Percussion session today - HELP

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Phobos
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Percussion session today - HELP

Post by Phobos » Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:54 am

OK, so I've recorded the stray shaker here and there but have never done a full day of percussion tracking (tamborine, claves, shaker) on an entire record. So I'm appealing to the collective mind here for advice. I have a small but versatile array of mics -- LDCs, SDCs, dynamics, even a Cascade ribbon mic that I've never used. What's the best approach here? Mono? Stereo? Type of mic? Distance from source? The room is decent and treated, but not amazing, and fairly small.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:31 am

Distance helps. Back the mic off a few feet. A mic with tame high end also helps. Avoid bright mics. I like ribbons or a good dynamic. Omni is nice if you've got it. An EV 635a is a great hand percussion mic.

Beyond that, be conservative with your levels. Shakers and tambourines can produce very fast, very loud transients. Too fast for a meter to register. Leave lots of head room.

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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by joninc » Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:15 am

i do use condensers if I know I need a lot of detail in the top end but as mentioned - back off a few feet. nobody wants a shaker deep inside their eardrum - or a clave!
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vvv
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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by vvv » Sat Jun 19, 2021 10:53 am

If it's featured, I tend toward SDC's or a dynamic - yeah 635a is good, so is SM58, EV664 ...

Tube mics can be cool, also, but back off a little further to prevent artifacts.

If it's a little more back ground or if the source seems extra-bright for the track, I like a ribbon.

FWIW, if it's one percussion thing, say a tambo, I like to back and forth pan it some in the mix.
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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:00 am

I recorded Brazilians for years. The are all about the percussion STATION.

Our brazilians loved two setups:

A Stereo Percussion station, with two AKG 414s in a Stereo configuration of your choice.

A Mono setup, with a Telefunken U47 in OMNI mode, set up in the middle of a room with lots of space around it, and they would dance around it.

Sometimes, they would focus a percussion on one of the Stereo mics, and indicate that this recording would be Mono. Otherwise it would be Stereo.

You really need to capture the TRANSIENT DETAILS in order for percussions to work in nearly any musical arrangement. If you do, you won't need as much of them to cut through, and instead focus on the body of the percussion if you need more or less of that.

SDCs / Ribbons / weirdo mics simply do to capture the transients well enough. And remember boys and girls, you can always filter out some for the top end, but you cannot add it afterwards.

The best way I have found in terms of general recording technique is:

1. CAPTURE as wide a frequency spectrum as possible, especially on any NEW instruments you have never recorded before.

2. PROCESS down the frequency range afterwards to fit the musical arrangement or mix.

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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by vvv » Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:31 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:00 am
I recorded Brazilians for years.
I just thought that line funny ...

... but then, I would. :twisted:
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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by drumsound » Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:16 am

I often like percussion mic not only out a bit, but also higher up, like overheads. I don't usually do stereo, but would if it were like a live setup where the player had a bunch of things and moved around, and grabbed different things for different parts of the song(s). What was said about levels is really true. If you are looking at a VU meter, DO NOT try to get the levels up to where the other instruments, because you'll just crunch up the transients. Over the last few years, my personal favorites for shakers, tambourines, cabasa, etc have been either an EV 635a or Neuman U87. Literally the cheapest and at least close to the most expensive mics I own.

Hand drums are a whole different story, as I often close mic them, with a room mic or two in addition. They are treated more like a drumset.

Tambourines sometimes need really fast compression, but try distance first.

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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by Phobos » Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:21 am

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful advice. It never ceases to amaze me how much one can learn on this board.


Phobos
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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by Phobos » Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:18 am

It went well. The artist actually opted to use a lot of the time on backing vocals, so we didn't dig into the percussion as much as I thought we would. Next time, we will. For the shaker I used a Cascade Fathead (passive) ribbon mic, which worked nicely.

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Re: Percussion session today - HELP

Post by vernier » Wed Jun 23, 2021 8:42 pm

Phobos wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:54 am
OK, so I've recorded the stray shaker here and there but have never done a full day of percussion tracking (tamborine, claves, shaker) on an entire record. So I'm appealing to the collective mind here for advice. I have a small but versatile array of mics -- LDCs, SDCs, dynamics, even a Cascade ribbon mic that I've never used. What's the best approach here? Mono? Stereo? Type of mic? Distance from source? The room is decent and treated, but not amazing, and fairly small.
Theres practically no way you could muck it up. Your worst dynamic in mono should work. And if ya like, experiment with a condenser, which might fit in nicer, our might not.

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