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how to mic a marimba and a djembe

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  • how to mic a marimba and a djembe

    I'm going to break in my new recording studio that is centered around a Tascam DM4800 by recording a percussionist playing djembe, gong and marimba. I have a modest assortment of condenser and dynamic mics in a professionally designed, acoustically treated room. i've only ever recorded drum set, guitar amps and vocals before, everything else I've recorded direct (bass, keys, etc.)



    Anyone have any suggestions or mic techniques to record these "exotic" percussion instruments? I'm looking for types of mics, positioning, any compression and eq settings and anything else that will help reduce the learning curve?
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  • #2
    I'd mic the djembe w/something you'd use for Toms on the top - Senn 421 or the like.



    Then, mic the hole on the bottom with something used for kick - that's where all the bottom is coming from.



    Watch for phase issues and balance, to taste.



    Those things will really fill a room w/low end, so maybe a room mic, too?
    "Thank You, NASA!"

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    • #3
      thanks. any thoughts on compression and eq. There will be 4 tracks of djembe and 2-3 tracks of gong on one piece. I'd like to have it sound like 6 players all in one room playing at the same time although each track will be recorded alone.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>Guitars - </b>Martin DC Aura 6 string acoustic, Fender Custom Shop 60's strat, Gibson Custom Shop '58 Les Paul, Parker Fly Deluxe, G&amp;L L2000 bass. <b>Amps -</b> Tone King Metropolitan<br />
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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by guitarplayer888
        View Post

        I'm going to break in my new recording studio that is centered around a Tascam DM4800 by recording a percussionist playing djembe, gong and marimba. I have a modest assortment of condenser and dynamic mics in a professionally designed, acoustically treated room. i've only ever recorded drum set, guitar amps and vocals before, everything else I've recorded direct (bass, keys, etc.)



        Anyone have any suggestions or mic techniques to record these "exotic" percussion instruments? I'm looking for types of mics, positioning, any compression and eq settings and anything else that will help reduce the learning curve?




        Well, if you want the marimba stereo, then it can be mic'ed well with two small condensers condensers, or two ribbons. You can mic it with large condensers and dynamics too, and sometimes a recording calls for this. It really depends on how you want to place that marimba and it's importance within the context of the production. If the marimba is featured, then I think your best bet are SDCs or ribbons. Make sure you have phase coherency between the two mics. Two SDCs in an XY pattern is very safe for this, and will provide a very wide image. This may or may not be a good thing. A room mic wouldn't be a bad addition to the recording. If it adds nicely, then use it. If it doesn't, just dump it.



        As to the Djembe, it really depends on whether you want the low end explosion that comes from the sound hole. Traditionalists (and I really don't ever pay attention to "traditionalists" but it's good to know this), will shudder at the thought of low end coming from your djembe. Seeing as you're recording more than one you may want to record the skin slap on some of them, and the slap in conjunction with the low end bloom on others.



        If you listen to Oppression by Ben Harper (available on Spotify), which I mixed, you can hear a good example of a djembe with massive low end. The whole Fight For Your Mind album has djembe like this.



        To get the low end bloom, you want to place a mic at the bottom of the sound hole. Placement is far more relevant than mic choice in this regard. You'll get good results on the top slap of the skin with a dynamic or a condenser, but keep in mind, if you use two mics, one on top and one on bottom, they will be facing each other, and you will likely want to reverse the phase on the bottom mic.



        Honestly, the best advice I could give you on this, is for you to take a moment and try out a few different mics and techniques. Good recordings can be as simple as grabbing the closest mic. It's the mic placement that requires the most vigilance.



        Enjoy,



        Mixerman
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