Another point of focus is that for those who want to use this one with perfection, having an upgraded firmware version is more than just a choice. It is a necessity that needs to cater to if you want to get the best recording quality out of this interface.
Most Compact Audio Interface: Roland Octa-Capture
The small size and lightweight body of this recording interface make it the best option for recording drums wherever you want and wherever you want!
Even when in such a small package, this interface provides you with the best audio output because of the range of digital functions that it comes with. If you’re looking to record drums on the go, this is the best audio interface for you!
The most notable features of this interface include eight preamps for premium mics to provide with better sound quality, an auto-sense function, low latency, better ability to block background hissing, and its perfect independent direct mixers.
However, if you are someone who likes to connect their recording interfaces with a variety of devices, then this one might not be the perfect option for you since many have reported a sudden hang and destruction of this interface’s software after it has been connected with a specific monitor. Overall the sound quality is very high for such a compact audio interface, which makes it a great choice!
Best Alternative: PreSonus Studio 1824c
The PreSonus is one of the best audio interfaces that come with an input option for eight mics and has over 48V phantom power. It has inbuilt software meant for world-class recording. This USB to audio interface is capable of recording over 18 inputs at the same time with its combo mics and switch-friendly lines. Because of the range of intricacies, this one deals with; the PreSonus is undoubtedly a heaven for professional-level drummers and music producers. With professional audio quality, if you’re serious about recording drums, this is for you!
You can mix on-board and rest assured that your converted music will have minimal hissing and background noise. Not only have we used this ourselves, but we also have asked around many of its users for the cons of this recording interface. But we failed big time at finding even a single complaint about this beautiful device.
Even when we have combined all the pro tools for audio recording in one place, the ultimate decision that you will have to make needs a lot of considerations.
We strongly suggest you first to be clear about how and where are you going to need your drum recording interface and whether investing in it has any long-term benefits for you or not. Once you are all clear about your requirements, only then you can make a worthy purchase.
What Is A Drum Recording Interface?
As a musician and a drummer, it is impossible for you not to be aware of the term audio interface. However, there are many novice musicians out there who just play instruments for fun. Such people have either none or a very vague idea of what an audio interface is and what does it do.
Well, in the simplest terms, an audio interface is a musician’s device to convert the audio and music played to a digital recording that can be played on the computer. Once recorded and converted via an interface, it gets easier to sort and manipulate your music input in your computer, using a DAW software such as Ableton Live, Reaper, or Fl Studio, in order to release your music on a larger scale or for any other purpose.
Audio interface devices come in a variety of sizes and with several options, and their cost varies from device to device. Because they play but just a secondary role in your drum recording’s quality, it is wise not to spend too much on these.
However, if you are one of those drummers annoyed by their drum recording quality and want to bring in improvements, then this article is undoubtedly for you. We would suggest you invest as much as possible in the best drum mic possible and drum tuners and once your setup is of the perfect quality, then is time to invest in the audio interfaces. This article guides you on the right steps to recording your drums with an interface and then reviews some of the best drum recording audio interfaces for you to invest in.
How Do You Record With Drum Recording Audio Interfaces?
Here are the steps to follow, in an appropriate order, to get begin recording drums with an audio interface:
- The first thing you should do is to plug the mics in the audio interface. If you are not using the ribbon mics, you must plug the overheads in both the input number 1 and 2. It is important to note that these overheads usually need 48v phantom power. Subsequently, the input 3 and 4 should receive the kick in and out while the snare tops and bottoms should be welcomed by the input 5 and 6 respectively. Your ambient mic must be attached to the input number 7 while the floor tom mic goes straight to 8.
- Once your setup is all done, now is the time to test the voice levels. You can do this by asking someone to beat the drums for you and notice your recording quality. The highest peak should be around 5 dB to ensure that your interface is all well. Don’t start manipulating the interface right from the start of conversion. You always have time to do so afterward. Let the complete beat convert first.
- With all the levels sorted, run your recording to check for unintended BGs and other mistakes. Ensure a fat sound on the playback to avoid any annoyance that may arise from having to record again and again to prevent the background hisses and drops.
- The next step in a drum recording is to attach the trim or gain plug with each of the eight-channel inputs. Experiment with different kicks and leave where you feel the sound level is at its best.
- To further improve the quality, turn the kicks down along with bringing the over heads up simultaneously. Try working with inverted phases, and wherever the sound gets fatter upon inverting a sound, stop with the manipulation. You should also bring back the kick while blending them with the overheads. Leave right where the kicks start sounding their best.
- The last step before recording is to balance the top and bottom snares. The top snare mic can be adjusted by switching the phase to the specific setting, which sounds the best fat with kick and overheads. On the other hand, the bottom snare mic can be brought up and balanced by setting and set its phase precisely opposite to that of the top set.
- Do the above-explained steps with the ambient mics and floor tom to finish the setup for your drum kit.
Now that all of these steps are done with you being satisfied with all that you have done, you are ready to record the drums after picking out an audio interface for drums. Remember, even after buying a drum recording interface, there is a long way to go to achieve a perfect sound quality in terms of drum recording. You have to set up a rough mix and experiment a lot with what has been recorded to get the best possible recording out of your drumming jams. I hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on audio interfaces and I hope it helps you to begin recording drums!