Zoom Live-trak L12
Overall Rating: 5/5
Experience studio-quality sound on the stage with the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. Elevate your audio game today! Get your hands on this cutting-edge digital mixer and unlock a world of possibilities in live sound. Act now for superior sound control!
Tascam US-16×08 USB Audio Interface
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Don’t compromise on sound quality – grab the Tascam US-16×08 USB Audio Interface now and take your audio projects to the next level. Evolve your recording experience, order today and let your creativity flow!”
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Don’t settle for less – unleash your audio potential with the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface.Enhance your sonic landscape and seize the essence of your music. Embark on the next stage of your recording adventure – secure your order today!
Best Drum Interface: The Top 9
Audio Interfaces And Your Drums
Looking for the best audio interface for drums? Listen, recording drums can be a nightmare to think about.
However, we don’t have to build a whole home studio to record drums. We just have to find what price point we’re comfortable with and there are a dynamic range of choices in terms of good sound quality at an affordable price!
The Details Are A Lot
With so many choices, the best drum recording interface can be daunting. Let’s get into each one and why they are great. Remember, the choice is ultimately up to you.
Best Audio Interface For Drums: A Deeper Dive
1. Zoom Live-trak L12
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 really is portable mixing marvel, delivering outstanding audio quality and a plethora of solid features.
With the capacity to blend a remarkable 12 distinct channels, it goes beyond mere mixing; it empowers you to shape custom headphone mixes for up to five band members, enabling you to craft a seamless live mix enhanced by some really nice effects!
The L-12 offers the versatility to either finalize your entire project directly within the mixer itself or effortlessly transfer all 12 individual tracks to your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for the fine-tuning and post editing.
Lastly, the LiveTrak L-12 doubles as a 14-in/4-out USB audio interface compatible with Mac, PC, or your iOS device.
Channels 3–8 introduce a -26dB pad, ideal for capturing extremely loud noises, while the crystal-clear 12-segment LED metering system vigilantly keeps a watch over all your audio levels. 👀 How is that not perfect for drums?
Save up to 9 unique scenes and enjoy the luxury of automatic recall for any of your custom settings.
This intelligent mixer even allows you to program it for automatic recording activation when the master fader detects a designated dB threshold, offering a leeway of up to 2 seconds before the recording initiation.
It features an integrated slate microphone for recording comments or talk-back sessions and metronome onboard, ensuring your band remains perfectly aligned with the click
I picked this mixer/interface up in January of 2023 and have loved how easy it is to use. It really seems like the best way to capture my drum set.
There is a clean sound right out of the box and it is phenomenal without adding a lot to pre or post. I haven’t used it yet for live stuff, but my brother and I are working on that.
He plays guitar, so I’m excited to get some stuff recorded through it with the both of us. I would say this is the best audio interface for drums, especially at the affordability of it.
- Easy to use and lightweight mixer/interface combo with the ability to have a lot of control with how you record
- Almost no latency and clean sound right out of the box
- 5 individual monitor mixes
- May have to crank up master volume during mixdown if you are a quieter band in order to hear your recordings
- Filename changes may not be recognized when imported back into the mixer from your computer
- Mostly made of plastic
2. TASCAM US-16×08 USB Audio Interface
The Tascam US-16 is your ticket to finally capturing an enormous array of 16 mic and line inputs straight into your computer, all while delivering pristine sound quality and with advanced features to handle any of your recording sessions.
Within its arsenal, you’ll find eight Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps that redefine cleanliness and tranquility in their class, capable of offering up to 57dB of gain. 😳
To top that, there are an extra eight line inputs, with two of them offering the flexibility to switch to instrument level for direct recording of guitars or basses.
Along with the eight line inputs, there are two front-panel level controls making it easy for you to manage your monitoring. This would be a perfect for your drums and other band mates to record with.
One of the great things within the US-16×08 is the inclusion of a DSP Mixer, specially designed to facilitate low-latency digital mixing.
