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Pipes and accordion
Old 18th February 2007
  #1
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Pipes and accordion

Hi Kevin!

Just wondering what was your approach to recording the different kinds of bagpipes (Scottish, Irish different kinds of loudness/sound) and accordions... Difficult, delicate-to-capture instruments.
Old 19th February 2007
  #2
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doorknocker's Avatar
I'd really be interested in this too. I have an upcoming recording project that will feature traditional Irish players and instruments and so I'm currently trying to get a feel for these sounds.

Kevin, could you share any secrets about capturing great Bodhran, Uilleann pipes and Tin Whistle sounds?

When combining say Tin Whistle with 'modern' instruments, how do you deal with the differences in intonation from these more 'tempered' sounds of pianos and electric guitars against the 'natural' sounds of the pipes? Or isn't that an issue at all?

thanks!
Old 21st February 2007
  #3
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Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ortrejos View Post
Hi Kevin!

Just wondering what was your approach to recording the different kinds of bagpipes (Scottish, Irish different kinds of loudness/sound) and accordions... Difficult, delicate-to-capture instruments.
Sorry I answered this one on Sunday but apparently the web gods got ticked off, so please excuse this tardy response.

In general I will rely heavily on the musicians experience first, particularly if its an instrument that I have no history with. Then I will spend a few minutes discussing the perculiarities and listening to the instrument in the room.

With Irish pipes I tend to gravitate to the larger diaphram mics (47.87, 67 M49, sometimes Ribbon mics) With uillean pipes you have to mic the drone and the chanter separately. It can be a very dynamic instrument so some light compression can be useful. I will get the sound that best reflects what I heard in the room and quickly record a minute of it. I will then have the musician come in and verify if I am "getting it" before expending energy on a take.

I find having the drone mic on hyper cardiod helps focus that sound while leaving the chanter in cardoid helps soften its sharp tone. A room mic in omni can also be useful.

Kevin
Old 21st February 2007
  #4
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Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I'd really be interested in this too. I have an upcoming recording project that will feature traditional Irish players and instruments and so I'm currently trying to get a feel for these sounds.

Kevin, could you share any secrets about capturing great Bodhran, Uilleann pipes and Tin Whistle sounds?

When combining say Tin Whistle with 'modern' instruments, how do you deal with the differences in intonation from these more 'tempered' sounds of pianos and electric guitars against the 'natural' sounds of the pipes? Or isn't that an issue at all?

thanks!
Doorknocker,


Check the above answer for the pipes, but if you place the mic about three feet from the chanter and drone, that will be a good start. From that point its a question of listening in the room to find the sweet spot. They can be pretty cranky instruments but thay can be so evocative when you get it right.

With the Bodhram , try a beyer M88 or M149 . Some people use a pair of mics, one either side but I think with that instrument you can get a lot of phase issues as there is a lot of hand movement occuring with all the damping. Depending on the part, slightly off axis on the edge of the drum can yield great results but so much depends on the drum, the player and part. One trick to note is that by wetting the skin will cause the pitch to drop, which can be really warm sounding.

For Whistle, I find a B&K 4011, U87, M149, M49, M50 , Royer 121 0r 122 all god choices. I would raise the mic about 4-5 feet above the mouthpiece, allowing for more air on the instrument. Depending on the room,a cardiod or omni position might get the result you are looking for.

With respect to the more tempered instruments, I find that varispeeding the track to get the best average pitch the only real solution. Sometimes its not an issue but it can be a little tricky. Pitching the instrument after the fact will often yield some strange overtones.

Good luck

Kevin

Old 21st February 2007
  #5
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Sorry I answered this one on Sunday but apparently the web gods got ticked off, so please excuse this tardy response.
No sweat, thanks for your honest responses
Old 21st February 2007
  #6
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doorknocker's Avatar
Kevin,

thanks so much for your detailed answer, I really appreciate it!
Old 23rd February 2007
  #7
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Kevin Killen's Avatar
 

No problem.

Hope your session is fun.

Kevin
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