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SBSB
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#1
18th November 2012
Old 18th November 2012
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Which Interface?

Hello everyone!

I'm just beginning to dabble in home recording, I'm up against my drummer's extremely large drumkit.

I'm trying to decide on an audio interface, but I need at least 12 mic channels in order to track the kit. I've been looking at the Presonus Audiobox 1818vsl. Obviously 8 channels isn't enough, but am I able to chain it to a second Audiobox through the sync out? I'm having a hard time finding a description of this feature that makes any sense to me.

OR, is there a more practical solution for a USB interface that can accommodate at least 12 channels?

Thanks!
#2
19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Well I think you gotta look at a couple things. What's your budget... Is this something you want to do long term and professionally? what kind of computer you're using and daw. Etc etc.
It would be easier to answer this question more specifically if you can give a better description of your goals for the future and your current set up.
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#3
19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Thanks for the reply!

I'd like to keep it under $1000, it's for a home setup but I'm looking for a professional sound. Hoping to record my band's next release on our own. We're a progressive metal band. I run Cubase, but we're hoping to work with several computers so we can work on certain things (vocals, guitars) on our own time. Majority of the work being done on a Macbook Pro.

I don't have a ton of gear right now, I've just been using an M-Audio USB mic (which can only take you so far). I've got a handful of Audio Technica condensers and dynamic mics ready to go for once I have the interface.

Thanks!
#4
19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Despite what others may recommend, I'd suggest quality over quantity. Do you really need 12 mics on you're kit? Maybe there's a more straightforward approach you could take to getting a decent drum sound. picking up a used apogee ensemble might be just what you're looking for. You can find them for around 1000 now a days. Great starting interface with 4 mic pres in it. You'd need 4 more external pres . You can rent some Or borrow some from a friend.
Another suggestion would be to track your drums in a studio. Practice practice practice your songs and just bang em out . I can guarantee it would be worth it in the long run. They most likely have way better mics and a great sounding kit. Look at a few places locally and take a day. They usually will give you an engineer with the studio time so he'll be able to get you to where you're wanting to go a little quicker
#5
20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Slow down there for a second. You are new to recording. Why do you need to use 12 mics on a drum kit?

I wish I knew the link, but there's a great video of some guy rocking out on a kit @ abbey road studio and the entire thing was recorded with ONE mic. and it sounds f-ing awesome.

Mic'ing drums is not just something you can do. You need to know what you are doing. There are many mathematical parameters to follow, specific placement techniques, all of the mic's polar paterns to consider, don't forget mic bleed which will have to be gated out later.

12 mics is RIDICULOUS. If you get a couple solid mics you can mic up a huge kit with 1-4 mics at most. Maybe if you really want to capitalize on the large drum kit, get :
1) kick
2) snare
3) OH L
4) OH R

the overheads will capture everything and it will be easy to gate out the kick and snare tracks so its just kick and snare. Or instead of stereo OH you can go with 1(mono) and then mic up a tom or something.

I really don't think you need 12 mics.

----

I'm not going to suggest any interfaces. I have only used huge consoles when im using that many mics.


edit - I just want to re-iterate and it's nothing against you, but if you don't know how to mic drums properly and you end up using 12+ mics it is going to sound like SHIT. Buying a 12 input interface would therefore be a complete waste.
#6
20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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While I do think the other points mentioned above are relevant I would recommend something like a saffire pro 40 from focusrite and an octo pre hooked up over adat. This would give you the budget channel count you are after.
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#7
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Thanks for the tips!

Just to give you a better idea of the project, this is my first home recording project, but not the band's. We've released 3 albums recorded in other studios, and done a few tours. So this isn't some kids in a basement having fun.

In the past, we've close miked ever drum. (3 rack toms, 2 floor, 2 snares, single kick). To cover all that we'd need 8 mics, not to mention 2 overheads, ride, and hi-hat.

Are hi-hat and ride crucial to mic, or will the overheads pick them up? (Keep in mind we're dealing with 3 crashes, 2 chinas, and 3 splashes - all extensively used).

I realize that this is a big task for a beginner, but I do understand mic placement, polar patterns, etc.. having taken courses and recorded multiple albums in other proffessional studios. I feel like I've learned a lot by watching others do it, so I wanna give it my best shot!


