An interface for recording drums is a crucial component in capturing the best recording. A drum interface is a great addition to any electronic drumkit, especially if you’re recording through a computer.
The Best Interface for Recording Drums Reviewed in this Guide
Firstly, drum interfaces can easily hook to a module— usually through a ¼” jack. Secondly, they can convey drum signals from electronic drums clearly to a Digital Audio Workstation.
Of course, an interface for recording drums would also work with an acoustic drumkit. However, it requires the use of a drum mic kit and a mixer. Consequently, making the cost of recording acoustic drums more costly in comparison.
Back in the day, you’ll have to go rent a studio for a sizeable sum of money just to record, mix, and master a song. However, the advent of affordable audio interfaces has caused a great increase in bedroom music producers. In addition, these interfaces also made music production accessible to musicians from all skill levels.
Therefore, if you’re looking for the best drum audio interface, you’re in the right place. In this guide, I collected 6 of the best interface for recording drums in the market.
The Most Affordable Interface for Recording Drums
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface for Recording Drums
The Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen is a living testament that quality doesn’t always come with a hefty price tag. That’s why if you’re looking for professional-level performance without breaking the bank, this is the interface for you!
Focusrite utilizes its finest mic pre-amps to provide users with top-tier audio recordings in any instrument and vocal style. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo has a capacity of 24-bit/192kHz, providing users with a clear and detailed recording. This interface also boasts an air mode for that extra clarity during recording sessions.
Furthermore, Focusrite uses two low-noise balanced outputs, providing users with a crystal clear playback without all the unwanted noise. That’s why if you’re a bedroom musician on a budget, you can never go wrong with the Focusrite Scarlett.
- Scarlett mic pre-amp with Air mode
- Easy start tool
- 24-bit/192kHz converters
- TRS L/R monitor output
- Low-latency recording
What separates the Focusrite Scarlett Solo from its competitors is its high-performance 24-bit/192kHz converters that allow for a clear recording. In addition, the Scarlett Solo utilizes a halo level indicator, allowing users to easily monitor their gain when recording. Not to mention, this drum audio interface is highly affordable.
One gripe I have on the Focusrite Scarlett Solo is its scarcity of input and outputs. Consequently, requiring users to utilize a mixer. However, considering the price you’re paying for it, it’s still a bargain in my book.
2 Great Interface for Recording Drums under $200
Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD Interface for Recording Drums
If you’re not convinced with the Scarlett Solo’s scarcity of input channels, then the UMC404HD is perfect for you. Priced under $200, the Behringer UMC404HD features 4 channels— which is enough for a 4-piece drum set.
Similar to the Scarlett Solo, the Behringer UMC404HD also features 24-bit/192kHz converters. Paired with the Midas-designed mic pre-amp, this interface delivers an extremely clear recording with high headroom.
Furthermore, Behringer implements a direct monitor function on the UMC404HD, allowing it to deliver a zero-latency performance when recording. This interface also supports a headphone and monitor function with L/R capabilities.
- 24-bit/192kHz converters
- Direct monitoring function
- Midas-designed mic preamp
- 4-channel input
- Built-in +48V phantom power
Behringer designed the UMC404HD drum audio interface with 4 input channels, allowing it to handle a 4-piece drumkit alone. In addition, it also features the same 24-bit/192kHz converters that capture instruments with clarity.
If you’ll get this 4-channel interface for recording drums, you’ll have to make do with a single overhead mic. Nevertheless, the product’s phantom power allows condenser mics to perform quite well with cymbal hits.
PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2 Audio Interface
Small but terrible, that’s what the words I’d use to describe the PreSonus Studio 24C. This nimble drum audio interface features a 24-bit/192kHz operation that enables clear and well-defined recordings. In addition, the PreSonus Studio 24C comes with the XMAX-L mic preamps that allow for a detailed recording. Whether be it a guitar’s natural harmonics or the thumping lows of bass drums, this interface won’t let you down.
PreSonus also features an input monitor in front of the interface. As a result, enabling users to have a visual of their input and output levels. In addition, the PreSonus Studio 24C utilizes a mix control that allows for straightforward level control.
Every purchase of the PreSonus Studio 24C comes with the Studio One Artist— an incredible interface for recording drums. Moreover, the bundle also consists of Ableton Live Lite DAW and Studio Magic Plug-In Suite. These inclusions provide users with over $1,000 worth of DAWs and plug-ins.
