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Recording techniques
Old 5th December 2002
  #1
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mwagener's Avatar
Recording techniques ?

We've all recorded plenty of drums, gittaaars, bass and voices (I assume), but what are some of the more difficult instruments you guys have recorded and how?

We tried to record gunshots outside once, without much success. The dynamic of the sound was too fast (I guess) and none of the mic/pre-amp combinations worked. We finally went inside a shooting range and got usable results. What we essentially recorded was more of the room reflections than the actual gunshot.
Old 5th December 2002
  #2
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I wonder if the gun shot recordings weren't successful because the sound most folks think of as gunshots are from movie soundtracks? Those would have all sorts of ambience (real and fake) that simply letting loose with a .357 outside the studio wouldn't necessarily have.

Some of the shooting we hear out here (neighbors - either hunting or target shoooting) have a nice ambiance from the hills at the back of the property, and some have absolutely no ambience - they sound kind of like small firecrackers.
Old 5th December 2002
  #3
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mwagener's Avatar
I think you hit it on the head. That's why the recording inside a defined room worked somewhat better. we tried everything from a shotgun to a 44 magnum, not a big difference between them as long as they were outside.
Old 5th December 2002
  #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Martin

Some of the shooting we hear out here... (snip) ...some have absolutely no ambience - they sound kind of like small firecrackers.
I don't like those. They're usually far too close for my taste!
Old 5th December 2002
  #5
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Long long time ago but I remember having a nightmare time with a bassoon once. Not in a typical classical recording where it sits between the rest of the woodwinds and you record the whole group / orchestra in a concert hall at once but as a solo instrument on a Jazz recording.

The bassoon was the solo / lead and had to be recorded in a rather dry studio room.

It was the combination of both the player and the instrument that made it dufficult. With a bassoon the sound comes from 3 different places .... some notes sound at the top, others in the middle at the mouth piece and some more towards the bottom.

Listen back to it still gives me an uncomfortable feeling. Both inexperience , lack of confidence in those days made it even worse .....
Old 5th December 2002
  #6
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Oh yeah, the first time I had to mic a bagpipe... What a freaking din of hell it makes!
Old 5th December 2002
  #7
Bassoon too, live on stage at the Limelight Club in London.. I was going to kill myself it worked out so awfull.

Old 5th December 2002
  #8
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Kris's Avatar
I had real trouble getting good tone from a steel drum... of course it didn't help that the guy brought it into town on an airplane, and it somehow got all out of tune...
Old 5th December 2002
  #9
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mwagener's Avatar
How did you guys end up recording those instruments (bassoon, bagpipe, steeldrum), which mics and preamps, any special set ups?
Old 5th December 2002
  #10
Quote:
Originally posted by mwagener
we tried everything from a shotgun to a 44 magnum, not a big difference between them as long as they were outside.
Shame you didn't have Phil Spector on the session.
I believe he's an expert on the studio use of firearms.
Old 5th December 2002
  #11
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For the steel drum, distance seemed to be my friend... close micing was troublesome... I used an AT4060 as an overhead , approx 3-4 ft over the steeldrum... with a Grace preamp. It worked for the song as it was more of a background track anyways. Still wasn't particularly happy with it, though in this case it was more of a instrument/player problem.
Old 5th December 2002
  #12
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drundall's Avatar
 

One time I had to record this acoustic guitar part and when the kid played it sounded exactly like a popsicle stick in a bicycle wheel. I tried having him use a softer pick but it always sounded the same. What a bumout...
Old 5th December 2002
  #13
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mixer's Avatar
 

a cuban bass..which is an old large steel wash bowl with a stick attached to it and one string from the middle of the upside down bowl to the top of the stick..which was bent to change the pitch...
the noise creaking from the thing was louder than the bass sound....finally miked it close to the players ears...thought at least it would be close to what he heard....only to find out he hummed out of key while he played....yikes!!!
Old 5th December 2002
  #14
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Neve Sucks!'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by groundcontrol
Oh yeah, the first time I had to mic a bagpipe... What a freaking din of hell it makes!
Man, I recorded bagpipes a couple of months ago. What a freaking fucked up hell indeed!!! That instrument sounds like a fucking sine tone @ 2,000Hz! Blood was flowing out of my ears goddamn it....

