Anyone who has tried recording electric drums on his computer would surely realize how easier and more convenient it is to record electric drums than acoustic drums. With the acoustic drum set, you need to mic the drums individually to record their full acoustic sound range. But with the electric drums, you won’t be doing that, for you can record its full range of sounds using a single connection to your computer, without needing mics and cables. But how do you connect the e-drums to your computer?
You got a few options to record your electronic drums to your DAW, and you only need to choose from among these options. Nevertheless, I would recommend using a combo of audio and MIDI so that you can have ample freedom to tinker with your drum recordings and play around with the tracks afterward.
Various Options of Connecting Your E-drums to Your Computer
You cannot record your e-drums to your DAW without physically connecting it to your computer and installing its driver software. But once you have configured the module and have installed it, you can then enable this module as a MIDI controller and begin recording your drums. You can connect your e-drums to your DAW either via USB or MIDI connection. Below are the different options you can use to get your e-drums connected to your PC:
1) Record Your E-drums Using MIDI
Your primary option in connecting your e-drums to your computer is via a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). It is not an expensive option, though it is not cheap likewise. Using MIDI, you can capture the sounds of e-drums without a hitch. Moreover, you can enjoy enough flexibility to tinker and rework your tracks, allowing you to make alterations afterward. In this type of connection, you only need a computer and a MIDI interface or USB cable.
It will be best to check the drum module to get a proper connection. If the e-drums module comes with a USB-type module, you will only need a USB-type connector to achieve such a link. However, if it comes with standard MIDI output, you will need a MIDI-to-USB interface. Examples of such interfaces are Addictive Drums, Toontrack, and EZdrummer.
At the onset, it will be good to check your drum module if it supports MIDI. If it does not support MIDI connection, you need to buy a new set that does support MIDI. Then, you can turn on your computer and connect to your computer your MIDI output coming from the drum module.
Afterward, you can open your DAW or your drum recording software on your computer. Then, record and play your e-drums. After recording the drum tracks, you can then tinker with the drum track to make some changes in your track for better alignment. This alignment includes altering the grid’s size and aligning the grid with the track.
2) Record the Drums directly from your Drum Module via USB.
All the audio inputs from your pads and cymbals go to the drum brain or drum module. This drum module occasioned sounds, while you can only use the cymbals and pads to trigger the sounds. Thus, it will be good to check the drum module.
Some modules come with their audio interface that readily sets the audio to digital signals. You will only connect the drum module to the computer using a USB cable in such a case. Then, you will likewise need to install the drivers, and off you are ready to record.
3) Record Electronic Drum With Audio Interface
If your drums do not have a MIDI module, you can use an audio interface to channel the audio inputs of your e-drums to your computer. The cost of an audio interface will add up to your expenses. Nevertheless, it will indeed provide you with better results.
The majority of drum kits come with audio outputs that you can utilize for recording live performances. Yet, you will need an audio interface to transform these outputs into something that your computer can use.
The audio interface is often used to convert analog signals into digital signals. With an audio interface, your computer can quickly record the digital audio signals. Moreover, you can use a USB connection for this setup, and this setup is relatively easy to achieve.
For this setup, you will need recording software, audio cables, and an audio interface. You can use any computer as long as it is up to the system requirements for recording and is compatible with the audio interface you intend to buy.
However, before purchasing an audio interface, you need to ensure that the user interface is compatible with your PC’s OS. Your computer should also be compliant with the system requirements of the said interface. It would be best to invest in a good audio interface.
You can also use free audio software like Audacity. You can also use your professional DAW like Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, and many others.
4) Use Audio Cables to Connect Your e-Drums to Your PC
Your drum modules, as mentioned above, usually come with output connections at the back. You can check the manual of the e-drums to figure out where to locate the output connections. More often, you will find two 1/4 phone jack outputs at the back for the left and right connections.
So, you will need two 1/4-inch Tip-sleeve (TS) cables for these outputs. Connect both these cables to your interface from your module.
However, if it only has one stereo output, you can use a tip-ring-sleeve (TRS) cable. This cable can support stereo signals. Moreover, if your module comes with only a 1/8-inch output, you will need an1/8″ to 1/4″ TRS cable or adapter for this output.
You will find the high-end electronic drum kit quite easy to learn, and once you were able to avail of one, you would surely want to record your drum tracks to your DAW. However, if you don’t know the abovementioned tips on connecting e-drums to your PC, you may end up scratching your head without any clue on how to do it.
Some electronic drum modules will allow you to make a mono track that lets you layer the sounds into a single audio file. Some modules, however, can record your cymbals and drums in stereo, allowing you to convey the sounds to separate individual channels.
As mentioned above, if you have already tried before to capture the acoustic drum kit’s sounds, you would indeed find recording the e-drums a breeze. E-drums have significantly improved at a rapid clip. Hence, it is not difficult to get your e-drums hooked to your computer to record your drum tracks quickly.