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Space Station
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#1
12th November 2008
Old 12th November 2008
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recording shakers

I record those egg shakers quite a lot...anyone got any recording tips and techniques for this? Mic selection? compression? anything?

Thanks.
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12th November 2008
Old 12th November 2008
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Nothing really too special...it really depends on the song and the shaker itself.

I generally either use a large cap condensor for a bright sound, or a ribbon for a softer sound. Usually 1.5-2 feet away from the mic...possibly even further away depending on the room. Never had to use any compression, but also haven't added shakers to a dense rock mix either, so it could help them pop through in such cases.

Really not a very tough instrument to capture a vibe with, but like anything else, mic choice and mic position can give you infinite possibilities to explore.
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12th November 2008
Old 12th November 2008
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shakers reeaallly show up the quality of your chain, especially the converters. hf transients thru mediocre converters = ugly.

also, not all shakers are created equal. ime, plastic ones, including those eggs, are hard sounding. wooden shakers filled with organic materials make me smile. sand in a little box, hard to go wrong.

there are creative alternatives. try rubbing a 3" square of paper back and forth on the hairy part of your forearm, it's a lovely sound.


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12th November 2008
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I tend to use a 57 most of the time. Might be out of lazyness but it comes out bright and to my liking.

+ 1 on the distancing. I always play with my distance to gain more depth in the overall mix. I usually add these last as the arangement will play a part in weather I want the shakers and Tambs and more in your face or playing the background.

Also, how many shakers do you have? I have a few with different tones. Alot of the times I combine a shaker that sounds darker/duller with one that is a lot brighter and hold both in one hand for the blend. Always good.
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12th November 2008
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I've never really had to do anything special with shakers. Just don't get too close. I'm usually 2 feet away. In a dense mix I might have to compress a little, but I really try to control the dynamics through the playing. Also, I try to make my hand motion perpendicular to the mic axis so that the shaker is always about the same distance... helps with the dynamics.
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12th November 2008
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I like AKG 451 or Neumann KM84/184 or anything I would normally use for cymbals. It's the overtones that give them the flavor.
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12th November 2008
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I used to go with the plastic eggs through a KM184 with very very light compression but the QUICKER, EASIER and BETTER sounding way is....


Stylus RMX. Syncs with PTS, hundreds of tambos, shakers, perc etc. Sits right in the mix, EQ it with a plug in and save yourself time.
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12th November 2008
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Aaah, egg shakers. I call them "zen shakers" - when you see them on a live gig, they are so soft you never hear them!

My favourite shakers are metal tennis ball containers, filled with rice.

One tip for recording is to place the mic over the top looking down.
That way you get an even sound on both directions.
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12th November 2008
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12th November 2008
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As always, the source is really important (duh) and shakers are cheap. Instead of worrying about mics and preamps I would try lots of different shakers. Some are really sharp and trebly. Others are warm or midrangy (wooden shakers) After buying lots of "pro" shakers, a very cheap plastic toy shaker became my favourite piece of percussion.

That being said; I prefer a sm57 into a good clean preamp. A condenser mic usually takes up too much sonic space in the mix for my taste in this situation. In dense mixes: Don't be afraid to pull up the high pass filter really high and use a lot of compression. Some songs require a dynamic performance with just a couple of db compression.

Don't underestimate the need for practice: a shaker is an instrument.
Instead of an easy pattern, try to sync the shaker to kick and snare or follow the accents of the rythm guitar.
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12th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
shakers reeaallly show up the quality of your chain, especially the converters. hf transients thru mediocre converters = ugly.

also, not all shakers are created equal. ime, plastic ones, including those eggs, are hard sounding. wooden shakers filled with organic materials make me smile. sand in a little box, hard to go wrong.

there are creative alternatives. try rubbing a 3" square of paper back and forth on the hairy part of your forearm, it's a lovely sound.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
....little piece of paper, eyh......nice, trying that tomorrow!
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13th November 2008
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Quote:
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13th November 2008
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IME, depends on the context of the track - is it the only percussion instrument, of part of something larger?

When I record them ('egg' shakers, rice in cans/etc., traditional Cuban maracas/bull testicles w beans inside, etc.) I'll often do them in a spaced stereo pair: sometimes AKG C451E's, KM184's, or when they need to be 'full' sounding (like those bull's nuts!) and not edgy, I'll use ribbons like Coles 4038's/AEA R-88, or Royer 121's etc. AEA R88 just kills on this: both the sound and imaging is unreal...

My .02 c
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13th November 2008
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I thought this was going to be about field recording Utopians in upstate New York. But that would be a different forum.

Still, in both cases, 'tis a gift to be simple.
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13th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
I record those egg shakers quite a lot...anyone got any recording tips and techniques for this? Mic selection? compression? anything?

Thanks.
Really? You are asking how to record shakers?

Only tip I can think of is shake towards the mic rather than across it. Don't compress.
#17
13th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plexisys View Post
I like AKG 451 or Neumann KM84/184 or anything I would normally use for cymbals. It's the overtones that give them the flavor.
+1
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13th November 2008
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While I agree with all the input here, there is something cool and different and natural you can do with shakers...