This mixing marvel equips each channel with a four-band EQ, compression, and the luxury of a reverb send to sculpt polished and professional-sounding monitor mixes.
In addition to its primary interface mode, the US-16×08 exhibits remarkable versatility by functioning as a standalone mic preamp, providing extra flexibility to your recording setup.
This interface offers both Mac and Windows drivers, and even extends its compatibility to iOS devices through USB Audio Compliance 2.0 drivers. As if that wasn’t enough, it offers MIDI input and output options on the rear panel.
Whether you choose the ergonomically-designed angled desktop stand or opt for the rack-mounting route with the included rack ears, the US-16×08 grants you access to a wealth of I/O options suitable for nearly any music recording application.
It’s hard to not think of the best interface when Tascam is mentioned. I had a previous model and used it for years until I joined the Air Force and sold off my equipment.
I have several drum covers starting back in 2010 where I was using a Tascam 16 interface. I think it’s a good option for anyone looking for all those necessary inputs, as well as simplicity. I would have previously considered my Tascam the best audio interface for drums.. 😢
- Clean and quiet preamps
- Durable and compact
- Versatility & ability to be used as a standalone mic preamp
- Potential driver issues even with updates by Tascam
- Maybe not friendly for PC systems
3. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface (3rd Gen)
Encased in a 1U rack-mountable chassis, the third-generation 18i20 is the bee’s knees. 🐝 This versatile powerhouse offers an expansive array of simultaneous I/O, encompassing a remarkable eight microphone preamps, 18 inputs, and a total of 20 outputs.
With the 18i20, expect an audiophile-grade recording experience, complete with essential features like talkback functionality and onboard speaker switching.
Its revamped A-D and D-A conversion processes ensure that your recordings and playback shine brilliantly at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, a crucial element in refining your mix to perfection.
What sets the Scarlett 18i20 apart are its eight of Focusrite’s most exceptional third-generation Scarlett mic preamps, thoughtfully enhanced with the optional Air effect.
This Air effect, reminiscent of their original ISA mic preamp, imparts a brighter and more expansive quality to any of your acoustic recordings.
Additionally, every mic preamp sports a pad, seamlessly accommodating higher-level signals without any risk of clipping.
One of the standout features in the Scarlett 18i20 is the speaker-switching technology, granting you the flexibility to alternate between main and alternate monitors, offering a more wholistic approach to your mixing.
With a pair of virtual loopback inputs, the Scarlett 18i20 simplifies the task of capturing a stereo feed that blends hardware input and software playback channels.
This enhancement is a game-changer for podcasting, livestreaming, and sampling endeavors, providing unmatched ease of use.
Designed for the rigors of the road, the Scarlett 18i20 showcases its robust build quality while offering seamless connectivity to your Mac or PC.
Is this the best audio interface for drums? I know that Focusrite has always been coming out with interfaces that are super popular and can solidly handle any drum mix.
I have never used one, but Focusrite has bult up the perfect reputation for any musician taking their art seriously.
- Great hardware and software
- Loaded with inputs and outputs
- Can’t beat the price especially for the preamps that come on this interface
- Routing software could be easier to use
- Complaints about the converters and how they could be better
4. PreSonus Quantum 2626 Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface
Embark on a voyage into the realm of ultrahigh definition with the PreSonus Quantum 2626, an impressive 26×26 Thunderbolt 3 audio interface.
This technological marvel harnesses the incredible speed of Thunderbolt 3 to deliver an almost imperceptible round-trip latency, clocking in at less than 1 millisecond.
Immerse yourself in superb high-definition digital conversion capabilities, underpinned by eight remarkably transparent analog XMAX mic preamps, ensuring that your audio always emerges in its most pristine form.
With the Quantum 2626, streamline your recording process and unlock the potential to create music more efficiently than ever before.
An Ageless Sonic Experience
The Quantum 2626 boasts a completely revamped Thunderbolt driver, catapulting it into the realm of ultralow-latency performance.
