Record Drums with GarageBand

Record Drums with GarageBand ’11. The two mic method. We also cover some mixing tips!

Runtime: 56 min.

Synopsis:

GarageBand is a great program for getting your ideas out of your head into some speakers.  In this video guide from AudioPropellor, we look at all the ingredients that go into recording drums and how to use 2 affordable microphones and an audio interface to get a usable sound wherever you might be recording.  We use one microphone on the kick drum and one microphone overhead to capture an overall picture of the kit in mono.  These are not specialty microphones, but the kind you may have sitting around the practice room.  You can record drums with GarageBand – it’s not that hard!

The often daunting mixing and mastering process is also covered, to help you give your sounds more impact and volume.

Subjects discussed include:

Drum Tuning

Microphone choice and technique

Creating tracks for your microphones

Setting appropriate recording levels

Mixing – including the equalizing, gating and compression of our recordings

The guide is geared toward the beginner drum recordist, on a limited budget who is aiming for the best possible results.

If you have no clue on how to set up a system to record multiple microphones, check out the AudioPropellor Guide to Audio Gear for Your Computer

13 Comments
    • Thanks Matt!
      I’ve got an rme multiface interface that connects to my laptop with a expressCard. Then I plug a seventh circle audio preamp rack into the multiface on 1/4″ cables. Microphones plug into that using XLR cables. The unit with the knobs I’m the video is the SCA preamp, which is a kit I soldered together recently.

  1. Nice. I just got my macbook a few days ago and really want to learn how to use garage band to it’s full potential. I’m still an absolute retard when it comes to hooking it all up though. I just want to get a decent setup that I could self record with. Can you make any recommendations on the best/most affordable way to get into it? Also, if one of these days you could post a short clip on how you have your rig set up that would help n00bs like me out a lot.

    • Thanks for the suggestions. I was thinking about doing a little review of audio interfaces – there are so many choices in the sub $500 market.

      How many microphones to do want to record at the same time – 2, 4, more? Do you need to plug in any MIDI gear? Most new keyboards use USB connections, but some things need the older MIDI connecter, which some audio interfaces provide.

  2. This may be a bit of a foolish question, but how were you able to separate the two microphones within garageband? I currently have a mixer that I can plug into my computer using a quarter inch to a USB. But it keeps the drum recorded as a whole, rather than separating the kick from the snare from the rest of the set.

    • You would need to pan the kick to the left and the snare/overhead to the right and then manage to get a stereo signal to your computer. I’m not sure what a 1/4″ to USB adapter would do, but 1/4″ usually carries a mono signal – however it can technically carry a stereo signal. Your USB interface just needs to be able to handle the stereo signal.

  3. this has to be the most helpful tutorial ever.

    i have spent countless hours searching round youtube and asking people and they are telling me all this crap and telling me to download these things that just don’t work. But this tutorial, hit the nail on the head, got right down to the basic’s and you really explained it.

    I’m a up and coming drummer, i do a lot of session work, and I’m starting to get involved in bands and stuff now. I love garageband i think its great, its simple to use and also its FREE. I have always wanted to learn how to record live drums onto it and now i know, going to use garageband to its full potential, and I’m starting to record other live instruments on garageband as well.

    Nice one again thank you so much for this great tutorial.

  4. also one other thing, can anyone please tell me where i can find the AU-DynamicsProcessor plugin on line, if so that would be really helpful.

    Thanks Sean

    • Sean,
      Are you not seeing the plugin in the drop down menu in the ‘effects’ section? It is a built in Apple Audio Unit effect and should come with your Mac – perhaps this is not the case though.
      Sam

      • Hey Sam

        thanks for your reply, i was being a amateur, i thought that AU-DynamicsProcessor was a plug-in that you had to download from the internet, i didn’t realise that it came with garageband. Thanks for your help.

        And also i have just finished watching your video on how to record a song using garageband, and i would like to know what mic you used for recording your acoustic and voice. Im starting a little recording studio like yours in my music room in my house and I’m trying to find the best things at affordable prices and your mic looks good and also sounds good.

        Thanks Sean.

        Once again i love all your videos, they are so helpful.

        • Sean,
          I believe that’s an audio technica 4040. Probably not that affordable if you’re looking to buy a few other mics. I’d look at finding an sm57 or two first. I started out with the audio technica 2020 and a pair of rode nt5s.

          My next mic will probably be a sure sm7b. People seem to love them on lots of stuff.

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