November 2, 2006

Recording thoughts...

by Chris Randall

From the title, one might assume that I have a new method for brainwave-to-MIDI conversion, but nothing could be further from the truth. What I'm curious about is this:

I'm using a lot of non-traditional percussion and such on my current project. Everyone knows the various ways for micing a drum kit and normal percussion, but I'm finding that I'm having a hard time getting the sounds I want using the normal methods when I'm trying to record, say, a piece of sheet metal being hit with a piece of rebar. (I'm just throwing it out there as an example, of course.)

My problem is that I'm having a hard time getting the "body" of the sound; it's always so much attack that I end up having to use a really aggressive compressor setting, and I end up with a lot of room noise that has to be gated, and basically it's just a rolling clusterfuck. Is there a trick I don't know about to recording this sort of thing?



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Nov.03.2006 @ 2:32 AM
a good condenser. placement. acoustically treated room.

that's all you need!


Nov.03.2006 @ 3:15 AM
Ludvig Str?m
Try the extremes, back up 4-5 meters, use allot of acoustic damping behind and around the mic, and hit the thing hard. You will get a nice "omni" kind of sound with allot of body but without loosing the nice signature in the high end. Not sure if it works in your room, with your equipment, but for me it works quite well.

Nov.03.2006 @ 5:51 AM
Cain Torst
This may seem like an obvious, almost absurd idea, but, have you tried miking the source and feeding it through an amp or cab, and then miking the cab and letting it sculpt the sound a bit?

Just a thought, I suppose. Though, I doubt that would do much that some EQ work wouldn't, who knows, may be something to explore anyway.


Nov.03.2006 @ 5:59 AM
Cain Torst
Of course this does nothing for the dynamics especially, hee-yuck, it helps to read. My apologies.

Nov.03.2006 @ 7:00 AM
when I did that kinda stuff I just used room mics, never got anything else to work.

Nov.03.2006 @ 8:05 AM
Holy crap, a subject I'm actually experienced with!
As you've already figured out, the room has a huge effect. In my experience this is one of the few times when ambience is not your friend. What I usually ended up doing was building a two or three walled booth out of gobos, blankets, and whatever else I could find in an effort to really kill reflections. Mic goes in the back of the "booth" pointing out, and your sound source goes on the perimeter (where the other walls would be). Depending on the sound though, you might want to reverse this placement. It always seemed to me that sources with less resonance, that decayed faster, sounded better with the extra isolation.
As far as mics go, I always found omnis worked best. And yes, I know that's completely counter-intuitive to the whole isolation thing, but omnis seemed to have a much more suitable frequency response. I always liked the Earthworks omnis, although I've heard good things about the Avenson mics lately.
If you can manage multi-band compression while tracking, that's also a big help.
You could also sell your car and buy a Soundfield system. Those are great for this sort of thing.

Nov.03.2006 @ 9:22 AM
Have you tried something other than mic placement/choices?

Maybe hit the object with different things (plastic mallets, rubber mallets, felt mallets, brushes...)? That will instantly give you more tone/body and less harsh attack.


Nov.03.2006 @ 10:02 AM
I use piezo mics to record, then re-amp and fiddle with mic placement then. It's so much easier to deal with an amplified signal than a huge piece of reverberating metal.

Nov.03.2006 @ 11:00 AM
Are you saying: "rolling clusterfuck" is a BAD thing??



Nov.03.2006 @ 12:12 PM
penzoil washington
I wonder how those new Heil dynamics would be in this kind of situation. They say they taped them to big ass guns to capture sfx for a movie recently. I think this is a situation that calls for dynamics.

Also, long as we're talking mics, did you see Dr. Bashour's rave review of the M-Audio Sputnik in PAR recently? Dr. B. owns Stephen Paul modified Neumanns and lots of exotic mics and pre's and yet he was bonkers for this $500 mic.


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