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Old 21st February 2007
engineer / producer / mixer
Kevin Killen's Avatar

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?


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