Best Audio Interfaces For Drums

Chances are if you are a drummer you know that it comes with some draw backs. You always have the most amount of gear to carry to and from gigs and practice. Then theres the fact you need hundreds of mics just to record. Fun right? An audio interface is part of our must have home studio gear.

But does it make recording drums easier?

Do Drummers Need an Audio Interface?

Absolutely! Whether you are a professional drummer or a passionate hobbyist, having an audio interface is essential for recording drums with high-quality sound. While acoustic drums can be miked up and recorded using traditional methods, an audio interface takes your drum recording capabilities to the next level. It allows you to connect your drum kit to a computer or recording device, capturing every nuance of your performance with clarity and precision. With an audio interface, you can achieve professional-level drum recordings that rival those produced in top studios.

It opens up a world of possibilities, from multi-track recording to integrating virtual instruments and effects into your drum sessions. So, if you want to elevate your drum recordings and unlock the full potential of your talent, an audio interface is a must-have gear for any drummer.

What Is an Audio Interface?

Okay so the days are gone when you needed a sound blaster soundcard or massive external soundcard to record audio to a PC. An audio interface serves as the bridge between your musical instruments and microphones and your computer or recording device. The primary function of an audio interface is to convert analog audio signals from microphones and instruments into digital data that can be processed and recorded by your computer’s digital audio workstation (DAW).

In simpler terms, an audio interface allows you to connect your microphone, guitar, bass, keyboard, or other musical instruments to your computer, enabling you to record, edit, and produce music digitally. It acts as an external sound card, offering higher-quality audio conversion and more specialized features than those annoying old soundcards from the 90s.

Recording Drums on Mixer or Interface?

While traditional mixers have been used for drum recordings in the past, modern audio interfaces have become the preferred choice for many drummers and producers. Audio interfaces offer several advantages over mixers when it comes to drum recording.

Being designed specifically for digital recording, offering higher sample rates and bit depths, which results in more accurate and detailed recordings. Mixers, on the other hand, are primarily designed for live sound reinforcement or of course analog recording. Which is unmatched to producers of years gone by.

Secondly, audio interfaces offer more flexibility in terms of inputs and outputs. As mentioned earlier, drum recording requires multiple inputs to capture each drum and cymbal separately. Audio interfaces with multi-channel inputs are better suited for this purpose, allowing you to record each element of your drum kit individually and process them separately during mixing.

Finally, audio interfaces are designed to work seamlessly with modern digital audio workstations (DAWs). This integration enables you to take advantage of various software tools and plugins to enhance your drum recordings. Many audio interfaces come bundled with DAW software, providing a comprehensive recording and production solution. Which makes like easier and cheaper for bands and drummers.

What Audio Interface Is Best for Drums?

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
PreSonus Quantum 2626
PreSonus Quantum 2626

Right so we have covered about audio interfaces for drums. Now lets look at options when it comes to the interfaces themselves. We have an ultimate guide to audio interfaces if you think we missed anything.

We’ve picked out the popular and highly regarded audio interfaces that are well-suited for drum recording include:

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20: This interface offers eight mic preamps with excellent sound quality and low latency performance, making it ideal for recording drums with multiple microphones.

PreSonus Quantum 2626: With 26×26 I/O and high-quality preamps, this interface provides the necessary inputs and outputs for comprehensive drum recording and mixing.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII: Known for its top-notch audio conversion and onboard DSP processing, this interface is perfect for drummers who value audio quality and real-time plugin processing.

MOTU 828es: Featuring ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology and versatile I/O options, this interface provides pristine audio quality and extensive connectivity for drum recording and other musical projects.

Audient iD44: With four high-performance mic preamps and Burr-Brown AD/DA converters, this interface delivers excellent sound quality for drum recordings in a compact and portable package.

How Many Inputs Do You Need?

We listed off some big audio interfaces. But the number of inputs you need in an audio interface for drum recording depends on the complexity of your drum kit setup and your recording preferences. As a general rule of thumb, it’s advisable to have at least four inputs for recording drums effectively. This allows you to capture the individual elements of your drum kit, such as the kick, snare, toms, and cymbals, with separate microphones.

That being said having more inputs provides greater flexibility during the recording process, allowing you to experiment with different microphone placements and capture various sonic characteristics of your drum kit.

Moreover, having multiple inputs enables multi-track recording, where each drum element is recorded on a separate track. This approach gives you complete control over the mix during the post-production stage, allowing you to adjust the volume, EQ, and effects for each drum individually.

Missing anything else for your home studio?
We have an article that you can use as a checklist. Check it out here.


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