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I play in a 7 piece rock band, our snake only has so many inputs and I'm looking at moving to micing each tom (4) individually. That would mean 9 mics total but I'll still be able to use several sends on the snake.

The one time I recorded in a studio the engineer made the drums sound awesome. He said the key was the high-quality pre-amps in his mixing board. So I'm thinking I want an eight channel mixer with high quality pre-amps. This may be a pipe-dream since I'm sure the mixer in the studio was extremely expensive. I'm not sure what else is essential other than high quality pre amps. It seems like noise-gates would be nice to have. Other effects seems unnecessary since the main board has the basic stuff needed there. I've been looking at the various on-line sites but there are just too many choices and no-one appears to make a drum mixer per-se. I would like to keep the budget in the $500 ballpark.

If I'm asking in the wrong SE site could someone point me to the correct one. The one for musicians seems to expressly not want this type of question.

Update per comment request On Dino's FB page he says it's a NEVE NEUMANN Malcome Toft Heavy Duty console - I suspect this is a couple or orders of magnitude more expensive than my proposed budget, not to mention a wee bit too big for the typical stage. The mixing console from Dino's M4 Recording studio

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migrated from Jan 27 '14 at 14:58

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You're in the right place. We do frown on specific product recommendations, but you should be able to get some good advice on equipment types and possibly even which brands tend to be better than others. – Friend Of George Mar 9 '12 at 20:50
I think this a great question, but I would add the make and model of the high-quality pre-amps in your engineer's mixing board as to create a baseline reference for the rest of us. – filzilla Mar 9 '12 at 20:52
I'm afraid your engineer was being humble. If he made the drums sound awesome, it's at least 80% because he did a good job of setting up the microphones, eqs, compression and mix (and the mastering also plays into the drum sound rather a lot); the rest may be accounted for by good equipment. To get a good sound live you need, most of all, an engineer who knows what they're doing, and has full control over the sound from the FOH. You won't get there if you have to set up your drum sound from stage, so rather invest in a snake with enough channels! – leftaroundabout Mar 9 '12 at 21:28
Thanks, do you know who sells a snake/drum engineer combo? :) It probably does make more sense to buy an 8 channel snake just for my drums, and an analog version would be in the proposed budget. It's a lot less appealing though to buy a snake versus a mixer! I would still like to hear any recommendations for mixers just so I can learn and have a subset to focus on. I also didn't mean to imply that I thought I could get the same awesome sound that Dino achieved in the studio I just wanted to give myself the best chance at getting a good live sound. – Tod Mar 9 '12 at 21:55
Wow, thank you Tod, for filling me on the gear. Leftaroundabout makes a good case for the skill and experience of your engineer too. – filzilla Mar 9 '12 at 23:23

You will also want high quality compressors - one for each channel. If your desk has good ones, that could be fine, but we have always found separates allow you to correctly set your levels, and for a large drum kit that is essential.

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