Thanks guys, appreciate the help!
#8
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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12 mics is not an absurd amount... I was just at a session where they used:
2 overheads
1 top snare
1 bottom snare
1 above hi-hat
1 in kick
1 out kick
1 rack tom
1 floor tom
1 spot mic on the ride

That's 10... so 12 isn't far off lol

But in terms of an interface... The Focusrite Saffire pro 40 is amazing for under 500!
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#9
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Here are the mics I'm using:

Kick - Shure Beta 52a
Snare 1 - Audio-Technica ATM650
Snare 2 - Audio-Technica ATM650
Tom 1 - Shure SM57
Tom 2 - Shure SM57
Tom 3 - Shure SM57
Tom 4 - Shure SM57
Tom 5 - Shure SM57
Overhead 1 - Audio-Technica AT4040
Overhead 2 - Audio-Technica AT2020
Ride - Audio-Technica AT2021
Hi-Hat - Audio-Technica AT2021
#10
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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I've been super happy with my focusrite saffire pro 40. If you need more inputs, you could look into extending it with an octopre. They work really well together (the octopre mkII dynamic is great for drums, the comps help a lot, but the normal mkII is fine also). The converters aren't as good as the ensemble recommend above but I've been really happy with the sounds I get from my focusrite (The pres are quite nice for the price too).

That's a pretty big kit, is that 2 floor toms or 4 rack?

I can't comment on any others apart from the presonus firestudio which IMO, isn't anywhere near as good as the saffire. I've recently upgraded my pro 40 to a FF800. Still using the pro 40 as a lightpipe 8 channel converter. I'll be selling the focusrite soon for another upgrade but that doesn't mean it's not a great sounding, rock solid, well built unit. I've traveled around with it, recorded on location with beer and drunks flying around and it's never failed me.
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#11
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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This is the kit... friggin drummers...

#12
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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I see your craziness and raise you to insanity.....

Don't even ask why.....bad things man...bad things...

If I remember, we "only" used 18 mics on this kit...mostly because it was all the inputs we had at the time.
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#13
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Jesus Christ. That's a lot of things to hit! Does he use it all for every song? It's likely worth only setting up the parts he uses for each song and track songs one by one, adjusting the kit as you record each song. That might cut down on the amount of inputs you need and save you money you can spend on better quality conversion. Example if he only uses 3 of the toms, 1 snare for a song, you can remove at least 2 inputs from your requirements.

You could even leave the mics where they are and just re-cable them for each song only plugging in the ones you need. I'd mucho recommend better quality conversion for your money as it'll last you much longer and give you better results during tracking and mixing.

As for your earlier questions, it's not crucial to mic the whole kit. I've had nice results with just 1 room mic for a drum kit before. Depends on the song and vibe you're after though. It's always worth putting mics on the kick and snare, toms and cymbals you can do without. It's more of a track by track basis and the vibe you want. I've even miced up a while kit with a mic on every piece, only to mute them all during mix and only use 4 or so.

There's no single best way to record any particular instrument, trial and error and experience will give you the best results in the end.
#14
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howie J View Post
I see your craziness and raise you to insanity.....

Don't even ask why.....bad things man...bad things...

If I remember, we "only" used 18 mics on this kit...mostly because it was all the inputs we had at the time.
F*** Howie, you're bats*** crazy. That's amazing
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#15
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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I've thought about the idea of swapping out mics, but unfortunately I can't think of a single song where he doesn't use every piece of the kit.

If I were to sacrifice some mics, do you think it would be better to not mic toms, or ride/hi-hat? Keep in mind this is a metal band, if I'm not mistaken metal records typically have all the drums miked in order to cut through?
#16
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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I'd cut out the ride and HH mics if I could only pick 2 but I'm sure someone with more experience could give you better advice since I'm limited to smaller experience recording my own (and a few friends bands). If you absolutely need that many inputs, I recommend the Pro40 and octopre setup. That'll give you 16 inputs. If you want to step it up more later, you could get a focusrite liquid 56 and 2 octopres which will give you more than enough to record anything, though I can't imagine 16 not being enough for any application.
#17
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosgow View Post
F*** Howie, you're bats*** crazy. That's amazing
Amazing is one word for it....

SBSB: Sorry for distracting the thread..
#18
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBSB View Post
I've thought about the idea of swapping out mics, but unfortunately I can't think of a single song where he doesn't use every piece of the kit.

If I were to sacrifice some mics, do you think it would be better to not mic toms, or ride/hi-hat? Keep in mind this is a metal band, if I'm not mistaken metal records typically have all the drums miked in order to cut through?
I might get flamed for this but...

In the long run you'll probably end up triggering a lot of those anyway. You won't want to try to replace cymbals though. I would make sure that everything is clear enough for you to create midi with. It's not as hard or crazy as it sounds especially if you use massy's DRT to generate the midi.
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