However, I ended up using two Manley Ref C in a X/Y position......

I gotto tell ya, even if you paid me a million bucks, I would not go near that fucked up bagpipe shit again.... grudge evileye
Old 6th December 2002
  #15
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by mwagener
How did you guys end up recording those instruments (bassoon, bagpipe, steeldrum), which mics and preamps, any special set ups?

those were my D&R days .... no other pre's then the ones in the console.

We tried every possible mic setup the little recording room allowed. close / 'far' / high / low / .... using condesors (schoeps) and dynamics.

the best result was achieved with a 3 mic setup. 1 schoeps condensor placed a little higher then the top of the instrument at approx 7 ft. from the player. And two beyer dynamics M88 (?) for close miking ... one at the top of the bassoon, the second one in the middle, close to the mouthpiece.


mixed down in the D&R and recorded to 1 track (Adat), I only had 16 tracks back then.
Old 6th December 2002
  #16
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Cape's Avatar
 

Sitar.....not the same as a guitar.........the bottom of the instrument is the best place, near it's kinda bridge.

Tablas, well I went for a D112 on the bassy of the two and a Beta 57 on the high baby (yeah, not the best set, but it worked okay)

You do what ya can!!
Old 6th December 2002
  #17
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Neve Sucks!
Man, I recorded bagpipes a couple of months ago. What a freaking fucked up hell indeed!!! That instrument sounds like a fucking sine tone @ 2,000Hz! Blood was flowing out of my ears goddamn it....

However, I ended up using two Manley Ref C in a X/Y position......

I gotto tell ya, even if you paid me a million bucks, I would not go near that fucked up bagpipe shit again.... grudge evileye
I reckon it was designed as an attack weapon...
Old 6th December 2002
  #18
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cymatics's Avatar
 

I've done two projects with a band that has a percussionist who plays a kit made almost entirely of 'found' metal objects (a metal christmas tree base, empty propane tanks, large soup pots etc). He has everything mounted to a drum rack system.

On the first recording, I used a pair of Milab DC-96s (one mic over the far left and one over the far right) about 3 feet over the kit. In the mix it needed a high ratio comp with a really fast attack to smooth it out a bit. The second time I used a single Coles 4038 directly over the center of the kit and about 2 or 3 feet over the highest piece of metal; into a Summit TPA-200b. This was a very dark sounding combo, but seemed to suit the sound of the kit better and helped it sit in the mix more effectively. It also took compression better. When compressed it brought out more interesting overtones/resonances form the different pieces of the kit.

- jon
Old 6th December 2002
  #19
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....hmm...dave martin could probably elaborate more on this...but once we had a woman vioinist....read: not fiddler....and a very very old violin to boot.....ya'll know what wolfing is? ya'll know what wolfing sounds like through a u-87 through a pair of urei's at about 8?....yeah she wanted it to sound like it sounded right under her chin....dont think it ever got 'right'....finally wound up with a pair of sm-81's in stereo array and the 87 out in the room at a distance....recorded all three(it was a violin trio piece) and breathed a sigh of relief....till she said she'd bring in the viola and cello tomorrow.....think i got sick and missed that session.......then there was the recording of the 'BEES' for a radio spot....its an ugly story and actually involves doctors and stuff.....so nevermind
Old 6th December 2002
  #20
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I have been "that difficult cellist," like the violinist you describe, sonic dogg. Once, in order to get it sounding just like it sounded to me while playing, we placed the mic (a C414 B-ULS) just above my forehead, looking down along the fingerboard. It worked. It was a very different sound than normal micing, more bite and less body, but it sounded just like i does to me when i'm playing. Part of that sound, i think, is the sound from the strings bouncing off the front of the instrument on its way to my ears.

And yes, when my G-string starts a-wolfin, we got trouble.
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