td_12sv_studio_galOver the last several years, companies like Roland, Yamaha and Alesis have all improved their electronic drum kits to the point where they can pretty much be considered as playable as an acoustic kit. Just like the way we have acoustic and electric guitarists, we may be moving to an era where we have acoustic and electric drummers!  

More and more studios are opting to have V Drums or similar in the studio because of the flexibility and control they offer. However, a lot of drummers who play acoustic drums are unconvinced, so I thought I’d offer my two pence on the advantages of using an electronic kit in the studio.

Advantages of V Drums

  • V Drums enable you to record directly into your DAW without a microphone in sight. So you can capture a whole performance in MIDI and then edit, quantise, and change the sounds with huge flexibility.
  • This saves you time in the studio as micing drums is notoriously time consuming. And saving time in the studio usually means you’re saving money. The time saved is actually really considerable, and it could mean you’re able to record more songs.
  • They’re already in the studio, all set up and ready to go. So drummers don’t need to transport and set up, then mic up, and then tear down their kits.
  • Playing live with V Drums means there’s no leakage. It’s very difficult to record a live band with a drum kit without the drums leaking into all the other instrument mics in the room.
  • The recorded MIDI can be used with multiple sound sample libraries such as Slate, BFD, EZ Drummer, Addictive Drums to name a few. Most of these sample libraries are recorded by famous professionals in legendary studios using incredible drum kits, and they sound fantastic. The end listener is hard pressed to tell the difference between samples and a real kit.
  • The quality of recent kits means they’re just as playable in terms of feel as an acoustic kit. The mesh heads, hats, and cymbals all respond to nuances like real drums, whether it’s rolls, flame, chokes, rim shots, or the area of the drum or cymbal you hit.
  • You can experiment with crazy sounds and samples assigned to the drums which is great for electronic music, and just great fun in general.

Acoustic Kits

  • If you have the time, and you really want acoustic drums, then go for it! recording a kit does bring with it a plethora of obstacles and challenges, but it’s hugely rewarding when you get just the sound you wanted. Perhaps the biggest point being it’s YOUR sound – the sound of your kit. If the sound of your drums is integral to the sound of your music, then record that! If it’s not so much your kit, then you can be open to experimenting with other kits or electronic drums.
  • Some drummers will give their best performances on a real kit, and so that’s sometimes the best thing to record.
  • Sometimes the sound you WANT when you’re recording a live band is the sound that comes from everything playing in the same room together. That can glue the band together and really make it sound like it’s live.
  • Real drums are authentic to play and to listen to. There is an art and a craft in getting a great recording of an acoustic kit. 

What do you think? If you’re a drummer are you happy to play an electric kit in the studio or do you have objections? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.