How To Connect Electronic Drums To Computer

  • By: Music Tech Geek
  • Date: April 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Nothing beats the excitement of creating a quality electronic drum sound. The advent of computers and the availability of software have made audio recording easy. The electronic drum is compatible with computers and offers various options for recording the drum sound on your computer or laptop.

Recording using acoustic drums involves setting up many microphones for the different cymbals and drums. The minimum amount of microphones you will use to get a quality sound on these drums is about twenty-five.

Also, you will need to sort out the phase issues and ensure sound levels are acceptable. With acoustic drums, it will always be a hassle. That is why people are switching to electronic drums.

This article will share how to connect electronic drums to a computer. Keep reading the article to get well-detailed information. Let’s get started!
What Do You Need To Record An Electronic Drum Sound?

Before I share with you the specific components, there are two things you will need despite the method you will be using to record your electronic drum sound. They include:

1. A computer
2. Digital Audio Workstation
a. Use of a computer

It is an essential tool that helps you house the software you will use for virtual instruments and audio recordings. When recording electronic drums, you do not need a powerful computer. Most basic desktop computers and laptops will run your software with no issues.

b. Using a DAW
Digital Audio Workstations are software where you mix, edit, export, and record audio. They have in-built virtual instruments to help you create music. Moreover, there are free software options such as Audacity and GarageBand (in Mac computers). There are also more advanced software options such as Ableton Live, Logic, and Tools, but you will need to pay for them.

Different Methods Of Recording Your Electronic Drum

There are two available methods of recording your electronic drums:
1. Recording Audio
2. Recording MIDI

Recording involves taking the audio output from the electronic drum set and recording the sound created into your electronic drum module. In contrast, using a MIDI interface in recording involves using the virtual instruments in your digital audio station.

Recording Of Audio In Electronic Drums

There are two methods you can use to record audio of your electronic drum depending on the kit you have:

1. Use of USB cable
2. Use of an audio interface

1. Use Of USB Cable
It is used in recording audio. A majority of the electronic drums have a USB port. It also means connecting the USB cable from your electronic drum to your computer. In this case, the drum kit is the audio interface. Moreover, you will need the following components:
· A USB cable
· Computer
· Electronic drum

Step By Step

1. Turn on your laptop or computer
2. Connect your computer to the electronic drum via the USB cable
3. Install drivers so that your computer recognizes your electronic drum
4. Then open your digital audio workstation recording software
5. After that, follow the digital audio workstation instructions to record your audio. Although most of them have a similar process that involves:
· Creating an audio track ( track> similar or new track)
· Selecting “input” for the track. Here you will select your electronic drum
· Arming the track (press the red button)
· After that, play your drums, then confirm if there is any signal coming from your track
· Press record and rock out!

2. Use of an audio interface

If your electronic drum does not have a USB port, you have to look for an audio interface to connect it to a computer. An audio interface will help you record the drum sound on your computer.

Using a USB, you will plug your microphones and instruments into the interface and connect them to your computer. Then you will record the sound and edit where necessary. Audio interfaces have different prices, but the ideal interface is Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. However, any interface will work provided it has two channels.
It is also essential to be mindful of your back electronic drum module. Since it will determine the type of audio cable you will use. If your drum module is Stereo Out, you need a tip ring sleeve cable. It has two black bands in the jack end region.

If your electronic drum has R and L outputs, you will use two TS cables. One cable will go to the right and the other will go to the left.

You will need the following components:
1 Computer
2. Electronic drum
3. Audio cable
4. Audio interface
5. A DAW
Step By Step
1 Turn on your laptop or computer
2. Use your USB cable to connect the audio interface on your computer
3. Connect the drum output using the audio cable into the interface. The TRS cable will have one input and the TS cable will have two inputs
4. Play your electronic drum and adjust the signals received on the audio interface. You adjust the signals using the gain knob to have a balanced level that does not have distorting or overloading
5. Open the digital audio workstation software and follow the instructions. The process is similar no matter your DAW software. It involves:
· Creation of an audio track. You will have to create two tracks for your two audio cables. As for a single Stereo, you will need one track
· On each track, select the correct input that matches your audio interface. (You will set the tracks to one and two for plugged cables input in one and two on the audio interface. For a stereo track, it will be a half)
· Arm the tracks using the red button
· Play your drums and confirm if there is a signal coming from your tracks
· Press record and rock it!
Recording Of Electronic Drum Using MIDI
Recording using MIDI is very different from using the drum module. Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) uses a computer language that translates information on pads that your drums create when hit. Moreover, recording using MIDI allows you to bypass the sound of your drum kit module; this will trigger virtual instruments in your DAW.
Recording using MIDI allows you to create the best sound than the in-built sound of your electronic kit. Furthermore, it offers the flexibility of changing the sound of your electronic drum after recording. Meaning you can create any synth drum plugins of your choice.
You will need the following components:
Check to ensure your drum kit module contains a USB port. If it has a port, you will only need a USB cable. If it does not have a USB port, you will need a USB to MIDI converter. Furthermore, if your audio interface contains a MIDI port, you can use it as a converter. The only thing you will need is a MIDI cable. The cable will connect the audio interface to the drum module.

If your electronic drum does not have a MIDI port or a USB port, it will not support MIDI connectivity.
Step By Step
1. Turn on your laptop or computer
2. Connect the drum kit on your computer through MIDI
3. Open the DAW on your computer or use the stand-alone virtual instrument drum such as (Addictive Drums, Steven Slate Drums, Superior Drummer, or Toontrack EZDrummer). Select your preferred plugin or kit if you are using DAW to create a MIDI track
4. Follow your DAW instructions or the software instructions to correctly map the drum pads on the instrument or MIDI channels. Most of the time, it maps the drums automatically for you
5. Press record and rock it!
Final Thoughts
In conclusion, the methods discussed above for connecting your electronic drum are the best. They will enable you to have a quality recorded sound from your electronic drum. For a beginner, you can start with an electronic drum with a USB port for connection and continue to grow until you learn how to use the MIDI connection.
Lastly, feel free to use this article as a guide to honing your skills of connecting an electronic drum with a computer. Thank you for reading through the article.

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