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Old 01-03-2014, 07:11 PM   #1
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Electric Drum Kits and recording

My buddy has a mid range Roland kit, can a "real tone" emulating drums really be pulled off if we were to record an EP for instance.
Originally posted by J_Dizzle
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by GoodCharloteSux
My buddy has a mid range Roland kit, can a "real tone" emulating drums really be pulled off if we were to record an EP for instance.

Yes and no. An electric drum kit can bring some very real sounds to the table, real enough where most common people can't tell the difference. But at the same time you aren't going to have nearly the dynamic range that a real kit will have. Even with the sensitivity turned all the way up on most mid price ranged kits, you still have to hit so hard to get a sound on certain triggers, this can leave a gap in dynamics.

Normally this isn't a big deal and you should be fine. But if you're looking to write only the best, then I would suggest looking into learning it on the electric kit that you own, but recording from a real kit and focusing on small details when you're ready to record.

If you could give us more information on the kit he has it would help give us a better suggestion based on if he is playing with a quality kit or a practice kit.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GoodCharloteSux
My buddy has a mid range Roland kit, can a "real tone" emulating drums really be pulled off if we were to record an EP for instance.

First things first, could you define 'mid-range' in a little more detail? I have a TD-4KX, which could be considered mid-range but I'd really call it a premium beginner kit. I have used it for limited recording, but only for demos, where it sounded passable but I wouldn't be comfortable releasing it like that.

I would only record on an e-kit for a proper recording if the kit had these features -
  • Outputs for each individual sound/pad (rather than just a stereo out), since this would allow for EQing, compression, balancing etc. of the individual drums/cymbals, rather than being stuck with it as you would if it was just a stereo out.
  • Possibility of using the kit to trigger midi samples, rather than those on the actual kit. (Since those on the kit generally aren't what you completely want.)

However, this may work but its something you'll have to experiment with. Except for the very high-end e-kits, cymbals don't sound very realistic and so that's why I'd shy away from the sounds on the module.

Hope this rambling is some use
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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My band recorded an entire album with my cheap Yamaha E-kit:

We also used pretty mediocre samples and it turned out decent, so if you really work on it you'll get a solid sound.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:12 AM   #5
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If you use the MIDI out on the set and trigger a good drum software, yes. I wouldn't even bother using the built in sounds on the kit, unless it has an output for every single trigger (or at least groups the cymbals and gives you an output for snare, kick and each tom), otherwise you're going to have a hard time mixing them adequately.

Tracking MIDI is like tracking a guitar DI, where you can go back and "reamp" everything later, through a whole different setup.

The place where it's going to be most noticeable that the drums are fake are on cymbals, if your drummer does a lot of swells, mutes or generally anything dynamic. In that case, I'd consider tracking MIDI on all the drums, and setup real cymbals and track overheads. Also - be sure to set the sensitivity on the snare trigger so it's not just blasting out MIDI at a velocity of 127... If there's any drum that's going to sound blatantly fake, it's the snare (though, it depends on the music you're doing, because in more modern productions, the snare is pretty consistent on velocity the entire time).
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