- 24-bit/192kHz converters
- 2 XMAX-L mic preamps
- Ladder-style level monitor
- Studio One Artist and Studio Magic Plug-in Suite
- Ableton Live Lite DAW Software
PreSonus designed the Studio 24C 2×2 as a compact interface, allowing users to save desk space. Aside from size, the interface also features direct monitoring to eliminate latency when recording. What makes this product even better is its inclusion of various DAW and plug-ins.
Like the Scarlett Solo Interface, this product also features a 2-in/2-out format. Therefore, requiring drummers to utilize a mixer when using it as an interface for recording drums.
2 Premium-Level Compact Interface for Bedroom Producers
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 Mk2
With the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 MK2, you don’t even need a drumset to record drums!
Firstly, the Native Instruments MK2 interface for recording drums features a 24-bit/192kHz recording that delivers a detailed result. The MK2 also comes with a 4 analog in/out and 2 digital in/out. In addition, it also comes with a MIDI in/out which we’ll tackle later.
Secondly, the interface features a USB 2.0 bus power, allowing the product to run without the need for a PSU. However, if you’re using a condenser mic for cymbals, this interface also comes with a 48V to enhance its performance.
What makes this product extremely great is its MIDI connectivity since Native Instruments has its DAW! Therefore, you can use a beat machine with keyboard paired with the right plug-in to record exquisite drum tones.
- 24-bit/192kHz converters
- 4 analog in/out and 2 digital in/out
- Direct Monitoring feature
- Built-in channel switching and blending capability
- 4 LED input and 1 LED output monitor
- Big volume control knob
The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 MK2 boasts specifications that fit the needs of electronic drumkit and MIDI drummers. It also works excellently with both acoustic and electronic drumkits in any environment thanks to its software bundle.
One minor inconvenience that the Komplete Audio 6 poses are its weak headphone output. I wouldn’t advise users to use this with headphones for electronic drums when monitoring a track. In addition, this product doesn’t have 5-pin MIDI ports.
M-Audio AIR 192|14 Interface for Recording Drums Bundle
The M-Audio AIR 192 looks the same as other 4-channel drum audio interfaces within its price point. The M-Audio AIR 192|14 features the standard 24-bit/192kHz sound resolution you’ll find within a regular interface. In addition, it also features a low-latency performance through its USB-C circuitry, eliminating unwanted latency.
The M-Audio AIR192|14 begins to show its edge over other drum audio interfaces when we start to look at its specifications. This drum audio interface features Transparent Crystal preamps and A/D converters, bringing its performance to its A-game.
Furthermore, M-Audio constructed the AIR19|14 with 4 XLR, ¼” TRS inputs, 2 ¼” line, and 2 ¼” instrument inputs. On the other hand, it also features ¼” stereo outputs that are paired with a mono/stereo switch. The interface also boasts 5-pin MIDI in/out ports, allowing users to use MIDI keyboards as a drum machine.
To complete the set, M-Audio includes 10 premium software, such as Ableton Live Lite, Creative FX Collection, and ReValver. This bundle also comes with 2GB worth of samples that users can utilize in their recordings.
- 24-bit/192kHz audio resolution
- Transparent Crystal preamps
- Ultra-pristine A/D Converters
- 5-pin MIDI in/out
- USB-C Circuitry
- Premium Software Collection
This product is an incredible interface for recording drums. First, it provides users with numerous necessary studio software and DAWs, which is beneficial for beginners starting from scratch. Second, unlike the Komplete Audio 6, this drum audio interface comes with a 5-pin MIDI port.
This interface’s software driver setup is grueling in comparison with other offerings in this guide.
The Best Interface for Recording Drums in 2022
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface
Drummers with a wide array of drums and cymbal sets would require multiple channels for it to work. In addition, this requires lots of miking and mixing, which calls for an extremely versatile and flexible drum audio interface. Luckily, the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen is here to save the day!
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen Interface comes with 8-channels with Scarlett mic preamps. In addition, this feature comes with Air, allowing users to mic guitar amplifiers and vocals with extreme clarity. That’s what makes this audio interface an incredible all-around studio interface.
Moreover, the Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen comes with dual ADAT optical in and out ports. As a result, users can add eight inputs and outputs at 48kHz each. This makes the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 more than enough to mic a huge drum rig or even a whole band.
Focusrite also includes software, such as the Avid Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, and more. The interface is compatible with the Focusrite Control, enabling users to control their mixes through their smartphone or computer.
- 24-bit/192kHz audio quality
- 8 balanced input with Scarlett mic preamps and Air
- 4 monitor out with anti-thump tech
- 2 High-headroom instrument inputs for guitars
- ADAT optical in and out ports
- Focusrite Control compatible
- Free Premium Software Bundle
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 boasts 8 inputs that are expandable up to 16 through the interface’s ADAT optical ports. Therefore, making this interface enough for miking up a large drumkit or even a band within a live setting. Each input also has its visual monitor and volume knob, providing users with the best gain control possible when recording.
