Recording Indian Harmonium

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BabelAudio
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Recording Indian Harmonium

Post by BabelAudio » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:12 am

Image
I am experimenting with recording my harmonium, and while I will probably wait for my matched pair of Peluso CEMC 6's to arrive for a 'definitive' recording, I am after some tips for mic config's.

The room acoustics here aren't great, but I will probably try different locations too. The Rode NT3 pictured sounds ok, it captures alot of the body well, but it sounds harsh on the top end - the smoothness of the harmonium doesn't translate well with it.

Anyone recorded one before?

kayagum
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Post by kayagum » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:06 am

When I saw Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on TV, his harmonium player just had a dynamic on it, probably just a SM57. I think your NT3 might be a little spikey for the job.

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MASSIVE Mastering
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Post by MASSIVE Mastering » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:17 am

I usually throw a 81 on it and call it a day. LDC if the room is nice. LOTS of headroom (of course).
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iC
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Post by iC » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:07 am

my to be father in law uses an older Astatic gooseneck, placed between the bellows and stops. We also use the AKG C419 (though these don't hold up on the road all too well) Shure SM57, Oktava MC012.... its more about the balance between drone and melody.

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Post by comfortstarr » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:27 pm

You might consider sending an email to the Chicago band Town & Country. They used to be heavy on the Harmonium way back when I lived there.

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Post by logancircle » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:18 pm

kayagum wrote:I think your NT3 might be a little spikey for the job.
I agree--Rode NT3's and NT5's have a grating high end. a better word might be scratchy, but definitely not smooth. They sound good a few feet away, tho.
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aurelialuz
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Post by aurelialuz » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:33 pm

i like the 4038 on mine.
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BabelAudio
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Post by BabelAudio » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:06 pm

Yep, the NT3 is definitely not suitable for the high end on the harmonium.
4038 is a nice suggestion, but well beyond my reach at the moment.

I might experiment more with the SM58 (SM57 was suggested)- I know that a stock dynamic is usually used for performance, but I am not so happy with how it sounded for me here - I will try some combinations.

Thanks for the tips.

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Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:21 am

I've always had that problem with the Rode NT3/5's as well.

If it's still sounding a little too sharp for you try putting the cover back on the reeds. Part of the reason that harmoniums usually sound "smooth" is that you hear them through a wood box. Most of the high end ear-knives get chopped right off.

I'd try putting the mic right up against the wood on the back of the box by the bellows. Or if you're getting too much of the players hand pumping it (there was no way not to make that sound dirty. I rephrased it like 3 times) try more of a players ear position.

I love harmonium. Good luck with it! And as a side note I'd suggest using it to double strings or horns or really anything sectional. It always seems to just blend in and make the group sound three times as large.

-marc goodman

BabelAudio
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Post by BabelAudio » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:22 pm

Marcocet wrote:I've always had that problem with the Rode NT3/5's as well.

If it's still sounding a little too sharp for you try putting the cover back on the reeds. Part of the reason that harmoniums usually sound "smooth" is that you hear them through a wood box. Most of the high end ear-knives get chopped right off.

I'd try putting the mic right up against the wood on the back of the box by the bellows. Or if you're getting too much of the players hand pumping it (there was no way not to make that sound dirty. I rephrased it like 3 times) try more of a players ear position.

I love harmonium. Good luck with it! And as a side note I'd suggest using it to double strings or horns or really anything sectional. It always seems to just blend in and make the group sound three times as large.

-marc goodman
Hmm, obvious, but I didn't think to put the cover back on the reeds - I so much prefer to play it without the cover, but, in combo with the NT3, it might be what the doctor ordered...

I'll also try the mic at the bellows - I was trying to avoid the pumping noise, but it might be worth it for the tone.

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Post by drumsound » Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:49 pm

Maybe try micing from further away...

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Re: Recording Indian Harmonium

Post by KyleHale » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:11 am

BabelAudio wrote:Image
I am experimenting with recording my harmonium, and while I will probably wait for my matched pair of Peluso CEMC 6's to arrive for a 'definitive' recording, I am after some tips for mic config's.

The room acoustics here aren't great, but I will probably try different locations too. The Rode NT3 pictured sounds ok, it captures alot of the body well, but it sounds harsh on the top end - the smoothness of the harmonium doesn't translate well with it.

Anyone recorded one before?
Where did you get the harmonium from and for how much? Ive actually been interested in getting one myself, and ive seen them for 250 on ebay. An electronica/ambience danish band called efterklang uses one on their recordings and its such a nice sounding drone instrument.

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Post by stoneman » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:11 am

i have a small backyard project studio. one of my good friend is in the yoga and music community. he comes over and says he wants to record something that sounds like this cd....he plays it and its a ravi shankar track. and he needs to have it that night. hahaha

so i did the best i could-- recorded my friend playing harmonium with my blue kiwi. my room is pretty small and his harmonium had a noisy clicking going on every time he pumped the thing, so i moved the mic as far away as i could and tried my best to eq out the noise later. eventually i was able to getat the really warm sound of the instrument. the track turned out great and provided a nice cozy place for his tablas. its supposed to be out on some yoga video someday

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Post by joel hamilton » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:48 am

I wind up either using a really dark tube LDC, or something like an E602 (kick drum mic) for the harmonium.

The last thing I want is the thing to sound like a less nimble accordion...

I love the pump harmonium, but not for the top end....

use a mic that brings out the complexity of the mids and low mids.

Even an SM58 would do tht better than a bright sdc. That beig said, I have also recorded harmonium with a pair of earthworks TC30k's in a nice room for a more "documentary" vibe....
With a little verb on the TC30's, you can approach "classic." oh, I think I lowpassed that stereo pair at like 6 k also....

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Post by JoshT » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:24 pm

I also have a feeling that (like all instruments) the quality of the harmonium is very important to how it comes out. I just recorded one for a live radio program, and while I didn't really do anything special, just quickly threw up a pair of AT4033s in a crappy sounding room, it sounded pretty decent (especially for the lack of time I put into mic placement). After the show I was chatting with the player about how much I loved the sound and he told me about how long he had looked for a harmonium before finding the one he was playing.

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