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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best drum recording interfaces.
I’ve compared build quality, features, performance and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Interface For Recording Drums?
Drum Recording Interface Reviews
The winner of the best interface for recording drums is the affordable Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface. This is the best drum recording interface for any drummer looking to get started with recording drums.
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 is packed with pro-level features and 8 excellent quality mic preamps that offer incredible clarity. The interface utilizes high-performance converters that enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.
This drum interface is the perfect tool for turning any space into a fully-fledged recording studio. It has 8 balanced XLR inputs which is more than enough to accommodate for a full set of drum microphones and overhead drum microphones. It has a total of 18 inputs and 20 outputs of incredible sound quality.
The interface is easy and straightforward to use, even for beginners. Each knob corresponds to a different microphone channel input and there is an intuitive display. The USB connectivity allows for seamless integration to any computer, and Focusrite uses streamlined software for connectivity called Focusrite Control.
The Scarlett 18i20 interface features ultra-low latency that means your drum recordings won’t suffer any lag or delay. This is really important to prevent drum recordings from sounding out of time, and another reason why this is the best drum recording interface for those starting out.
Last but not least, the Scarlett 18i20 includes a copy of Pro-Tools, meaning you can get started with drum recordings right away and you don’t need to spend extra on a DAW! This drum recording interface boasts fantastic, clean sounds and it’s the best audio interface for those looking to record drums from home.
- Converts any space into a fully-fledged recording studio
- 8 Excellent quality mic preamps offer incredible clarity
- Pro Tools digital audio workstation included for free!
- Very low latency for tracking
- Setup can take a little while
- No manual included
A close runner up for the best audio interface for drums is the incredible Universal Audio Apollo, which is a world class audio interface that is packed with the very best sound quality features, processors and preamps.
This is a top of the range audio interface that boasts pristine AD/DA converters and UAD’s proprietary HEXA core processing for flawless plug-in integration. This interface offers the best specs in the industry.
The Apollo produces gorgeous and lush open sounds from the converters that deliver optimum audio quality between 129db dynamic range and -118db. This is the lowest signal-to-noise ratio of any interface available.
The elite Unison preamps included offer a huge dynamic range and natural, crisp voicing that delivers unparalleled sound quality. The interface utilizes Dual Crystal clocking for producing pristine sounds.
You can find UAD Apollos in professional recording studios around the world because of their array of pro-level features and their legendary preamps with Unison technology. Recording drums with the UAD Apollo will bring incredible sonic detailing, texture and power to your recordings.
Also included with the Apollo interface is the Realtime Analog Classics Plug-In Bundle, which are some of the most accurate emulations of analog audio equipment ever created. These plug-ins sound amazing and they add immense depth, colour and character to your recordings.
- Dual Crystal clocking supplies pure, artifact-free recording and solid stereo imaging
- Includes the UAD Realtime Analog Classics Plug-In Bundle
- Crisp voicing from the eight elite Unison preamps
- Converters offer incredible sonic detailing, texture and clarity
- Expensive price tag
- Better suited to expert producers
- Only 4 XLR direct inputs
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 Audio Interface is the best audio interface for recording drums on a budget! This is an incredible value piece of equipment that features 8 state-of-the-art MIDAS designed mic preamps that offer pristine sound quality.
Despite its affordable price tag, this is powerful and highly versatile audio interface that is perfect for recording drums. It is ultra easy to use for beginners and delivers professional audio quality.
The USB connectivity is blazingly fast and the interface works seamlessly with any preferred DAW, such as Logic, Pro Tools or Cubase. The UMC1820 offers zero-latency recording, which means you can record drums without experiencing any delay or lag in the returning signal.
The UMC1820 is a powerful recording interface that takes advantage of exceptional 24-bit/ 192 kHz converters for its price range. The 8 included XLR inputs will allow you to record a full drum set plus overhead mics and even a room mic.
The Behringer UMC1820 offers exceptional value for money and it features preamps that give some more expensive competitors a run for their money. The overall construction and build quality of the unit is of a very high standard, which is testament to the German design and engineering.
If you are looking for the best interface for recording drums and you are on a budget, then look no further. This is a very impressive piece of hardware that boasts an array of pro-level features and at a very affordable price. It is perfect for small home studio setups and will help you capture quality drum sounds.