The Scarlett 18i20 is extremely larger than other drum audio interfaces. Thus, requiring users to get a rack for storage. This interface is also the most expensive offering on this guide.
What Should I Look for When Buying an Interface for Recording Drums?
To get the best recording performance, buyers should look for drum audio interfaces that feature great specifications. The last thing you’ll want is an interface that doesn’t sound good as promised on paper. That’s why I crafted this buyer’s guide to help you identify the features to look for when buying an interface.
Let’s face it, acoustic drumkits are frustrating to mic up. Even a portable drumkit would require at least 4-channels to mic the bass, tom, snare, and cymbals. However, if you have a larger drumkit, you’ll have to go with expandable 8-channels like the Scarlett 18i20 interface. Conversely, if you have an e-drum with a module, you can hook it up straight within a single input.
In conclusion, drummers with an acoustic drumkit should go for 4-8 channels when buying an interface for recording drums. On the other hand, if you have an electronic drumkit, you can easily hook your module through a single input.
Audio Resolution and Quality
All drummers, including me, want the best sounding drum sound when tracking and recording. That’s why buyers should find drum audio interfaces that feature adequate audio resolution and quality.
Good audio quality would be around 16-bit to 24-bit with a sampling (signal processing) frequency from 96kHz up to 192kHz. These figures mean that the sound you’re recording is capable of replicating the range of sound of its source material. Therefore, buyers should find an interface with 24-bit/192kHz converters for the best sound possible.
Budget-tier drum audio interfaces don’t typically come with free DAWs and software. However, buying an interface bundled with premium-level software can go a long way, especially if you’re starting from scratch.
In this light, I would recommend buyers find drum audio interfaces with bundled DAWs, Software, and plug-ins. These inclusions help buyers start with their drum recording and music production journey right off the bat.
Still, buyers should understand that they are paying for the licenses of bundled software at a discounted price. That’s why these types of deals are more expensive than a standalone interface for recording drums.
Frequently Asked Questions about Drum Audio Interfaces
What interface is best for recording drums?
Today, the best interface for recording drums in the market is the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen. Its features allow users to easily mic up their drumkit using the interface’s 8 up to 16 interfaces. However, this interface comes at a premium.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly interface, here are my top 5 picks for you:
- Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
- Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD
- PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 Mk2
- M-Audio AIR 192|14 – USB Audio Interface for Recording Drums
What is an audio interface for drums?
An audio interface for recording drums and guitars are devices that utilize preamps to record sound straight to a pc. Drum audio interfaces allow drummers to connect their drum mics for recording.
In addition, interfaces also allow users to preserve the quality of their instrument’s sound. Consequently providing them with well-detailed tones for mixing and mastering.
How do you record drum interface?
Here are 7 simple steps to use your interface for recording drums:
- Position your microphones around your drumkit.
- Connect microphones to an interface’s inputs.
- Tweak the channels’ volume to avoid clipping.
- Connect the interface’s USB to your computer.
- Run your preferred DAW.
- Set up your DAW’s input and output according to your preference.
- Play, record, and enjoy!
Do I need an interface for electronic drums?
If your electronic drum comes with a USB-capable drum module, you can record with that straight to your computer. However, a drum audio interface allows you to further customize your sound by utilizing your drum and interface’s MIDI feature.
In a nutshell, owning an interface is not essential when you already have a good drum module. Still, it’s better to have one, especially if you’re a multi-instrumentalist and music producer.
How many preamps do I need to record drums?
The standard for recording an acoustic drum would be 8 preamps for 8 inputs. However, if you play a compact-sized drum, you could get away with 4 preamps.
Enjoy your New Interface for Recording Drums!
In conclusion, drum audio interfaces are incredibly important when recording drums. They provide users with a convenient way to accurately capture their kit’s tonal details. That’s why drummers must get the best drum audio interface possible.
Currently, the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 is the best interface for recording drums. Its 8 channels and preamps ensure that there will be enough space to mic up a standard drumkit. If you have a larger set, it also has the feature to double its input at a lowered frequency.
Furthermore, the Scarlett 18i20 is pricier due to its technological capacities and features. If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, I also listed 5 incredible entry-level and affordable interface for recording drums!
Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the best interface for recording drums suited to your needs. Which of the drum audio interfaces on this guide did you like the most? Feel free to tell me in the comment section below!
If you liked this guide make sure to check our other drum-related guides and watch out for future content. Take care!