It integrates cutting-edge 24-bit, 192kHz converters that offer a dynamic range of 115dB and employ superior low-jitter clocking mechanisms.
Combined with the ultratransparent and unadulterated analog PreSonus XMAX preamps, the Quantum 2626 serves up an exceptional audio quality that stands the test of time. Analog is GOLDEN.
A Symphony of Sound
Operating at up to 192kHz, the Quantum 2626 elevates your recording and mixing to the realm of ultrahigh-definition.
The high-quality converters bring forth a dynamic range of 115dB, capturing intricate harmonics with an innate, distortion-free clarity.
Moreover, the Quantum 2626 showcases the lauded XMAX Class A analog microphone preamps, renowned for their expansive headroom, deep low frequencies, smooth highs, and a deluxe overall sound.
A Universe of Audio Possibilities
With its incredible speed and top-tier sound quality, the Quantum Thunderbolt audio interface stands as a versatile solution for studios of any size.
In need of additional mic preamps? Simply connect the PreSonus DigiMax DP88 to the Quantum interface via ADAT/dual S/MUX ports.
Once synchronized, the DigiMax DP88’s preamps can be remotely controlled through Studio One or UC Surface.
If you yearn to integrate your beloved outboard gear, the Quantum 2626 offers two direct preamp outputs with dedicated returns, facilitating the smooth incorporation of analog compressors and preferred plug-ins.
Studio One at Your Fingertips
The Quantum 2626 comes bundled with Studio One Artist music production software, allowing you to compose, record, and produce music without distractions.
If you find yourself in search of fresh loops or samples for your latest project, PreSonus Studio One empowers you to audition and procure new content directly from your production environment.
Presonus is another brand that I haven’t had personal experience with, but I have other musician friends who have had nothing but great experiences.
This interface could definitely be considered the best audio interface for drums with just the amount of inputs, not including the powerful pre-amps and almost non-existent latency.
Latency has always been that annoying guy who just won’t go away.
- No drops or latency issues for a lot of musicians
- Easy to use for anyone who just wants to record and not just geek out on equipment
- Responsive customer service
- Potential problems with inputs and outputs being rearranged
- Potential connection/driver problems with Macbooks
5. Focusrite Clarett+ 8Pre USB Audio Interface
The Focusrite Clarett+ 8Pre stands as a formidable and highly proficient hub for studios operating on both PC and Mac platforms.
Equipped with eight top-tier Clarett+ mic preamps, this interface excels in capturing the nuances of vocals, percussion, and acoustic instruments with remarkable precision.
Furthermore, two JFET instrument inputs are on hand to meticulously preserve the natural tonal essence of guitars, akin to plugging directly into an amplifier.
Independent A-D and D-A converters usher recording artists into an intimately immersive musical realm, marked by an exceptionally broad dynamic range, minimal noise interference, and negligible distortion.
The Quantum Leap in D-A Dynamics
The Clarett+ 8Pre introduces a monumental leap in D-A dynamics, a leap that magnifies the smallest sonic intricacies.
This enhancement paves the way for sound engineers and producers to luxuriate in an abundance of audio quality without compromise.
Simultaneously, the vanishingly low A-D converter distortion empowers you to capture signals with an unprecedented level of clarity.
Additionally, the Clarett+ 8Pre now features two enhanced, potent, and transparent headphone outputs.
These outputs enable artists to perceive every subtle nuance of their sound, customize their monitoring mix to their exact preferences, and deliver their finest performances. This is important for us drummers.
Unleash Your Creativity
Whether you’re orchestrating the multi-tracking of a drum kit or forging connections with synthesizers and outboard gear, the Clarett+ 8Pre is the platform that perpetually nurtures your musical concepts while preserving analog purity and delivering extreme audio lucidity.
For those seeking to expand their horizons, the interface seamlessly interfaces with ADAT to incorporate eight additional inputs and outputs, courtesy of the Clarett OctoPre.
