Acoustic drum recording is considered by many to be an art form. Finding a balance between equipment, knowledge, patience and money that works for your project is a skill that comes with experience and time.

Being a collection of various percussion instruments, a drum kit requires different types of microphones and positioning to make one cohesive drum kit sound. Capturing a great performance is even more difficult when you’re also the one recording your drums, but there are ways to minimize your work flow and maximize your performance!

Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Corporation Australia

ENTER ELECTRONIC DRUMS…

Recording electronic drums is simple when compared to recording acoustic drums.

You can record almost anywhere, the kit will fit quickly into a recording space and with unlimited sound and performance possibilities, your options for creativity are increased dramatically.

When recording V-Drums, you can forget about tuning, muffling, microphone positioning, pre-amplifiers, specially designed studios, noise problems and studio hire fees, allowing you to relax, focus on the music and just play.

V-Drums are ideal for recording yourself, because their simplicity means you can focus on your actual performance, safe in the knowledge that every note is being captured perfectly. Sound decisions can always be decided later.

The aim of this recording masterclass series is to break down and simplify the process of recording electronic drums. You will be able to achieve great results, with just basic connections and knowledge.

Recording the TD-4KP

Even though the TD-4KP is quite a simple little kit, you can record with it via its MIDI and audio outputs to achieve great sounding recordings.

Read about the difference between MIDI and audio here, or read on to jump right in.

Let’s start by looking at these two ways of capturing your performance.

Recording MIDI:

The TD-4KP already has a conventional MIDI output so all you need is a MIDI-to-USB interface for your computer to capture the notes from the kit.

The UM ONE MKII will allow any conventional MIDI instrument to be recorded into your MAC or PC via USB, as well as into your iOS device such as iPad or iPhone, via Apple’s camera connect kit.

um-one_mk2

You will find your MIDI interface as an input and output option in your program’s MIDI settings, once your MIDI interface has been recognized by your computer.

You can use the internal sounds generated by your software for the drum sounds. There are many drum software plug-ins available for more options.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live MIDI preferences/Interface selection

Here are the steps for recording MIDI.

  1. Connect your instrument’s MIDI out to the MIDI input of the interface.
  2. Create a new MIDI instrument track and choose a sound source for the drum sounds.
  3. Arm the track to record and play in your part.
  4. Rewind and playback the part just recorded.

 

NOTE: As the TD-4 module only has a MIDI out, an external MIDI instrument or drum plug-in software is needed to produce a drum sound.

 

Recording Audio

It’s easy record the left and right audio outputs of the TD4-KP into an audio interface.

The Duo Capture EX (UA-22) or Quad Capture (UA-55) are great starting points and both also feature audio and MIDI inputs and outputs.

ua-22 and 55

Here are the steps for recording the audio output of the TD-4KP.

  1. Connect the left and right outputs from the TD-4KP to the inputs of the audio interface and select the interface in your software’s audio device settings.
  2. Create a new stereo track in your music recording software.
  3. Arm the track for record.
  4. Record your performance.
  5. Once done, the recorded performance will play as audio out of the audio interface outputs you’ve selected in your software.

Combination MIDI and Audio recording

Many musicians find this to be the best combination. It offers both creativity in the creation process and the best control of the final sound mix.

You will have the most options available when mixing by simply recording a track of MIDI and a track of audio simultaneously with the TD-4KP. This can be very useful when recording at the same time with other musicians, as you can fix notes and change sounds later in the mix.

TD-4KP Recording

MIDI and audio recording in Reaper with the TD-4KP

If your chosen drum sounds are being generated inside your sequencing software, you can leave them to the final mix, once you have recorded other instrument parts to be sure that they blend perfectly.

If your sounds are being generated by an external drum module, simply record alternative kits into new tracks. You can decide later or even cut between them.

You may even want to choose different kit sounds for the verses and choruses? Everything is possible by combining MIDI and audio recording!

If you need a compact kit that you can take anywhere, use for practice and capture excellent quality recordings with, the TD-4KP fits the bill.

Related Articles

V-DRUMS MASTERCLASS: RECORDING YOUR TD-50
V-DRUMS MASTERCLASS: RECORDING YOUR TD-30
V-DRUMS MASTERCLASS: RECORDING YOUR TD-11, TD-15 AND TD-25
MIDI VS. AUDIO
HOW TO ADD SAMPLES TO YOUR V-DRUMS
TYPICAL DRUM PLAYING TECHNIQUES WITH V-DRUMS
QUICK START GUIDE TO THE ROLAND TD-50 V-DRUMS

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