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Recording Taiko drums
Old 21st March 2015
  #1
Recording Taiko drums

Good day gentlemen,

I've been asked to make a live recording of a group of about 13 Taiko drums and some smaller percussion.
Never done that before and not such an easy task I presume.
The recording will be done during a live performance in a theatre.
Any of you all who has some tips, tricks, microphone suggestions, positions, etc. ?
Any input is higly appreciated!

Cheers,
Exo.



Old 23rd March 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Taiko drums are a pain in the ass to record well.

A couple suggestions-
1. don't get too close- the sound will get "clicky" sounding
2. Use omnis- will help your low-end response.
3. Use mics that don't have a super fast transient response- ribbons can work well (ie SF-24, Coles, R88, etc...) - also mics with a lot of headroom before they clip are important.
4. Be careful of using pads on your pres because that can ruin the sound. Something to attenuate output can help.
5. Be prepared for a loud sound.

I'd hang your mics in the hall, and give it some space so the sound develops.

--Ben
Old 23rd March 2015 | Show parent
  #3
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Jazz Noise's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
Taiko drums are a pain in the ass to record well.

A couple suggestions-
1. don't get too close- the sound will get "clicky" sounding
2. Use omnis- will help your low-end response.
3. Use mics that don't have a super fast transient response- ribbons can work well (ie SF-24, Coles, R88, etc...) - also mics with a lot of headroom before they clip are important.
4. Be careful of using pads on your pres because that can ruin the sound. Something to attenuate output can help.
5. Be prepared for a loud sound.

I'd hang your mics in the hall, and give it some space so the sound develops.

--Ben
Ben's recommendations are excellent. I've never recorded Taiko, but I have recorded Merakatu drums, which are similar, and I've heard alot of these things up close since I moved to Japan with various sound reinforcement companies. My advice:

Spaced AB omnis like Ben said and keep the mics back anywhere from 4 feet to 8 depending on how much room you want. I've used ECM 8000's suspended over stage for this and it works well, though if you can get them out front it might sound even better. It's a measuring game though - you'll have to really watch out for microphone overload with such loud drums. Obviously recording at 24bit and conservative levels (peaking at -18 is fine, but splitting the feed to another channel at -24 in case of clipping is a good idea). I did this in conjunction with a H4 XY and my only complaint was too much cowbell - though maybe some spots for the singers would have been nice, but the feel of that music is very much singers pushing their voices over the drums.

Bring spot mics for any non-Taiko instruments - singers, shamisen, flute or even gong players. If there's definitely none, then great, but I'd have a couple of dynamics and SDC's on me just in case.
Old 23rd March 2015
  #4
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
i recorded Taiko Drum performances for a Untimate Fighting video shot at the Paladium in Hollywood 20 years ago (before the present renovations) .. Ben is correct, do not get too close, hang some overhead mic's (stereo pair or 2) .. and they are damn loud at time .. i put out a half a dozen spot mic's in case i was a bit further then i wanted to be but had to deal with Picture as well as sound .. i had a main stereo pair about 20-30 feet out front up about 10-12 feet .. spot mic's were on instruments that would be soft during quieter sections or for additional PHAT lowend from the big fdrums (but pointing away to avoid the "Clicking" as Ben mentioned) .. i have no idea what ever happened to all that but i have a DAT somewhere .. we had recorded to 3-ADAT machines sync'd together )one machine was just for Fight Mic's - ring announce, corner mic's. camera mics .. and audience reaction .. toss up some FX mic's anywhere you think you may need to capture something for a more Focused Mix .. or more lowend or just to see what you get .. have fun and bring some good headhones if you are in the same room .. haha have fun it is a treat to hear when they are really good .. very powerful - hope you can capture that power .. also: they yell out as well so keep that in mind - maybe a dynamic or two to focus that IF Needed .. cheers john
Old 24th March 2015
  #5
Thank you gentlemen, for these tips!

Interesting idea on using different mics for soft and louder parts.
The use of dynamic mics wouldn't be bad too.
I was thinking on using my Decca tree for this occasion among other positions.
The recording will be done on 24 tracks what gives room for different kinds of microphones.
Indeed, the drums create enormous sound pressure on both aspects of the drum: the hit and the sound created by the body.
I think it would be a great help if I could record some of the rehearsals and try out some microphone positions.
Tricky thing is also when they play on both sides of the taiko...
Also, it seems that several of them will be moving around on stage while playing.
Phase problems won't be hard to find I guess
This is the group:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFk9h6b5W_8


Cheers,
Exo.
Old 25th March 2015
  #6
I was thinking on using these on the Decca tree: M296 which has a 10dB preattenuation which might be usefull to handle those big pressure levels, in combination with a few boundary layers.
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