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A good clap Channel Strips
Old 9th July 2006
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statikcat's Avatar

Thread Starter
A good clap

I have been pulling my hair trying to get a good clap. It is going on a rockability/surfer/swing kind of tune so a good clap really helps the rythm. I have tried recording myself and a group of 3 claping with a condensor and dynamic mic and can't seem to get it to sound any good. I have also tried the claps in Yellow Tools Culture and it just doesnt sound right. Is there a sound library or can someone link me to a good clap sample? I can just copy and paste it into the project. Any help or tips appreciated!
Old 9th July 2006
Gear maniac
AdamLazlo's Avatar

I've had the best results regarding clap tracks where I'd have multiple people clapping into whatever mic (I've used mics like a D112 to a U87 - they're all pretty similar once everything is in the mix), then double tracking it (not just cut and paste a single track to another track then moving it over - it doesn't have the same character).

During the mix I'll compress them quite a bit and hard pan each track left/right. Sometimes not hard pan, but at least somewhere in the field that do them justice (to taste).

I might add a little dimensional room effect (slight delay/minimal verb) just so they sit in and around their own space. You could also try double mic'ing with one track being closer to the mic and a second track where everyone is further away then blend to taste.

-- Adam Lazlo
Old 10th July 2006
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JonCraig's Avatar

stand further back! put a mic with a pleasing top end (ie not a 4033 or 451) 5 or 6 feet away. this way there's a little bit of space around the clap. sounds more natural to my ears that way. use just a smidge of verb in the mix, enough that the claps sit back just a bit, but not get drowned.

as the previous poster said, doubling is often a good thing.

Old 10th July 2006
Lives for gear

Try some pieces of wood/rubber/whatever instead of hands. It's all in the room sound - try multiple mic's and be prepared to shift or layer them with delays.

Some drum machine claps, gated white noise, weren't too bad either - may layer some in.
Old 10th July 2006
Lives for gear

Man, I've been trying for awhile to get a good clap sound...Like that old 60's motown type that hits right when the snare smacks...Cant get it...I'm going to try sampling this Leslie Gore song...Perfect handclaps in it
Old 10th July 2006
Lives for gear
espasonico's Avatar

The most important things when recording claps is that you have to know how to clap. There are many sounds you can get with a clap but you need to be able of play that "smack" with your hands.

Once you know how to clap, you have to play in time and then, look for where the clap sounds best in the room ( avoid resonances ) and place the mic high ( it works for me ) and change pattern ( to omni ) and move the mic if you are doing several passes.

Last week I needed some claps and I was on my own and recorded 12 tracks and moved the mic, myself or changed the pattern for each pass. Sounded great and client loved it.
Old 10th July 2006
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statikcat's Avatar

Thread Starter
Thanks for the advice. I realized there is a good clap in BFD! I will have to spend more time on real claps when I have the time!
Old 10th July 2006
Gear Addict
JSVice's Avatar
I got some really good handclaps on my last project. 3 people in the vocal booth standing around a 441. Triple tracked. Sounded perfect.
Old 10th July 2006
Gear maniac

try a spring reverb. maybe a little slap-back as well. introduce a horrible mid-range eq spike or two. anything that makes them sound less like real hands and more like '60s' hands is good news. the best ever hand clap sound i ever got was 10 years ago, with a cheapo AT 58 copy going direct into a 12-watt marshall solid-state amp with loads of reverb and through the headphone out into a cassette 4-track, levels a bit too high as well. couldn't even get close to that sound in a real studio with fancy valve gear and plate reverbs despite many attempts. i should have realised then that if it sounds good, it IS good!
Old 11th July 2006
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pan's Avatar

Originally Posted by JSVice
I got some really good handclaps on my last project. 3 people in the vocal booth standing around a 441. Triple tracked. Sounded perfect.
I got my best claps through the vocal-chain, mic still in the booth with two gobos removed, 4 people performing in the room about 3 meters from the mic.

UM57 into API to Distressor to AD8k - gee, err - any vocal chain works, since we are in the Low End

three overdubs, with different distances/positions, selected the best of them for the archive:
Attached Files
File Type: aif LoktownClap.aif (33.0 KB, 418 views)
Old 12th July 2006
Lives for gear


This is something I haven't tried for myself (might try tonight if I got some time) but an experienced engineer explained a little technique he used when recording claps.

As mentioned before, making a second track (layering) would definitely help, but he also mentioned that adding an additional track with you (or your group) sitting down slapping your thighs can help it out very much... Might help get you the sound you're looking for.

Hope that helps.
Old 13th July 2006
Gear Head
BigArt's Avatar

I will lay down 8 diffrent claps, eq them diffrently and pan them 2 hard left 2 mid left 2 hard right 2 mid right. Also add some reverb. thumbsup
Old 13th July 2006
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John The Cut's Avatar

Once, I recorded myself clapping different hand positions, different distance from mic etc. I ended up with about 10 tracks of me clapping a few bars.

I then cut all those tracks up into individual hits and made a Kontakt patch out of them - 1 different clap per key

Now when I want claps, I load up the patch and just smack the keyboard at random. Leave it unquantised. Sounds good to me
Old 16th February 2007
Lives for gear

I have very good results with my thighs in a pinch with no one else around to help fill out the sound.

I usually prefer to have 3 to 5 people minimum, any mic any room, but have them clap for 2 bars (8 claps), then copy them to a different track, and stagger them by a bar, or repeat 2 more times staggering by a half bar each. then just trim in the beginning so all the tracks start at the same time.

I'll say, though, that I normally don't have access to all the people necessary to try double tracking and altering positions, so if I happen to have some traffic moving through the studio (girlfriend, family, friends, change over between clients) I just grab everyone and do it as quickly as I can, so one longer track layered and staggered gives me the full and random characteristics needed to sell the part.
Old 27th February 2007
Gear Maniac

Steal them from the beginning of the old disco song "Car Wash" (don't steal the dude clearing his throat).

You didn't hear this from me. And I never did that. :>P

Old 27th February 2007
Lives for gear
aermotor's Avatar

I've got some mean claps using a TML103 through a 6176 with a little bit of compression, standing about 3-4 feet away. You need solid hand clappers too, no thin claps, but thick rich full sounds, it's really a skilled technique to clap correctly, lol...
Old 27th February 2007
Lives for gear
Sanchez's Avatar
If you have Reaktor get the Claptomat ensemble from the user area, most good it is.

edit:it provides snaps and claps, 16 simultaneously with a humanise function on each hit, amp envelope etc, a must-try for any Reaktor user!
Old 27th February 2007
Lives for gear
matucha's Avatar
I think it is in the clap itself, I had bad luck with "hard" claps near the mic and much better luck with "softer" clapping further away, recording a lot of them, layering them not to overleap perfectly, finetune add some reverb, eq and compression and it worked for me.
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