your mission, if you choose to accept it....

cheapest recording set possible…

What is the cheapest way to get a set of decently recordable drums? The kit doesn’t have to be big or pretty, just have a decent sound. Don’t worry about micing. I’ll figure that out later (I technically have 4 channels of inputs, 2 24bit and 2 16bit between to cards right now. all I’d need is mics and pres, which would be a later concern). Any suggestions? Any and all would be acceptable. New? Ebay (what brands)? some other inventive suggestion or DIY or whatever? I know people on here have lots of interesting tricks. So here you go. I’m tired of MIDI, soundfonts, and samples. When I buy my house (given I get the job I’m hoping to), I’ll have a recording/playing room that can contain, among other things, a drum kit. So now I need your suggestions. This is your mission, if you choose to accept it.

This post will self-distruct in five seconds…








Do you have any ADAT lightpipe in’s? If you did I would recommend the Behringer AD8000. 8 24bit48k ins&outs. It doesn’t sound too bad(actually really good). I sold mine on ebay for $150 last year. Link that to a MOTU 2408 mk11 and you’ll have 16 tracks for about $400.00. The Motu 2408 mk11 can link 3 light pipes for 24 tracks.

yeah. I know all about the different soundcard options. I’ve looked into them extensively. I really just need the kit itself. That’s what I’m concerned about. Besides, I need a bit before I could get back to recording quality playing. I know all the theory, but haven’t sat in front of a set in a long time, and I wan’t very good then. I know way more now, and could be good if I had a set to practice on. But I don’t. Thus the problem… :)

Check the local papers, here in Portland, we have a couple rags (Willamette Week, Mercury) You can usually score a cheap drum set for a few hundred bucks - Keep in mind you’ll probably want new heads/symbals for it. Ebay would be a pain to ship a whole drum set…


Sorry, I thought you were talking about hardware. You were referring to the actual drum kits? I would have to say some vintage Gretch drums from the 50’s. My drummer got his shells for $75.00 on ebay. He put evans heads on them and did the shells in a sunburst finish(really nice sounding wood). I would say ebay or if you have a local music store that would let you post a wanted add on a board. Good Luck


:) You mention 16 & 24 bits! You also mention good sound! :D This is a smart drummer! :angry: Most drummers don't know squatt about electricity! :D Hey I'll check with my drummer and get some tips or have him respond!

IMHO, you could go to ebay and get a rundown older set of Peal Exports for $300 (maybe less if they’re really scratched up) and do ok for recording. Just make sure the snare is good and the cymbals too. A remo brass piccolo snare is inexpensive and sounds amazing. I’ve read that smaller and thinner crash cymbals record better and they’re cheaper - so look for a 15" crash, maybe even 14" and not 16". I love the sound of zildjian new beat hi-hats but even a used set will cost close to $100.

If the drums are in bad shape, you’ll pay less, but that shouldn’t bother you, so look out for a somewhat abused set and save the $$ for the cymbals.

If you’re patient, you could probably get everything you need including cymbals and hardware for around $500.

good luck!

Phoo does drums, he’ll know! Keep your eyes here!

I’m with soul%folk in the Pearl thing.

I agree if your only going for sound and cheap you could by used on ebay.
I think it also depends on how long your planning on using the set.
If your only gonna use it for 2 years or so, you could get a cheaper new set on ebay from an off brand (Titan/Enforcer)
I got a full kit, with 4 toms for $200.00 last year. It was a purchase that suited my needs at the time. The only problem with theses cheaper brand studio sets is the hardware, and cymbals they come with.–especially the snare.
You could always get yourself a Gretch snare for about$100 just to add to the cheezy kit. Better cymbals on the other hand are costly.
I would also suggest getting a cheap set of drum mics,($100~150) and one condenser mic($60.00).
And of course the behringer board is essential.
All of these items are available on Ebay, from music outlets, volume is how they do it.

I would say you could do all the above for under $500.00 as well.

Define "decently recordable."

Sorry, just had to ask. :) Pay no more attention to me, I don’t have a clue, although whe I ask questions like this the drummers often answer that it is possible to get very good sounds out of cheapo drums. Cymbals are another story, in my opinion…

phoo is your answer, he be the drummer!:D


Are you going to play them, or will you have drummers come in for it?

A good friend of mine (drummer) long ago advised me to get a cheap drum kit, put quality heads on the drums, and get cymbal stands and snare stand, but don’t get cymbals or snare. Then, drummers could come over to jam or record and just bring their cymbals, snare, and sticks (and pedal, for those who are fussy).