Furthermore, it easily connects to MIDI and S/PDIF equipment, maximizing your creative potential and facilitating seamless integration with your setup.
I’d recommend this one if you wanted less inputs than the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. The powerful and specific features included in this interface are just enough for any drummer who wants to slap in their drum microphones and hit record.
I’d argue that some of the best audio interface for drums are from Focusrite.
- Clean super low latency
- Easy installation
- Crystal clear recordings
- Potential app/Wifi connectivity issues
- Tricky level matching as 75% of the gain is squeezed into the last 20% of the pots
6. Audient EVO 16: 24 in 24 out USB audio interface
The Audient EVO 16 stands as a 24 in/24 out USB audio interface, featuring a constellation of 8 EVO mic preamps and an array of workflow-enhancing functionalities that transform the recording process into an enjoyable, seamless endeavor.
The ingenious Smartgain technology diligently scrutinizes input signals across all 8 mic preamps, autonomously configuring optimal recording levels in a mere 20 seconds.
Musicians are granted the freedom to immerse themselves in their performances, as the input levels are expertly calibrated. It’s that effortless. 😎
Motion UI, Your Companion on the Journey
The Motion UI is your guiding light, presenting all the essential information precisely when you require it.
By merely pressing an input or output button, a treasure trove of data unfolds: channel names, levels, and active functions elegantly displayed in real-time on a high-resolution LCD that maintains legibility at every conceivable viewing angle.
Simplified Control with One-Knob Magic
The One-Knob-Control takes the helm of your hardware features, allowing you to navigate through them with the grace of a single, user-friendly control.
Transitioning to the mixing phase has never been smoother. The EVO 16 graciously accommodates multiple speakers for critical listening via its 8 line outputs, catering to an assortment of small and large format monitors.
It has been meticulously crafted with the guiding principle of “a new way of doing things.” The result is a portable and expandable marvel, the EVO 16, which expedites the handling of recording sessions of virtually any scale.
I haven’t used Audient interfaces, but some of the features on this one are a no-brainer. The fact that this interface can set the gain for you by analyzing the sound is perfect for any drummer. This is especially true if you are using a lot of microphones to record your drums.
- Pristine audio quality
- Auto gain (Smartgain is helpful)
- Motion UI and the ability to check signal path as recording
- Limitations with software
- Gain levels set aren’t able to be recalled when interface is restarted
7. MOTU 8pre USB
Transform your laptop or desktop into a fully-fledged 24-bit 96kHz recording studio with the compact and versatile 8pre 16×12 USB audio interface.
This single rack-space unit boasts eight microphone inputs, 8-channel ADAT optical digital I/O, and MIDI I/O. When not tethered to a computer, the 8pre also doubles as an 8-channel analog-to-digital converter, making it a two-in-one solution.
On the front panel of the 8pre, you’ll find a five-segment level meter, a 48V phantom power button, a 20 dB pad button, and a trim knob for each of its eight mic inputs.
Additionally, two banks of ADAT optical connections offer 8 channels of digital I/O, even during high-definition recording sessions at 88.2 or 96 kHz.
The TRS main outputs can be directly linked to powered studio monitors and come equipped with front panel volume control.
Lastly, you can seamlessly integrate the 8pre with another optical-equipped interface or mixer by using the ADAT optical connection to gain an additional 8 mic inputs.
If you already own a MOTU audio interface with optical capability, the 8pre becomes an ideal means to swiftly introduce 8 more microphone inputs to your setup.
As a Primary Audio Interface:
Included with the 8pre is the CueMix software, which allows you to effortlessly mix all 16 inputs from your computer.
The eight channels of ADAT optical I/O make the 8pre a perfect companion for a digital mixer. You can connect all your studio equipment, and monitor these inputs through the 8pre’s main outputs or headphone output with minimal latency and no strain on your computer’s processor.