Set up a Blumlein pair with the nicest matched or close pair of mics you've got in your biggest room and listen to where the hat is. Now... ask the percussionist to step back 5 feet or so... more?... you check where you think the hat is. 75% to the right? Whatever. Now, while listening to him and the hat while he plays, move the mics or him so they balance the hat in the stereo field. Ask him to move to to left or his right until it's balanced.

Cool. Natural.
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13th November 2008
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i normally use a Neumann KM-145 SDC, or my Oktava MKL-2500 tube LDC... sometimes even a pair, .if i am feeling adventurous... and want them to move around the stereo field in the mix...

HPF to cutoff the low end ( since there's none anyway) (in the KM-145 the a low mid cutoff is built into the capsule)

... don't get to close to the mic... and mix it really low , since they pop out of any mix... even at low volume...

not the hardest instrument at all...

but don't use cheap bright condensers for shakers ... they sound horrible that way. and the choice of shakers really depends on tye song and it's an art... I record a lot with some of the greatest Brazilian Percussionists, and they always change shakers from song to song... both because they have different tones, and different rhythmic responses (due to the many different type of shakers available in the world...) Some pro percussionists sometime bring bags full of them... and other nifty effects... and that makes a hell of a difference...



I have some african ones made out of seeds, brass ankled tiable ones . a Brazilian Indian made one that uses Tweed and Seashells... Old kinder egg shells filed with rice, medicine bottles, fruit shaped ones... and i am not even a percussionist... they are very useful around the studio...not to mention the LP super guiro an a bunch of rain sticks of different sizes and the others i don't remember.

Most of the little CP plastic eggs are filled with magnetized iron particles ( i know... i broke a few...) making them very quick and precise... others have their own rhythm... and can be of very limited use...

Actually thinking about it, here in Brazil we have as many different names for the different types of shaker as the eskimos have for snow...
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13th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Knight View Post
While I agree with all the input here, there is something cool and different and natural you can do with shakers...

Set up a Blumlein pair with the nicest matched or close pair of mics you've got in your biggest room and listen to where the hat is. Now... ask the percussionist to step back 5 feet or so... more?... you check where you think the hat is. 75% to the right? Whatever. Now, while listening to him and the hat while he plays, move the mics or him so they balance the hat in the stereo field. Ask him to move to to left or his right until it's balanced.

Cool. Natural.
Cool idea. I usually pan the shakers against the hat in mixing... next time I'm working in a nice live room, I'd like to try your more natural approach.
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13th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decibike View Post
Instead of worrying about mics and preamps I would try lots of different shakers. Some are really sharp and trebly. Others are warm or midrangy (wooden shakers) After buying lots of "pro" shakers, a very cheap plastic toy shaker became my favourite piece of percussion.
My favorurite shaker is one I got in Cabo San Lucas. 1 dollars or 10 pasos.
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13th November 2008
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I'm a fan of the egg shakers. You can get a variety of tones just by covering them with two hands. Covering them a little or fully changes the tone heaps.

I'll have to try the two shakers in one hand trick someone mentioned in this thread.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djembe View Post
Aaah, egg shakers. I call them "zen shakers" - when you see them on a live gig, they are so soft you never hear them!

My favourite shakers are metal tennis ball containers, filled with rice.

One tip for recording is to place the mic over the top looking down.
That way you get an even sound on both directions.
that's funny,i use plastic coke bottles and rice and to smooth out the sound, i wrap painter's tape around them.that muffles them.
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I prefer also wooden shakers, and then you can capture them on a lot of way's. I prefer an SDC (AKG C451, Oktava MK012, Gefell M295, ...) or a ribbon (Beyer M160), but both from a little distance (1m) in front or above the shakers in a good room to get it right.
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XY mic with a shaker in each hand, gives it a little more width. I used a RODE NT4 into two Trident channels for simplicity, but I was happy with the results!
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stereo mic'ed, spaced pair 4-6 feet away for a nice room sound.

channel 1: ITA modified U87 - Wunder PEQ1

channel 2: Coles 4040 - Wunder PEQ1

add STA-LEVEL to each channel in mix.

ALMIGHTY SHAKER TONE!

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEvil View Post
I used to go with the plastic eggs through a KM184 with very very light compression but the QUICKER, EASIER and BETTER sounding way is....


Stylus RMX. Syncs with PTS, hundreds of tambos, shakers, perc etc. Sits right in the mix, EQ it with a plug in and save yourself time.
that's for pussies!

shaker's should groove, which is what people do and computers don't.
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13th November 2008
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I have found that wearing a set of headphones with the track running and moving the mic around in the room while the percussionist is playing to it can help find a sweet spot where it 'fits in nicely with the track' - and can be a useful alternative to using pliers on an eq to make it fit..
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13th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
I have found that wearing a set of headphones with the track running and moving the mic around in the room while the percussionist is playing to it can help find a sweet spot where it 'fits in nicely with the track' - and can be a useful alternative to using pliers on an eq to make it fit..
thumbsupthumbsup ditto
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I would use two dynamic mics with a jeckline disk between or some
kind of space blocker...
so you would get a good stereo image
so you could go right to left

I would use dynaimcs to cut out some of the anoying highs a shaker can make

I like the lows better than highs
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