This makes it really easy and enjoyable for drummers to drop in. They get their carefully picked out snare & cymbals, but only need one trip and a quick setup.

And the best part is (drum roll, please)


(Ba dump bump!)


PS: that was right about the time I got married, so it hasn’t happened yet. Once I get that out-building set up, it’s a go, though.


hey chuntz… I’m from Portland! :) I moved to texas last year, but i’m moving back in like a month. small world…

If your into semi DIY, you could check out Adonis Drum Co.
I just ordered an un-finished 7 pc. set, though I’m shelling out $1700 for it.
However, their prices are reasonable for 6 ply maple Keller shells and their hardware ain’t to shabby either.
You can also check out as well as their forum.

Now I’ll just need to figure out what to do with my 1965 Ludwig kit. ???
Guess I’ll just use um as a Jazz kit. :cool:

If you want cheap go with whatever you can get the cheapest from local paper. Old tama sets are hard to beat (except with a stick)
If you want good sound for recording a birch set is best.
Old tama superstars, I think the grandstars were also birch.
Maple drums sound great but not great for recording, too nuch resonation, if you want maple go with vintage Ameican drums like ludwig, slingerland, gretsch…
Your best deal is most always a complete set with cymbals for around 5 - 700.00
Zildjian, Sabian and Paiste are the good cymbals. (use your ears)
Scour the newspapers online for deals in your area.

This won’t help you much, I asked my old drummer if he new of a cheap set and he said …you can have my old one …just come to Edmonton and get them, Tama kit , 5 drums 2 cymbals and the hihat…sound great in my basement.

Sorry. I hadn’t read this thread until today. I wasn’t avoiding it. (thanks of the words of confidence)

I think that almost any legitimate set can be made to sound well when recorded…well meaning acceptable for most stuff.

There is more to the sound in the tuning and heads than in the drums, assuming the drums aren’t REALLY crappy.

I’d suggest the same that the others have suggested. Start with the paper and see if anyone in your area is selling a well know brand at a cheap price. Don’t worry so much about looks. The fact that a set doesn’t have a scratch on it won’t make it sound any better and only raise the price.

I don’t think you can go wrong with any Ludwigs made after 1964. Slingerland, Rodgers, Premier, Tama, Mapex, Sonar, Yamaha are all good brands. There’s a HUGE amount of other brands that are just as good that you might have never heard of, and many totally off brand cheap pieces of crap that sound great when tuned up…or are just as crappy sounding as anything else.

Musician’s Friend sells Pulse drums for very cheap (and php). I have never seen a full set of those but I have a Pulse piccolo snare I got brand new for $29 from them. It sounds good. The only thing wrong with it is that the head that came on it is crap. I mean it’s not a top of the line ANYTHING, but it’s well worth $29 and with new Remo head (top nd bottom) I’d be willing to bet no one will be able to tell on a recording. If the toms and kick are similar quality then you can probably get something new that won’t set you back too much. The worst part about it is probably in the stands and the hardware itself probably isn’t road worthy, but if all you are doing is recording occasionally then hardware that stands up to daily physically movements and tuning isn’t that much of a worry…assiming it’s not so bad that it can’t even handle that. SOME stuff is that crappy. I don’t think the Pulse stuff is based on the quality of the snare I got.

Whatever you get, put good heads on it, and I suggest getting Remo. (The type heads to get depends on the sound you are going for. We can get into that later.) Make sure the tuning lugs aren’t rusty (the threads need to be clean - pitting of the lug housing is probably okay, but may indicate problems inside). No cracked rims. A little rust is okay there, too, and may help drive the price down, and a little rust might just show up if there are any cracks in the rims.

If you can see inside - take a head off - make sure the glue rings are not coming loose. These are reinforcement wood rings around the top an bottom edge of the shell. Some drums don’t have them - the reasons are different. Some don’t have them because they are cheap. Some drums don’t have them because they are NOT cheap and are built to not need them. Usually you should stay away from any drums that don’t have them unless you know they are of the good quality type. My guess is that Pulse might not have them but I don’t know. That’s something to keep in mind.

Ebay would be a good place to see what’s available and to see what things are going for.

I get almost all my stuff from Musician’s Friend and (in-store - they don’t do much on line, but have a lot of great student range sets available locally). You might could ask Donn Bennett (or anyone there) for a suggestion. Donn deals with collectors and stars (high end stuff, as you will notice on the website) mostly himself, but supplying drums for students is a big part of their business. I think they will say check out the paper first. :)