Monday, February 17, 2014

Selling Out

Sometime over a year ago Dave Wolf suggested he just get an electronic kit and that would solve our issues with bass guitar getting into the drum tracks (which, at the time, I was trying to record with only three mics). I suggested we go with bass going D.I. and using a headphone mixing system instead.
And now I'm thinking we should do both.
Yeah. Both.
Electronic drums and D.I. everything else. (And yeah, that must needs includes guitars at least most of the time.)

Doing recordings using a fully electronic drum kit, bass direct, and using guitar amp emulations is not entirely a new idea but it's way not the "cool" way to record a live band. It does, however, offer a lot of advantages. For instance we could work at my studio or my apartment and have a super party down without bothering anyone. 

Cons:
  • Electronic drums are not as fun
  • Emulated guitar amps won't sound as good (although it's my contention that emulations do a good job of dirty amps, not clean amps.)
  • My little ritual of going to Hanco's on Smith Street to get a bubble tea before rehearsal.
  • We need six outputs from the drums: kick, snare, stereo cymbals, stereo toms. Right? Most single modules do not allow this so we'd have to get multiple modules.
  • Monitoring will be a tad more of a pain in the tuchus
  • Electronic drums are a bit sterile and have to be dirtied up to sound good (or at least to sound less giant 80's-90's.
  • Electronic drum kits are freaky deaky expensive. Like the price of a very high-end acoustic kit. Well, at least for the high end ones.

Pros:
  • In the end, the sound quality will be album-quality.
  • We can replace the guitars with amped guitars. In fact, we can entirely mute a guitar and it really disappears. So when somebody makes a mistake (me) it can easily be cut out.
  • We can do overdubs with completely clean backing tracks.
  • We save about $1800/year in rehearsal space costs.
  • We don't have to deal with how loud other bands are in the rehearsal studio.Their leakage can't bother us.
  • My least favorite sound (snares vibrating whenever a guitar player does anything) won't happen.
  • What's a more comfy place than my apartment? 
  • The Yamaha controllers have what they call a "vintage" kit and it really does sound pretty good.

It may be that the "best" kit is some kind of combination of Roland and Yamaha. I dunno. Roland for the snare and toms and Yamaha for the cymbals? Or maybe the other way around.

Update: my office might be a better location. And a guitar amp (at least one) could run in the VO booth. 

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