After a recent upgrade to Audient’s 20in / 24out audio interface iD44, drummer Mike Heaton now has even more inputs to play with. Which is ideal for recording drums – either in his capacity as drummer for Embrace – or in his latest pursuit, Drum-Ed, his online drum tuition site.
“It’s great to have 12 inputs between [iD44] and the ASP880”
Mike and his friend – and former drum tutor – Richard Wilson started Drum-Ed together. They wanted to ‘educate and inspire the online drumming community’ by delivering online tuition in bite-sized videos. Set on doing things a little differently, Rich gives the lesson and Mike sits next to him playing the part of the student. He says, “We generally have one kit set up for Rich to teach the main drum content of the lesson and me next to him asking him questions as we go. I also play bass along with the ideas we’re teaching to give them some musical context.
“My setup for Drum-Ed is very simple,” he adds. “The studio is near Bradford in a large old hall. A bunch of mics on the kit (all Audix), DI’d bass and a couple of Lav mics straight into the ASP880 and iD44. This all goes into Pro Tools 12 for recording and mixing.”
Last time we caught up with Mike he was using an iD22 audio interface with his 8-channel mic pre (also by Audient), so what prompted the upgrade to iD44? “Extra inputs are the main benefit for me. It’s great to have 12 inputs between that and the ASP880. Also being able to easily up that to 20 with the addition of another ASP880 is great.”
To record drums: “extra inputs are the main benefit for me”
Mike praises the preamps and describing the signal path as crystal clear. “I record completely dry, and rely on what is going into ProTools from the preamps to be as clean and great sounding as possible – and I certainly get that. The pairing of the iD44, ASP880 and the Audix mics just seems to work really well,” he continues. “I’m as pleased with the sound I get from this set up, as I have been when we’ve recorded at the likes of Olympic, through mega expensive desks and pre’s.”
The onset of lockdown however, has meant they’ve been kept out of the studio and there has been a hiatus in filming. “We are chomping at the bit to get more content filmed,” he says. He was lucky to be able to switch to private, online teaching in the interim. “It’s worked really well. I have a two-camera setup, with one from the side and one from above, which seems to show the students very clearly what I’m trying to teach them.”
With content creation starting again this month and a new-look website to showcase it, Mike is keen to share what’s coming up. “We will have free content both on the site and YouTube. Plus, there’s a special ‘ToolKit’ available for anyone who signs up on the site. Our aim is to produce as much free content as we can to help people learn,” he explains, although towards the end of the year they’ll start offering some exclusive paid-for courses. Mike has also been peppering Drum-Ed content with special guests for sessions. “We have so far had Dom Famularo, Russ Gilbrook (Uriah Heep) Ian Mathews (Kasabian) and Pete Cater – a jazz and big band legend!”
“I’m as pleased with the sound I get from this setup, as I have been when we’ve recorded at the likes of Olympic”
Mike has definitely found his vocation, and he is obviously driven to ignite that same passion for drumming in others. “Knowing that what we’re doing will hopefully help beginners to learn quickly and fall in love with drumming, and that we can also help more experienced players attain all the goals they want to reach in their drumming journey is our motivation,” he says. “Hopefully having fun along the way!”
What’s not to love about that?