Recording Drums as Midi

A friend is a drummer and a bit of a technophobe. He hs asked me how he could record a drum track at home so that he could then take it into a studio to add other instrruments / vocals etc. He has a basic laptop and recording an acoustic kit outside of a studio is not an option for him.

We are thinking of midi as ths means he can then load the file into the studio’s DAW and use a greater variety of sounds.

I’ve used Audacity for some years and I know it says you can import midi data, but can you record it if so and how?

As he is a drummer I expect that he will want to “play” drums rather than program a MIDI drum track. In which case you would need some sort of MIDI triggers (such as a MIDI drum kit or MIDI drum pads and then record them with a MIDI sequencer (

Audacity does not currently record or play MIDI.

Alternatively he can record the drums as an audio recording.
Audacity can do this, but as a minimum you will require 2 (preferably more) microphones, a mixing desk (as many mic channels as the mics that you are using) and a reasonable quality sound card with line level inputs.

Alternatively it is possible to make reasonable recordings of drums with stand alone portable recorders (such as the Zoom H2 and similar), provided that you have a room with reasonable acoustics to record in. Audacity can be used to edit and process the recording.

Acoustic drums are rough because you are in essence playing five different instruments covering the full range of human hearing and separated by space. The bass drum is down there, the high-hat is up here… etc. You can totally mic that with one microphone – in a studio. If you have a room with hard walls, floor, ceiling or all of them, you’re dead. You’re stuck with miking each drum or series of drums, or play digital pads and going the total MIDI route.

In that case, you can save Audacity to mix the final track later.

Just another note, you don’t have to use the drummer as timer. You can also use the Audacity built-in click track and lay down the instruments in any order you wish. The drummer can call in sick and you can put him in later with overdubbing.