- The best audio interface for recording drums on a budget
- Pro-grade MIDAS preamps for pristine clarity
- Robust build quality
- Low latency recording
- No software included
- Lack of installation support
The Presonus Studio 1824C USB Audio Interface is a full-featured studio quality audio interface that is ideal for producers and drummers looking at recording a full drum set. It’s an affordable yet high quality interface with ample connectivity and an ultra-high-definition sound.
The Presonus Studio 1824C takes advantage of professional grade XMAX mic preamps that deliver high headroom, deep lows, smooth highs and a rich overall sound.
This drum interface has been designed to offer a portable and high definition recording solution to aspiring producers at an affordable price.
With high quality mic preamps, easy-to-use on-board monitor mixing and quality converters, the Presonus Studio 1824C USB audio interface is one of the best audio interfaces for recording drums on the market. It offers studio-quality sound at a great price.
This is a complete all-in-one recording package that is perfect for home studios and it is compact enough for easy transportation for remote recording. The high quality XMAX preamps alongside the 24-bit/ 192 kHz conversion makes this an amazing drum mic interface for even the most demanding producers.
- Professional grade XMAX mic preamps
- High quality 24-bit/ 192 kHz conversion
- Low latency
- Studio quality sound at a great price
- Focusrite and Behringer interfaces offer better value
- No stereo monitoring
- Presonus software is clunky and sometimes problematic
Last but not least we have the Behringer UMC404HD Audio Interface, and this is a compact 4-channel interface that is perfect for smaller drum recording sessions, where all you need is 4 microphones.
The Behringer UMC404HD is the ultimate compact studio in a box. It takes advantage of 4 astonishingly pure MIDAS mic preamps, which include +48 volt phantom power for condenser overhead microphones It all runs through studio-grade converters for supreme sound quality.
The best thing about this particular drum mic interface is the price. It comes in at such an affordable price and it’s so easy to use. The UMC404HD works seamlessly with any DAW and the USB connectivity makes it a breeze to work with.
Much like its bigger brother – the UMC 1820, the UMC404HD also has zero-latency direct monitoring and the same on-board features to help your drums sound amazing.
If you want to record drums with 4 microphones, then this is the best drum recording interface for you. It really is an exceptional piece of equipment for the money and it will help you obtain quality sounds with minimal fuss.
- +48 volt phantom power for condenser microphones
- Pure MIDAS preamps
- Best audio interface for recording drums with 4 mics
- Low latency recording
- Only 4 XLR mic inputs limits recording flexibility
How To Use a Drum Recording Interface
In addition to a drum set, you’re going to need a computer, microphones, stands, XLR cables, and an audio interface with enough microphone inputs for the number of microphones you plan on using to record.
You will need to use a computer that will connect to your new drum recording interface via USB or thunderbolt connectivity. Most modern recording interfaces use USB because it’s quick and nearly all computers utilize USB.
Your computer will need to have a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) loaded onto it, which will essentially function as a digital recording studio.
The most popular DAWs are Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase and Ableton Live. These programs remove the necessity for an enormous multi-million pound recording studio. You will have the ability to record, edit and mix all the channels directly on your laptop.
Of course you will need your drum set and the best cymbals you can get your hands on for a drum recording session. For the recording session its best practice to buy brand new drumheads because they will simply sound better than worn in drumheads. New drumheads will noticeably enhance the sound of the drums for the recording.
Correct drum tuning is essential for achieving a good drum tone. Tune up your drumheads slowly counter clockwise up from a loose tension (finger tight tension rods around the drum) with a quarter of a turn of a drum key until you have reached your rough desired pitch and the tension rods are all equally tensioned around the drum. From here you can fine-tune to get the lugs to an identical pitch. This means the drum is now evenly tuned.
Once you have a space to record and your drums are nice and in tune, you will need to set up your microphones and connect them to your new drum recording interface via XLR cables. Check out the following video which will help offer some guidance on how to set up microphones onto the drum set.
With all of the microphones set up, plugged in and the channels loaded into your recording software, run a test take and listen carefully for any rattles, buzzes or other source of unwanted noise.
Each microphone should be delivering a clear signal into each respective channel in the DAW.
At this point, once everything is set up to how you like, it is very important to not move anything! To succeed with consistent results you must not tamper with any microphone positions during the recording session.