How To Record Electronic Drums
Using electronic drums is one of the easiest ways to get a fantastic drum recording. You don’t need to have any knowledge of mics or mic placements. You also don’t need to go through a mixing and editing process that is as extensive as it would be for acoustic drums.
You simply need a few cables and some software, and you’ll be ready to record with your electronic kit. We’re going to talk through different ways of doing it.
Different Ways to Record Electronic Drums (USB, Audio Interface):
The most common way of recording electronic drums is via a USB cable. Most modern e-kits have USB ports on the module. You need to connect the module to your computer via a cable and then you’ll be able to play the electronic kit through a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
The other way would be via an audio interface. This method is a bit more complex, but still quite easy to use. Instead of using a USB cable, you need to connect the module to an interface with the use of XLR cables. The number of cables you need will depend on what module you’re using. The interface then connects to a computer via a USB cable.
Table of Contents
How To record Electronic Drums
Connecting your Electronic Drums to a Computer
You need to have a DAW for both of the above methods. A DAW is software that allows you to create and manipulate sounds. DAWs are the heartbeat of every studio as they’re the platform where all the work is done.
Your DAW will pick up the signal from the electronic kit whether it’s through USB or an interface. You’ll then be able to do all the recording work on the DAW.
You can get free DAWs such as GarageBand and Audacity. Some of the more expensive and professional DAWs would be Logic Pro X and Pro Tools.
Connecting Your Electronic Drums to a Phone
It’s entirely possible to connect your electronic drum kit to your phone. You’d just need to have some sort of adapter that connects your phone to a USB cable. You’d then be connecting the phone to the module via USB, the same way you would when connecting it to a computer.
Some DAWs will work on phones such as GarageBand. You can do all your recordings through that.
You also have the option of finding third-party programs that let you record the drums without using a DAW on your phone.
Recording Audio vs MIDI
There’s a very distinct difference between recording the audio of your electronic drums vs recording it via MIDI. When you record the audio, you’re getting all the sounds from the drum module. It would be similar to recording an acoustic kit.
When you record via MIDI, you’re recording the signals that all the drum pads send through to the computer. This gives you much more control as you can change the sounds of the notes. You can also move them around very easily once you’ve done the recording.
Recording via MIDI is how you can take the cheapest electronic kit and make it sound like a high-quality pro kit thanks to VSTs.
Using different Software options:
Audacity is a free multitrack editor that is incredibly easy to use. It’s typically the go-to software for anyone using Windows who doesn’t want to buy a fancy DAW. The layout is quite simple and easy to understand.
It’s the perfect option for anyone who doesn’t want to have all the bells and whistles of a professional program. It’s great for getting easy recordings, perhaps to use in videos or online lessons.
It’s limited, though. You may find yourself wanting more as you get more experienced with recording.
Cakewalk is another free software for Windows. It’s a bit more complex than Audacity, offering much more when it comes to studio work. You can compose, mix, master, and record.
The great thing about it is that it regularly receives quality-of-life updates. It’s very common for things that annoy and frustrate you to be fixed a few months down the road. That’s excellent service for software that is completely free to use.
GarageBand is arguably the most famous DAW as it comes already installed on most Apple devices. It’s only made for Apple products, so you can’t use it if you have a Windows computer.
The beauty of GarageBand is the simplicity it has. Most non-musicians end up fiddling around with it because it’s so simple to use and understand.
You can get a lot done with it, especially when recording your electronic drums. It also has some great VSTs to get better drum sounds than the one on your module.
Finally, you can use it on your phone, making it easy and convenient to do phone recordings if you have a USB adapter.
FL Studio is a loved DAW by music producers. It’s software that has been used to make beats for many years. It has a fairly strong recording tool as well, though. So, you can record electronic drums with it very well.
It has a free trial, but you can only save your projects once you’ve registered. This means that it’s primarily paid software.
We’d recommend using FL Studio if you’re interested in the electronic music world. You can use your electronic drums to create beats that will flow well while making music.
How do I record my electronic drums to my computer?
There are two ways of recording electronic drums to a computer, USB or audio. To record via USB, you simply need to connect a USB cable from the back of the drum module into your computer. To record the audio, you’d need to have an interface and connect it to the module via XLR cables.
Both methods would then need to be connected to a DAW on your computer. Some popular free DAWs are GarageBand and Audacity.
USB MIDI recording gives you control over all the sounds of the electronic kit. Audio recording takes the audio directly from the module. You can’t change and move the sounds around.
Can you record with electronic drums?
There have been hundreds of albums that have been recorded with electronic drums, especially in the electronic music scene. It’s often easier to record with electronic drums as you don’t need as much equipment or know-how to do it.
So yes, you can definitely record music with electronic drums. It will just never sound as authentic as an acoustic drum kit will. Some drummers also prefer the feel of acoustic drums when they’re recording.
How do you record yourself playing electric drums?
You would need to follow all the steps that we’ve mentioned above. If you want to have a video to go along with your recording, then you’d need to sync the recorded audio to the video.
You could use your phone or a camera to make the video recording. The next step would be to put the video on video editing software. A good free program to use is iMovie. Once the video is on there, import the recorded audio that you saved from the DAW.
Line the two files up so that you can see the sound waves matching. Once they match, you can delete the audio from the recording. You’ll now have the original video recording that is matched with the high-quality recorded audio.
How do I record electronic drums on my phone?
You can either use a DAW that is compatible with phones or you could use third-party software. You’re going to need a USB to phone adapter for both methods.
DAWs on a phone will work exactly the same as they would on your computer. You simply need to record via USB on the DAW and you’ll be good to go.
Third-party applications work in different ways. Some will allow you to record audio and video at the same time. Others will work similarly to DAWs.
Using electronic drums is a great way of making drum recordings without needing to know too much about sound engineering. It’s also cheaper as you won’t need a full set of drum mics and stands. You simply need to plug the electronic kit into your computer, and then you’re ready to go.
Many online drum teachers use electronic drums when teaching lessons as it’s so easy to get a great sound. You could also record albums on an e-kit if you really wanted to. Having MIDI capabilities with drums is incredibly useful. You’d be able to get sounds that you’d never get out of an acoustic kit.
The great thing about recording electronic drums is that you don’t need the fanciest kit to get a great recording. You just need cables and a computer.