You even have the flexibility to create separate monitor mixes for the main outputs and headphones. Control all aspects, including talk-back and listen-back functions, using the included CueMix Console software, mimicking the operation of a large studio console.
The 8pre incorporates a 16-channel MIDI interface. Simply connect it to your computer via USB, and both MIDI and audio are ready for action.
You can link any MIDI device, whether it’s a controller keyboard, synth module, automated control surface, or drum machine, and enjoy sample-accurate timing with compatible software.
The 8pre ensures cross-platform compatibility with Mac OS X (10.6 or higher), Windows (8/7/Vista), and a wide range of audio software and host-based effects, thanks to its support for WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers.
Alternatively, you can make use of the bundled AudioDesk workstation software for Mac OS, offering 24-bit recording and editing, as well as 32-bit mixing, processing, and mastering capabilities.
As a Microphone Preamp Expansion Interface:
The 8pre serves a dual purpose. When disconnected from a computer via USB, it operates as an eight-channel analog-to-digital (optical) converter.
Link the 8pre to your MOTU 828, 896, Traveler, or another 8pre via the optical “lightpipe” connection to add eight high-quality microphone preamps to your system. Since this connection is digital, it preserves sound quality down to the last sample.
The 8pre is the ideal solution for instantly adding eight more mic inputs to any audio interface or digital mixer with optical I/O.
For those with a MOTU interface featuring on-board CueMix DSP mixing, like the 828 (mkII or mk3), 896 (HD or mk3), or Traveler (original or mk3), the 8pre inputs seamlessly integrate into the host interface’s CueMix mixer, creating a transparent extension of your system, even when the host interface operates as a stand-alone mixer disconnected from a computer.
Motu is another brand I have always seen, but haven’t had any experience with. I have heard great things about their products and this one wouldn’t be on the ‘best audio interface for drums’ list if it couldn’t handle recording drums flawlessly.
- Robust build and ease of use
- Clean preamps for a reasonable price
- Works with other devices seamlessly
- Doesn’t warm or saturate the tone as much as more pricey preamps
- Potential issues with Windows OS
8. Roland Octa-Capture 10X10 USB Audio Interface
The Roland OCTA-CAPTURE sets a fresh benchmark in portable USB 2.0 audio interfaces, blending premium components, Roland’s renowned engineering, and exclusive preamp and streaming technology.
It doesn’t only excel as a multi-channel, computer-based production interface but also serves as an ideal solution for expanding the input/output capabilities of the V-STUDIO 700 and V-STUDIO 100.
Premium Mic Preamps:
With eight premium digitally controlled mic preamps (VS PREAMPS), the OCTA-CAPTURE shares the same high-grade components as the preamps in the V-STUDIO 700 and M-400 V-Mixer.
Each channel features XLR inputs along with independent phantom power, a low-cut filter, phase inversion, and digital compression.
Automatic Input Level Adjustment:
Activating the AUTO-SENS feature simplifies the recording process. Just press a button, play your instruments, and let the OCTA-CAPTURE automatically configure the optimal recording levels.
It’s ideal for swiftly and reliably capturing audio, whether you’re recording a fully miked drum kit or an entire band.
Ultra-Low Latency Driver:
Experience rock-solid stability and industry-leading low-latency USB performance, all thanks to Roland’s proprietary VS STREAMING technology.
The OCTA-CAPTURE seamlessly supports all major Mac and PC DAW platforms through ASIO 2.0/WDM (Windows) and Core Audio (Mac) drivers.
VS STREAMING enables you to use multiple devices on the same USB bus without compromising stability, performance, or audio quality. You can even combine two OCTA-CAPTURE units or pair one with a V-STUDIO 100 or V-STUDIO 700.
Four Versatile Monitor Mixes:
The OCTA-CAPTURE offers four independent Direct Mixers, allowing you to create software-controlled monitor mixes.
Each mix can be directed to any analog output and benefits from the internal 40-bit DSP processing. This feature is perfect for tailoring custom monitor mixes for headphones, speakers, or recording devices.
