Monday, July 9, 2012

Why bother?

So you might ask yourself, dear reader, why bother? Why bother tracking (recording) drums from an electronic set to then trigger sample in my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)?

Well, there's multiple reasons.

Number one, when you are tracking and mixing in the same small (3x4m, or about 10x13 feet for you imperials) room, you can't have a live drum set. Obvious, right?

Number two, if I had a live drum set, I would need s lot more space because percussion with a lot of low end (low frequencies) will resonate about a shitton (metric) in such a small space.

Number three, if I had a live drum set, I would need at least 2 or 3 mics (microphones) to start recording drums: one "room" mic (whose captured sound would most likely suck because of reflections and low end travelling all over the place), one kick mic and one overhead mic for the toms, or 2 for the toms, depending on how the room would sound. The reason why I would need all these mics is because drum sounds coming from cymbals, a snare drum or a kick drum are very different and are treated very differently down the mixing road. To record all these mics, I would need to change my interface to accommodate for more inputs. And more cables. Because drum mics tend to be dynamic mics because they can absorb very high air compression from banging on these two like there's no tomorrow, I would need to buy 1 or 2 of those. Because these, in turn, require a pre-amplifier (preamp) to take the incoming mic signal and turn it into a usable signal (line-level), I would need to buy a preamp as well, which I don't have since the mics I have are condenser microphones which do not need special preamps since the ones in my audio interface are good enough.

Number four, I like to play drums; if I want to keep my marriage and paternity as enjoyable as they are now, electronic drums are a good compromise. Yes, the sound sucks, yes the pads are plastic. But if you saw my wife you'd understand :-)

So then the issue goes from acoustics and buying more gear to teaching my DAW how to receive MIDI input from my drum set, and then how to teach my DAW to trigger sampled drum sounds (samples) when instructed to. The other great thing about this method is that I can send each drum sound (kick, high hat, crash cymbal, etc.) through a different channel to my DAW, which means that I can route each incoming channel to a different track, which in turn means that I can treat each drum sound differently depending on what I have in mind. Not to mention the fact that some decent sample libraries are available for free.

So there. That's why I bother.
I'll talk about why I bother with all the rest too :-)

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