For many years, there’s a debate between acoustic vs electric drums. Which is better? Which sounds better? Why drummers prefer acoustic drums?
I will share with you my honest opinion about which one I believe is better for mixing and home recording studio purposes.
Recording With Acoustic Drums
To get a great sound with acoustic drums is difficult.
Taking into consideration one of the laws of mixing that the “80% of a great sound comes from the source of the sound” then we can easily say that in order to get a great sound we need:
- Expensive and High-Quality Drums: Each and every part of the drum kit must be of high quality.
- Expensive – High Quality Mics, for each and every seperate drum and lots of room mics to capture the room sound and use it in our mix.
- A Custom Made Room that we must have spent thousands of dollars for proper acoustic treatment and soundproofing. (lots of bands move abroad to record their drums in specific studios just for the sound that their specific ROOM MICS have to offer!)
- Lots of cables, room to place the drums, room for the console that will support this complex connectivity.
- And the list goes on and on…
Acoustic VS Electric Drums
The Reasons I Prefer Electronic Drums As a Music Producer
Today’s music technology is superb.
It’s so easy for someone with a home studio to own all of the above, to achieve a $10.000+ drum sound in his mixes and he can even sell that sound – or give it away – as sound samples.
With just 2-3 clicks we can have professional sounding drum sounds and the quality of our mix can easily make the listener think that we recorded the drums in a professional recording studio.
Even the most famous producers that don’t have financial problems, like to use samples, so they can create new sounds, experiment or even save time creating a specific sound from scratch. They just load the sample and they are ready to go!
I think there’s a misunderstanding about the electronic drums and I think this misunderstanding comes from the drum players themselves.
They claim that they prefer acoustic drums cause they love the way the drum hit feels when the drum stick hits the drums, which is something that I cannot disagree with.
While I do agree with the above though, we must not forget that we can find in the market fantastic electronic drum kits that instead of their usual “plastic” feel they have the acoustic kit feel.
As you can imagine, the prices for these kits are beyond cheap… But they really worth it! Especially for production purposes they really really rock.
We help the drummer to play on an electronic drum kit the… “acoustic” way, plus we have the professional sound we’re looking for without the drawbacks I’ve mentioned before (thousands of dollars for cables, drum kit, room, soundproofing etc)
Electronic Drums Are Acoustic Drums Inside A Sample
When people hear the phrase “electronic drums” it comes to their mind a weird, fake, not polished drum sound.
These days are over though. We live in 2015 and we need to realize that the way we record, mix and master evolves too.
What I am doing right now is to let my drummers record on acoustic drums because they are used to them. I also have the opportunity to record with high quality drum kits, but I like to experiment.
I keep 70% of the sound that the acoustic kit provides me with and I can also use some high quality professional sounding samples. The result? Outstanding!
Drum Recording Engineers Think The Exact Opposite
I know I’ll probably be bashed with some “learn how to mic” and “recording drums is becoming a lost art with all these s***ty samples” comments by drum recording engineers.
I will be real. Recording drums IS an art, never doubt it that.
But not every single person in the world needs, wants or even gives a damn about learning that art. Music producers that compose orchestral music with kontakt libraries just want to get the job done, as quickly as possible with the highest audio quality.
Think about it: If you bash someone for not recording his own drums and call him names or “not being experienced enough” because he’s using samples, should we apply the same logic we should all own a damn orchestra in our studio and player-slaves waiting for our inspiration to strike, instead of just using kontant libraries.
If it wasn’t for samples, most people wouldn’t even respect or know the hard work that drum recording engineers put! Samples don’t take your job as a drum recording engineer, on the contrary it kinda enforces you to be better and steps up your game.
If you’re sure that you rock as a drum recording engineer then just create your own samples and show them of to the world. Use some promotion methods to the right audience and if your samples are really worth and sell, then you wouldn’t complain about this “lost art” right?
Step up your game just like CLA and Steven Slate did…
Here’s a video that shows us that electronic drums are in fact acoustic drums inside a sample.
Yeah the sound of the “old era” of the electronic drums was poor and unprofessional. But now we can have a professional sounding acoustic kit… saved in our hard disc drive!
Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork Drummer) performing
Soilwork’s “Leech” on an e-kit.
What are your thoughts about acoustic vs electric drums? Leave a comment below!
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