Record Electronic Drums

I am trying to record my Alesis DM6 Electronic Drumset with Audacity. I have a cable that plugs into the usb 2.0 port on the drum, and then plug the other end into my laptop. when I hit record, all I hear is the drumsticks hitting the pads, not the sound of the drums. How do I record the drums?

You are probably recording your built-in microphone, not the drum instruments. It probably records the dog barking, too. What kind of computer is it?


Toshiba with windows 7.

The USB output from the kit is a MIDI thing to interface with “drum module software” installed on a computer …

…a USB output that sends the notes you play out as MIDI signal, so you can use the DM6 as a trigger-to-MIDI interface with drum-module software such as BFD, Toontrack, or Reason for a limitless collection of sounds.

MIDI does not transmit an audio signal

Audacity doesn’t speak MIDI.

To get Audacity to record the drum sound generated by the drum kit* you’ll need to use one of the other drum machine outputs …

DM6 Module

Kits: 10 Preset, 5 User Kits
Patterns: 40 Preset, 1 User
Sounds: 108
Inputs: 1/8" stereo mix-in, 25-pin D-sub for cable snake
> Outputs: 1/8" stereo master, 1/8" headphone
USB for trigger-to-MIDI interface
Power: 9V AC, adapter included

I’m guessing the ‘1/8" stereo master’ is a ‘line-out’ and should be fed into your computer’s ‘line-in’. NB …

Do not plug stereo equipment into your computer’s “Microphone” port. This port is usually designed only for low level, mono microphone input. It will produce distortion if you connect phono amplified output. Use the “Line In” port if you have one (on some laptops or other portable computers, the “Mic” port can be switched to a line-level input).

[* as opposed to sounds generated by the computer which are triggered by the MIDI signal from the drum kit]

So the USB won’t work?

I hate it when Best Buy lies to me…

and does that mean the cable I got for guitar to USB wont work either? For guitar I need a 1/4 to 1/8 cable?

The sound generated by the electronic drum kit which you can hear on headphones plugged into the kit is not present on the USB cable.
You’ll need to use the “stereo master” or headphone outputs to feed that drum sound into your computer’s “line-in” socket.

If you have “drum-module software” installed on the computer, the USB link is used to trigger sounds generated by the computer, e.g. you hit a drum and the computer barks like a dog. These computer-generated midi-triggered sounds could be recorded by Audacity … Redirecting to:

USB can only accept digital signals, electric guitars produce an analogue signal.

To get an electric guitar sound into your computer via USB port you need one of these devices which has an analogue-to-digital converter circuit in it …

or a similar device which will accept analogue signals, (e.g. from your electronic drumkit), …

If your computer has a “line-in” socket you don’t need one of these analogue-to-digital converter thingies.

Audacity is one of the most incredible tools for online recording. In fact, I use it almost everyday. When I first started to use it, I was confused at different points, but my son helped me through it.

Most of what I do on Audacity is edit mp3s, so I have never used any musical instruments with it, but plan to. In fact, I am going to purchase an Alesis Dm6 after reading the reviews. In the coming weeks I want to lay down some drum tracks along with my guitar and bass.

I’m excited to see what I can do with my audacity tool with my own music!

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