I have gone down the path of streaming my drum playing as I learn to become a better drummer. There are a few ways you can stream with audio, but here is how I do it.
While the title specifically references Roland, this guide will work for any electronic drum kit, whether it be Alesis or some other brand. You just need the ability to pass the sound out of your kit. You either use dedicated outputs or a nifty trick using the headphone output.
What I wanted to achieve was the following:
– To play music on Spotify, YouTube and other sources
– To capture both the music playing as well as the drum kit itself
– To have zero latency between the drums and audio (playing and audio should be in sync)
– To have the ability to adjust the volume of both the drums and music being played (so the drums and music are not drowning each other out)
– To capture video as I play
– To also be able to capture audio from a separate microphone (room noise/talking)
What you will need
To set this all up properly, you will need a couple of things: a computer and an audio interface. You will also need some cables (keep reading) depending on your setup.
I use the Presonus Audiobox 96 USB audio interface. Not only is this audio interface cheap, it’s bulletproof. I have had mine for a couple of years now and it is on 24/7, no problems with it whatsoever. It has two microphone/instrument ports on the front, independent volume knobs and allows you to adjust the balance of the input and mix.
Software wise, I highly recommend Streamlabs OBS. You can add in individual sources for both audio and video, allowing you to control the volume of each one. You can also turn on the ability to monitor your input (handy if you’re playing music through your computer).
If you’re streaming, you are going to need a camera. Right now, I am just using my Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam. Some streamers use cameras such as the Sony a6300 and then use Elgato camera links to connect them, but if you’re just starting out, don’t go spending a heap of money on something you might give up on.
A good quality webcam
If you prefer not to spend much money, you can also use your phone. If you’re an Android user, you can install an app called Droidcam which will allow you to use your camera on your phone and wirelessly broadcast to your computer, which you can then use to stream in Streamlabs OBS. The webcam route is the easiest and cheapest way to go if you want something easy.
If you’re using a Roland kit, you most likely have two 1/4″ audio outputs on the back of your module. I have the Roland TD-17 module (Roland TD-17KVX kit), which has two outputs on the back. Using standard 1/4″ instrument cables (the same you use for a guitar), run those into the audio box.
You can get away with running the Roland TD-17KVX as mono using just one cable, but I recommend using two cables as you’ll be able to control the sound a little more and mix it better than a mono stream.
If you’re using a cheaper Roland kit (or something else entirely) and you don’t have dedicated outputs, hope is not lost. You can use the headphone output. Get yourself a 1/4″ to 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS cable like this cheap one on Amazon here. This does mean you can no longer listen to your kit through the module itself and now have to do it on your computer.
This nifty little “hack” allows you to run your headphone output straight into your audio interface. It’s crude, but it works. Best of all, you can adjust the output/input volume either using the volume control or the input control on your interface (I did this for my Roland TD-1KV).
Now, we need the ability to feed in some music. The easiest method is to connect your phone, a tablet, laptop or computer directly to your module. The TD-17 module, for example, has both Bluetooth and auxiliary 3.5mm input.
Once again, my module allows you to control the volume of the audio in the mix, so I can adjust the volume myself. If you’re not using a Roland module, you might not have this ability, so you will have to adjust the volume on whatever device you’re feeding into the module.
Configuring Streamlabs OBS
I use Streamlabs OBS, so your software might differ here settings wise. First, you want to make sure that any dedicated audio devices you have are configured for Streamlabs, to do that, you need to create a new source. In Streamlabs OBS, you want a source type of “Audio Input Capture”.
Pay attention to my audio sources, yours will obviously differ. Because my module is handling both drums and music, it’s a singular source from the audio interface. I have a room microphone (labelled accordingly) which is set to my USB condenser microphone.
Also, if you’re using a webcam like I am, don’t forget to mute it or your stream will be polluted with room noise as webcam microphones are quite sensitive and you’ll hear typing, clicking, fans and possibly your computer if it’s a little loud.
That’s all there is to it, it’s not rocket science. The audio interface will make your life easier and I of no other way, so it’s a requirement to stream. From there, you can add in a Stream Deck, lighting, additional audio sources and even cameras.
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