According to a lot of people who own this, Roland may have the best audio interface for drums. I’ve heard this thing was really ahead of the curve when they released it.
I’ve had experience with several Roland products and can attest to their dependability. They are always solid products and if anyone knows anything about audio and the digital realm, it’s Roland.
They’ve been around for decades and continue to grow as a brand (just acquiring DW drums more recently). If they’ve got the best electronic drums and keyboards, I’m certain of their position on a list of the best audio interfaces for drums.
- Near zero latency
- Roland is always ahead of the curb with tech
- Some of the best customer support
- Software has limitations with the amount of inputs
- Not as hands-on for visual users (steeper learning curve)
9. PreSonus Studio 1824c USB-C 18×18 Audio/MIDI Interface
The Studio 1824c USB-C audio interface proves to be an excellent choice for project studios and music producers looking to capture the essence of full bands, including multi-channel drum recordings.
It has the capacity to record an impressive 18 simultaneous inputs at a remarkable 24-bit/192 kHz resolution.
The interface comes equipped with 8 microphone inputs featuring XMAX Class A preamps, along with ADAT and S/PDIF I/O for added versatility.
What sets it apart are the 18 outputs that allow for adaptable routing, complemented by zero-latency DSP-based monitor mixing.
This combination seamlessly integrates with the control room and includes Studio One Artist software compatible with macOS and Windows.
The UC Surface software is also part of the package, extending compatibility to macOS, Windows, iPad, and Android devices.
Beyond the standard stereo main outputs with dedicated mute and mono buttons, the Studio 1824c offers eight balanced, DC-coupled line outputs, two headphone outputs with independent mix streams, word clock output, and MIDI I/O.
Additionally, PreSonus includes their coveted Studio Magic Plug-in Suite, enhancing your production toolkit.
To ensure broad compatibility, the package also includes USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables, catering to a wide range of computer setups.
As I mentioned earlier, you could never go wrong with choosing a Presonus interface.
You could argue the best audio interface for drums is a Presonus one considering they’ve been around since 1995 and you’ll always hear about any of their interfaces in any recording forum. They’ve been vetted and would be a great addition to your recording arsenal as a drummer.
- Smooth scrolling knobs and bright meter display
- Plug and play
- Clean lines
- USB cable could be longer
- Potential issues with driver update
The Only Things That Really Matter
The number of inputs you need depends on your drum kit setup. A basic setup with just a stereo pair of overhead condenser mics may require a 2-input interface, while a more extensive setup with individual mics on each drum might need 8 or more inputs. Make sure the interface has enough inputs for your needs.
I’d personally recommend getting as many microphone inputs as you can for acoustic drums. This way, you’re more likely to get the best sound, even if you’re not ready to use all inputs. The more inputs you use means you’ll need plenty of XLR cables.
At first, you may opt to use 2 overhead mics to capture your drums. A lot of drummers will also mic the snare drum, kick drum, and then 2 overheads. There are tons of different ways to go about this.
Just as important as the number of inputs are compatibility, latency, bit depth (as well as sample rate and buffer size, and budget. It’s always important to make sure your interface will work with your computer/operating system.
You want to ensure you have low latency when recording so that there are no timing issues. There are a lot of things mentioned in this post that may be daunting and sound confusing, but most of it are just the specs and capabilities of these interfaces.
At the end of the day, no choice is wrong. You could go with anything that has enough inputs and is within your price range and you’re ready to go.
Your Interface Is Easier To Pick Than You Think
I hope this list of the best audio interface for drums has been helpful for you. As I’ve said, it only matters that you find something to record with.
I don’t want anyone to be overwhelmed by the amount of choices and all the ‘techy’ jargon. It can be easy to do!
Any Interface Questions?
What are your thoughts on any of these interfaces? If you have any questions or are really having trouble, reach out to me! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to leave any comments as well!